This Is the Difference Between a French and an American Makeup Routine

When it comes to the lives, routines, and product collections of makeup artists, we're intrigued—or, to be more accurate, entranced. After all, these are the artistic professionals who spend their days and nights prepping all of the industry's most fabulous names for fashion shows, editorial shoots, red carpets, film sets, ad campaigns, and so, so much more. Not only do they have access to the world's most beautiful faces any given day, but they also have access to the world's most covetable skincare and makeup products. A safe assumption? They know what's what within the beauty product realm and only use the crème de la crème formulas, colors, and brands. Not only on their A-list clients, mind you, but on their own faces as well.

In honor of our own recent July 4 celebrations and today being Bastille Day—the French National Day and the anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789—we decided to do a little game of French versus American beauty. We asked two celebrity makeup artists, one French and one American, to not only share their go-to summer skincare and makeup routines (because we're dying to know!) but some background as to how their French and American roots have inspired their individual approach to beauty. Keep scrolling, your ultimate French- and American-inspired product inspiration awaits.

Parisian Makeup Artist, Leslie Dumeix

"All the women I grew up with would wear very little makeup and would focus on their skincare routine instead. For French women, the secret is to treat your base as well as you can so you don't have much else to do! That's why I have always been so interested in skincare.

"Also, food is a major part of my skincare routine. Eating healthy and organic food does affect your skin, and maintaining a workout routine is just as important in order to release all the toxins!

"My French origins have definitely influenced my makeup routine, and I always try to ensure my makeup looks effortless. I do wear makeup every day, but the goal is undetectability. It should look natural, not overdone. French women prefer to wear fewer products—we love mascara and a nice lip color! The French-way of beauty influences my work, and I try to highlight natural features as much as I can without going too far!"

The Parisian Skincare Routine:

Step 1: Face Mist

"My everyday summer routine always starts with a good skincare regimen. First, I prep my skin by spraying a Rose + Neroli Hydra-Vitalizing Treatment Mist from Odacité or a Rosamélis Water from Embryolisse. It is the perfect way to refresh my skin before serum. I never wash my face in the morning, once a day is enough! I do it at night when I remove my makeup."

Step 2: Serum + Eye Cream

"I quickly apply a serum right after the face mist. Right now, I am using Vinoperfect Complexion Correcting from Caudalíe."

"Then, I use Dr. Barbara Sturm's Eye Cream to plump up my eye contour."

Step 3: Moisturizer + Facial Oils

"After, I apply the Vinosource SOS Deep Hydration Moisturizer from Caudalíe mixed with some oil drops from Odacité, such as Youthful Glow Ac+R or Deep Wrinkles Ro+Y Facial Serum Concentrate."

"Mixing the oils in helps me massage my products into my skin a bit before makeup. I love to adapt my skincare each day to my different needs, playing with different oils."

The Parisian Makeup Routine:

Step 1: Foundation + Concealer

"My makeup routine is pretty simple during the summer: I love to look fresh and highlighted! It is important to me that all my products look natural on my skin and then I add some neutral colors."

"I start by applying a light foundation. My favorite is the Face and Body Foundation from MAC Cosmetics. I only apply the makeup where it’s needed, if I need more coverage, I add a touch of concealer into my foundation."

"The concealer I love during summer is the Radiance Reveal from Bourgeois because it really brightens dark circles. I also love the concealers from Shiseido as they also conceal dark spots efficiently."

"I always lightly set my foundation with a blotting powder from MAC Cosmetics to ensure it stays all day, especially with the heat!" 

Step 2: Blush + Bronzer

"Next step, and the most important, is to apply a nice blush. I like to play with colors, some days I use orange tones and others pink tones depending on my mood and look!"

"A couple of blushes I use routinely are Orgasm from Nars, Foshia Rosa from Chanel or Telling Glow from MAC Cosmetics."

[Editor note: Telling Glow is no longer carried by MAC, but the shade Hushed Tone is a close match!]

"Then, I add a bronzing powder around my face to create a light contouring." 

"This one from Dior is perfect if you are afraid of going too dark!

Step 3: Eyes

"My eye routine is fast, and I use the same products as listed above. I use the blush and bronzing powder to create a soft shadow and give more intensity to my eyes. I use the same products so I make sure I match colors… and I save time and money too! Then, I curl my lashes and add Glossier's Lash Slick Mascara on top."

Step 4: Lips + Highlighter

"The last steps in my routine are lips and highlighter. Depending on what blush I am wearing that day, I always adapt the lip color." 

"Some days I will use some Dior's Dior Lip Glow, Marc Jacobs Beauty New Nudes Sheer Gel Lipstick in Dreamgirl 154, or Glossier Generation G in Zip." 

"To finish the look, I apply Becca liquid highlighter with my fingers in Champagne Pop or Gold Pop depending on my skin tone. I apply highlighter on my cheekbones, inner eye corners, eyelids, and a tiny bit on my nose to create a beautiful glow, which makes skin look super fresh."

American Makeup Artist, Christine Cherbonnier

"I grew up in Austin, Texas, and was lucky to learn about holistic health care growing up. There was a big hippy culture in Austin, especially in the '90s, so I had access to natural skincare brands from a young age.

"As far as ingredients, I learned very young that aloe vera was a miracle. My grandmother always had an aloe plant in the house. I use mine at home to blend my own facial serums and use it for sunburns after being outdoors in the summer. Sun protection is a key element to my skincare routine. I fried my skin as a young person in Texas, not having much education about the risks of sunburn and sun damage. I am currently using the MDSolarSciences MD Creme Mineral Balm SPF 50 ($39). I can just throw it on when I'm on a location job without a mirror and not worry about a white residue being left behind."

"Lastly you have to educate yourself about ingredients! There is little to no regulation of American skincare and makeup. There are hundreds of chemicals in American beauty products that are banned in Europe. It is worth the time to google ingredients and learn about what’s going on top of your skin."

The American Skincare Routine: 

Step 1: Cleanse

"I always start with the Biorderma's Sinsibio H2O on a cotton pad to cleanse, I couldn’t live without this product! It respects the natural sebum of the skin and doesn't strip the skin, and it removes even waterproof eye makeup without stinging the eye. I never use water to wash my face, as the chlorine in the tap water is too harsh on my sensitive skin and leaves my skin blotchy and dry."

Step 2: Exfoliation

"I exfoliate more in the summer! During the warm months, I use physical exfoliators to replace the glycolic acids and AHAs I use in the winter. These acids make skin photosensitive and cause irritation and sunburn when exposed to UV rays. 

"I’m currently using Aurelia's Refine and Polish Miracle Balm. It comes in an easy tube that is easy to travel with, and I love the oil texture. I love to add additional friction by using a warm wet washcloth to scrub and wipe the oil off. For a cheaper price point, I use Caudalíe's Gentle Buffing Cream."

Step 3: CBD Serum

"After I cleanse, I use the Ildi Pekar Tissue Repair Serum. It’s infused with CBD and aloe and is another one of my 'I can't live without it' products. I use this all over my face and neck as well as my under-eye serum. It’s a dream applied cold (I put everything in my fridge during the summer).

"Nothing has ever reduced my inflammation and hydrated my skin like this serum. If you are acne-prone, very oily, or just don’t like the way creams feel, this one absorbs completely, and I can still glide makeup over my skin afterward."

Step 4: Moisturize

"I follow with a face cream year-round. A woman in her mid 50s with the most beautiful skin came into the store I was working at 10 years ago when I was still assisting. I asked her for her skin secret, and she said Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream. I have used it ever since! I use the regular cream in the colder months and in the summer I use the light version."

"However, at night, I love using Weleda's Skin Food—this light version of the original is for people with very dry sensitive skin who need repair comfort at night after sun exposure."

Step 5: Lip Oil

"For lips, I have the Skinfood Lip Oil in my bag. I LOVE lip oils, and there are not many out there at a lower price point.

"Don't be afraid to take the excess oil from your lips and pat it under your eyes to wipe off eye makeup that has fallen throughout the day or as an eye cream at night. I always rub a little bit under my nose cause I always have a little dry spot under there."

[Editor note: The Skinfood formula is no longer available, but we're obsessed with this formula from Versed!]

The American Makeup Routine:

Step 1: Foundation

"For foundation, I use Giorgio Armani's Luminous Silk Foundation in 3.5. This foundation has been my go-to for over a decade. A little goes a long way and is perfect for normal to oily skin because it dries to a soft matte and can easily be mixed with a moisturizer for dryer skin. It's an investment, but it lasts forever!"

Step 2: Brows

"For brows, I use the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Medium Brown if I want a stronger brow and Taupe if I want to simply fill the shape and keep a more natural look. I always follow with the clear brow gel."

Step 3: Eyes

"I apply Marc Jacobs Beauty High Liner in Pink of Me on my waterline. This brightens my eyes and doesn't look dramatic like white or light beige pencils. It is very close to the pink color of my waterline, so it lightens and opens up my eyes. It definitely adds some extra sleep to my eyes when I'm busy and traveling."

"I then apply the Chanel Stylo Ombre et Contour in Vague around my eyes and buff it out with a soft flat brush to make the skin around my lash line look just a little more mysterious. The shade is almost my skin tone, just a little bit darker near my lashes."

"I wear less mascara during the summer, sometimes I feel too done-up with it. Though, if I do, I use Ohh-la -lash by VMV Hypoallergenics. This mascara is insane! It builds the lash and doesn't clump or flake. It doesn’t budge in the heat and comes right off with makeup remover. This brand is great for everything if you struggle with sensitivity or allergic reactions to cosmetics."

Step 4: Lips

"For lips, I'm currently obsessed with Wifey Lipstick by Milk Makeup. This is the perfect natural blush color; it's pretty and fresh looking. When I'm not wearing mascara, I love a beautiful blushie full lip." 

Up next: 12 Non-Basic Beauty Products French Women Love—and You've Never Heard Of

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