This Blush-and-Lipstick Combo Creates Peak French-Girl Makeup, and I'm Obsessed

Welcome to Deep Reviews—your one-stop destination to discover the absolute best products and brands the beauty industry has to offer. The Who What Wear staffers you already know and trust will research, test, and review the market's most sought-after and buzzed-about products to see which formulas (of the hundreds up for consideration) are worth your hard-earned money and attention. You can expect honest, uncensored feedback and no-BS recommendations our hard-to-please testers endorse without reservations.

The majority of our Deep Reviews will feature our editors' honest, ultra-hot takes on entire product categories or multiple products from a particular beauty brand, but every so often, we'll sprinkle in a special single-product format called Honestly, I Love It. As the name suggests, these reviews will hone in on one standout beauty formula our editors can't shut up about. This time, I'm highlighting two essential French makeup products—Violette_FR's Bisou Balm ($28) and Bisou Blush ($35). 


(Image credit: @kaitlyn_mclintock)

Traditionally, French beauty has rested on a few foolproof pillars—namely tousled hair à la Jane Birkin, a fresh complexion à la Françoise Hardy, and effortless and slightly undone makeup à la Brigitte Bardot. Even when French women wear something bold, such as red lipstick, they still manage to do it in a way that feels natural and lived-in. 

There's just something about it that speaks to me, and because of that, I've spent countless hours reading articles, watching videos, and searching the internet to find the products French women trust. Somewhere along the way, I stumbled across Violette_FR, the YouTube channel belonging to a French makeup artist who creates impossibly chic and colorful looks for her clients, friends, and colleagues. Sure, I loved the looks, but I loved her easy-to-follow tutorials and effortless application techniques even more. For years, I followed her on social media to gain inspiration and product recommendations. 

In 2021, Violette launched a namesake beauty brand. As you can imagine, I was excited. I mean, who wouldn't want to use products formulated by one of their favorite makeup artists? I placed my first order, and the rest was history. Since then, two of the brand's products have become makeup-kit essentials because they're easy to use, require little-to-no touch-ups, and give me that French-girl effect that I love. 

The first product is called Bisou Balm, and it feels wrong to just call it lipstick. It's more like a lip balm that offers sheer, buildable color. Sometimes, I dab it on the center of my lips and blend it out for a subtle wash of barely-there color. Other times, I swipe it on straight from the bullet for a bolder effect. Either way, it gives my lips a soft, velvety look thanks to its modern matte formula that comes in five different French girl–approved shades. 


(Image credit: @kaitlyn_mclintock)

These lipstick-balm hybrids are hydrating, so they never make my lips feel dry or chapped. Plus, thanks to the modern matte finish and a cool blurring effect, they give me a "bouche mordue," or just-bitten, lip look. It looks truly effortless yet elevated. 


(Image credit: @kaitlyn_mclintock)

Admittedly, I've never loved matte lipstick, but this formula is different. Here, I'm applying the shade Guimauve. It doesn't make my lips look flat or one-dimensional like so many other formulas do. Instead, it makes them look soft and plump. To me, it's a timeless look that will never fall out of style or lose its charm. Even when it fades off my lips, it does so in a subtle and intriguing way—like I just sipped a cappuccino outside of a Parisian cafe. 

My next makeup-kit essential is this matte cream blush, which Violette formulated with marbled pigments—not just because they look good in the tube but also because they offer the most natural-looking color to the cheeks. The blend of pigments offers a realism other blushes that use just one pigment can't. Think of a Renaissance painting. The figures always have flushed cheeks that look cherubic. That's what this blush was formulated to achieve. 


(Image credit: @kaitlyn_mclintock)

There are three shades, but personally, I love the one called Inès. It's a soft pink that makes my skin look bright and youthful. Actually, it mimics the natural flush I get from taking a brisk walk or going outside in cold, crisp air. Since it basically melts into the skin and has an attached brush for blending, it's convenient for use on the go.


(Image credit: Violette_FR)

Would you say these products encapsulate the classic French makeup aesthetic?

I grew up knowing only this—the French aesthetic. Our DNA in beauty and fashion is so strongly ingrained that sometimes we don't realize it until we move or are out of the country. My goal is for Violette_FR to be for everyone. You won't hear me saying French is better because it goes against what I believe in. I want everyone to feel welcome. I almost want people to forget this is a French brand and just look at it thinking, "Oh I love it. I'm inspired by it" or "I want it," no matter where it comes from. I have noticed French people connecting to my brand a lot, and I think a large part of that is because they resonate, and they see a brand with the same DNA, which is so nice because I want my culture to welcome the brand. My culture will always be my number one muse.

What was the inspiration behind Bisou Balm? 

This product has been a longtime dream of mine. In France, other than a signature red lip, our favorite lip look is called bouche mordue, or just-bitten lips. The DIY way to achieve this casual look is to apply lip balm and add a touch of lipstick, creating a subtle flush of color that looks fresh and natural. I've always been obsessed with capturing this effect and improving upon it. I was determined to create a formula that would imitate the true texture and a kiss of color for the lips. So Bisou Balm was created to perfect that soft blur and is easily achievable every time you apply. A velvety, matte, effortless tint that adds warmth without the work.

What was the inspiration behind Bisou Blush? 

When my eldest daughter Inès was a baby, her cheeks always had this incredible natural blush. I had always dreamt of making it a blush, so I combined my real-life muse, Inès, with a classic technique I had learned while studying Italian Renaissance painting. I love the connection between art and beauty. I learned about sfumato, which is an oil painting technique that Leonardo da Vinci mastered. It's an ultra-fine blending of colors that melt colors into each other without visible lines. It creates true-to-life, radiant skin using layers of translucent color like the paintings we see during the Renaissance period. I wanted to bring this same practice to the lab with me so that we could replicate the multidimensional color that emits when our cheeks flush.

Do you have any application tips or tricks for the products?

I personally love applying Bisou Balm above my lips. It gives this plump effect, like you've just been kissed. I also love having Bisou Blush at the apple of my cheeks, at the center, because it provides this very fresh, natural flush. I also love to mix a few colors, such as Louise as a base and all over the cheekbone and then add Inès at the center of the apple. This is what I love to do. However, both products are the most mistake-proof products ever.

Shop More of My Favorite Violette_FR Products

Kaitlyn McLintock
Associate Beauty Editor

Kaitlyn McLintock is an Associate Beauty Editor at Who What Wear. Although she covers a wide range of topics across a variety of categories, she specializes in celebrity interviews and skincare and wellness content. Having lived in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, she recently relocated back to her home state of Michigan where she works remotely. Prior to Who What Wear, she freelanced for a variety of industry-leading digital publications, including InStyle, The Zoe Report, Bustle, Hello Giggles, and Coveteur. Before that, she held a long-term internship and subsequent contributor position at Byrdie. When she's not writing, researching, or testing the latest and greatest beauty products, she's working her way through an ever-growing book collection, swimming in the Great Lakes, or spending time with family.