THE IN-TRAY

The Insider’s Guide to French Beauty

Want to know how French women look so effortlessly put together? Sydney journalist and author of Paris Dreaming: What the City of Light Taught Me About Life, Love & Lipstick, Katrina Lawrence shares her lessons with TMM.

When I decided, a few years ago, to take time off beauty journalism (my profession of almost 20 years) and work on a book, I pushed all thoughts of blush and bath oil from my mind. I wanted to write about my true passion, Paris, exploring the City of Light and all the ways in which it has inspired and influenced me since my first of many trips there, aged five.

THE ART OF WRITING

I retreated to my study—resolutely makeup-free—and got down to the serious business of research. I spent days lost in books on Parisian history and architecture, Simone de Beauvoir and Madame de Sévigné.

When I finally began to write, I found I was once again applying lip gloss and perfume every morning, even if that day would see me going no further than the school run. And, slowly but surely, beauty began to seep into my pages. I realised that—of course!—Paris and beauty, they just go together. Like Serge and Jane, crêpes and Nutella, a stripy top and a baguette.

FRENCH LESSONS

French beauty is about good grooming—not making yourself look different, but a better version of self… no matter your age. Because this feminine city is one that loves women of all ages. It’s a timeless city that embraces ageing beautifully. I have matured in Paris—gone from fille to femme, mademoiselle to madame. Here are some of the products that have made the ageing process easier and prettier…

1. BY TERRY BAUME DE ROSE FACE CREAM

The rose is my ultimate Parisian bloom, and this is my crème de la crème of face potions. Gorgeously pampering, the sensuous cream reminds you that skincare shouldn’t just be about anti-this and correcting-that—it should also be about pampering indulgence.

2. YSL TOUCHE ÉCLAT

I know, I know… it’s such a cliché to name this as a favourite. But clichés are usually so because there’s truth to them, and this is a seriously good classic. Dark circles are my personal pet peeve, and even on my most wide-awake mornings concealer doesn’t quite cover all it should. So that’s when I go in with my Touche Éclat, adding a light-reflecting layer over my regular concealer, to deflect attention away from any lingering shadows.

3. CODAGE SERUM NO.7

Redness is my other beauty bugbear, and because I don’t like wearing foundation, I’m always slathering on soothing treatments to keep my skin tone as uniform as possible. This anti-redness concoction is a great one.

4. BY TERRY CRAYON KHOL TERRYBLY COLOUR EYE PENCIL

Every Parisienne swears by a soft black eye pencil she can quickly smudge along her lash line. What I also love about this particular range is the selection of jewel shades, which can be worn subtly for an eye-opening effect that is both glamorous and grown-up (a rare feat in the world of coloured eyeliner).

5. ÉDITIONS DE PARFUMS BY FRÉDÉRIC MALLE LIPSTICK ROSE

As I mentioned, the essence of rose is for me Paris in a bottle; it makes me think of pink macarons and rose-drenched florists and so many great Parisian perfumes. But this one is not your usual rose—more how rose would smell if encapsulated in the formulation of a vintage lipstick. It’s sweet and powdery and artistic and alluring and totally unique. I don’t often wear lipstick myself (even though painting on a scarlet lip would be so à la parisienne of me) so this is my next best thing.

Paris Dreaming: What the City of Light Taught Me About Life, Love & Lipstick (Harper Collins | $35) now available at bookstores.

Words by Katrina Lawrence
November 2017

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