I'm kind of obsessed with all things French, and especially French beauty. French perfumes, French skincare, French cosmetics; they all make me cluck adoringly like a happy little chicken.
Perhaps it's French women who are the best selling point, with their perfectly tousled hair, "signature" scents and effortlessly applied swipes of Chanel lipstick, not to mention gorgeous skin despite all the Gauloises smoked and long nights spent in bars.
I'm constantly taking inspiration from French ladies when it comes to dressing myself, applying my skincare products (like the ridiculous task of removing make-up with cotton and Evian spray rather than tap water [I know, I know]), or generally not giving a damn about perfection. So many French gals have that essence of "Whatever!" that I love, and one of them that stands out the most is Charlotte Gainsbourg.
My hair at its C. Gainsbourg-iest. Plus, a very odd vintage jacket.
Though Charlotte's only half-French (mom Jane Birkin is English), she still has that lovely French air about her, which is probably why Nicolas Ghesquière of Balenciaga is so charmed by her, and why he made her the face of the house's first two perfumes since 1998. She's also a talented singer (thanks to her parents, Jane and the amazing and sadly deceased father Serge) and a wonderful actress, starring in what I consider to be one of the most romantic scenes on film of ALL. TIME. (Purely my humble opinion.)
This Spring I've been taking inspiration from Charlotte, whether it's in choosing masculine-tailored silk shirts and tuxedo style pants or letting my hair do whatever it wants. Here, a few product recommendations to get that Gainsbourg-esque look.
Clockwise from top left: Essence's Kajal Liner in Teddy, Sue Devitt's Silky Blush in Koh Samui, Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Hibiscus, Joe Fresh Cream Eyeshadow in Mocha.
Charlotte rarely wears a full-face of make-up, and if she is seen with any it's usually focused on her eyes. A chocolate-y smokey eye is sexy but still not overpowering, and I like to create it by smudging Essence Cosmetics' Kajal Pencil in Teddy ($0.99, ulta.com) along the lashline, followed with Joe Fresh's Cream Eyeshadow in Mocha ($6, Joe Fresh stores) all over the lid. Super-easy and quick.
For those of us who weren't blessed with perfectly sculpted cheekbones, Sue Devitt's Silky Blush in Koh Samui ($20, suedevittbeauty.com) is great for contouring. Just use a fluffy blush brush to apply underneath your natural cheekbones while making a "fish face" and enjoy your new bone structure.
I like Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Hibiscus ($7, burtsbees.com and drugstores) for keeping my lips soft and not adding some bizarre-o colour but rather just improving the natural shade my lips already have.
Makes me regret cutting 4 inches off my hair a few weeks ago ...
Charlotte's long, wavy hair makes me wish I'd stop trimming mine obsessively and just let it grow long and lovely like a mermaid's. To get a similar texture, go for long bangs and long, face framing layers. After washing, scrunch damp hair with a curl-boosting mousse like Alberto's Curls & Waves Weather Resistant Mousse ($5.49, well.ca) and when it's just-about dry, add a bit of sea salt spray like A Beautiful Life's PreGame Texturizing Spray ($22, abeautifullife.com) for a beachy effect.
I can't do the signature scent thing as I'm way too fickle AND addicted to fragrance, but Balenciaga's L'Essence, the latest release from the brand and a perfume which Charlotte graces the ads of, is something I've been wearing a lot of lately. Slightly masculine but still super-sexy and ladylike, it has notes of vetiver, patchouli, violet and sandalwood and cedar. Ahhh. (Balenciaga L'Essence, starting at $95, sephora.com)
So, who (if anyone) is inspiring your beauty routine right now? Are you as gaga over the whole Fronch thing as I am? Did you, like me, just realize that our very own Jane also has a daughter named Charlotte (just like Ms. Birkin!)?