5 Steps To Looking Très French When You're Not A Birkin Or Bardot

Unless you really are one, in which case I hate (love) you.
Publish date:
July 31, 2013
red lips, classics, center parts, short hair styles, clear skin, french, simple beauty

I am Eurasian, but my facial features sway towards the Asian in me. The "Parisian" makeup routine I've recently adopted goes against absolutely everything I've learnt about my face and what suits me, but I persevered and made it work for me, because there is no incentive quite like appearing cool.


Growing up in tropical Asia meant that I spent my youth in a very perfect state of brown that wasn't the result of tanning, but wholesome hours playing team sports. Getting older meant less time for that and more time for being up late and sleeping in. Cue close friendship with your bronzer.

Bronzer, however, DOES NOT GO WITH THIS LOOK. You want clear, even skin. You want to look like a Rembrandt painting minus the drab clothes.

I used Lancome Teint Idole Ultra on my "imperfections" (thanks menstrual cycle--you're being really cute this month) and then Clinique Superpowder to even things out/make me even more pale and also matte.


Another Asian perk is cheap hair removal. You can get your ENTIRE face threaded for, like, nothing. It's oddly fascinating to watch. Living in Malaysia, I got very used to having my eyebrows threaded by women with incredible full Indian eyebrows almost weekly. I figured that if my eyebrows were in their hands, they would look like theirs.

WRONG. I had tiny eyebrows, they just kept getting smaller.

French women don't have time to think about their eyebrows; they are too busy being fabulous. This is a massive generalisation, but go with it. Look at Carine Roitfeld: she has bushy brows and got to edit Vogue Paris for a decade. I'm no scientist, but there is definitely a connection there.

To rectify the damage I've done to myself, I use a whole host of stuff to create illusory eyebrows.

I use a brown Rimmel Eyebrow Pencil, a black Max Factor one, and lightly rub it all in with brown eyeshadow and a Body Shop smudger brush for good measure. That Jay-Z song is just reminding me that it's high time I invest in a Tom Ford Brow Sculptor, though.


Almond-shaped eyes: I got 'em.

In the past, I've found that what looked most flattering was having eyeliner on both the top and bottom of my eyes. I thought having eyeliner on the top only did something really weird to my nose. I know that sounds crazy, but I just couldn't pull off those cat eyes like the white girls.

I have learnt that I wasn't putting enough eyeliner on, and I am now vibing on seriously huge wings. There's really no point in being subtle with this. You're a sultry chick--go for it.

I use a Revlon Colorstay Liquid Eye Pen, because those tiny pot liquid eyeliners really bug me. I always start about 1/4 into my eye instead of right at the tear duct, and I make sweeping lines outwards, slowly building the shape as I go.

To get the winged tip looking good, I lightly hold my eye closed with my available hand and draw a straight line until where I want the tip to end, then open my eye and fill it in until it's the shape I want.

Oh, and of course, curled eyelashes and black mascara will just help to draw in all the Jacques and Pierres you will pick up along the way.


Red lips are torturous. They are the keystone of sexy makeup that was just out of my reach for a long time, and I have yellow undertones to thank for that.

I spent my first 22 years on this planet thinking I couldn't don a deliciously dark pout (sorry). I'm not going to pretend I know very much about undertones, but what I have learnt is that red lipstick makes me look ghastly, and there is no such thing as ghastly-chic. (Yet.)

Despite this, I have spent many a night applying it, wiping it off, throwing it in my handbag "just in case" and by some miracle, at around 4 a.m. everything gets dark and fuzzy enough for me to swipe a bunch on, and feel like a new woman. I needed that lipstick confidence sober.

So these days I throw caution to the wind. I've learnt that if a colour looks bad, I probably don't have enough on. That sounds counterintuitive and ditzy, but it WORKS, god dammit; especially with the non-bronzer skin I have going on. There is no room for hesitation when you're an independent woman.

First, I put MAC Casual Colour, Lip & Cheek Colour on in "Keep it Casual" because it feels moisturising like lip balm and works like a tint. On top of that, I put some NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil on in "Cruella" for a deeper red. And then I pout, a lot.


My hair is naturally straight and smooth and until a month ago, very very long. I'm not going to lie: I do sometimes miss it. But what is the point of being a girl if not to try out as many different looks as possible? It grows back and you can have a whole lot of fun trying on different personalities in the process. This week I'm a Russian spy. Whatever, it doesn't have to make sense. Experiment!

So anyways, I love my Asian hair for being ridiculously shiny, but sometimes you just want to look a bit unruly and unkempt, like you don't have time to think about hair. It's a huge paradox, but who cares as long as you look good.

When I get out of the shower I wrap it up in a towel and go about my business, not thinking about it, where did my hair go? Oh, who cares. Sometimes I spray some Fudge Sea Salt spray in it when it's still wet, but other times I'm too busy thinking about cool girl things. I shake it about, middle part it, let it air dry when it's mostly dry while occasionally running my fingers through it and squeeze it a bit. Basically you are the natural you, but slightly tousled.

Et voila! Go sit in a dark bar smoking an e-cig (it's the 21st century, baby) looking like you're thinking really hard about philosophy, but maintain an aloof carefree spirit simultaneously. It's easy. You are perfection my yummy little macaroon, bisous!