Easy, Breezy European Steezy: A Jane Birkin Beauty Tutorial

How to get that super-French vibe that's all sunshine and sweet eyes. Sigh.

So, I want to start this article off by saying: duh, I know Jane Birkin isn't French.

French people seem pretty cool with her, though, what with Hermès naming a $10,000 handbag after her and all. And to me, she exemplifies what French beauty is: super laissez-faire with a touch of something special and undefinable--that je ne sais quoi.

I've already written about Jane's daughter, Charlotte, who was surely influenced by her mama's style. But it's time to go back some decades, to when Jane was madly in love with Serge Gainsbourg and she romped around France braless in tiny crocheted dresses and cotton blouses.

As I'm writing this, it's freezing outside. Not as freezing as it has been, but still parka + mittens + scarf weather. I'm longing for some serious sunshine, so I'm listening to this, which is essentially the beach in song version. The only way to get closer to the vibes going on in that video without flying to Cannes is to recreate Jane's late-'60s/early-'70s look.

That means ever-so-slightly bronzed cheeks, doll-like mod bottom lashes and wind-swept hair. Ugh, I need a vacation, you guys. Anyway, let's get on with it, oui?


Obviously, to get beach-y hair, the easiest way is to DUHHHHHH, go to the beach. Unfortunately, I don't have that option right now, so I have to resort to hair products that have ocean-inspired ingredients in them. Enter A Beautiful Life Pregame Texturizing Spray.

It's got Himalayan pink salts and Dead Sea salts, and it smells like coconuts and summertime. Spritz it at the roots and scrunch about for a bit of an "oh, I've just been strolling along the beach all afternoon" attitude.


I'm a pale girl, thanks to Northern European genes and an obsession with slathering myself with SPF (cancer prevention, yo!), but I like the look of a bit of sun exposure. I also like things that are cheap. That's where Essence Sun Club Matt Bronzing Powder For Blondes comes in. It's intended for fair-skinned types but is sort of dubiously named because you don't need to be blonde to be pale.

This stuff adds the gentlest bit of a glow and definition to my cheekbones, the tip of my nose and temples. It brings warmth to my face and keeps me from looking like a corpse when winter is, you know, making me feel like a corpse.

Jane's eyes always looked like giant, beautiful saucers thanks to some accentuation with little bits of eyeliner and some artfully applied mascara.

An application wiggled into the upper lashes and a few flicks of Almay Liquid Eyeliner in Precise Black along the lower lashline give that mod effect. A coat of Clinique's adorable Bottom Lash Mascara ups the ante.

To finish off the look, add a slick of Kiehl's Lip Balm #1. It protects lips from the wind and sun and gives them a pretty, subtle sheen.


I'm a big fragrance person, so I like to complement my looks with a scent that matches the overall vibes I've got going on. Lush Sun Perfume has orange oil for that fresh hit of sunniness, with sandalwood for sexier, warmth.

What other babes of the past have a beauty look you'd like to borrow? Let me know and I'll see what I can do for you (because I love you all very, very much).