Resting Mom Face

A French Makeup Artist Shares Her Entire Routine — & Almost Everything Is Under $25

Another plus: most of these you can buy on Amazon.

Parisian makeup artist Violette is the kind of chic and lovely person that makes you realize the myth of the impossibly elegant French woman is based on people like her. Desperate to know her secrets, I interviewed my sweet, talented friend while she was running around Paris, launching the next product in her skin care and makeup brand Violette_fr, to get her take on the best French beauty products everyone should try.

As I began my interview with Violette, I was surprised at first to realize that her list wasn’t made up of the typical French pharmacy staples I’ve read about before. Violette’s list felt more insider-y, because she is picky in the best way possible. If you’re reading this and aren’t familiar with French pharmacies, they only sell the crème de la crème. “They’re complex and hard [for new brands] to get into,” Violette added. “They only have the brands they’ve had for 50 years — they don’t care who you are or what you can bring for them business-wise. They need to see the facts about the product and know that it works, which I love.”

Violette outside of a pharmacy in France

“In the French philosophy, you go to a dermatologist and ask what you’re supposed to use and then they send you to a pharmacy to get that exact thing,” she explains. For Violette, her prescription was straight-forward, always catering to her sensitive skin. “In France, we’re not into super-active ingredients,” she says. “we just like to focus on the essentials and what we need to fix a certain skin issue.”

So, what were Violette’s must-haves, you ask? Keep scrolling to see her product picks.

“Growing up I used La-Roche Posay Toleriane Dermo Milk Cleanser to always cleanse my face at night and then I’d rinse it off — you never want to leave it on,” she says. “It was always gentle enough on my skin but cleared away the dirt really well.” Next, she’d apply La-Roche Posay Soothing Lotion for Sensitive Skin — “it was one that was advised to me by my dermatologist,” she adds.

“Before I was 20, I didn’t use a serum, but around 23, my dermatologist told me to apply a homeopathic serum to my skin — they recommended the Laboratoires Boiron glass ampoules, which you are meant to drink, but I was instructed to pat them directly onto my skin,” she says. “So, I’d use the zinc ampules if I had breakout or selenium or manganese every other day.” She explains that these ampoules — which are basically highly-concentrated serums — are filled with minerals, which can help heal acne.

After patting on her “serum,” Violette uses Uriage Roseliane Anti-Redness Cream. “My dermatologist recommended that to me because I had extremely sensitive skin as well as contact dermatitis,” she says.

For hair, she uses Klorane, the iconic dry shampoo (now, she swears by her own dry shampoo Violette_fr Fringe Puff, which absorbs oil and offers up a healthy dose of volume to your hair) and Phyto Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner.

She also swears by the French pharmacy staple Biafine, a healing ointment-cream hybrid that is supposed to soothe the skin and lock in moisture. “You always have one around in case you get burned or even after you get laser — it’s so common in France, it’s like having milk or flour in your house,” Violette says.

Hydralin Quotidien Bonne Compo Intimate Soap is also something she’s been using forever. Turns out many French women use a special soap on their gential area. “Every since I was a kid, we’d never wash that area with regular soap — I’ve always used a special one to respect my flora,” she says. “I was very shocked when I moved to the U.S. because there just isn’t as much talk surrounding what great things can be used for women — we even have probiotic tampons in France.”

Two other French products she swears by are Bioderma Sensibio and Homeoplastine. “Bioderma is great if you want to quickly correct a makeup mistake, it’s the perfect makeup eraser, but I think it’s way too drying or harsh to use as an all-over remover,” she warns. “And Homeoplastine is basically the French Vaseline; it’s an efficient balm, but I’d apply something underneath — Aveda Lip Saver is my favorite — before locking it in with this; I also prefer the stick form of Homeoplastine because it’s more emollient, it’s really really nice,” she adds.

Violette’s skin care routine has changed a bit since she has stabilized her sensitive skin and since she’s also launched her own line, Violette_fr. Yes, she still stocks up on Biafine, French intimate soap, and some of the Boiron ampoules — “even if it’s just because it’s what I’m used to doing when I go back to Paris” — but as far as her skincare regimen now, she’s added a few new favorites.

In the morning, she applies her own brand’s Boum Boum Milk, which is highly hydrating (I can attest — I, too, am obsessed). “With one or two sprays (boum, boum!), it acts as a toner (balancing and moisturizing), a serum (highly concentrated, with quick absorption), and a moisturizer, hydrating the skin,” her site reads. The formula has a blend of probiotics, fermented birch sap, glacier water, and olive leaf extract that work together to help minimize redness, achieve an overall brighter skin tone for all skin types, and really boosts hydration.

“Then, I’ll use SPF if I go out during the day,” she says. “I really like Australian formulas — currently I use Day Long SPF 50+ my dermatologist told me about this one and I use a full mL, not just a squirt of it.”

“At night — it’s not normal how obsessed I am with this — I’ll use Purito Green Cleansing Oil (it’s the best to melt everything quickly and the texture is bouncy), and then I double cleanse with a gel cleanser,” she says. “I like Nue Co. Barrier Culture Cleanser to take away the dirt without stripping my skin of its natural oils.”

Resting Mom Face is a column from Romper contributor and beauty expert Carly Cardellino.

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