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Why French women don't look tired

Estée Lauder's Global Beauty Director, Violette, shares her top beauty tricks

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Estée Lauder's Global Beauty Director, Violette, tells us her top beauty tips and tricks, and reveals once and for all, why it is that French women never seem to look tired...

I started off studying painting in Paris, but realised something was missing. I did a friend’s make-up and, from that moment, I knew: I needed life under my brushes and colours. I love the ephemeral side of make-up.

One day, you’re creating an idea inspired by a particular mood, the next, you’re working on a totally different concept. This applies to real-life make-up, too. We should be experimenting more. Don’t be afraid to put eyeshadow on your lips or gloss on your eyes. If it doesn’t work, just take it off. But do try, because when you are doing something that no-one is doing, it’s so refreshing. You feel unique, and that’s what make-up is all about, really.

A natural complexion is a modern-looking canvas.

A ‘done’ eye is much cooler set against bare, unpolished skin, and you can even get away with doing an eye and a lip – very now – if your complexion looks fresh. Start with plenty of prep – a rich moisturiser used as a mask and left on for a few minutes works well – then blank out blemishes with a little concealer, not forgetting the shadows around your nose and lips. Once your little flaws are corrected, you won’t need as much foundation.

French women don’t want to spend three hours getting ready

They’re busy multitaskers who want to feel good. Beauty is all about living a relatively healthy lifestyle that means you always feel confident. I eat Japanese food whenever possible, as I find it healthy, and I drink thyme herbal tea, which is great for digestion! I also start the day with a glass of warm water and lemon juice.

The other thing about French women? They’re rarely precious about hair, which adds a touch of rock chic to their look. I like a blow-dry, but a natural-looking one with a bit of movement through the ends.

Red lipstick is like an accessory, so keep it simple – no big jewellery, no huge bag

It’s important to consider clothes and make-up together – not to match them, but just to make sure, overall, that the look is balanced. Style-wise, I’m obsessed with leather. I have a pair of leather trousers I wear with a ‘grown-up’ top and heels for evening. During the day, I’ll team jeans with a big sweater stolen from my husband, or a vintage vest top worn with cigarette- cut trousers and a beautiful pair of diamond earrings.

When I use too much make-up I don’t recognise myself

So it’s important when I’m doing other people’s that they feel like themselves, but still have fun. I steer clear of powders, but love a pop of creamy blush. Often it’s all you need to get a pretty glow. With smoky eyes, work the product close to the lash line and don’t overload the lid – you’ll still get that sexy effect without it looking heavy. I also love to press a little glossy colour on to the middle of [bare] lids. It’s a modern gesture that lets you use a stronger or brighter colour than normal. A tip for lashes: dot between lashes with black kohl – you can get away with less mascara, which looks chic.

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