The French Lip

Mastering every French girl’s beauty secret in 5 seconds flat 

On September 23rd, we welcomed autumn into our midst. While Nashville’s weather proves the city isn’t yet quite on board with the transition, I have faith. In fact, I have been counting down the days until I could finally swap my colorful summer dresses for my favorite fall frocks – nude hues, versatile blazers, suede boots, leather jackets… I swoon for it all. Aside from my wardrobe – and perhaps most excitingly – I will be swapping my summer “no-makeup” makeup routine for my fall beauty regimen. Score. 

We’re all on the same boat: midterms are approaching, we’re starting to feel the build-up of fatigue from long evenings at the library and long days tailgating. It’s Monday morning and you’re running a little late for class, but you’re in the mood for chic. Have no fear, the French lip is here. 

Nothing’s more fun and bold than colorful lipstick, but there’s a tendency to think it requires a full-face of makeup for support. Wrong! My favorite way to take my look from bleak to chic is to go foundation-free, apply a touch of mascara and Slap. On. The.  Rouge. It’s fun, it’s easy, it’s sexy and it looks good on everyone. The best part? It can take you from bed to class in 5 seconds flat, or from gym to dinner just as fast.  I’m here for it and you should be too. 

I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is yes – you can totally pull it off. If you don’t believe me, you can ask literally every French it-girl ever, from Camille Rowe to Louise Follain to Jeanne Damas.


(and a few French influencers you should definitely be following on the ‘gram)

– Few people can achieve Jeanne Damas’ level of effortless-chic, but this bare makeup look with a bold red lip is a first step.

So it definitely helps that Solange is genetically blessed, but she is literally wearing her nightgown and looks ready for a shoot. How, you ask? ROUGE

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A post shared by Camille Rowe -Bel (@fingermonkey) on

We all wish we were as cool as the one and only fingermonkey. Unlikely to happen, but you should start with a bright, smudged lip and nothing else.

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A post shared by Louise Follain (@louisefollain) on

Louise Follain can be seen rocking this lip 99 percent of the time. Such Jane Birkin vibes. SO fab. 

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When in Annecy…🌻

A post shared by Léa-Elisabeth (@lea.elisabeth.a) on

A testament to the red lip being just as suitable for the day as it is for the night, without looking overdone. Bravo, Léa- Elisabeth!


Guaranteed to elevate your look while still keeping it effortless, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite products and shades (suitable for every budget and skin tone) just in case you don’t already have a red lipstick lying around.

For a daytime look, I like to apply some lipstick on the inside half of my lip and smudge it towards the edges with my finger. This way, you get a less dramatic edge and more toned down color for a more effortless pout. 

For the night, don’t be afraid to up the intensity and opt for a harsher edge. You can apply the lipstick directly or use a lipliner first for more precision. 

Hot Blooded Juicy Candy Apple by Fenty Beauty 

(on sale at Sephora now for $14!)

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Rouge d’Armani (stick format) in 400 the ultimate red lipstick (38$)

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Armani Lip Maestro in 400 – The Red ($38)

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I am obsessed with this product and it is my personal favorite in this list. It goes on so smoothly and softly and the color will last all day and act as a stain as it dries.

Covergirl Outlast All Day in Your Classic Red ($7 on amazon)


I am a makeup snob but have this product in so many shades. it really does last all day, all night, and probably all week if you were to test the theory. You will definitely need a good makeup remover for this one!

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Red Carpet Red ($34)

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Do I even need to convince you to buy anything Charlotte Tilbury? It’s worth it.

Kiko Cosmetics Smart Lip Pencil in 704 ($4)

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A lip pencil is a great option for a more precise application and matte finish, and it’s a more toned down way to achieve this look if a rich lipstick feels intimidating. 

Nars Velvet Matte Lipstick Pencil in Cruella / Dolce Vita

($20 for the duo)

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This pencil is so rich and pigmented, and is a great in-between that gives you that luxe color with an easy application. It’s also super long-wearing and won’t smudge. You can get the duo below at Sephora which is great value and gives you two shades to pick from!

Happy pouting!


By Madeleine Bienvenu, Fashion & Beauty Blogger, Class of 2020