Makeup and Coming — A Guide to Indy French Makeup Brands

Makeup: the powerful tool (some say sent by Jesus H. Christ Himself to make you more ‘you’,) that allows for dreamy transformations and creativity to flow. It makes us feel pretty (or just less fug, depending on where you start. #sorrynotsorry)

As Paris Exudes a Magical Charm™ so too does la Maquillage — makeup lies to you that it can turn you into pretty much whomever and whatever you want to be. YET! we are complicit, we keep on buying. (Unless you are one of those full-on, no-makeup, no shaving chicks. Good for you bae, but we remain way too insecure/way too much in the thrall of Face Dress-up…Maybe in the next lifetime. Anyway, see you at the riot.)

Note, whoever is in charge of programming the human species through Russian bot-influenced social media, can you please lay off the Kardashian-face? Kanye is scaring us by not only become a Nazi but also rebooting his wives in different versions. The look is overwarmed, way too uniform, and we can’t afford getting our cheek fat siphoned out and repurposed as ass anyway. (Or can we?)

As you are acquainted with omnipresent, big beauty brands — Lancôme, Chanel,  or Dior et al,  take note that the truly 2.0 French brands may not yet be on your radar. (You’re welcome…) Yes, dewy, natural, skin and a rouge lip still remain the centerpoint of many Parisienne chicks’ visual identity in 2024. 

To achieve the less-is-more Charlotte Gainesbourg look — the look we call ‘faux-effortless’ — we take a less-is-more approach, but, with high-quality makeup (and skincare, which does the heavy lifting here…)

So whether you are going for the Anglo-type, strong-makeup look (those eyebrows, yo) or the Understated French Face (effortless but not really) Paris has for you some unique, off-the-radar brands that are bound to make you (not once, not ever) say oh la la.  (Because we actually don’t — oh la la is the equivalent of  ‘of, shit.’ ) Now you know…

On-y-va, bébé…

These are the indy French makeup brands we love…

 

 

Les Filles en Rouje 

A glam­orous sis­ter to the fash­ion line, Rou­je beau­ty is all about a stand-out lip and soft blush. Bring­ing out a flir­ty side, Rou­je focus­es on the seduc­tion of make­up and how it mar­ries with your out­fit to cre­ate a com­plete look. In typ­i­cal relaxed Rou­je style, their make­up is best applied with fin­gers to buff and blend nat­u­ral­ly. A vis­it to the beau­ty stu­dio on Rue Bachau­mont is sure to offer a sero­tonin boost, ide­al­ly sit­u­at­ed between the acces­sories and fash­ion collections. 

ADDRESS: 11 Bis Rue Bachau­mont (2nd arr.)

PRICE: €€

CONTACT: +33 1 88 33 60 33

INSTAGRAM: @rouje

Violette

Cre­ative direc­tor of Guer­lain, Vio­lette decid­ed to use her 17-year-exper­tise in make­up to cre­ate a brand that cel­e­brates dif­fer­ences. Cru­el­ty-free and easy to use, Vio­lette sup­plies lux­u­ri­ous prod­ucts that are acces­si­ble to all, and in wide ranges of col­or­ways too. A love let­ter to both her­self, her mus­es and Violette’s cus­tomers, she uses make­up to enhance what makes every­one unique­ly and beau­ti­ful­ly them­selves. Parisian women tend to go for a vel­vet base, with a fresh, youth­ful fin­ish. To help pull this off, try the ‘Bisou Blush’, a creamy stick of mar­bled rouge and rose. Give your cheeks a kiss of col­or, the French way. 

Keep your eyes peeled for select Vio­lette prod­ucts in main phar­ma­cies, while the full col­lec­tion can be found at Oh My Cream! stores across Paris.

ADDRESS: 78 Rue Mont­martre / 5 Rue du Marché Saint-Hon­oré / 48 Rue des Francs Bour­geois / 104 Rue du Bac / 40 Rue de Charonne / 90 R. des Mar­tys / 17 Rue Vavin

PRICE: €€ — €€€

CONTACT: avecamour@violettefr.com 

INSTAGRAM: @violette_fr

 

La Bouche Rouge 

Call­ing all sus­tain­able beau­ty lovers. Trans­lat­ing to ‘red lips’, La Bouche Rouge offers clean beau­ty with sleek, reusable pack­ag­ing. Lux­u­ri­ous leather lip­stick cas­es are made from recy­cled mate­ri­als and designed to be kept and refilled, mak­ing what’s on the out­side just as good as what’s on the inside. Creamy con­sis­ten­cy of 38 shades are made from nat­ur­al ingre­di­ents, ready for lip-smack­ing and pout­ing your way through the day. Because you just can’t go wrong with a clas­sic red lip. 

ADDRESS:

La Samar­i­taine Espace Beauté – 9 Rue de la Mon­naie (1st arr.)

Nose – 20 Rue Bachau­mont (2nd arr.)

La Bon Marché L’Atelier Maquil­lage – 24 Rue de Sevres (7th arr.)

The Heal­ing House of Muse & Hero­ine – 10 Rue Char­lot (3rd arr.) 

Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées – 60 Avenue des Champs-Élysées (8th arr.)

PRICE: €€€

CONTACT: contact@laboucherougeparis.com

INSTAGRAM: @labouch­er­ougeparis

 

 

Yves Rocher

Beau­ty pio­neer Yves Rocher is an authen­tic brand with active, nat­ur­al ingre­di­ents from its botan­i­cal gar­den in Brit­tany. ‘Jardin Botanique Yves Rocher de la Gacil­ly’ offers a won­der­ful haven for plants and is open to the pub­lic. Mon­sieur Yves Rocher found­ed the com­pa­ny in 1965, giv­ing it a per­son­al touch that spreads far beyond Paris. Veg­etable-infused cos­met­ics offer gen­tle solu­tions for every­day use. Between you and me, you can’t get much bet­ter val­ue either. 

ADDRESS: 104 Rue de Riv­o­li (1st arr.)

PRICE:

CONTACT: +33 1 40 28 41 67

INSTAGRAM: @yves­rocher­fr

Irisé Paris

Irisé is like the big sis­ter you nev­er had, offer­ing tips and tricks, telling you what looks good and what doesn’t, and help­ing you look and feel your best. Cre­ators of the ‘mood make up’, Irisé offer a new per­son­al­ized form of beau­ty whilst cater­ing for what­ev­er event you have com­ing your way. Com­pose your own mood box, a zero-waste make­up palette that allows you to for­mu­late your ide­al colours and prod­ucts. Choose from foun­da­tion, blush or eye­shad­ows, and order refills when fin­ished. Pret­ty nifty and wal­let-friend­ly too. 

Not sure where to start? Vis­it them in store for a make­up class. 

ADDRESS: 71 Rue Galande (5th arr.)

PRICE:

CONTACT: +33 1 89 33 19 34

INSTAGRAM: @iriseparis

Make-up Atelier Paris 

Tak­ing on a more pro­fes­sion­al approach to make­up, this brand offers long-last­ing prod­ucts that were devel­oped for the elite. Helen Quille cre­at­ed Make-up Ate­lier to pro­vide exten­sive ranges for all, sport­ing over 50 shades of foun­da­tions. A sci­en­tif­ic meets beau­ty per­spec­tive, all for­mu­las are con­sis­tent­ly rein­vent­ed with new col­ors and tex­tures to assure their func­tion­al­i­ty and use. Even if you’re not a pro­fes­sion­al, you’re guar­an­teed qual­i­ty appli­ca­tion with these prod­ucts. You’ll be a mas­ter of make­up before you know it. 

ADDRESS: 19 rue de la Pierre Lev­ée (11th arr.)

PRICE:

CONTACT: +33 1 48 05 16 40

INSTAGRAM: @makeupatelierparisofficial

Avril

Chan­nelling Parisian beau­ty through-and-through, the no-non­sense prod­ucts of Avril do exact­ly what they say on the label. If you’re any­thing like me, the aes­thet­ic nature of a store real­ly influ­ences an over­all take on the brand – unapolo­get­i­cal­ly so. With neat­ly orga­nized rows of pas­tel-coor­di­nat­ed tubes and creams, I can con­firm they look just as pret­ty on the shelves as they do on our faces. Less is more when it comes to Avril, and the same goes for their bio for­mu­las. I also hear the mas­cara works wonders. 

ADDRESS: 56 Rue Saint-Antoine (4th arr.) / 26 Rue Mont­martre (1st arr.)

PRICE:

CONTACT: +33 9 83 87 93 87

INSTAGRAM: @avrilcosmetiques

T.LeClerc

Renowned phar­ma­cist Thophile LeClerc cre­at­ed his first store in 1881 near the Place de la Madeleine. A pio­neer of soft tex­tures cre­at­ed using rice pow­der, the top-rat­ed loose and pressed pow­ders are best sell­ers. The secret lies with­in the rice starch which absorbs excess oil. Veg­an ingre­di­ents and ele­gant sil­ver tins make T.LeClerc an attrac­tive brand. With the intro­duc­tion of creamy lip­sticks and a flo­ral sig­na­ture per­fume, we’re eager to see what comes next. 

T.LeClerc prod­ucts can be found in lead­ing phar­ma­cists dot­ted around the centre. 

ADDRESS:10 Rue Vignon (9th arr.)

PRICE: €€

CONTACT: 01 47 42 04 59

INSTAGRAM: @t.leclercparis

Talika

Lash­es are a cru­cial part of a French woman’s beau­ty regime. For strong, nat­ur­al lash­es that don’t look real, head to Tali­ka who under­stand look­ing good on the out­side starts on the inside. Their already impres­sive range of skin­care prod­ucts is loved by celebri­ties so it’s no sur­prise that the 2‑in‑1 ‘Lipocils mas­cara’ is a huge suc­cess. Achiev­ing health­i­er and longer lash­es with every use, Tali­ka have cre­at­ed an effi­cient beau­ty-meets-skin­care prod­uct that’s hard to beat. We’re super excit­ed to see what else Tali­ka has in store. Imag­ine if all of our favourite make­up prod­ucts had deep­er ben­e­fits with long-last­ing results. Sold!

ADDRESS:

Sepho­ra Stores — 66 Av. Des Champs-Élysées (8th arr.)

PRICE: €€

CONTACT: +33 1 53 93 89 25

INSTAGRAM: @talikacosmetics

1944 Paris

A fam­i­ly affair, this inde­pen­dent make­up line was cre­at­ed by the Delrieu’s in 2017. Their aim? To make women feel beau­ti­ful and free. 1944 was a year of lib­er­a­tion in Paris, as women obtained the right to vote in France. This car­ries onto the brand today, cre­at­ing prod­ucts that women can feel pow­er­ful and assertive wear­ing. Clean, sim­ple pack­ag­ing makes up the brand, with a mod­ern feel that is uncom­pli­cat­ed and effec­tive. A respon­si­ble brand, all prod­ucts are veg­an and eco-friend­ly. Get your hands on 1944 Paris’s sig­na­ture item ‘La Touche Lumiere’ – a soft high­lighter pen in shades rang­ing from cham­pagne to a peachy rose.  Flee­ing Nazis/ hunky Allied Sol­diers not included.

ADDRESS: 24 Rue de Sevres (7th arr.)

PRICE: €€

CONTACT: 01 41 68 10 00

INSTAGRAM: @1944paris

By Terry

By Ter­ry pro­duces skin­care-infused make­up that is kind and sim­ple with lux­u­ri­ous ingre­di­ents. The star-stud­ded brand is award-win­ning, known to pro­vide a knock-out glow with its per­fect­ing skin col­lec­tion. With a wide range of prod­ucts, the ‘Ter­ry­bly Den­siliss Con­ceal­er’ is a cult-favourite, along with the ‘Ombre Black­star’ – an illu­mi­nat­ing eye shad­ow pen­cil that blends effortlessly. 

ADDRESS:21 Galerie Véro-Dodat (1st arr.)

PRICE: €€€

CONTACT: +33 1 44 76 00 76

INSTAGRAM: @byter­ry­of­fi­cial

Merci Handy

Mak­ing ordi­nary prod­ucts extra­or­di­nary, clean make­up brand Mer­ci Handy uses vibrant pack­ag­ing and quirky spin-offs to enhance every­day prod­ucts. Col­or­ful and play­ful using rain­bow extracts, Louis Mar­ty and Roland Jais Nielsen found­ed the brand in 2014. You may recog­nise Mer­ci Handy from its viral mini hand gels on Tik­tok which sky rock­et­ed dur­ing the pan­dem­ic when every­one was a clean freak. Rack­ing up an impres­sive 350,000 fol­low­ers, Mer­ci Handy is influ­enc­ing many across the globe. 

It’s true that a French woman will nev­er leave the house with­out stash­ing a lip gloss in her purse. Dry lips are nev­er a good look. The ‘Lip Glow Heroes Set’ includes a nour­ish­ing balm and gloss to pro­tect your lips while mak­ing them shine all day long. As it says in the name, you’ll want to thank this brand for offer­ing the most con­ve­nient beau­ty prod­ucts for every occa­sion. Mer­ci, très handy! 

ADDRESS: 47 bis Rue des Vinaigri­ers (10th arr.)

PRICE:

CONTACT: +33 1 76 36 10 83

INSTAGRAM: @mer­ci­handy

 

 

MiiN Korean Cosmetics 

Tucked away in the uber-cool dis­trict of Le Marais, MiiN cos­met­ics brings the very best of K‑Beauty to Paris. Lilin Yang found­ed MiiN due to a lack of Kore­an brands in Europe. Liv­ing in Spain, she would trav­el back to Asia and return with a suit­case filled with prod­ucts. Now, MiiN stores rep­re­sent that suit­case, stock­ing up the skin­care and make­up col­lec­tions of Parisians. Made with organ­ic, nat­ur­al ingre­di­ents, K‑beauty has low risks of irri­ta­tion, ide­al for those dream­ing of clean, soft skin with loads of hydra­tion. For mas­ter­ing an unbeat­able base, check out cush­ion foun­da­tion, the lat­est trend in South Korea. Sim­i­lar to a BB cream in for­mu­la, but with a con­ve­nient sponge for appli­ca­tion on the go. 

Don’t leave with­out peep­ing MiiN’s exten­sive col­lec­tion of skin­care prod­ucts, made with unique ingre­di­ents like snail slime (you’ll just have to trust us on this one), aloe vera and acti­vat­ed charcoal. 

ADDRESS: 7 Rue Saint-Mar­tin (4th arr.)

PRICE: €€

CONTACT: +33 1 42 77 23 68

INSTAGRAM: @miin­cos­met­ics­fr

 

 

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