May 31, 2017 Makeup

The French-Inspired Anti-Foundation Everyone Will Own This Spring

by Lisa Patulny

Charlotte Gainsbourg is my idea of "French girl" royalty. The musician and actress embodies that hard-to-nail insouciant approach to beauty so typical of Parisian style stars. Cool, carefree, and not overly occupied with perfecting either her hair or makeup, Gainsbourg has an authenticity I genuinely aspire to. (And I'm not alone—she's had hundreds of thousands of fans since her career began at age 12.) All this to say, it's no surprise the legendary François Nars tapped the British-French icon for his latest brand collaboration. 

Introducing: Charlotte Gainsbourg for Nars. The limited-edition makeup collection is a tight edit of wannabe French girl must-haves. Expect glowy lip tints, smudgy kohl pencils and multipurpose colours that work for the whole face. Pick of the bunch, though, is the range's Hydrating Glow Tint ($52). A gel-cream base/tinted moisturiser hybrid, it's an anti-foundation of sorts in that it delivers sheer coverage and a hint of luminosity. If you want to look "done", it's probably not for you. But if you're after a product that magics skin into a better looking (but still natural) version of itself, you've found it.

To celebrate what can only be described as one of the most covetable makeup partnerships in living memory, we stole a few minutes with Gainsbourg to chat everything from her all-time favourite beauty products (featuring a French pharmacy moisturiser that reminds her of mum Jane Birkin), to exactly how the Nars collaboration went down.

Keep scrolling to read the full interview.


Jesse Dittmar for The Washington Post

Byrdie Australia: Which are your all-time favourite beauty products?

Charlotte Gainsbourg: Smith’s Rosebud Salve Lip Balm: It’s a quick and easy way to give your lips a touch of colour, I don’t leave the house without it; Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè: I'm becoming more and more attached and sentimental to it—it’s so closely tied to my mother. It’s as if I always have a little piece of her in my bag; Avene Thermal Spring Water: French pharmacy products are the best, and they are the ones I prefer. This is very hydrating and soothing on my sensitive skin.

B: Walk us through your morning skincare routine.

CG: I don’t really have a set skincare routine. I think the main thing I've practiced all these years is to always wash and clean your skin. That’s really the most important thing.

B: What’s your personal approach to makeup?

CG: I do wear makeup, but it’s mainly to camouflage imperfections, blemishes or any dark spots I want to hide. It’s always light and natural, never too much. My go-to’s are concealer, and something to enhance my lips or cheeks.

B: What’s one beauty product you think every woman should own?

CG: I would say—and I know it’s not a product—honesty. To me when you can read honesty through beauty, that is sort of an important trait of character. It is what translates to beauty for me.

B: Which beauty trend/item will you never wear?

CG: Probably really bold or loud lipstick. It does not suit me.

B: What was the inspiration behind your collection with Nars?

CG: First, it was a question of evaluating what I wished for and what François was expecting. He made me feel so comfortable—I could do anything I wanted, as long as it came from me, and was something personal. That's what I did. I created this collection around my exact beauty needs.

B: What was your favourite part of the process?

CG: The whole process was very collaborative with François and his team. It was exciting to see how everything evolved from ideas to actual production. The names came up halfway through the project and I was so happy to be able to choose them all. In the end, the names drew from my past, memories from London and Paris, as well as emotional references. To be able to see the final product now, makes me very proud. It’s magical.

B: What’s one thing from the Nars collection you wear every day?

CG: My favourites change constantly. Right now, I’m using The Multiple Tint ($57) and the Hydrating Glow Tint ($52) quite a bit.

B: What’s your best energy-boosting trick?

CG: My children. [laughs]

B: Do you have a secret for living a busy life but still getting enough sleep?

CG: No secrets really! By now, I have just learned to make it work.