The French have long been revered for their style and beauty. Paris, after all, is the world’s fashion capital. What I personally admire most about French women is how they always pull off an effortless and timeless look—be it strutting down the runway in designer garb or rushing through the streets to grab a baguette and a cup of coffee. It’s the ever-famed Parisian je ne sais quoi—which literally translates to “I don’t know what”—that has made girls like me emulate the fashion, makeup, and attitude of the French.
My first taste of je ne sais quoi came by way of Chanel beauty products, introduced to me by my mom, who was into the world of makeup and but also looking like you weren’t wearing any. Chanel constantly puts out such wearable shades so that if you’re not too keen on wearing brash color, you’ll definitely be able to pull off their take on it. Read on for my can’t-miss products and a step-by-step tutorial of my “Chanel face.”

MY CHANEL LOVE STORY

Chanel’s cult-fave powder blush, Joues de Contraste, marked my first foray into French beauty. You will never experience the dreaded clown-cheek situation with any of the shades. Joues de Contraste comes in two finely-milled formulations—the US version (which is pressed) and the Euro/Asian version (which is baked). The baked versions are usually the ones we get here in the Philippines. They’re sheerer on the skin and kick up more powder than their pressed counterparts—thus, they appear very soft and natural on your cheeks.

My favorite shades are Rose Initial, Fleur de Lotus, Accent (which is a limited-edition formula and no longer available at brick-and-mortar counters!), and Narcisse (another limited edition shade). Find them all here.
Chanel’s eyeshadow quads are some of my most watched-for products during their new collection releases. The color palettes are beautifully curated (see photo above!). Their new baked shadows have really rich pigmentation and blend so smoothly and effortlessly that eyeshadow application doesn’t feel like rocket science to me anymore (that’s what it seemed like before!).
Now, I’ve never, ever fallen out of love with Chanel, but what made fall even harder for the brand are the base products.

I’ve been a fan of their foundation ever since I tried Vitalumiere Aqua—a water-based foundation that instantly makes your skin look so even and flawless without looking like you’ve got foundation on. Since it’s water-based, it’s lightweight. However, those who need oil control might not like this so much as it tends to fade within the day. (Vitalumiere foundation is also available in powder form, the Compact Douceur.)

Their CC Cream is perfect for those with oily skin [Editor’s note: Liz Lanuzo loves it, too]. It goes on matte and wears better throughout the day, if that’s even possible. Once it’s freshly applied, the product might register a bit ghostly, but as the day progresses, it blends in with my skin. It also contains SPF which I always appreciate with base products (except if there’s flash photography, yikes!). The only downside is that the CC Cream only comes in a limited number of shades.
This might surprise you, but with Chanel lipsticks, it’s a love-hate relationship for me. I don’t hit it off well with their satin-finish lipsticks, but I do like the weightlessness of their matte lipsticks, the Rouge Allure Velvet line. My favorite shades are L’Exuberante, a bold and sophisticated pink, and La Raffinée, a dark rose.
One of my indulgences is their Le Vernis Nail Colour—and a guilty indulgence at that. I’ve collected so many (!) that I’ve weaned myself off any other bottles of lacquer for quite some time now. Longevity on the nails differs from shade to shade, but most of the colors glide on smoothly without pooling or bubbling, so two-coat applications are a breeze. I used to hate doing self-manicures, but today I can apply polish on both hands using Le Vernis in five minutes flat!
Ever encountered a pencil eyeliner that doesn’t smudge or fade throughout the day? I never thought I would. But the Stylo Yeux Waterproof Eyeliner in Ebene (a classic black) proved me wrong. This liner stays put the whole day, at least for me! Those with extremely oily lids may beg to differ, but even on my greasiest days, the color smudges so insignificantly I don’t even notice.

HOW TO ACHIEVE THE FRENCH JE NE SAIS QUOI

STEP 1: For everyday use, I apply the CC Cream to my face with my fingers and just blend. For days when I need heavier coverage and more oomph, I use Perfection Lumière, Chanel’s long-wear flawless fluid sunscreen makeup.
STEP 2: Next, I apply the eyeshadows from one of my daily quads—Tissé Vendôme. I pat one of the light shades on my inner and center lids and blend one of the dark shades from the outer corner moving inwards.
STEP 3: I line my upper lash line with the Stylo Yeux Waterproof Eyeliner in Ebene. Just a simple stroke will do.
STEP 4: Yes, I have the Chanel lash curler (#obsessed!), It delivers a really strong curl, so that my lashes don’t get weighed down even when I apply heavy mascaras.
STEP 5: For my cheeks, I apply Joues de Contraste in Accent. This acts as a rosy blush and subtle contour in one.
STEP 6: I swipe on a layer of Rouge Allure Velvet in La Raffinée. When applied lightly, this dark rose serves as an MLBB shade for me.

Voilà! (Hat optional).
And that’s it! Just six simple steps for that French je ne sais quoi, a makeup look that doesn’t scream or shout, but smolders. For a classic, timeless face that doesn’t require too much effort (just the right amount—wink, wink), give this how-to a shot!

Photos by Shari Macainag