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A French Christmas

Could it get any more swoon-worthy than celebrating Christmas in France?

Is there anyone who knows how to do Christmas quite as spectacularly as the French do?

The food is heavenly, the lights twinkle like stardust, while the traditions make the holiday season feel extra special. Their festive season stretches out for weeks rather than a couple of days. 

What’s not to love about that?  

Although celebrating Christmas in France may not be an option this year, you can bring France right to you! From cooking a French-themed Christmas dinner and decorating your home to some gorgeous French gift ideas, there are so many fun activities to enjoy this season.

Here’s how to do the perfect French Christmas and have a très chic Joyeux Noël (FYI: that’s French for Merry Christmas)!

France at Christmas time

Go to town on the Crèche

Nativity scenes are known as the “crèche” in France and are super popular across the country. 

But you won’t just find the usual suspects like baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph popping up. 

Oh no.

France likes to get the whole community involved in the celebrations, and rightly so! You’ll see a butcher, a baker, and a policeman on display too. And traditionally, these are all made of clay.   

In the month of December, certain towns like Marseilles have delightful Christmas markets (more on this to come) where you can purchase authentic, local versions of these nativity figures.

One of the unusual facts about Christmas in France is that, unlike the rest of the world, the crèche remains on display in homes until February 2nd, 40 days after Christmas

French markets 

Christmas market

Christmas markets (marchés de Noel) are a big part of France’s Christmas tradition. The first one can be traced back to 1570, which was Strasbourg’s Christkindelsmarik

Many of them start in the last weekend of December, running through into the New Year. And each one is slightly different from the next.

At these staple French markets, you can buy beautiful decorations, yummy festive treats, and high-quality artisan products from local producers. Each Christmas market is slightly different from the next, with its own unique charm. At every market, you’ll find beautiful decorations, yummy festive treats, and high-quality artisan products from local producers. 

The array of delicious food is perhaps the highlight and a brilliant way to bring France to you this year.

If you’re looking to bring that beautiful Christmas aroma into your home, start by roasting some chestnuts. This is one of the most popular snacks at French markets as you stroll around the different stalls. 

Delicacies like pâté, foie gras, cheese, and charcuterie are all French favorites, and each region boasts its own specialties. 

One dish that can’t be missed when visiting a French Christmas market is a cheesy tartiflette, which originates from Savoie. It’s a mix of real comforting ingredients: potatoes, reblochon cheese, lardons, onions, and herbs. 

 

Those with a sweet tooth can whip up a batch of homemade waffles smothered in melted chocolate, just like you’ll find at the Arras Christmas market. Other family favorites include beignets (a mini doughnut), macarons d’Amiens (an almond and honey cake), and gâteau battu (a brioche-like cake shaped like a chef’s hat).

Don’t forget to share a toast with a glass of gently spiced mulled wine, or vin chaud as it’s known in France. 

French market at Christmas time

Some of the standout French Christmas markets to head to are:

  • Colmar
  • Strasbourg
  • Amiens
  • Reims
  • Metz
  • Montbeliard
  • Lille
  • Avignon

Check them out, and make a note of the ones you want to head to next winter!

Le Sapin De Noël

Christmas tree

In France, a Christmas tree is called “un sapin de noël” or “un arbre de noël.” 

Strasbourg is said to be the birthplace of the festive tree. A fir tree is chosen because it doesn’t shed its leaves, a symbol of hope and eternal life. This tree was originally covered in red apples and lights and stood in front of Churches as a symbol of Christ. 

Many homes quickly adopted this tradition and would decorate their trees with apples and biscuits. However, one year there was a shortage of apples. To avert the crisis, glass-blowers created decorative versions of them, and that is how the Christmas bauble was invented!  

To create the perfect French-themed tree, decorate using ribbons, candles, and baubles, and place a star at the very top. 

If you want to go one step further, you can place your shoes under the tree (or by the fireplace) on Christmas eve instead of hanging stockings. It’s tradition for French children to do this in the hopes that Père Noël (Santa) will fill them with gifts. 

Spread the love like Père Noël

Christmas letter writing

Did you know that in France, it is illegal for a letter to Santa to go ignored?

That’s right.

In 1962, France passed a law stating that all letters to Père Noël must be responded to with a postcard. Isn’t that beautiful? All those handwritten letters from children are saved from ending up in bins and storage boxes. 

Christmas is traditionally a time of giving and receiving, so how about giving to those less fortunate than you this year? 

You could volunteer to respond to children’s letters to Santa or donate food and gifts to a local shelter. Bake some French Christmas treats and give them out along with blankets and sleeping bags to homeless people in your local community.

This year has been a tough one for all of us, but Christmas is all about family, love, and compassion. Let’s end the year on a high and spread the Christmas cheer.

Enjoy a beautiful log fire

Christmas socks by the fire

Long ago in France, it’s said that a large log would be carried into the home on the eve of Christmas, sprinkled with red wine to make it smell nice (plenty leftover for you to enjoy), then left burning all night long. 

Yule logs made of Cherry Wood are always a firm favorite across French homes. 

There’s something about an open fire that feels so wintery, cozy, and festive. You might even want to make some mulled wine or hot cocoa, slip into some snuggly clothes and relax as the warmth fills your soul. 

The perfect stocking stuffers

Christmas stocking

Whether you’re filling shoes or stockings, it doesn’t matter! What really counts is what’s inside. 

What better way to celebrate Christmas like the French than by stocking up on some French beauty products? 

Our Long-Lasting Matte Lipstick Duo Pack in classic red is the perfect shade to see any woman right through the holiday season. Think Réveillon, Christmas dinner, New Year’s Eve, and everything in between. And if red is too bold for you, there are plenty of tamer shades to choose from. 

No French woman can do without some classic French mascara in her beauty bag. Why not pick up the legendary Cabaret Première Classic French Mascara—promising natural volume and definition in one swoosh. 

How to celebrate Réveillon in style

Christmas dinner spread

In the US, Christmas dinner on December 25th tends to be the pinnacle Christmas meal. But the French like to do things a little differently.

The holiday season’s biggest meal is traditionally eaten around midnight on Christmas Eve, known as le Réveillon. Starters often include delicacies like foie gras, oysters, or escargots. The main course is usually roast goose or turkey. And the meal is completed with the bûche de Noël (Yule Log). There’s always plenty of wine on hand too.

Doesn’t Christmas dinner in France sound amazing?

If you’ve never done this before, why not mix things up this year and prepare a feast for Christmas Eve. It’s a perfect way to get into the French Christmas feels.

Sweet treats to indulge in

Holiday pastry

What I love most about the way the French do Christmas is their celebration of all things sweet.

One of the most noteworthy facts about Christmas in France is their tradition (in some regions) of eating a grand total of 13 different desserts! 

Yes. You read that right. 

Here are a few of the standout sweet treats to try


Chocolate Bûche de Noël (Yule Log) Cake

A French pastry chef invented this in the late 1800s. Traditionally, it’s a Genoise sponge layered with buttercream and shaped into a log. It’s then topped with some beautiful decorations like meringue mushrooms or even a fresh cutting of holly. 


Classic French Marrons Glacés (Candied Chestnuts)

These are a popular holiday treat in France and will fill your home with a deliciously sweet aroma. They take a few days to prepare, but they're definitely worth it.


Chocolat Chaud

This is hot chocolate, but it's not just any hot chocolate. This is probably the most decadent hot chocolate you’ll ever drink! Made with melted chocolate, warm milk, topped with whipped cream, and maybe some marshmallows for extra fun—the perfect companion to an open fire. 


Celebrate the Fête des Rois

Fête des Rois

Fête des Rois (known as Epiphany in the US) is celebrated on January 6th. This marks the official end to Christmas in France.

Baking and eating a galette des rois (king cake) is a tradition. This is a delicious flaky pastry filled with frangipane (almond cream). Hidden inside the pastry is a fève (a small baby figurine). Whoever is lucky enough to get the piece with the fève becomes the King or Queen for the day.

This is such a popular tradition that most French bakeries sell the cakes with a paper crown.   

And why not?

We are all Queens in our own way. Let’s celebrate that more this year!

And that is how to do Christmas like the French do. Enjoy weaving a bit of French wonder and magic into your holiday season.  

Wishing you all a beautiful French Christmas, wherever in the world you’re celebrating this year.


Joyeux Noël!

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How to Get the Perfect French Girl Hairstyles
March 16, 2021
How to Get the Perfect French Girl Hairstyles

French women are known for their effortless yet sophisticated look. French girl style is all about looking like you basically "woke up like this,"  perhaps with just a touch more polish. It’s never too much or too little — it’s always perfect.  The same philosophy applies to French hairstyles. They should never be too complex or intricate. Instead, the focus should be on having a flattering haircut styled to honor your natural hair texture and to frame your beautiful features.   If you’d like to give French girl hair a try, we’ve got some ideas to inspire you. We’ve selected our four favorite ladies’ hairstyles for 2021, and we’ll explain how you can achieve them, along with some matching makeup tips.  French bob cut   A bob cut is one of the most popular French haircuts right now! Vogue called it the biggest hair trend of 2020, and we can assure you that it’s going strong well into 2021. While every bob is tres chic, consider adding bangs to your look to truly embody that French girl style.  To get the bob cut   The secret to getting a bob to work for you is to make sure that it hits your features just right. The eye will be drawn to the spot where the bob ends or where the fringe falls, so consider which features you’d like to emphasize with the length and layering.   You can try to cut your hair on your own, but we’d recommend going to a professional hairdresser. A great hairdresser will take the time to chat with you and help you figure out which lengths will flatter your face shape the best.  Matching your makeup to a French bob If it’s your first time going short, you may want to put a little extra effort into making sure your makeup is visible. We’re partial to pairing this popular French haircut with a vibrant red lip, using our Matte Constance Lipstick in Classic Red.  Wavy French girl hairstyle    You don’t have to go short to achieve amazing French girl hair. Soft waves and natural-looking texture are just as chic, and they work beautifully on longer bobs, shoulder-length hair, and even ultra-long tresses. While a natural wave looks totally effortless, it does take a little bit of technique.  To get soft waves  If you’re naturally blessed with wavy or curly hair, the curly girl method is ideal because it skips the damage of heat styling and brings the very best shape out of your tresses.  If your hair is naturally straight, you’ll have to resort to just a bit of heat styling. First, spray your hair with a texturizing salt spray, and blow dry it if needed. Then, use a large-sized curling iron to create alternating curls in your hair, focusing only on the bottom half of each strand. Finally, once your entire head is curly, use your fingers to gently loosen up the curls to turn them into gorgeous waves.  Tie it together with makeup  The beautiful thing about softly textured waves is that they match any makeup look, including barely-there makeup. The key is to keep the eyes nicely framed by your brows, so they don’t disappear behind the mane of hair. All you need to do is lightly fill them in with the Brow Arcade pencil and then brush them up into a groomed look.  Effortless messy bun While it’s important to have a signature look, French girl style is also about knowing when to change things up. Before dates or nights out, having a go-to effortless, yet sophisticated, bun really comes in handy.   Creating a simple bun The more effortless and messy you want your bun to look, the more bobby pins you’ll need, so make sure to have plenty on hand. You’ll also need strong, tight hair elastics. Start with your hair already a little wavy, and consider using a little dry shampoo to add some grit.  First, pull your hair into a ponytail, leaving a few loose strands at the front to frame your face Next, twist your ponytail, and then wrap it around the elastic so it forms a donut-shaped bun.  Use bobby pins to secure the base of the bun.  Then, gently pull on the bun with both hands to slightly expand it and give it a more voluminous look. If any strands come loose, you can tuck them under the bun and then pin them into place. It’s super easy to create, but the results are impressive.  Match it with soft-glam makeup You’ve already gone through the effort of pulling and pinning your hair up into a bun, so finish off your look with a careful swipe of liquid liner to make your eyes gleam, and then a healthy dose of our Provocation volumizing mascara.   Flirty ponytail French girl hairstyles can lean into a playful, feminine vibe as long as they retain their chic simplicity. A hairstyle with a low-ponytail does the trick, and it’s great for days when you want your hair out of your face. Tying it off with a scarf gives rustic charm and a bit of color to the look!   Styling the perfect ponytail You can rock a sleek ponytail if you like, but we’re partial to this voluminous style. You can start with air-dried hair or go all out and use a hair curler to achieve loose waves. If your hair is feeling a little flat, section it at the crown, and tease a little bit to add some volume.  Then, pull your hair back into a low, loose ponytail. Leave a few loose strands around your face, and give them a quick curl with a curling iron. Finally, pick a colorful scarf, and tie it around the base of the ponytail!  Playful makeup to match This kind of look pairs best with a fresh face. We suggest giving your pout a sheen; so first, use our volumizing Polynesie Francaise gloss in Bora Bora, and then add a sheer wash of pink blush over the cheeks.  Finishing in style  Which of these French hairstyles will you try in 2021? From changing things up with a short bob to embracing length and texture, French girl haircuts and styles give easy options that’ll keep you feeling chic and sexy! 

6 Pro Tips for Simplistic Makeup
March 09, 2021
6 Pro Tips for Simplistic Makeup

When it comes to a simple makeup look that will work for your busy everyday life, no one does it quite like the French. The French look is all about classic beauty, which appears to be effortless and chic all at the same time.  A staple of the French look is minimalist makeup. For the French woman, less truly is more — they choose to enhance their natural features and embrace their imperfections rather than painting on a new face with excessive contouring.  Following the French philosophy and embracing a minimalist makeup routine leaves you with more time to enjoy life.    Read on for seven tips on how to find an everyday makeup routine that you can stick to.  1. Declutter  It’s safe to say that most women have more makeup than they need or even use. A cluttered vanity and makeup bag quietly eat your time as they cause you to search for the item you need or pause and think about what shade to use that day. Unless makeup is your profession, there is no need for a makeup arsenal fully stocked with every shade.  Decluttering your makeup bag will make your chic yet simple makeup look easier to achieve on a daily basis and will save you time each day.  If you find that you don’t need a full coverage foundation, switching to a tinted moisturizer or BB cream can simplify your makeup routine because it does double duty by acting as a moisturizer and providing light coverage.  Paring down your makeup arsenal can make applying your makeup less daunting, and you will find yourself becoming a master at using the cosmetics you keep.  So, where to start when you first decide to declutter? Following a few simple guidelines will get you set in the right direction. The first step to decluttering is an essential one: carefully check each product’s expiration date and dispose of anything that is past its expiration.  You should also throw out anything where the texture, consistency, or smell is off — old makeup is a notorious breeding ground for bacteria that can damage your skin and cause breakouts. Organizing Once you have disposed of your expired makeup, you can categorize everything and tackle each category separately.  Pick out the items you regularly use as well as the items that you love so much you can’t bear to get rid of — these items can go back into your makeup bag or drawer. Any remaining makeup can be given away or tossed.  2. Prep your skin To achieve the effortless French look, you must prep your skin! Prepping your skin will provide you with a clean palette and smooth complexion, which is a must for a natural look. A smooth complexion will allow you to use fewer cosmetics, eliminating the risk of a caked look.  Cleansing and moisturizing are the two most essential steps to any skincare routine. By taking the time to care for your skin with intentional, natural treatments, you’ll achieve a complexion and glow that may not need any help from foundation at all! Daily cleansing helps rid your face of dirt, oils, and other impurities and sets your skin up for success. Regular facial moisturizing gives your skin that extra boost it needs and can help bring a dewy and more youthful look.  3. Use lighting to your advantage When applying your makeup, it is best to use natural light. We’ve all been there — you find yourself in a poorly lit room or a bathroom with yellowish light, and you really take your time getting ready, only to find when you step outside that you have unblended patches, causing you to feel like a clown.  The best way to avoid this cringe-worthy scenario is to apply your makeup in natural lighting.  Both yellow and fluorescent lighting tend to make you look pale, which often results in the application of too much bronzer or blush. Lights with blue, green, or pink hues are also common culprits in makeup mishaps.  Natural light alternatives While a large, naturally lit bathroom or vanity table is ideal, that is not always possible. A good alternative to true natural light is “natural” white light bulbs placed on each side of your mirror to ensure that your face is evenly lit. The placement of lighting is nearly as important as the color of the bulbs. When investing in vanity lights, it is important to place lights on each side of the mirror and not just above. Lighting only above the mirror may save space but will cast shadows on your face and make it more difficult to apply your makeup evenly.  For best results, lights should be installed at a full 270° around your mirror – this will not only yield better results with your makeup, but you will also feel more glamorous, giving you a confidence boost that will follow you out the door! 4. Use the correct tools for the job It’s always so tempting to take shortcuts in life that may not provide the best outcome. This is especially true when it comes to makeup. Using the wrong tools to apply your makeup is like trying to file your taxes on your phone; it may get the job done but will leave you frustrated and with lackluster results.  For example, if you rely solely on your fingers to apply and blend your cosmetics, you will end up with uneven patches rather than achieving a finished and put-together look.  While it is true that you can go overboard on makeup brushes, they do have their place in your collection, and if you have not invested in a set of brushes, it may be time to do so. If you already have a brush set, make sure to take the time and get acquainted with it – learn each brush’s purpose and how to use it properly. If you use the wrong brush for the job, it won’t give you the result you are looking for. 5. Choose one star of the show  For an easy natural makeup look, choose one feature to emphasize with your makeup. The best way to highlight one element is to stick with your favorite facial feature. The most obvious choices are your eyes or lips.  Highlight your eyes To emphasize your eyes, do not go over the top with colored shadows and liners — stick to a nude or neutral shadow with a slight shimmer, and go with some simple eyeliner that can be smudged for a night-out look.  Most women tend to pass by the brown eyeliner in favor of black, but brown eyeliner is an excellent choice for a simple makeup look as it looks great on most skin tones and blends better with your lash line, giving the illusion of longer lashes.  Your lashes are equally important if you want your eyes to pop. Just a light coat of quality mascara, and you’re ready to go! When choosing mascara, don’t be afraid to go with brown over the traditional black. Brown mascara will provide a more natural look as it blends better with your lashes. Highlight your lips Lips are most easily emphasized by the use of a bold lip color, but it requires a little more than a quick swipe of your favorite shade.  To make your lips stand out, you should always start with a sharp line drawn with a lip pencil — just inside your natural lip line for a daytime look and just outside your lip line for an evening look.  Once you have your lips defined, you can apply and blend your favorite shade of lipstick, lip gloss, or even tinted lip balm! For some extra definition around your lips, you can use a little concealer or foundation powder to make your lip color appear bolder.  If you covet the confident red-lipped look of the French, don’t be afraid to try it out for yourself! There is no need to feel self-conscious about the color of your teeth; if you choose a red lipstick with a blue undertone, it can help cancel out any yellowness on your teeth. Whichever feature you choose to make the star of your face, it’s important that everything else be minimal. When choosing a blush color, pick one that most closely matches your face's natural flush after exercise.  If you choose to emphasize your eyes, go with a more natural look for your lips by using a nude lipstick or a color that is two shades darker than your natural lips. You should also avoid any temptation to overdo your eyebrows — leave them naturally full as it will give your eyes a more open look without any added makeup. 6. Don’t overdo it If you are aiming for a simple and natural makeup look, the biggest mistake you can make is being too heavy-handed. Too much foundation, blush, or even lipstick and eyeliner can make you look far from natural.  Applying too much foundation can also suck the moisture out of your face, leaving you with a cakey appearance, or worse yet, the appearance of crepe paper skin!  If you find yourself in a situation when you have applied too much foundation, first try blending again, and if that does not correct it, try wetting a beauty sponge and dabbing it on your face to remove some of the excess.  If you feel comfortable in your own skin, don’t be afraid to skip the foundation altogether or go with a BB cream or tinted moisturizer instead. You can also choose to use foundation in trouble areas only — be sure to thoroughly blend the edges if you go this route. When you sit down to do your makeup for the day, the most important thing to remember is that your makeup should not be used as a mask to cover yourself up. It should be about highlighting your individuality and uniqueness — an expression of yourself. A natural makeup look is timeless. Stick to neutral colors; with simple eyeliner and a neutral color palette, you cannot go wrong! However you choose to apply your makeup, take a step back, and look at yourself. You are beautiful as you are. Be confident! Believe in your own magic and beauty, and the rest of the world will too.

How to Look Great on Zoom Calls
February 26, 2021
How to Look Great on Zoom Calls

These days, more of us around the world are using technology to speak with friends, loved ones, and colleagues than ever. Life and communication look different, and so do we. While we’re used to styling ourselves to look gorgeous in person, this doesn’t always transfer through a digital screen. Looking nice on camera is a different skill set, and it’s no longer limited to Hollywood glamour or French fashion shows. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of tips and tricks that will help you learn how to look great on zoom calls. Whether you’re curling up on your sofa for a remote trivia night with friends or armed with coffee for an early-morning work meeting, these video call makeup tips will help you look great and feel confident. Choose the Right Filming Location As the best videographers would tell you, lighting is everything. Sit in front of a window and allow the sun’s rays to light up your features. The best lighting for Zoom calls illuminates your face from the front, not from overhead or behind. Artificial lighting can appear yellow on a screen, which can mess with the way you appear through the lens. If you’re taking a call at night or otherwise don’t have access to natural lighting, try placing a white-toned light in front of you to get a similar effect. Turn off any rear or overhead lights, then check to see if the lighting looks natural on-screen and that you can easily be seen without strange shadows or highlights. You might have to adjust other lights in the room by turning them on and off until you get the desired effect.  Once you’ve chosen the right location, simplify your background so that fellow video call attendees can focus on your face, not the overcrowded shelving or dirty laundry behind you. Adjust Your Camera Angle Next, adjust your camera angle so that you can look better on video. You should be able to look comfortably forward into your camera, not up or down. A camera from below, where most laptops, tabletops, and even our phones are naturally positioned, can distort your features and cause your face to look unnatural. The people you’re speaking with may end up with a view of your nostrils rather than being able to make eye contact. Being able to look straight into the camera will also help with your posture so that you don’t have a sore neck or back halfway through your call. Use regular household items such as books stacked under your device to get a flattering angle. Keep it steady so that it doesn’t topple over, especially if you have children or pets in the home that may bump the table or stand you’re using.  Have Confidence The French know that the first step to success is to have confidence. When you feel your best, your natural beauty shimmers through. Dress from head to toe, even if nobody can see your lower half. Or, have some fun and pair pajama bottoms with your best blouse. The relaxation and happiness you feel when you’re comfortable in your own skin are contagious, so focus on feeling good, and the rest will follow. Conceal Discoloration Concealing discoloration, such as eye bags and red spots, goes a long way on camera, which can accentuate our imperfections. Dab on some concealer to hide any blemishes. If needed, you can also use a camera filter to even out your skin tone. Choose Vibrant Colors You can cause makeup to look better on video calls by selecting brighter, bolder colors than you would when meeting up in person. A vibrant blush and lipstick combo will make you look more lively and less flushed out, as can sometimes happen in a video call. Our Matte Constance Duo Pack comes with two stunning lipstick shades for you to try. Focus on Your Eyes Focus on your eyes while formulating your makeup look to draw attention to them on camera. Cover dark circles and apply Cabaret Premiere mascara for beautiful, full lashes. Pair this with a neutral eye shadow to complement your vibrant lipstick and blush selection, and voila!  Keep it Simple Don’t feel that you have to go overboard on applying your makeup to look cute on your Zoom call. A little can go a long way, and it’s alright to keep it simple. Focus on accentuating one or two features, and don’t be afraid to have some fun trying new techniques or products. Relax, be yourself, and don’t take things too seriously. Preview Before Going Live Whether you’re using Zoom, Facetime, Skype, or even just taking a photo, you’ll likely notice that your face looks much different than it does in the mirror. The lens type, the distance between you and the camera, and the angle can all distort your image. This is why it’s important to preview before you go live so that you have an idea of what others will see. Fix any lighting, makeup, or angle issues ahead of time so that when you take the call, everything goes smoothly and you aren’t stressed about the lipstick on your teeth or that plate you forgot to put away in the background.   Enjoy Your Meeting You're all set to join any video call with confidence! When it comes time to log on, relax because you've thoroughly prepared for this. You go girl!