Looking for high-quality French makeup to help you achieve your desired look? This post will show you the best French makeup brands that you’ll fall in love with.
France is known as much for its cosmetics as its fashion, so it’s not surprising that French women know how to look their best from head to toe.
Whether it is haute couture or makeup and skincare, everything is top-notch and high quality. So naturally, some of the world’s best beauty brands are French.
However, what you should know is that French girl makeup doesn’t go over the top! It’s always minimal, well put together, and above all classy.
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If you want to achieve the French girl look or even create your own French-inspired look, this post will give you the 21 best French makeup brands that will help you attain your desired look.
Some of these brands have been around for years or decades, while others might be new kids on the block.
Regardless of how much time they’ve been in this business, they each have products to offer to make sure you look your best — be it a minimal, intermediate, or full-glam look.
But rest assured, beauty experts and makeup artists (MUAs) swear by these products and brands.
Best French Makeup Brands
These French makeup brands will help you nail your makeup look instantly. Whether you want a flawless base, glowing cheeks, smokey eyes, or pout-perfect lips, these affordable and luxury French cosmetic brands have what you need.
Also, I’ve categorized these French cosmetics into luxury and affordable for your convenience while browsing.
Luxury French Makeup Brands
When perfumer Armand Petitjean decided to get into makeup and skincare, Lancôme was born in 1935, making it one of the oldest French cosmetic brands.
They started off with just perfumes in their lineup, but over time, they added skincare and makeup, and became one of the most well-known luxury beauty companies.
Though it started as a one man’s vision, it is currently owned by L’Oréal after purchasing it in 1964.
In 1946, Christian Dior founded La Maison Dior as a fashion house. Over the years, the company grew and eventually became one of the most coveted haute couture labels worldwide.
Years later, in 1953, when Rouge Dior lipsticks were introduced, they branched out into the cosmetics industry and are now one of the biggest French makeup companies.
Though the company is commonly known for its French perfumes, makeup lovers have discovered how equally high-quality its makeup line is.
3. Sisley Paris
Husband-wife duo Isabelle and Hubert d’Ornano launched Sisley Paris in 1976. They wanted to create products using a combination of nature and science which was a bold and unprecedented move at the time.
They were innovators in using plant-derived ingredients in their cosmetic and skincare ranges, even coining the terms Phyto cosmetics and phytotherapy to describe these.
The family-owned endeavor has some of their five children actively involved in the company and has risen to become one of the most famous French makeup brands in the luxury segment.
Their most popular products include the Phyto-Lip Twist Tinted Lip Balm, Express Flower Gel Mask, and their Phyto-teint ultra foundation that leaves a long-lasting, natural, and radiant complexion on all skin types.
Renowned French fashion house Givenchy, helmed by Hubert de Givenchy, first entered the luxury cosmetics market in 1989 after launching fragrances — though the brand had already established itself back in 1952.
This powerhouse brand left no stone unturned, from creating desirable haute-couture to innovating iconic formulas that would later become some of the best French makeup.
Their first product was Le Prisme Visage, a four-in-one face powder for women with a similar effect as modern contour powders.
Fast forward to today, cosmetologists swear by the Prisme Libre Setting & finishing loose powder to give their makeup looks a radiant finish and Rose Perfecto Lip Balm for a no-makeup, glowing lip effect.
Jacques Courtin-Clarins founded Clarins in 1954 to cater to women’s needs and help them feel luxurious, and it has grown to become one of the most popular French beauty brands.
His love for nature inspired his research which led to using plant-based ingredients in Clarins formulas. They even have a Clarins Herbarium where they develop 200+ plants for their products.
These high-quality plant-based products are perfected in their laboratories through rigorous checks and tests. In addition, they engage in several eco-initiatives to do their part in being a responsible brand.
With their high-quality plant-based products, you can comfortably use their products with peace of mind knowing that the environment is still kept safe.
And since Clarins is also known for its highly effective skin care products, be sure to grab the Clarins anti-aging Double Serum which has wrinkle-reducing properties.
6. Yves Saint Laurent
In 1961, Dior’s protégé Yves Saint Laurent branched out and launched his eponymous brand.
In 1978, YSL wanted to expand his highly respected fashion brand into French cosmetics to complement the clothes he designed.
A year later, he debuted the bright fuchsia Rouge Pur Lipstick No. 19, which became an instant hit and ruled women’s lips in the 1980s. The YSL Beauty brand has grown significantly since that time.
7. By Terry
Before discovering her passion for cosmetics, Terry de Gunzburg was pursuing a career in medicine.
She rose to become an in-demand makeup artist for some of the biggest names in the fashion world but what left a lasting impression in the beauty industry is her 15-year collaboration with YSL.
She even contributed to developing the iconic YSL Touche Éclat concealer mentioned above.
If there was anyone who truly understood the nuances of cosmetics, it was her. She naturally launched her own makeup line as a result, By Terry was born in 1998 and has since then become one of the most luxurious cosmetic brands in France.
8. T. LeClerc
T. Leclerc is the brainchild of pharmacist Théophile LeClerc, who loved beauty as much as he loved his profession.
Although it is less well known compared to brands like YSL or Dior, T. Leclerc is one of the oldest cosmetics companies in France, established in 1881.
He introduced the first loose powder, the Dermophile rice powder, to the French women, and it was an instant hit.
This lightweight powder quickly replaced the heavier powders that women were used to and became an iconic staple in French makeup. Make up lovers adored the velvety finish it provided.
To date, it is still regarded as one of the best finishing powders on the market. Also, the fact that their formulas are mild and skin-friendly is another advantage to keep in mind.
9. Laura Mercier
In addition to By Terry, another makeup artist who launched her namesake brand is Laura Mercier.
She searched to find formulas that would give her the desired minimalistic and flawless look but to no avail, and that’s when Laura began experimenting with her own formulations and founded Laura Mercier Cosmetics in 1996.
She pioneered “Flawless Face” makeup, and her iconic products gave women a “no makeup” makeup look much before the term was even coined.
Her translucent loose setting powder and Tinted Oil-free Moisturizer with SPF are considered some of the finest in the luxury beauty industry, but her Caviar Stick Eye Shadow is what eye makeup lovers can’t get enough of.
Almost two centuries ago, in 1828, when perfumer Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain wanted to create scents like no other, he launched his brand, Guerlain.
It gained recognition when he composed a signature scent created for Empress Eugénie for her marriage to Napoleon III earning him the title “Perfumer to His Majesty”.
The brand branched out into cosmetics years later and its growth into one of the biggest French beauty brands has never slowed down.
It is one of the oldest brands to create makeup in France, having been recognized as a “Living Heritage Company.” And as a sustainable initiative, they have moved to eco-friendly packaging.
Terracotta Sunkissed Bronzing Powder, Lingerie De Peau Natural Foundation with SPF 20, and the Abeille Royale Advanced Youth Watery Oil that keeps the face youthful are some of its iconic products that famous makeup artists always keep at hand.
Iconic fashion house and beauty brand Chanel needs no introduction. It was founded in 1910 by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel as a millinery or hat boutique.
Eventually, in 1915, Mademoiselle Chanel opened her first Couture House and launched her first Haute Couture collection.
By 1921, they came out with perfumes, and the iconic Chanel N°5 was born. Four years later, Chanel decided to venture into makeup and launched their first collection of powders and lipsticks and they never looked back.
Today, Chanel is regarded as one of the most famous French makeup brands that is always associated with luxury with each new item release.
Some of their best-sellers include the Ultra-light hybrid fluid foundation for a natural look, Le Volume De Chanel Mascara, an instant high-volume Mascara, and Rouge Allure Intense Lip Color to achieve the French girl lippie look.
Affordable French Makeup Brands
While the cosmetics from France we’ve looked at above are some of the best in the world, it’s no surprise that they also come with a bigger price tag.
If you still want to use high-quality products from France but at a lower budget, then check out these affordable French makeup brands.
12. L’Oréal Paris
L’Oréal is an internationally-renowned brand and one of the most affordable French cosmetic brands.
Every girl’s introduction to makeup probably started with a L’Oréal lip balm, lipstick, or lip gloss.
It was established in 1909 when chemist Eugène Schueller wanted to cater to the demands of women who wanted to color their hair.
He introduced a line of hair colorants after patenting the formula. The company expanded its product line to include cosmetics and skincare by the 1980s-90s and grew its markets internationally.
French girls adore the Voluminous Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara, L’Oréal Infallible Pro-Matte 24HR Foundation, and the Makeup Magic Skin Beautifier Anti-Redness BB Cream.
Bourjois is one of the most budget-friendly Paris makeup brands. The brand was established in 1863 and was meant for playful Parisian women.
Their motto itself is “Have fun with colors”, so, it’s no surprise that they came out with the bright-colored and light-textured Le Rouge à Lèvres lip range.
The common misconception people have when they read 1944 in the brand’s name is that it refers to the year of its creation. On the contrary, it honors the year French women got the right to vote.
1944 Paris was founded in 2017 by the Delrieu family, making it the youngest on this list of French makeup brands.
Being a clean and responsible brand, they recently launched the Paris Ongles Range, a collection of vegan and cruelty-free nail polishes and nail gels.
The third makeup artist on this list of French makeup brands to launch her own line of cosmetics is Youtuber and influencer Violette Serrat, known only as Violette.
French makeup became synonymous with her as her popularity grew. She worked in the beauty industry for years before introducing her eponymous brand, VIOLETTE_FR.
Her achievements include being Dior’s International Makeup Designer, Sephora’s Product Developer, and Estée Lauder’s Global Beauty Director.
Being a new brand with a limited product range, they are yet to gain as much popularity as some of the established brands, but the Petal Bouche Matte lipstick and Baume Shine Highlighter are making quite an impression so far.
16. Make Up For Ever
French cosmetics brand Make Up For Ever was established in 1984 by makeup artist Dany Sanz.
Her vision for the brand was to provide cosmetics to professional makeup artists across industries, and she did so by collaborating with them to formulate the products.
She developed a strong relationship with them and eventually opened her MAKE UP FOR EVER Academy to produce more talent. However, her brand was acquired by the LVMH conglomerate in 1999.
Violette is not the only influencer to start her line of makeup. French influencer Jeanne Damas took a similar route when she created Rouje in 2016.
It is the second youngest among the Paris makeup brands on this list after 1944 Paris. With her mother as her inspiration, she started designing clothes and launched some capsule collections.
Subsequently, she came out with her range of cosmetics and lippies whose signature gold packaging gives them a premium look and feel.
Her multipurpose lip palettes and La Palette Visage are very popular for their ease of application.
18. NARS Cosmetics
NARS Cosmetics is more than just a French beauty and skincare brand! It’s a celebration of creativity, self-expression, and individuality.
Founded in 1994 by makeup artist and photographer François Nars, the brand began with just twelve lipsticks sold at Barneys, New York.
Since then, it has grown into a global phenomenon known for its bold, vibrant, and innovative products that help people show off their unique personalities.
At NARS, inclusivity is at the heart of everything they do. They offer a wide range of shades in their makeup products to suit people of all skin tones, so everyone can feel confident and beautiful.
19. Yves Rocher
Botanist and entrepreneur Yves Rocher founded the eponymous makeup and skincare brand in 1959.
Being one of the largest cosmetic companies in France, the brand has its own organic farming operations in Brittany, France, from where the ingredients are sourced.
With a deep respect for the environment, Yves Rocher uses environment-friendly packaging and implements initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint.
Their commitment to sustainability resulted in Yves Rocher being a reputed leader in the eco-friendly beauty movement.
Despite using natural plant-based high-quality ingredients, Yves Rocher has an affordable price tag.
20. La Bouche Rouge
Another eco-friendly French makeup brand known for its high-quality and sustainable lipsticks is La Bouche Rouge.
Available in various shades of red for varied skin tones, their lipsticks come in signature leather cases that can even be customized with your initials.
La Bouche Rouge lipsticks are made with natural, organic, and eco-friendly ingredients like castor oil and shea butter which makes them highly pigmented and long-lasting, with a creamy texture that feels comfortable on the lips.
The brand also uses recycled and recyclable packaging with a refillable system that allows customers to reuse the lipstick cases hence reducing waste and minimizing their environmental impact.
Our last entry on this list of French makeup brands is also an environmentally conscious and cruelty-free luxury beauty brand.
Sylvie Chantecaille, a French beauty industry veteran passionate about nature conservation launched her eponymous brand Chantecaille with her daughter in 1998.
Chantecaille’s products are made with high concentrations of pure botanicals and plant-based ingredients like flower extracts and plant stem cells which enhances the natural beauty of the skin.
With their advanced botanical research and cutting-edge technology, Chantecaille creates effective, gentle, and safe products for all skin types.
The brand is also committed to philanthropy and environmental conservation, supporting various causes via donations from profits.
Final Thoughts on the Best French Cosmetic Brands
If you want to replenish your old stock or you’re simply looking for new brands to fill up your makeup kits with, I hope that this list of the best French cosmetic brands helps you with your upcoming purchases.
Whether you’re looking to explore your creativity with bold and bright colors or you just want that natural French girl look, you’ll find what you’re looking for from these French makeup brands.
So, go ahead and pick your favorites before your next glam event or date night and you can be assured of looking the way you envisioned yourself.
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