I don't like looking overly made up myself, and I don't like looking at ladies who haven't blended properly. I find make-up mishaps distracting. Like, if you can't hide a pimple, don't try.
When a new acquaintance invited me for a special make-over at Guerlain's glittering flagship on the Champs Elysée, I was grateful but hesitant. Since moving to Paris - where a natural look is the norm - I had whittled the contents of my make-up bag down to a brow-brush, mascara and gloss. Plus, throughout my career I'd worked with plenty of make-up artists, so felt I knew most of the tricks. Apart from some welcome girl-time with my lovely new friend, what was I really going to gain?
Our session began with laughter - Olivier has a great sense of humour and the gift of the (thankfully, bilingual) gab. But things got serious when he asked me if I wear make-up. No, I said. Why, he asked. Because I don't want to look made-up, I said. Because I love the way classy Parisian women are all natural, I said.
He turned to my new Parisian girlfriend - a bare-faced beauty - and rolled his eyes. It's an illusion! he exclaimed in a very French huff, pointing out that the nation's best selling cosmetic item wasn't lipstick or liner but foundation.
After just 20 minutes I was completely made-up without being over done. The look was polished and sophisticated without feeling heavy. Even the dreaded foundation was feather-light and flawless.
In the hands of the master, the secret of Parisian beauty had finally been confirmed: French ladies never leave home without nice knickers.
1. Credit where credit is due: That pic of Olivier making-up the uber-gorgeous face of Guerlain, Natalia Vodianova, (I know, I know, you thought it was me) came from here. The make-up can be found ici.
2. I'm still shocked that I now own a bottle of Lingerie de Peau foundation. Even more shocked that I've used it. (The day I stop being slightly amused by the name will be the biggest shock of all.)
3. Make-up junkies should grab a copy of of Olivier's autobiography Colors of my Life. It contains an easy-to-follow section about truly beautiful make-up. (No silly rainbow eyeshadows in sight.)
4. Fashion junkies should grab a copy of it too. Olivier drops so many big names, you'll need to wear steel-cap boots while reading it.