French Beauty: An Interview with Renee Loiz

I can’t believe it, but I’ve been living in {and around} Paris for about 10 months.  While living here and observing Parisian women, I’ve found myself wondering how I can adopt their sense of beauty & style. I also turned 31 this year {what!?} and have started to think about how I can tap into that fountain of youth. Luckily, I have a friend who is a professional makeup artist that has been working in the industry for about 20 years. I contacted Renee to talk about these things, and she has so many helpful hints and reccomendations.  

BK: Hi Renee!
Thank you so much for your time and input.  I’ve really been looking forward to our interview.

So let’s talk beauty!  There are two overarching concepts I would like to hit: 1) French beauty and 2) Application techniques for women who are starting to age, but might not know what to do with their “beyond (or late) 20s” skin.  

The thing I’ve noticed and love the most about French women is that they keep it simple.  Many women I see have an “I woke up like this” approach to hair and makeup.  Meaning, hairstyles look simple, but classy, and makeup looks natural and barely there. On your instagram feed, it looks like a lot of your work tends to bring out the natural beauty of your models instead of covering it up. You can still see their freckles!

 So my first question is this: 

How do you achieve that natural beauty look? 
RL: Achieving the natural beauty look starts by taking care of your skin. I recommend a mild cleanser and a hydrating toner to balance skin, a moisturizing serum too for hydration, and of course sunscreen to protect skin from getting sunburnt. Also, add in a mask and an exfoliator weekly to renew your skin. Taking care of your skin sets up an excellent canvas where you hardly have to wear any makeup.

As far as makeup goes, I recommend using a lightweight foundation to even out your skin. Start in your t-zone and work your way out. A little foundation goes a long way, so don’t over do it! Add a little concealer under the eyes for any discoloration and also on any dark spots your foundation didn’t cover. Next, using your fingers, tap cream blush on the apples of your cheeks and blend out for a natural flush. Swipe on a couple coats of mascara to define your eyes and lastly, apply a hydrating rose or berry colored lippy for a subtle stain. This is all you'll need to achieve a natural beauty look!

BK: For someone like myself, who is starting to see wrinkles (and not just fine lines), what are your tips for applying makeup that won’t make the wrinkles look worse?
RL: Getting facials monthly with a little microdermabrasion really helps with wrinkles. I am an advocate when it comes to taking care of your skin! And I love using products that are hydrating because they help plump the skin. 

BK: What are the best things a woman can do for her skin?
RL: Like mentioned, monthly facials and using sunscreen are the two best ways to care for your skin. Facials will deep clean all the gunk that is built up in your skin, clear away black heads, and exfoliate dead skin which clogs your pores. Sunscreen protects your skin from UV rays which cause sun damage and premature aging.

BK: For those who want to keep things simple, what would you recommend as makeup bag essentials? 
RL: Makeup bag essentials, when keeping it simple, are mascara and a rose or berry lip color. Using a mascara can instantly brighten and define your eyes. It’s a total pick-me-up! And if you still need that little extra something, add your favorite lip color to your cheeks too. It’s such a quick and easy way to look fresh and well rested!

BK: Since living in France, I’ve become very familiar with Micellar water.  What’s your take on this item?
RL: I do like Micellar water, but still feel you need to actually cleanse your face beforehand. I like to use a gentle cleanser first to deep clean and remove all my makeup, afterwards I use the Micellar water to swipe away anything I missed. Follow with a hydrating toner and moisturizer.

BK: For those on a budget, do you have any recommendations for good drugstore/target priced brushes and applicators?  What should you look for in these items?
RL: I love Real Techniques brushes by PixiWoo. They’re good quality brushes that don’t shed and feel soft on the skin. As far as applicators, I only recommend Beauty Blender. Other makeup sponges that mimic the style and shape of a Beauty Blender hold on to foundation too much, so when applied the makeup looks cakey and unnatural.

BK: In the same line, for cosmetics, which items, if any, would you say are ok to buy at a drugstore price vs those that you should probably invest more money in, and why?
RL: Lipsticks, eyeshadows, and blushes are fine to buy in a drugstore. But, there aren’t many color choices to choose from. If you’re looking for something really specific, I would recommend buying at a department store like Sephora where there is more of a selection. At a department store you’re able to try before you buy to make sure it’s the right color. Unfortunately, you really can’t do that at a drugstore.

BK: Red lipstick. It’s true- the French women rock it.  MAC’s Russian Red lipstick seems to be the quintessential color in Paris, but is every red made alike? How can women pick the most flattering red?
RL: Every red is definitely not the same and one color doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. It really depends on what you’re looking for. There are red lipsticks like Russian Red or Ruby Woo, that both have a blue undertone and look fantastic on fairer skin tones. FYI: Thrive Causmetics has launched a gorgeous blue red named Kennedy that’s giving both of those colors a run for their money! For skin tones with a more olive undertone brick red colors like Nars Audacious Marlene or burgundy hues like Maybelline Burgundy Blush work best. That Nars color is in my personal kit for when I’m feeling fancy! With deeper complexions, you want to lean more towards a bright orangey-red like Ritual De Fille Bloodroot or an oxblood red like NYX Goal Digger. 

BK: And now my final questions, What are the must-have items in your personal make-up bag?
RL: Right now, in my personal makeup bag are Glossier Cherry Balm DotCom to add a subtle sheen to my cheek bones and eyelids, Kiehl’s Touch of Berry ButterStick for a quick cheek and lip stain, and my discontinued Bobbi Brown “Extra" Hand Cream to keep my hands moisturized. It has the loveliest rose scent!

BK: Do you recommend any vloggers or online makeup tutorials?
RL: My favorite vloggers are Violette_frLisa EldridgeKatie Jane Hughes, and Grasie Mecedes. I appreciate their creativity, product knowledge, and sense of style.

BK: Is there anything you wish more women knew about makeup and beauty?
RL: I think nowadays there is actually so much information out there about makeup and beauty that can be overwhelming. But with all this information there is still a lack of knowledge on finding and matching your foundation color and also the proper way to take care of your skin.

BK: Thank you so much Renee for taking the time to respond!
RL: You’re welcome!

Renee is a professional makeup artist working in LA.  She has been in the business for almost 20 years and is passionate about healthy, glowing skin. Her favorite pastimes are cooking, gardening, and spending time with her family. You can find out more about what she does and see what she’s currently up to on instagram @reneeloizmakeup. Also, be sure to check out her blog

**All photos were used with permission from Renee Loiz & showcase her work**

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