Skip to main content
MECCA Logo will take you to homepage on click

  • Book an appointment
Mecca Franchise Logo The Mecca Guide

How French Women Do Date Night

January 1 | 3 minute read

Memo How The French Date Hero 16x9

Words by Divya Bala

Originally published on | February 7

Nothing pairs better with the mythology of the chic Parisian woman than a red lip – whether worn with a classic striped marinière, a little black Chanel dress, a tilted beret or on the crust of a freshly-bitten baguette.

However, as with so much of their allure, Parisians wield their red lips carefully – after all, with great power of seduction comes great responsibility.

You see, after years of first dates in the City of Love – having long bought into the belief a Parisienne painted lip as the highest expression of French flirtation – I was surprised to hear a local friend’s opinion that coming out ‘lips blazing’ on the first date is simply not the norm.

Memo How The French Date 3x4 7

Marie Blanchet

Memo How The French Date 3x4 5

There’s no questioning that from Cleopatra’s crushed insect paste to Marilyn Monroe’s crimson swipe, red lipstick is a sensuality-forward choice – whereas born and bred Parisian Marie Blanchet, Founder of vintage sourcing service Mon Vintage (whose fans include Amal Clooney and the Olsen twins) and resident of artistic, upscale Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighbourhood, believes a first date calls for less, rather than more.

“On a first date, you want to look like you haven’t tried too hard,” she explains. “You want to go for a natural look. I tend to think that lipstick can be high maintenance – necessitating retouches, for instance.”

She continues, “You might want to avoid the cringey lipstick-on-teeth moment. Also, it could come in the way of a kiss!”

Now in her thirties, this is how Blanchet – and her 1960s Hermès bag – approaches date night makeup.

“As a teenager, I used to use foundation and heavy mascara, now I stick to a very natural look with minimal or no makeup.

“My go-to for a date would be the Glow Drops from Dr. Barbara Sturm, after moisturising. Then, a pink blush with a little bit of Yves Saint Laurent Touché Eclat for dark circles and a black mascara – I always put more on the outer lashes for a seductive, cat-eye effect.”

Memo How The French Date 3x4 3
Memo How The French Date 3x4 9

Caroline Canova

Meanwhile, Caroline Canova, Communications Director and Founder of suPRnova (previously representing the likes of Manolo Blahnik, Net-a-Porter and Versace), is known for her bold, red lip colour – which she attributes to Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revolution.

“As a legit Parisian, my biggest rule is that I don’t really like rules,” Canova laughs.

“So, I totally understand not wanting to try too hard on a first date – but a first date is about seduction, non?”

She continues, “It depends on the date (and your intentions) but, personally, I kind of enjoy meeting a guy and seeing their eyes go to my lips, but there’s no touching. On a first date, the chance of kisses is low, so you can wear lipstick without getting it smudged all over your face – which no-one likes.”

Memo How The French Date 3x4 4
Memo How The French Date 3x4 2

Still, Canova extolls the French inclination (regardless of gender) towards a natural look – something anglophones often refer to as ‘effortless chic’ – and reiterates the warning against the cardinal sin of doing too much.

“Either you choose to bring attention to your lips and wear lipstick, or you bring attention to the eyes,” she advises, adding, “You use a liner and you keep your lips natural – don’t do both, we even have a saying for that: ‘Maquillé comme un camion volé’, ‘Painted like a stolen truck!’”

She laughs again: “You don’t want to try too hard but to me, a red lip on the first date is not necessarily a no-go.”

Memo How The French Date 3x4 6
Memo How The French Date 3x4 8

Lindsey Tramuta

While a native Philadelphian, author and New York Times journalist Lindsey Tramuta has lived in the French capital for 17 years and knows a thing or two about Parisians; in fact, she wrote the book – literally (Google The New Paris and The New Parisienne).

Observing the inhabitants of her adopted city, she notes: “In the last 15 years, people [in Paris] have become more and more casual when they go out, even in the evening. I think maybe when I first moved to Paris, there were, let’s say, more ‘do’s and don'ts’ that seemed inherently understood – it was still a time when people dressed up a bit more to go out.”

Memo How The French Date 16x9 1

She adds, “I think it’s kind of silly to behave as though there’s a hard and fast rule for anything. I definitely think that I have always leant a bit more pared back. I personally tend to prefer a little bit more eye makeup and something more neutral on the lip.”

Tramuta’s date makeup reflects her preferences: “I kind of like to just have a glow, because that makes me feel good. If I were to use makeup, I would use Too Faced on my eyes with RMS Beauty mascara [and] I might use this sparkly dark green Yeux Paint from VIOLETTE_FR, which I love.

“The whole point of makeup is just to have fun and maybe accentuate, but not fundamentally change who you are.”

For Tramuta, self-perception is key.

“Today, I think ultimately the real thing is, is wearing a red lip – or anything else on your face – going to make you feel more confident? Then, by all means. Who cares what your potential partner or suitor thinks?”

More beauty news

Skip to content below carousel
Memo For The Love Of Beauty Hero 16x9

In For February: Red Lips, Glowing Skin and Metal Eyes

January 29

Skip to content above carousel