All about the eyes, and everything else understated: Get the Charlotte Gainsbourg look


Charlotte Gainsbourg is the quintessential French woman who prefers a low key, non flashy look. Her limited edition Nars makeup collection reflects this personality.

There are two collections that are getting Nars makeup fans quite stoked this summer. First, and the obvious, is the season’s Orgasm Collection, which introduces two new additions to the cult favorite blush. Second, the unlikely collaboration between Francois Nars and British-French actress-singer Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Gainsbourg met the Nars founder at a New York photo shoot, and the makeup artist-photographer was so enamored by the fashion icon’s personality and style—she has been the face of Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton—that he vowed to work with her on Nars.

The 15-piece collection (now available exclusively at Rustan’s) is Gainsbourg’s first foray into makeup.

Nars x Charlotte Gainsbourg limited-edition makeup collection

Nars x Charlotte Gainsbourg limited-edition makeup collection

Low-key grooming

The 45-year-old actress-singer, daughter of British actress Jane Birkin (of Hermes Birkin fame) and French musician Serge Gainsbourg, is the quintessential Frenchwoman whose grooming is quite low-key: all about the eyes, and everything else understated—flushed cheeks, lips with that just-bitten color.

For the complexion, there’s a sheer Hydrating Glow Tint that brightens dull skin for that natural, glow-from-within look.

“The collection is a reflection of Charlotte’s lifestyle,” said Nars makeup artist Archie Tolentino. “The Glow Tint is a gel-cream that’s sheer with a bit of coverage. It’s very pigmented and weightless, so the coverage is buildable. It’s also moisturizing and infused with skincare.”

“The Glow Tints are an ‘easy fit’ for Filipinas who typically go for a matte complexion,” said Nars international makeup artist Raquel Grijalva. “It gives off not sheen but a dewy glow. It’s light and summery. For balance, you can do a little more dramatic with the eyes.”

She adds: “Francois wants to still see the skin through makeup. It’s going against the trend in makeup where there’s just so much of it. Nars doesn’t follow trends. The glow is supposed to look like it’s coming from within.”

Nars makeup artists Archie Tolentino and Raquel Grijalva —CHECHE V. MORAL

Nars makeup artists Archie Tolentino and Raquel Grijalva—CHECHE V. MORAL

Nothing flashy

Gainsbourg “had a hand in everything, from the color, look, names, vision—they were all Charlotte,” added Grijalva. The muse has said the partnership started with what kind of products she wanted, as she typically doesn’t wear plenty of makeup.

“I couldn’t go toward something that was opposite of me, so it had to be quite natural,” Gainsbourg said in a statement. “And, in the end, colors were sort of obvious for me, nothing flashy, just tinted. Emotional if possible, my references had to do with actresses in films, so a natural cheek, redness from crying, running—things that move me.”

She named every piece in the collection, so everything was quite personal. The eye shadow duos were named after the street where she lived as a young girl, Old Church Street, a golden champagne and deep slate teal combo; and Rue Allent, shimmering frost and greenish gunmetal, where her family walks their dog in Paris.

(The shadow duos are intended to be worn individually or layered with each other, not as base and highlighter, noted Grijalva. They’re meant to mimic Gainsbourg’s preferred smudged, smoky look).

The Multiple tints, Nars’ staple cheek and lip color, are named after three women in Gainsbourg’s life: Jeannette, a sheer berry, after her dad’s nickname for mom Jane; and her own daughters Alice (poppy red) and Jo (light pink).

The three kohl-based liners consist of her favorite shades: army green, dark blue and dark gray.

There are also three sheer, high-shine glosses in the collection in shades of ruby red (Double Decker), antique rose (Ephelide) and red plum (Promise).

“I’ve used these in upcoming editorials and they look very nice in photos,” said Tolentino. “Francois is also a photographer so he comes up with products that photograph very well.”

The Nars x Charlotte Gainsbourg collection comes in a special packaging, not the typical Nars matte black with white accents, but army green with gold lettering.

Nars Orgasm Summer 2017 collection

Nars Orgasm Summer 2017 collection

Nars Orgasm Summer 2017

In June (or early July), Rustan’s will also roll out Orgasm’s summer collection with the introduction of the liquid version of the universally flattering, peachy-pink blush with golden flecks. There’s also a sheer lipstick to complement it.

The original powder blush, which was first introduced in 1999, comes in a special-edition collectible compact.

Unlike the powder version, which can be used to contour your face with a brush, liquid and cream blushes are ideal for accentuating the apple of the cheeks, Grijalva advised. Start about a thumb away from the widest side of your nose.

“All have cheekbones, some more prominent than others. Look at the mirror, do a little smirk, and apply on apple of the cheek. Brush around the apple, then glide it upward,” she said. It’s very pigmented so you only need very little.

For the powder blush, “you can start from the top and drag down if you want. You can contour.” It can be layered with the liquid for intensity.

The iconicNars Orgasm powder blush comes in a limited special packaging for summer.

The iconic Nars Orgasm powder blush comes in a limited special packaging for summer.

More forgiving

She added: “Age doesn’t matter. If you want a more natural look, this is better as it’s liquid. If skin is dryer or more mature, this is more forgiving on the skin. The powder has more shimmer and can accentuate texture. This is a great alternative to that. A lot of factors the powder might not work: where you’re placing it or the kind of brush you use.”

The Orgasm liquid blush is enriched with Monoï and Tamanu oils for moisture. (Nars will also be introducing liquid versions of three other blush icons: Torrid, Luster and Dolce Vita).

If you have bigger pores, go for makeup with a minimal amount of sheen and avoid areas where you’re most porous, Grijalva advised.

“Same with highlighter, avoid areas with lots of texture. Opt for a light powder that’s a contrast to your skin as your highlighter. It shouldn’t have shimmer.” Creams don’t settle in creases and pores, so they’re a better option for mature and textured skin.

Lastly, wear a makeup primer, Tolentino added. It evens out your skin’s surface.

“We update our wardrobe but sometimes we’re stuck with the makeup from years before,” Grijalva said. “Makeup has to evolve. Even if you don’t buy all pieces from a new collection, update your look by picking up at least one thing, like maybe the color of the moment, or even a nail polish. Something to keep you updated.”

Introducing the new Nars Orgasm liquid blush

Introducing the new Nars Orgasm liquid blush

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