The Best French Makeup

Kiera Knightley attends fashion week in Paris.

Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

What is it about the allure of French makeup? Maybe it's the mystique evoked by the ads depicting your favorite actress dashing across Paris into the arms of a Gallic lover. Perhaps it's the haughty saleswoman handing you the heaviest lipstick you've ever held, the tube draped in gold with le petite mirror on the cap. If you're going to take the plunge, arm yourself with the facts. You can become the French-inspired heroine of your wildest cosmetic dreams.

L'Oreal

L'Oreal, based in Clichy, France, consistently ranks as the top-earning cosmetics company in the world and regularly appears on industry lists of the best cosmetic companies. L'Oreal is known for its luxe, but affordable, color cosmetics such as Colour Riche lipstick, True Match Foundation, Hip Eye Shadow and the Infallible line of long-wearing makeup. L'Oreal is widely admired for its chic packaging and huge range of colors. Perfect for the budget-challenged, most of their makeup products fall in the $5 to $15 range at the time of publication.

Chanel

If your makeup budget is on the high end, then iconic Chanel makeup may be for you. Chanel is best known for its super-luxe lipsticks such as Rouge Allure and Rouge Coco in vibrant shades and textures from matte to satin. For lip gloss addicts, Chanel Glossimer is considered by experts and consumers alike to be the holy grail of lip gloss. Chanel is also known for its Lumiere foundations in a range of finishes, as well as its Les 4 Ombres quad eye shadow palettes. None of this luxury comes cheap; lipsticks start around $35 and an eye shadow palette is nearly $60 at time of publication.

Dior

Christian Dior, like Chanel, is luxury makeup at its finest. Dior has been known for exquisite fashions for decades, but in 1954, he launched his first lipstick to an insane demand. Some 1,500 shades later, Dior Addict and Rouge Dior lipsticks are still in high demand. Dior's most beloved product is its Diorshow mascara, a super-black formula originally created for supermodels only. Dior's 5 Couleurs eye shadow palettes in soft shades continue to be snapped up each season. As of publication, prices are in the $35 to $60 range.

Yves Saint Laurent

Designer Yves Saint Laurent exploded onto the fashion scene in the early 1960s at the age of 25. He launched his first makeup line in 1978 to create faces for the women he dressed. YSL's best-selling and award-winning Touche Eclat Radiant Touch, a combination highlighter and concealer, is considered a magical must-have by makeup-obsessed consumers and experts alike. YSL also boasts a line of indulgent, richly pigmented lipsticks, which includes Rouge Pur Couture and Silky Sensual Lipstick. YSL's makeup is coveted for its heavy packaging in gold, red and black colors. At publication, prices fall in the $30 to $60 range.

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