Léa Seydoux, Actress


“I am French—I’m from Paris, I grew up in Paris. It’s true that French are not very sophisticated in the sense that they don’t dress up for dinners. They are not like Americans where they are always perfect—the girls are not very sporty; they don’t take care of themselves as much as Americans, who always have very white teeth, and are so fit. The French are a little more chic, very classic. I think it can be boring too, because they don’t take any risks. They don’t wear too many colors. Like when you walk the streets in Paris you don’t see too many colors. When you are in London or New York it’s all crazy styles. When you’re a girl, you cant really wear very sexy things, because you will have trouble. If you wear a skirt all the guys will be like, 'uh-huh!' For example this morning, I went out in my pajamas, and people were looking at me funny, but I feel like in New York or LA people wouldn’t even notice.

I guess people wear red lips, here. There are no nail salons in Paris—it is very expensive to do a manicure. I sometimes get one done. But you don’t have the same culture, the beauty culture. They’re not very coquette. I think I am both—I think I am coquette, but also simple. The thing is, when I wear too much makeup, or I’m too dressed up, I look like a clown. I would love to take more risks—have pink hair—but it doesn’t look right on me. I really like more simple, men’s-style shirts, men’s jeans and jackets. Very simple. I am feminine—I like a black dress—but at the same time masculine. I feel like a woman, but not girly-girly. For events, I feel weird if I’m too done up…it doesn’t fit me. I feel awkward. My good friend Sarai Fiszel is a makeup artist—she did my makeup today—she is French but lives in LA. So when I go there or she comes here, she does my makeup. I don’t really wear makeup every day. I feel like being an actress, we wear a lot of makeup, but when I am not working, I need to let my face breathe, and be very comfortable. And sometimes I do like to wear makeup—I have makeup, and I put it on. But sometimes I like to be ugly, and very natural. Because when I work I always wear makeup every day, all the time.

Sometimes if I have an important appointment, I will put some makeup on. If I go out at night, maybe I will put a red lipstick on. I have one by Guerlain, 422 Intense Matte, but you can’t find it. I wear mascara, no eye shadow. And then I wear foundation—I like the Armani Luminous Silk. I wash my hair every two days, but if I don’t have time it gets greasy and I use Klorane dry shampoo. I really don’t like to have greasy hair…for me, it is disgusting. I prefer to have a big spot [pimple] than greasy hair. I wash my hair with Opalis—it’s amazing. It’s French, I love it, you can find it here. There are all different kinds, I like one called La Crème, it’s really nice. I go to David Mallett for hair color. The salon is beautiful, it’s like a dream! It’s like a movie. I let them do what they want, because my hair grows very fast so I can do what I want. I have had all the cuts, I had very short hair, blonde, dark, curly.

*Ed note: at this point we walk into Léa’s bathroom. It is overflowing with products. We break into laughter because she’s been saying, ‘Oh, I’m casual with beauty, etc etc’

Ok so I have lots of products. [Laughs] I like to be clean, I like to smell good. I don’t like to be searching for something that I don’t have. For example, this is for the blackheads—Darphin Overnight Refining Lotion. I don’t use it all every day. I would say maybe I am bohemian, with all of my stuff out, a mess. But I still know where everything is. This brush is the best, Mason Pearson. This is a spray for your ears, to clean your ears but I don’t really use it…well, I haven’t used it yet.

*As I’m shooting, she assembles the ear spray and I hear ‘Ksshhhhh!’ followed by a peel of laughter. One ear down, one to go.

You know what, in France we have amazing pharmacies and amazing products and you have many things. I see it, I’m attracted to it so I buy it. And sometimes when I’m travelling, I forget something and I have to buy it again. I have Leonor Greyl hair products I like—I have the mask, I have the styling spray. I have a lot of toothbrushes because I travel. I also have [Bioderma] Créaline, the spray. I’m not loyal to many brands, except perfume. I’m wearing Prada Candy perfume; I like it because there is something very joyful about it. I also like Commes des Garçons. I tend to buy a lot of things when I travel, but I also have a few things that I get sent for free. I like to use products from other countries—I haveTom’s deodorant. For makeup, I have so much stuff…I don’t know which [makeup] bag I would pick, but I like to have the choice. I like this Armani No. 4 blush. My favorite packaging is Yves Saint Laurent. I like the Sun Powder—it’s a bronzer. And I like the Lancôme bronzing brush that I bought on the plane. I don’t like to fly, and I bought it when they were coming through the aisle. That’s my problem: I love to try new things.”

—as told to ITG

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Gina

    I love this! The first truly French girl who doesn't hide the fact that she has masses of products like women do in america :-)

  • amelia

    all those french products..... *drool*. also, she's gorgeous. and hilarious! i dont know if it's intentional or not though, haha ;)

  • sashi

    I'm so conflicted when I read this (sounds like she is also!) But I want to be so low maintennce, just concerned with healthy clear gorgeous skin... but in the U.S. how do you REALLY go out for work everyday with a no makeup look? If I skip liner, etc, people say- oooh, you look tired. And it just does not look "professional" or like you made an effort. It doesn't fit in with the look of other women to not appear polished. Anyone else feels this way?

    • jk

      I think with French women, their attitude is just more relaxed. If they look tired, then so be it. It's not the end of the world. They just want to look natural and at ease, instead of made up.

    • http://www.themigrantbookclub.com petya


      I know what you are talking about. After reading Emily's blog and seeing so many beautiful women say.. ah, I just put on concealer and mascara... I thought I'd try it. I did undereye concealer + foundation primer + mascara + red lip tint (which is already more than what women do in Bulgaria where I am from) and my boss said to me: Oh. Are you not wearing any make-up today? You look very... hmm... natural.

      She said it in a tone of voice that made me want to melt into the floor and disappear. And I thought that at 30 I was way past that.

      • kate

        I'll tell you what the problem is: people are used to seeing you in full on make-up, so when you go without, you look dead/sleepy/hungover/etc. The secret is to 1) not start wearing it or, 2) if you're already in the full on face habit, slowly ween down. You need to get people used to seeing you with very little/no make-up. Try skipping foundation and just using blush. Slowly cut down on eye shadow/liner. After a few months everyone will be used to seeing you with hardly any makeup and won't be shocked if you show up with nothing but mascara.

        • Fiona

          You know what? I think it also depends on your features... eg, if you have large eyes and naturally dark eyelashes, then doing a bold lip and a naked eye will probably look great. On me however, my small eyes and short lashes look - just sleepy, really, without some mascara and a tiny bit of liner.
          Similarly, if you have naturally dark lips, then just wearing lip balm will look great.
          Still, there is something to be said for getting used to a less made-up look.

          • Aya

            but at the same time you can do your makeup based on enhancing your favorite feature instead of correcting the others ex. eye makeup on someone with beautiful eyes is always gorgeous.

  • Isa

    I loved this Top Shelf. I find myself feeling the same way, like very casual about beauty but hoarding massive amounts of products in my bathroom and pretty much everywhere around my house. Effortless is beautiful, but it does take a little something (or sometimes a lot) to get that look. I just love the feeling of having "something for everything", but I always try my best to look casual and low-maintenance. My policy is that people should not be able to tell that you are so obsessed with cosmetics. If they can deduce it just by looking at you then you're doing something wrong.

  • Denisa

    I like her and I like the fact she has no rules concerning her style. She is not so defined, she is still searching for finding herself, her style...

  • Jane

    Oh, j'adore Léa Seydoux! She epitomizes effortless French chic. It's so nice to see her top shelf.

  • Capitalist Pancake

    I suddenly feel a whole lot less guilty about the state of my bathroom!

  • Capitalist Pancake

    For anyone who wants to know, that lipstick was one of the old Divinora range by Guerlain. I think it's totally discontinued now - haven't seen them since the early 00's. And it was a really good lipstick formula.

    • zep

      yes! I am still using the fuschia one it has a very subtle glimmer and it stays on forever. also I am kinda unknowingly poisoning myself using a lipstick from early 00's! ha!

  • http://ofstrangersensibilities.blogspot.com Joy

    I love her so much in her movies and it's so nice to see her on ITG! She looks amazing and is of course super chic~

  • Sinead

    Oh I love this! Very amusing. I have many French friends and she reminds me of some of them.
    I am high maintenance and I own it. My French friends, however, would never admit to such a thing. But when you see their bathrooms (after you've known them for a long time, I might add) voilà! Exactly like the photos above. Fabulous. And vive la différence!

  • Christine

    Sashi, it basically depends on how good you look without makeup. I look like a corpse without eyeliner, mascara, concealer, tinted moisturizer, blush and lipstick. It takes five minutes. No biggie. It's as much a moral question as brushing my teeth regularly. When I run into pretty young ladies on the street who don't need the spackle, I just marvel about genetics and biology.

    This was my favorite part of the interview:
    "When you’re a girl (in France), you cant really wear very sexy things, because you will have trouble. If you wear a skirt all the guys will be like, ‘uh-huh!’ For example this morning, I went out in my pajamas, and people were looking at me funny, but I feel like in New York or LA people wouldn’t even notice."

  • http://meandhelenmirren.blogspot.com Catherine

    oh i love lea seydoux! she's so beautiful in la belle personne and midnight in paris. she looks great with the light hair and red lips..! thank you for another amazing top shelf!

  • Chelsea

    Wow...this girl sounds so holier than thou when she talks about how American's try too hard with their white teeth and perfect nails and how the French are more chic and so effortless. Then come the pictures with the masses of products, including an ear-cleaning product - a little high maintenance, no? I love Into The Gloss, but this girl is delusional beyond words.

    • T London

      I think she means the American standard in general is a lot higher, at least in big cities. I don't disagree, I am American, now in the UK, and I used to feel a little out of place, not liking manicures or 'done' hair or teeth bleaching, etc. I think it's more of a perfectionist culture, as opposed to in general over here or in Europe it's not 'full face', hardcore gym work etc. you can go to work with a messy-chic topknot, just some concealer and lipstick (looking put together but more natural) and no one says, are you ill? or something like that (probably some exceptions, like if you work for one of the big banks). That's why I love ITG - Emily shows real girls, high maintenance girls, quirky girls, the entire lot. I think you can always find a girl on top shelf, the face, etc where you go, yeah, I love that there's someone out there that's similar to me in what I like/believe in beauty. i think the one and only time I thought, I can't relate to this, was the infamous Lauren Santo Domingo top shelf where she was like, can't remember the last time I washed my own hair - but it was still pretty hilarious.

    • noiritall

      U.S. stresses home care of teeth and orthodonics. This pays off when you are older.

  • sashi

    Thanks for the responses! It reminds me of the scene of the classic movie "Clueless" when Cher's stepbrother says to her:
    "How many hours a day do you spend grooming yourself?!"
    And she replies "Oh Josh, we're not all as naturally adorable as you are"

    Anyway I love to read about the variety of women's approaches to beauty and their varying levels of confidence with themselves which is why this blog rocks!

  • kate

    you had me "I am French..."

    this makes up for yesterday's sad beauty-free post!

  • lady in red

    Oh what a mess ^^ !
    I am a french lady too (living in France,this is the difference,so sorry for my english !) ,and i think our make up "waf of life" is based on essential things.I used to live in England and i was afraid of all those make up above all on tired faces ! There was no harmony ,no natural ,it was "halloween" every day .I love our classics : black mascara and red lipstick .I think it's enough : less is more. Compares to English and american countries we know we must wear make -up and look like we were wearing not at all. But the most important difference i think, is that we allow us not to wear too much when we are not feeling well and this is an important condition i think.
    hope to read you again , bye bye

  • http://ritournelleblog.wordpress.com Anne

    Looove this post. I'm French and I can say that her views of French women and beauty are spot-on.

  • http://thinmoonsugar.blogspot.com c

    Oh I love her and I love this insanity..it makes me feel a little bit less guilty about how many products it takes to look slightly polished.
    I don't know but I got the feeling that she doesn't seem to be aware of how not casual she is about beauty.
    lovely post!

  • ji

    love this. It's obvious she didn't prepare/plan/organize everything to perfection before the shoot. Just a beautiful woman confident with who she is.

  • http://mruchettie-lecosmos.blogspot.com Mruchettie le Cosmos

    tres jolie!

  • http://www.mylifeinbeauty.com anita

    Love the Red Lips! I enjoyed feasting on all of the beauty products, now I don't feel so bad, I actually went out and bought containers for my beauty products after reading your Top Shelf, but they are overflowing and now it looks more like the pictures above, and I love the fact that I'm not alone!.

    Keep these reviews coming, they are my favorite!

  • Alex

    Léa Seydoux is so great! I loved La belle personne... I even sought out a four-hour assembled cut of Mistérios de Lisboa and she is wonderful! She has beautiful skin and I enjoy her laid-back style... Nice to see a girl like me who doesn't like to wear that much makeup, but still collects it and has it out everywhere. Her messy but "I know where everything is" counter top is exactly like mine! This cracked me up!! Thanks for yet another wonderful post. :)

  • http://www.calu.typepad.com marcela

    what a great post, all the products Oh my what a great shelf.
    love it!

  • http://virtuallystunning.blogspot.com David

    Cute make-up bags! :D

    Have a Good Day!



  • Courtney

    Emily, I don't know how often or if you read these comments or not but I LOVE THIS POST! I know a lot of people didn't like the Katie Gallagher top shelf, but I thought it was a different cup of tea and ok. I like that you (obviously) read some comments from people who wanted to hear more about actual makeup and found people who fit that. You are doing a great job of introducing a lot of fabulous women in the most intimate setting possible: the bathroom, home of all the beautification and primping. As an American (and a former Southerner/current Angelino) I do feel that some women are going about day to day life with a more natural approach.
    This is a great article and one of my favorite places on earth is the City Pharma in St. Germain de Pres. I go every year when I'm in Paris thanks to you, ITG, and freaking Karlie Kloss! Much thanks and warm wishes.

    • Emily

      Hi Courtney-- I do read them; thank you and glad you like! XE

  • noelle

    Courtney and many others who I am sure feel the same:
    you hit it exactly right, that this blog is most intriguing because of the really personal nature of it. And I find that THIS kind of insight into women's little routines (or lack of in some cases- haha!) is so much more honest than the endorsement of products from fashion/beauty mags, which I feel are always suspiciously endorsing products that are adverstised elsewhere in the magazine.
    Not that I even want to buy all the products mentioned by those who are featured, but it opens my world anyway quite a lot. It makes me think too... I never think beauty is shallow, because it is something so amazing to me that makeup/skincare can really improve your look so much, it's kind of magic and art at the same time. Cheers to Emily for bringing girls together BECAUSE of their differences!!

  • Alex

    Great choice for a Top Shelf Emily! Merci Léa!

  • jazmin

    I think that the photographs may seem contradictory of what she says at the beginning ("They are not like Americans where they are always perfect—the girls are not very sporty; they don’t take care of themselves as much as Americans, who always have very white teeth, and are so fit.").

    I agree with her because I feel the exact same way, in terms of not doing my hair or make up like my co-workers do; however I am a beauty product hoarder, I love them. I just don't have a routine to use them, so I tend to use some here and there and I use so little make up on a daily basis that if I had to describe myself I would say that I'm low maintenance; and I don't ever get manicures. But shopping for beauty products is just a bad habit some of us have.

  • lucie

    I got so excited when i saw this!! She is one of my beauty idols. Thank you!

  • http://beautyinthesky.net Megan

    Love her, she is delighful! I love makeup all out on the dressing table instead of being super organised and hidden away.

  • Mel

    As a Parisian,born and raised, i was really offended by her remarks. The generalization she made bothered me a lot.
    I'm not gonna go point by point because it's kind of enraging to read such things still in 2011.she was basically this close to sayin we don't shave our armpits.
    Not even mentioning the messiness
    Anyways all i gotta say is: speak for yourself Léa s'il te plait ! ! My place is neat, i wear skirts and sexy things and dont get "in trouble", i love looking chic even if i'm just getting a baguette, i wear colours. SEE i'm speakin for myself !

  • valentina

    My favourite interview by far!i really like Lea, plus i loved all the detailed photos, good job!

  • http://www.vogued-out.com Liz Lizo

    She's funny, seems very sweet, great feature.

    Liz Lizo

  • Laura

    Great feature! As a European who moved to Sydney, australia, I can totally relate to what she means: I have never seen so many girls with professional manicures, blow drys, fake tan, and full face make up. Not all girls have this look ( i certainly dont and neither do my friends) but there's certainly a trend. I don't think Lea means that one or the other is better or worse, it's just an observation. And I think the observation is generally right.

  • https://thebeautyphilosopher.com TheBeautyPhilosopher

    This is my kind of girl. When I read the Coco Rocha story, which I also loved, I was a little disappointed because her only reference to skincare was that she didn't find it as exciting as makeup. I was disappointed not because the story was not great (I loved it!) But because I am a skincare nut more than a beauty nut. So when I saw Lea's photos I almost cried with excitement. For some reason I also love to have my products on show ... I love the ritual and the pampering and the womanliness of it all.

  • Larry bruderman

    Love this, adore the Top Shelf. The diversity of all these womens' habits is what makes these interviews so brilliant.

  • http://www.lipstickfashionmascara.com Carmen

    I also leave the Top Shelf with a shopping list. Loved this one as I do all the others... <3

  • http://thekeypieces.blogspot.com/ Lou

    A great insite and I love how many products live in her bathroom.



  • Hannah

    Love it. Love Léa.

    I too am a product hoarder, they're everywhere, sometimes I forget I have certain things and I rediscover them and I'm like "oh, there you are!" but when it comes to going out I use very minimal product on my face. I'm a bigger skincare and fragrance junkie I think and yet I have cases and shelves full of make-up. It's a funny addiction!

    • https://thebeautyphilosopher.com TheBeautyPhilosopher

      yes me too. Love my skincare.

  • Damy

    I love her, and is weird I just bought la belle persone dvd today before seeing this...loved that movie. I really liked her sunglasses collection and all her french beauty products, Thanks for this!

  • http://www.carimabey.com hypnotic

    what about nail factory in paris? totally not surprised that she is a product hoarder. at least she was semi upfront, she could have kept it a secret!

  • elena

    This is such a funny post, I mean it in a good way, I kept reading about low maintenance and no makeup while at the same time seeing the pictures overflowing with stuff - made me laugh :)
    The discussion the came out of this post is great too. About no-makeup look. I am going in that direction, with the help of this very site as a matter of fact. For example, I ditched foundation for one of the lotions Emily posted about - Caudelie Perfecting Fluid - I have no idea how it works, but it works, I think of it as a "colorless foundation". I ditched mascara and just curl my eyelashes as one of the recent interviewees did (I still use a little bit of a smudgy eye pencil to define the eye).
    Love this site, it's a wealth of knowledge and tips, I discovered so much thanks to it.

  • Renee

    I'm curious as to what the ear spray is...

  • Caroline

    This is such a great Top Shelf ! I'm French, was born and still live in Paris, and I agree on the fact that when you wear sexy clothes or even not so sexy stuff, you get in trouble. It's crazy. High heels, red lips, skirts, everything makes people say something. I lived a year in Berlin and I never got bothered, never. I hate that here, it really makes me sick, it happens every single day. Today I wore high heels and people looked at me as if I was a piece of meat.
    Sorry about that, I just had to say it.
    Léa's bathroom looks like mine, there are products everywhere. I love make up and every kind of beauty products, but I still can go out with nothing on the face and it feels okay. I think there really is this dichotomy in the French view of beauty: we like to dress up, make up, spend time taking care of our skin etc., but when we don't feel like it, then we just don't.
    Thanks again for this post Emily!

  • anna

    i don't think that so many cosmetics are useful

  • Alika

    I love the layout of this TopShelf, the more pictures the better :] Keep up the great posts

  • http://beautymadefun.blogspot.com/ J.

    She sounds like a real person, basically! We all have a touch of thinking we don't have that much, and then realizing we do, I think!
    I actually like bathrooms like hers. I mean, they tell you something about the person who lives there. She clearly loves beauty products, and anyone who enters her bathroom will see that!

  • ddferg

    Just saw Midnight in Paris, and Lea is my new girl crush. Your comments are honest and refreshing. Thank you.

  • Aninnka

    I'm really curious about that spray for ears!

  • Anonymous

    For those who are upset by her words. It could also be a languagish barrier for not being able to fully put her thoughts into words in English. Therefore making her sound a little rude or what not. I must say however... she was stunning in MI4!!

  • Alafeschtrude

    Hi Girls. I'm french too :)
    I think in France we prefer to clean, moisturise and treat our peal than hiding our imperfections. That's what i do.
    I m' trying to have a healthy peal. ( i have got a lot of products too ;) ). I love sun but i know it gets the peal old. So i'm careful.
    I'm a more lazy about make up and clothing because i dont know what to wear.
    But i realised that eye liner and khôl or just a flashy lipstick ( and powder, not to be shiny to much) is enough to "highlight" the face. No foundation. I hate that. Sometimes a cream to hide redness around the nose.
    I look pretty like this. Some mascara too, but a transparent one.
    French women maybe look more "chic", but we are also less free than in others countries to do what we want. Lea Seydoux is right.
    Here, if you wear a short skirt, you can be treated as a whore in the street, if you wear too much make up , you can be treated as a stupid girl. I ve been told that in UK or USA, you can wear whatever you want, anyone would not judge you . I would LOVE that in France.
    But french people REALLY have to stop judging others and better take care of themselves first.

  • http://thefomergirlatbar.blogspot.com/ Alexis

    Yes, finally, a jumbled mess of beauty products littering a dresser. Finally, something that resembles my table setting!!

  • Mara

    She reminds me of a young Madeleine Kahn. Beautiful face.

  • Michelle

    I'm absolutely head-over-heels in love with her makeup bags! Anyone know where I can get anything like them?

  • Vanessa Stern

    She has a refreshing attitude. I love how she analyzed the differences between the cultures and how she finds her position between them. Enviable.

  • revenge_lobster

    Peal of laughter

  • Cèline

    I love this. I love French classic beauty and I love her!!

  • noiritall

    In my twenties, I was someone who the makeup people grabbed when I walked by their stores. "Do you always look like this?" I was angry and hurt but stayed and challenged them to make me look better. It was about my looking less tired. But, I worked hard and had a lot in my mind.


Armani Luminous Silk Foundation
Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk
Darphin Overnight Refining Lotion
Bioderma Créaline
Prada Candy Eau de Parfum
Comme Des Garcons Fragrance
Comme des Garcons Parfums Unisex Odeur 53 Eau de Toilette
Giorgio Armani
Giorgio Armani Sheer Blush 4 Sand
Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent Poudre de Soleil
Lancome 'Star Bronzer' Magic Bronzing Brush