'I'm Esther MK [@estheresthermk] and I live in London. I'm French though, so it's interesting to me that a lot of American and British publications have this obsession for French girls at the moment. For a long time I didn't identify at all with the French mentality when it comes to beauty—I found most people boring to death because they don’t take risks. When I lived in Paris, a lot of people would speak to me in English! Conversely I've been feeling more French than ever now that I’m in London. I’ve never held onto the accent though, it sounds more lazy than sexy to me.
I work for a website called Farfetch, a luxury e-tailer that works with independent boutiques. There's a French version, I supervise the French content and I help the other international teams. I think it’s telling that I work in fashion but that I pay more attention to beauty than to clothing itself. If the ‘00s girl was a fashionista, I think the '10s girl has streamlined her look and even if she does spend a lot of time and energy on herself—nutrition, exercise, balance. The goal is to ultimately appear effortless. People are constantly searching for the life-changing thing that will suppress the need for everything else. I think that’s where the difference lies between French and American girls—the French are not so focused on perfection. I don’t want to watch a tutorial to do a perfect smoky eye. I’ll look at a picture and just try, and if it’s not exactly the same, great! It’s my own thing now. I’m inspired by my dad, he’ll cook something but will never completely follow a recipe and it’s even better.
I do try to take really good care of my skin though. I wash my face in the shower with Neutrogena Visibly Clear 2 in 1. It doesn't foam so it's not drying. I use Naked Shower Gel [ed note: not available in the US], a super mild baby wash, and Johnson's Baby Oil. I try not to slip and die in the process. I mix my own tinted moisturizer in a tiny jam jar. The base is Piz Buin Allergy Face Cream SPF 30, it has zinc in it. I add drops of Givenchy Photo'Perfexion in Perfect Petal. I got matched with the shade in winter, so in summer I add Bourjois BB Bronzing Cream. To make it moisturizing and dewy I add the same oil I use at night, also my own blend.
My makeup comes off easier at night now that I cleanse with oil. I used to think it was complicated, but you just rub the oil until all makeup has melted and you look a bit like a sexy chimney sweep, clean up the mess with wet cotton pads, et voilà! I use micellar water on lazy nights. Créaline is great, but any will do. At night I use any eye cream sample I have, and Kiehl's Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate. It's got Vitamin C and it just turns your skin into velvet. I used to think my under eye circles were so bad, now I just let them be. Concealer is like a bad boyfriend—after some time apart, you stop needing it and you become stronger.
Our collective eyebrow obsession has gone too far. I see girls drawing these dark caterpillars and I just want to scrub their face! I fill mine lightly with taupe eye shadow. The trick is to actually pick it a shade lighter than your actual hairs and brush them upwards with clear mascara. I keep my eyes simple, with L'Oréal Telescopic on both my upper and lower lashes for a doll-like look. I don’t ever blush so I need some kind of color on my face, like MAC Cremeblend Blush in Something Special that I just pat with my fingers. For contouring, I use Guerlain Terracotta in their lightest shade. Then some kind of lip product, Homéoplasmine or Vaseline Rosy Lips.
If I go out at night I like to add things to my face. To be honest the only products I would ever need are a black liner and my MAC X Carine Roitfeld palette that has a genius gold shade, Cactus Thorn[ed note: no longer available]. I’m a total MAC Lipstick devotee, it’s a crucial part of my look either if I interview a job applicant or if I have my eye on some guy. I’m on my third tube of Russian Red, which I've been using ever since I got it as a PR gift. I also use Lady Danger to distract from my face when hungover. Diva, Mehr, Taupe, and Ruby Woo are all in my kit, too.
I wash my hair every three to four days with Naked Mild Shampoo [ed note: not available in the US]. It smells like neroli, very medicinal. Then I re-wash with Neutrogena T-Gel—not sexy but it keeps my scalp in check because I have dermatitis. It's a treatment, but with the double shampoo I’ll only need a drop. I finish with Davines Love Conditioner, recommended by my guardian angel of a colorist who got my blue-green hair back to normal. You only need the tiniest amount and it air dries perfectly. If I have to blow dry it I'll use Bumble & bumble Straight. After a few days I'll use Batiste Dry Shampoo or baby powder, and Bumble & bumble Mending Complex on my ends. Or I’ll put it up in a topknot, a French braid or milkmaid braids and people think I care.
I’ve recently made a major fragrance change by getting Cozé from Parfumerie Générale. You pronounce 'c’est osé,' which means 'it’s audacious.' Since I was 17, I’ve been into men’s perfumes, particularly Chanel Allure Homme Sport and Penhaligon’s Endymion. It was the ultimate transgression, being a girl with boobs, lipstick, and a boyish scent. Both girls and boys found it sexy. Cozé is meant for men too, but on me it reads womanly. It’s spicy and heady because of the Indian hemp, and it dries down sweet but not teenybopper. It’s the smell of someone who calls the shots, exactly how I feel right now.”
—as told to ITG
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