Night-Out Makeup: NYC vs. L.A. vs. Paris


Free People

When we say the words night-out makeup, what look comes to mind? False lashes? Red lipstick? None of the above? If you're a beauty lover, odds are you have a pretty solid concept of what makeup for a night out is supposed to look like. But believe it or not, this idea varies wildly from city to city.

We were fascinated to discover the typical "going-out" makeup looks in three of the world's most beauty-centric cities: New York, Los Angeles, and Paris. Sure, we can all identify the differences between Chloë Sevigny, Kylie Jenner, and Jeanne Damas, but what about non-celebs from each of these towns? What products and routines do they swear by when getting ready for a night out?

To find out, we spoke with three women who represent the very essence of these cities: born-and-raised New Yorker (and Byrdie senior editor) Hallie Gould, Los Angeles native (and Byrdie intern) Isabella Garrett, and French girl Clémence Polès, creator of the street style blog Passerbuys. We got these women to spill their insider makeup secrets from New York, L.A., and Paris. Spoiler: The results are fascinating.

Keep scrolling to see the differences between how New Yorkers, Angelenos, and Parisians do their makeup for a night on the town!

New York


Original Illustration by Kimmie Perl

According to Gould, there is no "standard" night-out look in NYC. "The best thing about New York is can you can pretty much wear and do whatever you want," she says. "There's no set 'beauty uniform,' which makes getting ready and going out a lot more fun." That said, New Yorkers tend to look "cool but effortless—just a hint of highlight there, a swipe of lipstick with no mirror, that kind of thing," she says.

No matter what, though, mascara and lipstick definitely factor in. Gould describes her typical night-out look like this: "I'll wear the usual—a foundation, concealer, and nude liner—and then pile on the mascara." Gould says she prefers a "sticky, goopy formula" for its doe-eyed effect. "My favorite is Too Faced's Better Than False Lashes ($35) because it has those awesome nylon fibers that attach and make your lashes look so fluttery."

On a night when she's trying to turn it up, Gould says she does a bit of highlighting with Make Up For Ever's Ultra HD Concealer ($27) under the eyes, on her cheekbones, in her Cupid's bow, and on her chin. Then, lipstick. "New York often calls for a vampy grunge color, so I opt either for Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Mysterious Red ($26) or Nars Semi Matte Lipstick in 413 BLKR ($27)," Gould says. "The latter was inspired by the flagship Nars store on Bleeker Street, so I feel confident that I'm repping NYC when I wear it."

Los Angeles


Original Illustration by Kimmie Perl

Night-out makeup in L.A. is all about full glamour: glowy skin, sultry eyes, and always false lashes. "On a typical night out, I would go for a slightly contoured and highlighted look with a shimmery eye and a satin lipstick to finish it off," says Garrett. "Having the ultimate glow is definitely what I strive for. If my night out look could be a drink, it would be a glass of champagne."

Garrett begins with her Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit ($40). "Then, of course, every L.A. girl has her trusty Urban Decay Naked Palette ($54)," she says. In L.A., you always prep your lids first—Garrett recommends using Urban Decay's Primer Potion ($12). After shadow, create a wing with Kat Von D's Tattoo Liner ($19), followed by a good set of lashes ($10). Finish it off with a liquid lipstick and a spritz of Mac Fix+ ($22), and you can call yourself an Angeleno.



Original Illustration by Kimmie Perl

During the day, Parisians typically forgo makeup, says Polès. They sweep on a little moisturizer, and that's it. "So for a night, we keep it simple," she explains. "Either we will go for a bold matte red lipstick and maybe some mascara and black eyeliner on the lids, or we will go for a smoky eye look with bare lips."

All in all, the look can be described as chic and low-maintenance. "My Parisian girlfriends keep their makeup to a minimum and won't spend more than five to 10 minutes doing it," says Polès. That said, Poles swears she's never caught without a tube of Chanel's Rouge Allure lipstick ($37). "Right now I'm obsessed with the shade La Bouleversante," she says.

Which makeup look is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!