Violette_FR's New York headquarters doesn’t look much like an office. When I visited earlier this summer to learn about the new Bisou collection, huge mood boards—featuring glittering images like a cobalt Matisse, Kate Moss, and '90s baby blue eye shadow (a combo that makes perfect sense if you ask me)—littered the space. Sweet family photos, acrylic-speckled paintbrushes, and fabric-filled scrapbooks covered tables near the center of an airy, afternoon light-filled space more similar to an artist's loft than a room where people send emails. The entire spread was a delightful, highly curated mess, and exactly the kind of place you'd expect from Violette's playful world of French beauty.
If you’re anything like me, “French girl beauty” has had a chokehold on your psyche since your first flick of eyeliner. While the term is bandied about quite a bit—and we all know French women are in no way a monolith—there’s something steadfast and appealing about the classics. Tousled bangs, a gorgeous red lip, a dash of nonchalance, these tropes endure for a reason (and appear along with a healthy sprinkling of more unexpected references on many a Violette_FR inspiration board). They're effortless, cool, and, most of all, timeless, and in 2022, no brand delivers that je ne sais quoi like Violette_FR.
Since its launch in 2021 by French painter, makeup artist, and beauty legend Violette, the brand has released the cult-favorite Boum Boum Milk ($64), a breakthrough universal highlighter ($28), and a velvet matte lip ($28) worthy of a born-and-bred Parisienne—and the team at Violette_FR is just getting started. Not content with an already best-selling (not to mention TikTok-famous) favorite, the brand is reworking its beloved Bisou Balm's formula, doubling down on the promise of "bitten lips" and a sultry blurred effect. The company also debuts its first-ever blush today, a product launch I’m sure fans have been begging for since Violette_FR's first day online. (I know I have.)
As a classically trained painter, Violette draws much of her beauty inspiration from art history. Everything from Renaissance brush techniques to color theory informs her dreamy, easy-to-use formulas. "I was obsessed with Neoclassic paintings, and I’d study the techniques the masters used to create radiant, true-to-life skin," says Violette. The collection is meant to mimic that painterly, natural flush, so you'll glow from within like a Da Vinci madonna after a few dabs of Bisou blush and balm.
Smufato, an ultra-precise blending technique (perfected by the Italian masters, of course), inspired Violette_FR's new blush. The magic of this particular formula lies in its marbling. Our skin, when naturally flushed, features multiple tones, so Violette made sure to combine light and dark shades in a Florentine pink marble to achieve that multi-dimensional look. The result? A matte-balm formula that melts into the skin and gives you the illusion of "who me?" rosy cheeks.
You probably already know about the TikTok-famous (and almost always sold-out) Bisou Balm. Now, it's back with a brand new formula that includes an added boost of hydration (courtesy of Brassica Campestris seed), extra-comfortable wear, and an even more blur-able formula. Swipe on a heavier layer for vibrancy, or dab it on and blur for that perfect "just bitten" look.
It was love at first sight with this product. Bisou Blush's marbled stick looks unlike any other cream blush I've tried (I've sampled my fair share) and was almost too pretty to use (almost being the operative word here). Plus, considering my love of corsets, pearls, and loose waves, Violette_FR immediately had me at Renaissance-inspired.
Thankfully, the formula lived up to my artistic expectations. It's sheer, buildable, and really does melt into my skin for a purposely uneven glow. After a few quick dabs, I had a baby-pink flush that was multi-dimensional, but never splotchy. My personal favorite was the "Inès" shade (there's also a berry and mauve tone if that's more your style), which gave me rosy cheeks worthy of a Titian muse.