EVENT: 60min with Maxime Poulin | Guerlain’s International Makeup Artist

One of the most absolutely rewarding things about beauty blogging is being able to meet those who are passionate about what they do and a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of sitting down with Guerlain’s International Makeup Artist Maxim Poulin to chat beauty philosophy, holiday makeup and of course that elusive je ne sais quoi that surrounds French women.

For those who are a fan of luxury products, Guerlain would be no stranger. Originating as one of the oldest perfume houses in the world, the brand was established in 1828 in Paris by Mr. Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain who later became the royal perfumer to French royalty Napoleon III and his wife Eugene. Success passed from generation to generation and the house of Guerlain soon delved into skincare as well as colour cosmetics and is now an iconic name in French beauty and might I add is one of my personal guilty pleasures.

As a member of the Art Team working alongside Guerlain’s Creative Director Olivier Échaudemaison, Maxime quickly found an affinity to the brand’s philosophy that spoke true to his own ideals about beauty.

“Let the individual woman shine through.”

For him, having made up different women from all over the world, the idea of a singular beauty look isn’t the goal. Instead, the makeup should bring out and enhance each persons individuality in a way unique and intimate to them.


Not having traveled very far myself, I was eager to hear his thoughts on how Canadian women think about beauty compared to other parts of the world that he’s visited. His answer was somewhat unexpected.

“Canadian women” he begins, “have the great advantage of learning from other cultures. Being exposed to so many multi-cultural influences, they often pick up on certain elements and add it to their own routine.”

For Maxime, there isn’t a well defined beauty aesthetic here in Canada like there tends to be in other countries but rather a mixing of different styles that blend into one another. In short, we’re interested in experimenting with new things and aren’t afraid to mix and match.

Being one of the iconic French beauty houses, the subject natural drifted to the topic of that elusive je ne sais quoi which seems to surround all French women.

“What is it about French women?” I ask. “What is this beauty secret that make them so chic even when they are simply out grocery shopping?”

“It’s just an intuitive feeling” Maxime explains, his own French accent very much befitting this conversation at this moment. “It more about an attitude rather than a particular look or product or style. Actually, the style is usually never perfect and this is done purposely. If the hair is very done up then the makeup is more casual or vice-versa. Women in France, whether they wear a lot of makeup or not usually have a certain beauty routine, where they dedicate a small amount of time each day just to themselves to engage in their own small beauty rituals. It’s the way of living a womanly lifestyle.”


At this point, I could no longer deny the constant flicker of my eye towards the beautiful display of makeup that lined the counter. I asked Maxime to talk me through a few ways to create a fall and winter look, even something you could wear to all those holiday parties which we all use as an excuse to wear our fancy lipsticks.

Here’s his quick break down

  • Go for gold. It illuminates the skin in a beautiful warmth which is especially welcomed this time of the year in the dull weather when skin can look a bit lackluster.  Gold tones run through most of Guerlains colour products from primers to eye shadows and these colours bring a touch of warm radiance to any skin tone.
  • A smokey eye never fails. One of his favourite ways to wear an easy smokey eye is to create a layered look using a brown gel pencil blended from the lash line upwards then layered with a black kajal pencil at the base of the lash line which is smudged with a cotton bud or small brush, mixing with the brown and transforming the looking into a softly shaded smokey eye that is easy to wear for day but can also be transformed for night time.


“You can not go wrong with a red lipstick” Maxime insists.

And to this I must agree. There’s almost a magical transformational quality about a crimson lip that makes even the most simple of makeup styles look chic and presentable. It’s of my favourite ways to put on an event ready face when I’m not in the mood to match eye shadows colours.

Guerlain’s lipsticks are an indulgence and rightfully so. From the exquisite mirrored compact of its Rouge G range to the creamy formulations and beautiful shine infused with mango and shea butter. Maxmine introduces me to #25 Garconne, a richly pigmented classic red that is infused with ruby powder. How’s that for holiday glamour!
But the trick to the perfect red lip,
whether it’s a cherry, merlot or scarlet, is the right preparation. Taking the effort to do the proper steps will ensure the most beautiful results and do justice to the colour as well. Your red lip routine should ideally include; exfoliation, hydration, primer, lip liner, lipstick, blotting and then a reapplication of lipstick to built up lasting saturation.

FIND GUERLAIN | Guerlain Online | Sephora


Having jetted his way from Paris to Montreal, Toronto and then Vancouver I’m sure Maxime has been living out of a suitcase for weeks. Even so, his enthusiasm is infectious and there was never a dull moment chatting with him about makeup, beauty philosophies and detox juice…yes we went there as well. It was his first time in Vancouver and I wondered if any of you had the chance to meet him at the makeup event at The Bay downtown later that day?

Until next time Maxime, come back any time.

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