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beauty: make-up

Claude Defresne: chase that dreamClaude Defresne: chase that dream

With an early love of fashion and beauty, Claude Defresne is the inspiration for many with his make-up artistry and vision. Now the International Make-up Artist for leading beauty company Clarins, Ana Vegar learns more about the man who is helping people celebrate and feel good about themselves
From issue 22 of Lucire



WITH HIS HANDSOME FEATURES and haughty vibe, Claude Defresne gets noticed in a crowd. He is responsible for explaining and designing Clarins’ make-up products all over the world.

His passion for make-up and colour started at the tender age of 10, where Defresne took out his family photo album and took to it with his mother’s foundation and other make-up products, so that he could ‘put colour on the faces of the pictures.’

He was often noted as ‘sensitive’ while growing up. At 13, a teacher noticed his artistic and sketching talent and recommended a high school, Lycée Mariano Fortuny, which specialized in haute couture. After working at the Sephora chain of cosmetics’ stores on the Champs-Élysées for one year, he was employed by the distinguished fashion house, Thierry Mugler. There, Defresne worked as the fashion house’s resisdent make-up artist.

As he continued to work for the fashion house, he became responsible for designing the runway make-up looks working in collaboration with Thierry Mugler. He then accepted an offer to work with Stella Cadente, a noted leading Paris designer, to design all runway beauty looks for all her major shows.

Defresne has been involved in several French movies as a senior make-up artist, and has worked with such famous faces as Catherine Deneuve, Gerard Depardieu and Juliette Binoche.

Most recently, he has the key role as International Make-up Artist and Trainer for the beauty brand Clarins. He is responsible for designing the brand’s complete new make-up trends and products. This follows a stint between 2000 and 2003, when he worked as Clarins’ make-up trainer and PR representative in Iran, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman. There, Defresne had to learn to work in conjunction with the local culture: there were times where he has had to skilfully apply eye make-up to women wearing their veil. ‘In this region, they magnify their face with very sophisticated, almost theatrical make-up. All of their sensuality is expressed through their make-up.’

He values Clarins’ emphasis on well-being and enjoys the mixture of “down-to-earth” and “femme fatale” beauty that is shown through the brand. As well as this, Defresne tests all the Clarins products. ‘I try lipsticks, mascaras, eyeliners … everything! I absolutely need to know how they feel on my lips and skin.’

He enjoys the emphasis at Clarins where there is a strong feeling of belonging to a family. ‘I work for a company that offers me what I need in terms of my personal exchange. Respect is shown through listening. I adhere to, and have adopted, the Clarins philosophy and put it into practice every day, even in my private life.’

The master of make-up has his own beauty secrets. One product that Defresne finds innovative is Clarins’ Fix’Mascara. He says it has an ingenious waterproof coating, and ‘it doubles as an eyebrow refiner’, and it brings some colour to the eye brow to help ‘open up the eye area’. But Defrense announces that the secret to using Clarins make-up is knowing the skill of blending. You can make beautiful and colour effects with a few of Clarins’ basic make-up products.

One of the most important aspects of applying make-up for Defresne is that he never sees it as a mask but rather a tool to help boost self-esteem. ‘In Asia, I was working with a woman in her 40s. We were communicating via a mirror. Someone translated what I was saying as I explained what I was doing. There was real connection between us. She seemed sad and far away when she arrived, but as I worked with her how to apply make-up, she seemed to sit up a little straighter. When she left, she was proud, radiant, and sure of herself. She had regained confidence in herself. It is this kind of experience that makes me say, “Thank you,” to life.’ •


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‘I work for a company that offers me what I need in terms of my personal exchange. Respect is shown through listening. I adhere to, and have adopted, the Clarins philosophy and put it into practice every day, even in my private life’

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