How do you make a beauty product seem fancier than it is? Put a little French on its packaging — an elle suffix, a superfluous é — and some people automatically think it's a little better. Whether that's true is up for discussion, but the psychology often works.
As it turns out, the opposite is also true. While browsing a Sephora in Paris last month, I spotted a few differences from American Sephora. The stores look alike, but French Sephora has a few brands not carried in its American counterparts: Chanel, Sampar, Leonor Greyl, and so forth. What was more surprising, though, is that makeup from L'Oréal and Maybelline was also stocked, and they cost nearly twice as much as they do in the States. I spotted French women lingering over those eye shadows longer than they did while looking at offerings from French beauty brands — which just goes to show you, the allure of foreign beauty goods is universal.