by Zoe Ruffner– Vogue
“If someone had only told me to get rid of the eye makeup sooner!” Jane Birkin once lamented to Vogue. Birkin, who turns 72 today, is referring to the Swinging ’60s, when she decamped from her native England and landed in France with exaggerated etchings and layers of lower-lash mascara.
Fast-forward to the following decade, when the gap-toothed gamine abandoned her heavy hand to embrace a more au naturel approach. As she later noted, “It was nice because then you looked like what you looked like in the morning.” It’s this effortless élan, now immortalized on countless Instagram feeds, that has come to symbolize Birkin, defining laissez-faire beauty for a whole new generation of French-girls-in-training.
No matter whether her long lengths have been haphazardly piled atop her head or shorn short as she stands onstage in a cashmere pull and faded jeans, the actress, singer, and songwriter has long espoused the kind of fresh facade that’s achieved not with a coveted cosmetic but rather, simply, a smile. “It takes 10 years off!” she’s famously quipped. Consider it sage advice for the New Year ahead. Above, a look at Birkin’s best beauty moments.