At 73, Jane Birkin Is Still the Ultimate Beauty Icon

Zoe Ruffner

“If someone had only told me to get rid of the eye makeup sooner!” Jane Birkin once lamented to Vogue. Birkin, who turns 73 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 Jane Birkin’s best beauty moments.

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1966
Photo: Alamy

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1969
Photo: Getty Images

Jane Birkin in Lacoste, Vogue

1970
Photographed by John Cowan, Vogue, January 1970

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1973
Photo: Everett

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1974
Photo: Getty Images

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1975
Photo: Getty Images

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1975
Photo: Getty Images

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1980
Photo: Getty Images

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1982
Photo: Getty Images

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1987
Photo: Getty Images

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1990
Photo: Getty Images

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1992
Photo: Getty Images

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2001
Photo: Getty Images

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2002
Photo: Getty Images

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2019
Photo: Getty Images

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Originally Appeared on Vogue