French president and noted hunk Emmanuel Macron came under fire on Thursday after Le Point magazine reported that he’d spent 26,000 euros, or nearly $31,000, on makeup in his first three months in office. His makeup artist, a woman named in reports as Natacha M., has billed the executive branch once for 10,000 euros and again for 16,000 euros since Macron’s inauguration.
Macron’s constituents were not pleased to learn how much taxpayers are laying down to make the president’s already rather comely face more presentable to the public. “26000 € Macron’s makeup budget, just for complexion?” one Twitter user exclaimed. “Imagine if he had to do his eyes, mouth, blush & contour.” Another accused Macron of buying perlimpinpin powder, the French version of snake oil, implying that he isn’t getting his money’s worth.
The president’s office was forced to respond to the revelation, explaining that it had “called in a contractor as a matter of urgency,” forcing the president to pay more than usual. Macron will spend a “significantly reduced” sum in the future, his spokesperson promised.
Every part of this is hilarious: the outrage over how much it costs to make the president pretty; the knowledge that it could cost around $123,000 just to make a man look like he’s not wearing any makeup to begin with; the fact that the Élysée Palace had to come out in defense of its beauty-routine spending. It’s especially funny in light of the fact that Macron’s approval ratings are hovering in the mid-30s right now, in part because of his dramatic budget cuts that caused the head of the French armed forces to resign. If Macron’s even complexion weren’t worth 26,000 euros a quarter, the French government might have been able to pay the salary of another civil servant or two.
Macron’s isn’t the most expensive presidential face France has ever seen. François Hollande reportedly paid 30,000 euros a quarter for his makeup, and Nicolas Sarkozy paid 24,000 euros a quarter for his. In a world that made sense, the hotter presidents would have to spend less on makeup than the less-hot ones. This is definitely not the case in France, but elsewhere in the world, justice (insofar as justice means “sexy people pay less money”) may be served. The hairdresser of Justin Trudeau, one of the most luscious heads of hair in global politics today, only charges $40 a cut.