French President Emmanuel Macron has spent a whopping 26,000 euros ($31,000) on his own makeup in the first three months of his presidency. Ridicule and outrage ensued on social media.
Aren't you the handsome one? You may be forgiven for thinking that it doesn't take much effort or money to get France's youthful 39-year-old president, Emmanuel Macron, ready to face the world in the morning.
But it turns out the Elysee Palace has paid a makeup artist named as Natacha M. 26,000 euros - two payments of 10,000 euros and 16,000 euros respectively - for Monsieur Macron's "maquillage" as the French say, during the first three months of his presidency.
Given that men rarely need more than a touch of foundation that doesn't make them look orange on the telly and at major events, it does seem extravagant, even in the unforgiving age of HD television. It certainly doesn't help his popularity, which has taken a (powdered) nosedive.
It didn't take long for the president to be mocked on Twitter, with one comment showing Macron and a powder compact and brush reading "Perlimpinpin for him," referring to the French expression of "poudre de perlimpinpin" meaning snake oil, or fake medicine that costs a lot and doesn't work.
The post also says "or how to look good on taxpayers' money."
Others put out mock-ups of Macron as a drag queen.
Weekly French news magazine Le Point, which broke the story, points out that Macron's predecessors Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy also spent a pretty penny on makeup. Hollande is said to have spent 6,000 euros a month on a full-time makeup artist as well as 10,000 euros a month on his hairdresser, according to Le Point.
Sarkozy is said to have spent a comparatively modest 8,000 euros a month on getting himself done up.
Elysee mulling cheaper options
The French president's Elysee Palace confirmed Le Point's story. A presidential adviser told news service FranceInfo that the money spent on those two occasions were "a matter of urgency" and that Macron's office was in the process of "mulling a less costly system."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is one step ahead here - she only spends 65 euros a week on a haircut with German celebrity hairdresser Udo Walz. But she does splurge on a personal stylist, who accompanies her on major events.