His wife Brigitte lamented her wrinkles compared with his “freshness” over the breakfast table, but Emmanuel Macron’s youthful looks come at a price: € 26,000 in three months. The French president returned to work this week after perhaps the shortest presidential holiday in modern French history to find himself under fire not only for his controversial plans to reform France’s complicated labour law, but for spending a small fortune on make-up. Since entering the Elysée Palace in May, the 39-year-old president has settled two bills from a personal make-up artist called Natacha M; one for € 10,000 and another for € 16,000. After the report in Le Point , presidential aides insisted there was no cover-up and that the make-up artist had been called in as “a matter of urgency”. Future cosmetic bills would be “significantly reduced”, they insisted. “The sum covers various services including press conferences and foreign trips where the person concerned has to travel with him,” one Elysée official told journalists. The official admitted the bill was “high ... but less than his predecessor’s”. Macron, nicknamed Jupiter after the all-powerful Roman god, is not the first French president to pay handsomely for keeping up appearances. His predecessor, the Socialist François Hollande, was accused of “shampoo socialism” after reportedly forking out € 30,000 for make-up, topped off with a monthly € 9,895 bill for a personal barber to cut and dry his thinning hair, according to the satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchainé . The Elysée justified the cost by saying the hairdresser had to “get up early and fix the president’s hair every morning ... and as many times during the day as necessary”. Vanity Fair claimed Hollande’s conservative predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, spent € 8,000 a month on having his face done. In 2005, it was revealed that the British prime minister, Tony Blair, had spent more than £1,800 of taxpayers’ money on cosmetics and make-up artists in the six years since he came to power. David Cameron’s hairstylist, Raffaele “Lino” Carbosiero, was reportedly paid £90 per cut and dry. Carbosiero was later given an MBE for “services to hairdressing” after moving the PM’s parting from the right side to the left. On Facebook, a former employee of the British embassy in Paris claimed UK ministers and even the PM “would joke about how orange-tinted their French colleagues looked during bilateral meetings”. They would say “French politicians all look like film stars ... where is the stress and the fatigue?” he wrote. Sacré bleu – or orange – as the French don’t say.