President Emmanuel Macron's office has confirmed a report that the French leader spent $30,695 on makeup during his first three months in power, and it says it's trying to find a cheaper alternative. The report in Le Point news magazine prompted harsh criticism of the president from French social media users. It said the cost includes the pay of a freelance makeup artist following Macron during television appearances and trips abroad. The AP reports that the president's office confirmed the amount Friday, with Slate reporting it explained it had to "[call] in a contractor as a matter of urgency" and that the cost will drop going forward.
The report comes at a bad time for Macron, with polls showing his popularity plunging in recent weeks following the announcement of budget cuts and divisive labor reform. Le Point said Macron's makeup expenses are lower than those of predecessor Francois Hollande, who paid a full-time employee the current equivalent of about $12,000 monthly, or $36,000 for the quarter. But they have the British beat by a landslide: The Guardian reports that between 1999 and 2005, Tony Blair spent $2,300 (at today's exchange rate) on makeup.