There’s a growing interest in the ‘natural’ look. And while guys joke about women spending hours trying to look like they’re not wearing any makeup, it’s closer to the truth than we’d like to admit. True, the average man can’t tell the difference between eye shadow and blush, but most women can and looking ‘bare-faced’ takes more effort than looking all done up.
Why does the natural look matter? Well, you might have noticed that while dramatic makeup makes a woman look polished and sophisticated, it also makes her look older. In teens and young adults, the mature look is quite desirable. It keeps them from getting carded, or from being under-estimated in professional settings.
Still, as we get older, we’d rather go back to our innocent teen persona, especially once we start worrying about wrinkles, crows’ feet, and other signs of age. The bare-faced look also makes us look fresh-faced, relaxed, and laid back. This can be a blessing in the age of online dating when you want to seem cool, approachable, and low maintenance.
If you asked a guy, he would say, ‘If you want a bare faced look, then don’t wear makeup!’ Unfortunately for women, it’s never that simple. When you’re used to wearing makeup, you feel naked without it. Plus, makeup has a world of benefits beyond looking elegant and classy. It highlights strengths, minimises flaws, hides spots, and evens out complexions.
If you’re looking for that ‘woke up like dis’ look, metallic eye shadow is the secret. Usually, eye makeup is intended to give you bedroom eyes. The effect is sultry and seductive, giving you that half-closed eyelid, smoky lashes, or cat-like expression that whispers ‘come hither’.
If you’re attached to your smoky eyes, you can use the same style but make them less dramatic, using lavenders and lilacs instead of dark purples and navies. Replace your classic charcoal with a pale grey, and smudge the lines instead of using the sharp lines and cat-like angles of night-out eyes.
‘Makeup-free’ eyes create the opposite effect. They make you look alert, awake, and fresh after a good night’s sleep. Coppers and golds achieve this quite well. If you have a warm undertone, focus on warmer metallics, and if your skin is cooler, go for pale and rose shades of gold. Blend out any harsh lines and smudge your angles.
Give yourself that ‘just had coffee’ expression by blending lighter shades on the inner corners of your eyes. Use a liner that exactly matches your skin tone. Flesh-toned eyeliner widens your eyes without seeming to be there at all.
Blend your colours to create a seamless canvas which enhances that barely-there effect. Match your skin-tone eye colour with nude lipstick. Remember that not all nudes are equal, so get a nude that applies to the natural colour of your skin, whether your complexion is dark chocolate or pale porcelain. Choose a nude that has just a little shine.
If you’re worried that your nude lips make your face look washed out, select a glossy shade with a hint of pink or peach. Tinted lip balm works well too since it evades the shiny teen look of regular gloss while avoiding the heaviness of a lipstick.
You can also jazz your lips by adding some blush for rosy cheeks, or a little extra mascara to brighten your eyes. A bit of rosy blush on your ‘cheek apples’ and hair line gives you the cute look of a kid with pinched cheeks. While you generally don’t want to look like a child, this element of mischief creates the illusion that your ‘bare’ skin is reacting to the elements.
Boost this effect by selecting blush and lip colour in coral or pink. They mimic the natural appearance of flushed skin. You seem like you’re not wearing colour, but your skin still looks vibrant. Ditch your usual brush and apply the colour with your finger, then set it by lightly sweeping lip balm over it. Emphasis on light, so you don’t remove the colour altogether.
Interestingly, you can then use the same pale lipstick to lightly stain your cheeks. If you’d rather not, use a blush in the same shade, or one that’s fairly close. If your skin tone is distinct from the pale pink, blend it by dipping a powder brush in translucent powder.
If your skin tone tends towards fair, use shades of melon and papaya rather than pink on your cheeks and lips. Try a glossier one on your lips if you don’t want to look too monochromatic.
And while you want your lips glossy and your cheeks blushy, use matte powder or foundation to give your skin that unadorned fresh-faced look. Another cool trick is to use a little mist or spritz as a finishing touch. It gives you the dewy look of untainted skin even if you’re wearing your standard powder or foundation.