Tips for a Natural Makeup Look
The sign of a truly talented athlete is how easy she makes it look. That quadruple axel, 16-foot pole vault or 720 McTwist may look breezy, but it took some serious behind-the-scenes work.
Natural-looking makeup follows a similar approach: Dewy, flawless skin, defined eyes and pouty lips require a few skilled touches to look effortless. Follow the experts’ easy five-step training program, and you’ll master natural-looking makeup without breaking a sweat.
Step 1: Moisturize
“Skin that is well-moisturized and hydrated creates the perfect foundation for any look,” says makeup artist Bruce Grayson, who has worked his magic on such stars as Brooke Shields and Katie Holmes. “The smoother the skin, the easier it is to apply foundation and the less product you need to use. This allows your radiant, natural complexion to play a major role in the makeup.”
Grayson’s new favorite anti-aging moisturizer is Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-Aging Wrinkle Revolution Complex ($29.99). Its hydrating ingredients smooth the skin, and its light-reflecting particles practically erase wrinkles.
Step 2: Camouflage
Subtlety is of the utmost importance when you’re covering skin imperfections, according to makeup artist Lauren Cosenza. “For natural makeup, the worst possible crime is to be heavy-handed with your concealer,” she says. That means using it only where necessary — usually on blemishes, around the nostrils and under the eyes.
For foundation, stay away from chalky, flat powders. “I’m a fan of creams and liquids with a luminous, radiant finish,” says makeup artist Sonia Kashuk. “Skin in its most natural state is not flat and matte, so when emulating a natural makeup look I try to incorporate some of this inherent brightness.”
Next, choose the right color. Kashuk says that if you’re in between shades, go with the darker one, since going lighter almost always looks chalky and artificial. Finally, don’t assume that you need to cover your entire face; apply foundation onto areas where you have redness, uneven tones or discoloration and blemishes, and be sure to blend the edges and down onto your jawbone so you don’t look like you’re wearing a mask.
Step 3: Color Cheeks
You can go one of two ways when it comes to natural-looking cheeks: bronzer or a pop of color. Joanna Schlip, Physicians Formula’s celebrity makeup artist, who works with stars including Eva Longoria and Christina Applegate, likes going for a burnished, just-back-from-the-Caribbean effect. “To create a natural tan, use a powdered bronzer and brush it into a ‘3’ shape along the sides of the face, hitting the forehead, under the cheekbone and under the jaw,” she says.
Makeup artist Mary Schook, however, prefers to create a dewy finish with a touch of Josie Maran Argan Oil ($48), which adds a slight sheen and nourishes the skin. “I lightly brush some along the cheekbones, and finish with NARS Orgasm Blush on the apples of the cheeks for a fresh look.”
Step 4: Define Eyes
While it’s always tempting to play up the eyelashes, a different feature deserves more attention for the natural-makeup look. “It’s important to pay attention to brows, and make sure they’re groomed,” Schlip says. “That small step makes you look more finished and polished, but still natural.”
Curl your lashes and apply only one coat of mascara — dramatic lashes have their place, but not here. Schlip says to choose eye shadow and liner in tones that mimic your skin, such as earthy sands, taupes and browns.
Step 5: Tint Lips
Think soft and satiny, not bold and matte, for lips that complement the natural-makeup look. Grayson likes a lip-toned gloss to finish a natural look, to “make them look fuller.” As an alternative, Schook suggests using a lip stain that’s just a shade darker than your usual lip color, which adds a hint of color without looking too “done.”
Looking like you're not wearing makeup takes skill. Here's how the pros create a glowing, fresh look that appears effortless.
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