I realize the concept of using makeup in order to look natural is totally counterintuitive and contradictory, but that doesn’t stop me from doing it anyway on most days of my life. Let’s look at it as a way of enhancing what’s already there (eyes, skin, lips) without drastically changing how those things look -- like soft brown shadow and matte mauve lips rather than heavy eyeliner and red lipstick.
I love how many gorgeous, neutral-shade palettes are on the market these days. (Actually, it sort of seems like there aren’t many other kinds of palettes out there anymore. Let’s call it the Natural Takeover.) I could, and likely will, go broke attempting to try every neutrally toned lipstick and eyeshadow set that tortures me as I browse Ulta.
But in the interest of time and sanity, I’ve narrowed down my favorite products for creating a natural look. I’ll even tell you how to do it. Isn’t this fun? We’re gonna look so much like ourselves, only better!
In order to achieve the perfect natural makeup look, you will need:
- A good primer and BB cream
I’m using Nvey Eco Pro Studio Face Primer ($28) and BB Cream ($27). Already have a foundation or BB cream you love? Definitely grab this organic primer to ensure your skin stays moisturized and your makeup stays in place all day.
- A natural-toned cheek stain to help you glow
I recommend my current obsession, Tarte Cheek Stain ($30) in your color (I wear “Exposed.”)
- A neutral eye palette
- An eyeshadow primer
I’m in love with Too Faced Shadow Insurance ($20).
- A neutral, not-too-shiny lip gloss.
You can’t go wrong with the new Lip Gloss Pens from NudeStix ($24). (I’m wearing “Bare.”)
- A finishing powder to hold it all in place
I love the inexpensive yet powerful NYX Cosmetics HD Studio Finishing Powder ($10).
And now here's what to do with those...
The key to a nice, natural makeup look is not appearing to be caked-up with foundation, hence my recommendation for a BB cream. BBs provide some coverage and glow, and help buff out any imperfections in skin tone without totally masking you over and making your skin look like Play-Doh.
I’m loving the aforementioned Nvey Eco products because they are organic and 100% free of harmful ingredients. Their primer and makeup are packed with vitamins A, C and E, and oils like sweet almond, jojoba and safflower, among others. When using these products, I don’t feel like I’m slowly soaking in cancer-juice. (A good feeling.)
I use the primer all over my face, sans the forehead (I get oily there), and then I dab a dose of BB cream across my cheeks and over my nose. If things are dire, I’ll add some under-eye concealer. (Things are usually dire.) Don’t overdo it, though; remember, we want to look natural.
Putting on Tarte cheek stain is fun, in my opinion, but I might be easily amused. But really quick: Why a cheek stain and not just regular blush, you ask? Well, blush is by-and-large a powder substance, and we are trying to avoid that for this look. Powdery skin doesn’t look natural, and natural is our goal. Stains blend with your skin in a more natural, stuck-to-your-face sort of way. (Plus, they have great staying power!)
I start at the apple of my cheek and drag the stain diagonally and upward, toward my temple. I usually do two lines next to one another, occasionally a third for luck. Blend with your fingers.
I am going to unlock the secret of multi-shade natural eyeshadow palettes. I know it might seem mysterious, like, where are all of these shades supposed to go?! I’ll use the Too Faced palette as a guide, but these rules can apply to any neutral eye kit that has light, medium and dark shades.
- Apply the lightest matte shade ("Heaven" in Too Faced) all over the lid, paying special attention to your brow bone.
- Apply the lightest shimmer shade ("Silk Teddy" in Too Faced) to your inner corner and over your lid, up to your crease. (But don’t do all the way up to the brow bone. That’s too intense.)*
- Apply the medium matte shade ("Cashmere Bunny" in Too Faced) generously to your crease.
- Apply the medium shimmer shade ("Push-Up" in Too Faced) generously to your crease. Continue to blend with both matte and shimmer medium shades on your crease until you reach a desired effect.
- Apply the darkest shade to your upper lash line. ("Sexpresso" in Too Faced).
- Apply mascara. Brown mascara will give you a more natural look, but I’m a sucker for black lashes.
*Note that not all natural palettes will come with light, medium or dark shimmer shadow options, although many do. I’m a fan of shimmery/glittery neutrals myself, as they give the natural look a subtle pop. However, this look can be easily completed with a simple three-color palette with matte light, medium and dark shades -- just follow the same instructions, minus shimmer.
Can we talk about this lip pen from NudeStix? I’m obsessed. The color gloss twists up at the bottom and comes out on the brush, which reminds me of the lip glosses of my youth. Except instead of being gooey and horrible, this gloss dries matte and looks amazing. I’m wearing "Bare," but they have quite a few options.
Put on your lip stuffs, folks, even if it’s just chapstick. No one likes a plain, crusty lip.
Using NYX translucent finishing powder (or some other brand, but why bother? Look at that price tag!), finish off this look. I like to use a translucent powder to set this look because it allows your natural radiance to come through while also protecting your makeup and giving it some staying power.
What are you favorite products to look like yourself -- but better?