As a makeup artist, natural beauty has always been a two-pronged thing for me. On one hand, the movement is about embracing natural products and ingredients to enhance your health and help the environment. On the other, subtlety and bringing out people’s natural features when applying makeup matters too.
When you’ve been in the makeup business a long time, you develop a certain intuition about people’s faces. It doesn’t matter if it’s a brand new face or one you’ve known for years - often it just takes one look to come up with simple, creative ways to make their inner beauty shine through.
It got me thinking - could there be a way to share my makeup artist’s intuition around a bit? Sure, not everyone is keen to make a profession out of it, but so many of us do our own makeup every single day. Armed with gorgeous natural products and the right approach, it’s absolutely amazing what you can achieve without any formal training at all!
Here are my top 6 tips for simple, professional-looking makeup that enhances your own beauty rather than hiding it away.
Everyone has a different makeup style and different methods that make them feel comfortable. In my opinion though, makeup should never be used as a mask.
There’s a lot of hype at the moment around Kardashian-esque ‘caking’ and contouring, but I’ve found that for most real women, heavy makeup is incredibly ageing (not to mention suffocating for your skin). There are so many incredible products out there that are richly pigmented and offer such great coverage that you won’t ever need to cake them on.
I like to start a makeup look by applying product sparingly, then layering where I need to for coverage, intensity or colour. If you start seeing streaks, it’s likely you’ve used too much and need to pull back a little. No worries though - that’s what cleansers are for!
It’s awesome to see so many makeup tools readily available now, but sometimes all the choice can be confusing and overwhelming. There seems to be a specific tool for every tiny makeup whim, when in reality all you need is a few multi-purpose brushes that are cared for correctly.
My absolute favourite brushes come from the Inika Vegan Brush Kit - a pack of 8 brushes to suit literally all of your makeup needs.
To keep your brushes in great nick and to avoid potential infections, make sure you wash them at least once a week too. All you need is your favourite shampoo + conditioner combo or a great cleanser and a bit of warm water. This helps you avoid smearing unwanted colour all over your face and also helps to eradicate unwanted bacteria.
You can still make the most of gorgeous, bright colours without looking like a clown - it’s all in the way you approach them.
The key to mastering makeup colours lies in getting to know your own natural colouring. Do you have very fair skin or are you more olive-toned? Does dark lipstick with your brunette hair make you look sinister? It’s often a good idea to work with your natural lip, skin and eyebrow shades to find colours that blend well.
Eye colour on the other hand is definitely something you want to amp up and draw out no matter what yours is (they say the eyes are the windows to the soul after all). The simplest way to do this is through contrast - choosing colours that are opposite your eye on the colour wheel.
Blue or grey eyes look stunning with orange, peach or bronze tones around the eyes or even on the lips. Green eyes pop with plum and red-based shades, while brown eyes are the most versatile of all and can pair well with just about anything. If you’re somewhere in-between, take a good long look at the flecks of colour in your iris and decide which ones you’re keen to contrast.
Image: Kevin Tachman, Vogue, Peter Som 2015 Fashion Show
Have you been doing your makeup the same way for years without knowing why you ever started in the first place? Don’t worry, most of us get stuck in a bit of a rut at one point or another - the key to fixing it is change.
Doing something as simple as changing the texture of your foundation or the shade of your eyeshadow can be enough to pop you out of your rut and give you a refreshed, more vibrant look.
Another great thing to try out is using your old products in brand new ways - like experimenting with your favourite lipstick around your eyes or on your cheeks instead. Some products like Bite Beauty’s Multistick or W3LL PEOPLE's Universalist Multistick give you a selection of shades to use everywhere for an ultra-modern monochromatic look.
It’s time to get inventive!
Believe it or not, taking a few extra minutes out of your morning to take care of your eyebrows really can work wonders! By removing the odd stray hair here or there you can transform your entire face and all your expressions.
Look for an eyebrow powder or pencil designed to give you both shape and depth (I use The Brow Gal), and remember to always go gently. Heavy-handed eyebrow filling can add unwanted years to your look, so gradually adding shaping and colour to your brows is best practice.
If you’re unsure how to make your eyebrows work for your face shape, find a brow specialist to help you create and discover that perfect arch!
Ladies - not all makeup textures are created equal. Both matte and shimmer effects can look stunning when used correctly, but it takes a little bit of thought and know-how to achieve the look you truly want.
The most important thing to remember is that shimmer reflects light and matte will absorb it. This makes anything matte perfect for contouring and shimmer ideal for highlighting - although this often requires a bit of restraint too.
Avoid using shimmer all over your eyelids as it can be dated and ageing. Instead, stick to areas you want to draw the most light to like the inner corners of the eye or a very small section of the eyelid. With a little bit of balance, you’ll be beautiful and glowing in no time.
See - not too tricky is it? With a little bit of wisdom, you can bring out your own natural beauty every day to feel confident, capable and gorgeous!
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