Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear American and European catwalks showed models galore with minimal, stripped-down makeup, lustrous skin and perfect eyebrows. Though colder weather typically evokes smokey eyes and wine-dark lips, the “no-makeup makeup” seen at Narciso Rodriguez, Ralph Lauren, Marchesa, Valentino, Isabel Marant, Chloé, and Victoria Beckham looked fresh, pretty, and friendly.
Notice that I did not say “natural.” There’s nothing natural about this “au naturel” look. After all, natural is what happens when you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror. The idea here is to appear as if you wake up in the morning and look beautiful.
I rounded up three of my favorite celebrity makeup artists to get their takes on how to get there: Rogelio Reyna, Bobbi Brown’s Director of Artistry and Education for United States Hispanics and Latin America; British native Talia Shobrook, who often works on special projects for Laura Mercier; and Tim Quinn, National Director of Creative Artistry for Giorgio Armani Beauty.
Gigi Anders: What do you think about this look and how does that fit into your makeup and beauty philosophy?
Talia Shobrook: Natural makeup kind of gets lost in this whole theory of no makeup, which is not true. I see a lot of women walking around right on trend, with just a dab of concealer and no personality, and it’s not about that. It’s about being very clever and playing with textures.
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Rogelio Reyna: Natural doesn’t mean completely bare-faced. To Bobbi, beauty starts with great skin, and the right foundation, concealer, and loose powder are essential to achieving a smooth and even complexion. Flawless skin never goes out of style. It’s like having the perfect little black dress. The rest is just accessories.
TS: Agreed. The canvas of any good makeup is skin. If you don’t get that right, it doesn’t matter how good the rest of your makeup is.
Tim Quinn: For me, makeup is best when nobody is aware that you are wearing any. That said, some women may not feel comfortable without the lashes, the dramatic lips, etc. Makeup is a very personal choice.
GA: Would you say Latinas tend to favor, and perhaps require, bolder color?
TQ: The natural look is terrific for all women—Latinas aren’t bound to just bold colors. Sometimes the pared down, golden skin-toned makeup looks are more youthful and more approachable.
RR: Latina women can absolutely get away with wearing different shades of nude. You should stand out, not your makeup. I’ve found that Latina women often err on the side of brightness—foundation that can be too orange, lips too fuchsia, blush too pink—thinking that those are the best colors to play up their skin. Since Latina women often have deeper skin tones, it’s important for them to choose richer, more natural tones—browns, plums, and deep reds work best. Latina women can and should experiment with rich colors and smokey eye makeup to play up their sexy, self-confident attitude.
TS: I have always said this: There’s a red lip lipstick out there for everyone. Anyone can do a red lip stain or a semi-matte lipstick. Because all-natural is not brilliant. It’s very hard to recreate. You take a “natural” selfie on Instagram and you think you look amazing—and no, you don’t.
GA: Can anyone rock this look, given the right tools?
RR: It works for every woman of every age and skin tone. It is timeless, classic, and easy to apply. It should be able to take you from coffee to cocktails.
TS: I think very natural makeup has an age limit to it. Once your skin starts maturing, say 45 years old and upwards, you need extra help, especially if you’re not one of those people that go the Botox-filler route. Color structures the face back to where it needs to be. Bronzer and blush. An eyeliner. A mascara that volumizes rather than a lengthening mascara. All those things re-define the elements.
GA: Speaking of definition, we’re all eyebrow obsessed these days. Please explain.
TQ: Brows have returned to center stage. A great brow pencil is as vital as a great brow groomer. Your brow guru should be on your frequent dial list.
RR: Brows are the unsung heroes of the face. All women, no matter what their eyebrow shade, can benefit from added definition. Brows draw attention to and give eyes a lift, making them look bigger.
TS: A good makeup collection has a good brow color and accessories. There’s no excuse for you to have undefined brows. They frame the face.
These products and techniques will get you “naturally” gorgeous and glowing, with little touches of definition all over the face:
To prep the canvas, all skins need a cleanser, eye cream, toner, serum, and moisturizer with SPF. If you prefer a tinted moisturizer, be sure it’s protective. I love Hydroxatone’s BB Cream SPF 40 ($59.95), which does all of the above with minimal fuss.
Dab a little neutral highlighter on eyes’ innermost corners to look refreshed and awake.
Armani foundations are justifiably renowned if you’re looking for full coverage that feels like air and looks like impeccable skin. Dust lightly with a loose powder for maximum staying power.
Fine-tune eyebrows with a soft pencil or powder in a shade close to your hair color. The brows’ outer tips should be semi-straight, not pointing south.
For the most subtle yet distinct eyes, Bobbi Brown’s new Rich Chocolate Eye Palette ($52) comes with seven universally flattering powder matte and shimmery shadows—and zero calories.
Lining eyelids’ inner rims with a soft, stay-put dark crayon emphasizes eyes mysteriously. It’s more “natural” than eyeliner across the top and under the bottom lids.
Curl lashes and go crazy with mascara. Just keep lashes unclumpy and clean.
Blush should resemble pinched cheeks. Depending on skin tone, either one of Bobbi’s Rich Chocolate Blushes ($26 each) are poetry.
Sweep a slightly shimmery powder under brows and tops of cheekbones to reflect light.
Lips are soft, sheer, and barely stained, with a hint of shine. You won’t go wrong with Neutrogena Moisture Smooth Color Stick ($8.99), L’Oréal Colour Riche Lip Balm ($7.99), and NYX Cosmetics Butter Gloss Set in Enchanted Kiss ($10 for three glosses).