Three local makeup artists gave us their best tips and tricks for an easy, barely-there makeup look.
It’s summer in Florida, and there’s never been a worse time to attempt a glamorous look, if we’re being real.
When a short walk outside feels like an exhausting swim through moisture-filled air, it’s hard to find the motivation to get dolled up for that hot date (pun intended). But alas, there’s a solution: the natural look.
Why would you layer on the makeup when you’re just going to sweat it off after 10 minutes outside?
Three local makeup artists share their steps to achieving a simple, fresh look that’s perfect for sizzling summer days.
Step 1: Skin
Skin takes a serious toll during Florida summers. Increased sun exposure comes with potential burns, plus increased sweat, causing irritation or breakouts.
Summer air is more humid, but the sun dries out the skin, so it’s important to avoid dryness, particularly before applying makeup.
Makeup artists Eri Vincent, Kimberly Calhoon and Dawn Patterson agree: The most important step toward a natural look is hydrating and “prepping” the skin.
There are a plethora of hydration options — from face mists to moisturizers — but most say a moisture-rich primer and/or serum is best.
“Because it’s so hot, women retain water under the eyes,” Patterson says before applying Chanel’s Hydra Beauty Serum to model Herlinda Garcia. “So this particular product helps increase the circulation around the eye area.”
Patterson says serums are like personal trainers — you use them when you want to target one specific area of yourself that needs work. In the summer, our skin needs extra protection, so serums should always be the first step in a natural, or what she calls “fresh,” makeup look.
She also notes that though sunscreen is very important, it’s best to avoid moisturizers in which the first ingredient listed is sunscreen because it will be heavier and meant more as a sun protectant rather than a moisturizer.
Vincent suggests avoiding much powder or setting spray for a barely-there makeup look.
“It’s about enhancing what you have,” she says. “You want your own freckles to shine through.”
She recommends using concealer only where extra coverage is necessary, partnered with light foundation and a cream blush for a summery look. Her insider tip is to start in the middle and apply concealer where necessary, such as under the eyes, then to blending outward.
“If you start in the middle of the face and fade it out, your skin will shine through on the outer corners.”
Calhoon grew up in a Southern household where blush was the most important part of the makeup routine, so she believes it can be incorporated into the natural look if the complexions match up.
When looking for the right blush color, she asks clients what color they normally flush. The closer they can get to that color, the more natural it will look. The same goes for bronzer and highlighter, she says, and when applying any of the three, women should pay extra attention to their upper cheekbones so the light can catch the makeup and create an attention-grabbing look.
Step 2: Eyes
All three makeup artists agree that skin is the top priority for a natural look, but each has her own way of highlighting the eyes to complement a fresh face.
Vincent is old-school in her advice: eyelash curlers, which she calls an instant trick to open up the face without any product. If you opt for mascara, she says lighter colors are best.
Calhoon advises women who use eyelash extensions to not pile on mascara because it can damage the fake lashes.
Her favorite way to brighten the eyes is with sunset colors — taupes, browns and bronzy golds — on the lids. Just a little eye shadow in one of these more neutral hues, applied as a smoky eye, makes the eyes pop.
Calhoon’s tips for getting the right natural eye look: Start with an eyeshadow primer such as Smashbox’s Photo Finish Primer (which helps the shadow stay put) and using a blender brush so it’s easy to soften the look if it becomes too harsh to look natural.
Patterson often uses concealer around the full eye to brighten them, along with a highlighter on not just the upper cheek bones, but also under the eyes.
Patterson and Calhoon are also fans of tightlining, an eyeliner technique in which liner is applied to the waterline of the upper lid, right below the base of the lashes. This makes eyes stand out, but the effect is less dramatic than lining the waterline on the lower lid.
Step 3: Brows
It’s easy to be intimidated by the full-brow look dominating beauty bloggers’s Instagram feeds, but our experts say it doesn’t take much to create an impactful, yet natural-looking brow.
Vincent advises women to use a brow brush toward the end of any makeup regimen because it’s a quick way to give the eyes a lift and add polish to a simple look.
Patterson says the brows frame the eye, and that lightly sketching in the brows using an eyebrow pencil helps the eyes stand out.
Step 4: Lips
Lips are an easy task to save for last, but Vincent says they should also be a part of skin prepping.
With her clients, she applies a balm to moisturize the lips while she does the rest of the face. By the time she’s done, the balm has settled, and the lips are moist, plump and ready to add color.
Vincent says lip gloss and lip stain are best for a natural look, while Calhoon prefers lip liners and lipsticks in rosy pink and peach. Calhoon warns against bold reds, suggesting neutral, earthy colors instead.