With normal life on pause, we’re also calling time out on our exhausting makeup routine in favor of celebrating our natural beauty. Our expert shows you how to harness it..
Sitting at my computer hastily typing my ID and password, I’m wondering how on earth I can possibly be running late for my morning meeting when my office is 20 steps from my bed. The screen flashes up with a sea of faces and I accept Zoom’s cues to join with video. I’m in, and just in time.
Like many people right now, I’ve been adapting to this “new normal”; getting to grips with platforms I hadn’t even heard of before Covid-19 swept the globe. My dining table has become my office space and my colleagues have become virtual video tiles on my computer screen.
While there’s so much I miss about the “old normal” there’s an emerging trend I am very much embracing right now, which I affectionately call “the Zoom face era”. As many women, including myself, throw caution to the wind and dare to sport a more natural or makeup free appearance while only seeing others virtually, I can’t help but think this is a positive step towards women feeling empowered and confident in their own skin and may signal a new beginning.
This is not a call for fellow feminists to unite and stamp out one of our very forms of pleasure, creativity and expression. I’m not anti-makeup. But in this age of contouring madness where many women are transformed every morning from natural beauties to unrecognizable beings with skin smoother than Ken and Barbie’s smooth areas, I can’t help but feel it might be nice if the stripped back approach stuck around for a while.
I realize it may be a little hasty to throw away my “living my best life”-emblazoned makeup bag and all its contents entirely (plus it cost a fortune!), so I spoke with LA based professional makeup artist, Kathleen Beaton, to get her views on this emerging trend that’s seeing people holding back on their beloved cosmetic rituals…
“If you think about what each generation has taught girls and women in particular about presentation in public, it’s fascinating to see how we are conditioned at such a young age that we are not enough,” Kathleen explains.
“Makeup can become an obsession and I know so many people who won’t let others see them without a full face on.
“And yes, I see the irony of someone like me… a makeup artist currently developing a makeup line seemingly expressing anti-makeup views. I’m not.
“I love and embrace the idea of it as a creative expression, for play and for use in all manner of artistic ways, but I don’t like the idea of it being used to cover up low self-esteem.
“I do hope that this becomes a time where people realize that less is more. For me, I have allowed my age spots and the redness from rosacea to just be and I have become so much more comfortable with myself.”
As someone who – despite my best efforts – has always wound up looking more contour clown than a contour queen, this minimalist movement and the support from professionals in the industry is very refreshing.
I hope the more time people spend getting to know their natural selves, the more confident they will feel to pare back their routine.
What’s more… not only does it feel empowering to bare all, but the benefits for your skin are bountiful. Makeup-free skin is allowed space to breathe, recalibrate and rebalance; your sebum production levels harmonize, fine lines and wrinkles are less noticeable and your eyelashes are free from breakage due to heavy product use or vigorous removal techniques. It really is a win, win!
Top tips for the natural look
So… you’ve heard it from the expert and you’re on board with the natural vibes. But what’s the key to creating it? Kathleen is on hand to share her minimalist makeup tips…
1. Cleanse and clear
Behold the Holy Grail of skincare and key to perfecting the natural look – cleansed, hydrated skin! Cleansing your skin removes impurities, tightens pores and provides the perfect environment and base for your skin to absorb goodness from other products. If you’re hoping to wear less makeup, having healthy skin is the first step in giving you the confidence to bare all and it removes any product you do use, leaving your skin clean and clear.
Give it a whirl: The Derm One Remove All Cleanser with wildflower honey can be used with or without water. This luxurious cleanser makes removing makeup less of a chore and more of a treat (£30, derm.one).
2. Lay the foundations
The most common mistake people make is using too much foundation… not conducive to a natural look. Rather than slathering it all over, assess your skin. Take note of any redness, dark circles or uneven tones and simply dab a little concealer or foundation on those areas and blend. I like to use my fingertips to press the product into my skin, but be sure to wash your hands thoroughly first. If you want a really sheer look, mix a bit of your foundation with your sunscreen and create your own tinted moisturizer with SPF, which you can apply to your whole face. Give it a whirl: Kosas’s Tinted Face Oil comes in 16 shades and goes on like a serum to give beautiful sheer coverage – perfect for the “less is more” look ($42.00, kosas.com).
3. A dash of powder
The same theory rings true for this next step. A common mistake is to dust your entire face with setting powder, but this leads to it seeping and settling in any fine lines, making them more noticeable. Simply dust it onto the areas where you need it most and keep it light. Give it a whirl: RMS Beauty’s Un-Powder is talc-free so won’t dry your face. ($34.00, rmsbeauty.com).
4. The cheek of it
Next up… adding a pop of a color to your cheeks. Many natural brands do color palettes that can be used on your cheeks and lips, which is perfect if you want to streamline your makeup kit. Simply take a little color, find the apple of your cheek and place three fingerprint dots going outward and upward from the apple, between the outer corner of your eye and your ear, then blend it in well. Give it a whirl:The Rituel de Fille makeup line boats clean, beautiful products created by three sisters. Their Inner Glow Crème Pigment comes in an array of dewy colors that can be used on your cheeks, lids or lips ($29.00, ritueldefille.com).
5. Get Lippy
Pucker up and get with the minimal theme and harness natural, moisturized lips with just a wash of color. Give it a whirl: Kari Gran’s Lip Whip comes in four gorgeous shades, packed with luxurious organic oils – and we just love the name ($24.00, shopreedclarke.com).
6. Eyes on the prize
Many feel they need mascara to give the eye a more lifted, open look, but why not consider simply curling the lashes instead? This can give the same effect but without the need for heavy product. And since the goal is a natural summer look, there’s no need for eyeliner here. However, if you feel naked without it, you can take a little bronzing cream or powder and smudge it on your upper lid either with your finger or a brush, dragging a tiny bit down under your eye on the lower outer corner. Give it a whirl: The Surratt Relevée lash curler by makeup artist Troy Surratt is designed to curl your lashes in the most beautiful way. It’s a makeup artist’s go to lash curler ($30, shopreedclarke.com).
And for a natural mascara, try W3LL People Expressionist ($19.99, w3llpeople.com), it defines and conditions your lashes without clumping.