Top Tips for a Natural Makeup Look

When it comes to makeup, most people want to look like themselves with a bit of “pop” - not as if they have on gobs of makeup. Sometimes you may want drama, but on most days, if you’re like most people, you probably want to look pretty natural. Here are some of my top tips for your bringing out the natural you.

Face

If your skin is normal-to-dry or dry: 

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

Use a sheer moisturizing tint such as Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 to even out skin without looking like you have anything on. I recently did makeup for someone who almost never wears any cosmetics. Because I didn’t want to scare her I used this product, assuring her that she would not look like a “painted lady".  And because she actually liked it, I gave her a tube so she can use it every day for moisturizing benefits, and, more importantly, sun protection. As I keep saying, never leave the house without sunscreen. If you don’t want to use a tint, still use something that has a sunscreen. I am currently moisturizing with LaPrairie Crème Biologie Marine Avancee Jour SPF 20 under my foundation - I always make sure my moisturizer and foundation have sunscreen in case I missed applying somewhere.

If your skin is oily:

Clean and Clear

Clean and Clear

For especially oily skin, try an oil-absorbing powder in place of a foundation. And carry oil-blotting papers with you so you don’t have to keep reapplying – if you continually reapply, the powder might start to cake up and not look natural at all. On shoots I’ve been using Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets – they are very affordable and great for every day too. Just press them right where you need to blot excess oil.

Cheeks

Bare Minerals Warm Radiance

Bare Minerals Warm Radiance

For the natural look image above I used a soft red-ish bronzer. If you’ve read my other articles, I don’t mean to bore you by recommending some of the same things over again – but I do love the tried and true and will only share the things I really like. This is Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals Warm Radiance – the shade is so versatile I use it on almost all skin tones. It’s a loose powder so you have to be careful or it can make a mess - dip the brush in lightly and then tap off excess before application. I believe Bare Escentuals recommends just dipping the brush into the top cap to avoid getting too much product on the brush. It’s a definitely good tip.

Eyes

For a natural softness, use shades that blend into skin and hair tone. This is generally more earthy shades, such as soft beiges, creams and browns. Be sure to blend well.

Eye Shadow

  • A soft beige eye shadow with a touch of shimmer from lash to brow

  • A soft rust shade in the outer corners (a little rust shadow accent complements her natural hair color)

Eye Liner

Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara

Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara

I lightly applied brown eyeliner on top lash line. To keep it subtle, always apply right on lash line, not outside or inside of it. If you stay on the lash line it just makes lashes look fuller.

Lashes

Try brown or black/brown mascara on top lashes only. I am still a big fan of Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara. It never clumps and always looks natural. I am also allergic to most mascaras but I can wear this one!

Brows

Clinique Brow Shaper is super-easy to use as far as brow shaping goes. The shades are subtle and it comes with a stiff brush that helps you shape without looking “drawn on”. Apply lightly and then step away from the mirror to make sure you’re using just enough product to lightly define brows.

Lips

On this model I used a sheer gloss with a bit of lip color. I like the non-sticky lightness of Clinique Almost Lipstick (one of their best-sellers and my favorite is a shade called Black Honey).

The shades listed here work for most skin tones. If you have a deeper skin tone you can use the same shades, just with deeper pigment. For example, instead of brown use a black eye liner and mascara. In addition, use brands that have more pigment-rich colors in general, such as MAC, Stila or NARSViva au naturale!

MODEL IMAGE BY:

Photography, Chris Eckert

Model, Melinda Lennox

Hair, Kristan Serafino

Makeup, Robyn Tamura

On the Red Carpet: Laura Benanti

Laura Turned Back

Who gets to be gorgeous, talented and have a great personality? An old friend of mine used to say you get one or maybe two but not all three – she said the gods just don’t allow it. Which seems fair enough. But I recently had the opportunity to work with Tony Award winning Laura Benanti and I can tell you right now she is as kind as she is beautiful. And winning Tonys doesn’t happen unless you’re exceptionally talented, so guess what - she has all three.

This fall, Laura stars in the new NBC show Go On with Friends' Matthew Perry. 

When she first arrived to NYC, Laura was cast as an understudy for the Broadway role of Maria in The Sound of Music - a show she would go on to star in. From there she went on to many roles and became one of Broadway's brightest stars, picking up awards and accolades all along the way. After learning I was in the presence of Maria I couldn’t help but hum My Favorite Things (really corny of me, I know, but I actually wasn't thinking about it) as I did her makeup - and Laura and hairstylist Kristan Serafino joined right along with me. Then off she went to the red carpet looking glowing and beautiful.

Makeup Tips for Laura's Red Carpet Look Laura wanted more natural makeup so I stuck with warm nude and earth tones and added small touches of brightness to keep it fresh and glowing.

Laura Up Close
Laura Up Close

Moisturize before applying makeup. I used a light moisturizer and Origins GenZing eye cream. Moisturizing helps smooth on foundation so it looks soft and natural. Because her skin is already so smooth and even, I used foundation sparingly and only to create a "palette" for color. To make sure it lasted throughout the night, I set the makeup with a sheer face powder and the under eye concealer powder from Laura Mercier's Undercover Pot.

Highlight eyes with a touch of light shimmer. I used Matisse Elite Star Dust Powder on just the inner corners to draw attention to her eyes. If we were creating a dramatic look I would use shimmer more liberally, but using it just as an accent is perfect to keep it soft and natural.

Warm the face with a bronzer. I used a bronzer in place of a blush on cheeks, around the sides of face and on the forehead area. Again, to keep it natural, it's important to blend any bronzer well.

Add soft color to lips. Laura is wearing coral shoes - I didn't mean to match her lips to them, but now that I'm looking at the images I kind of did! Matching lips and shoes is, of course, in no way important or necessary, but keeping lip color in the warmer tones helps blend the warmer eye and cheek color together.

Hairstyle Laura's hair is elegant, softly relaxed and pretty. If you'd like your hair to look like Laura's, click here for Kristan's Hair Tips.

Look for Laura this Fall,  Tuesdays at 9pm (EST)!

Go On NBC
Go On NBC

Hair by Kristan Serafino, Makeup by Robyn Tamura