Fashion Week is notorious not only for extravagant outfits, but also for the vibrant hair and makeup that goes with it. From L.A.M.B’s ode to teal to Cynthia Rowley’s sultry smoky eyes of last fall, the makeup tends to be as eye-catching as the couture.
This year, however, makeup artists are creating a stir by aiming for something different: going au natural. After a full day of shuffling from show to show, it was clear that a trend was emerging, and it all started backstage at the Monika Chiang show with Lancome makeup artist Tarek Abbas.
“Basically what we’re looking for is to have a natural look that is still very edgy," said Tarek. Think strong girls with a feminine touch…there’s nothing more beautiful than bringing out the natural beauty in the girls—that is Monika’s vision.”
While it may seem like a simple look to replicate, the key to achieving this ‘I’m naturally flawless’ face lies in strategic blending, contouring, and some insider tips from Tarek.
1. Go heavy on the bronzer. While you don’t want to look like a cast member of the Jersey Shore, it’s important to build a good bronzer base to define your face. Start with a matte product like Lancome’s Star Bronzer in Suntan, swirl a large brush into the powder, and tap off the excess on the back of your hand. To begin contouring, start in the middle of your forehead and trace the brush down your hairline to your ear. Gently drag your brush from the ear to your inner cheek (make sure to stay ever-so-slightly below your cheek bone), follow the line back out to the ear, and finish by tracing down your jaw line to the middle of your chin. Follow the same motion on the other side of your face, layering until the contouring is apparent, but not overdone. Follow the bronzer with a soft pink blush like Lancome’s Blush Subtil Shimmer in Rose Douceur (NARS Orgasm blush would also work well), applying only to the apple of the cheeks.
2. Stick to brown. Black eyeliner and mascara are typical go-tos, but using brown will create a softer eye that draws attention while not overpowering your face. Begin by lightly lining the top of your eyes, hugging close to your lash line and smudging with your finger at the end. Follow by applying liner to the water line of the upper lashes—which Tarek credits as one of his signature secrets. “It creates the illusion of a fuller lash line,” he says.
Finish the eye by blending a matte earth tone shadow in the crease of your lid (tip: only apply powder to the top side of your brush so the shade doesn’t go below your crease during application), and follow with a neutral shade on the entire eyelid, blending with both your fingers and brush to create a “seamless and edgeless eyeshadow, without looking heavy.” Finish the eye with a few strokes of Lancome’s Definicil mascara in brown, focusing only on the upper lashes.
3. Foundation goes last. This may differ from your everyday beauty routine, but adding foundation and concealer last will ensure your bronzer and blush aren’t too predominant. Pick a thin, matte formula and dab it into your T-zone using a large brush. Blend outwards, making sure coverage is light and even, and address trouble areas (like dark circles and acne) if needed.
4. Finishing touches. If your brows need definition, fill in with powder and shape with a clear brow gel. When applying gel, make sure to remove excess goop from the wand and lightly brush your brows in the direction of their natural shape. For the ultimate final touch, apply a pinkish beige lipstick like Lancome’s L’Absolu Nu in beige tulle. Tarek’s tip: “Use a little bit of concealer as a base so you can see the true color of the lipstick.” This will also make the shade last longer.
While this may not be a typical Fashion Week face, it’s one I look forward to seeing more, and replicating. After all, what’s more beautiful than accentuating what you have already?
To see how the makeup, hair and clothes all work together check out Maybelline’s Live From the Runway YouTube Channel.