Natalie Portman Without Makeup

As we all know by now, Jennifer Aniston has been doing her best to avoid getting married ever since splitting from Brad Pitt in 2011. In order to keep herself occupied, Jen decided to try something new and started posting photos of herself sans wedding ring online. She even went as far as saying “I think you should see me like this.” And honestly…we don’t blame her! We’d do anything to stay single too.

But what about the rest of us ladies who can never seem to pull off natural beauty? Some people are born lucky enough to be able to go au naturale every day, but most of us aren’t. If you’re one of those girls who always looks terrible when you get up in the morning because your skin doesn’t match your hair color, or if you’ve spent years applying tons of layers of foundation only to find yourself still crying during commercials after watching Grey Gardens, read on for some tips. Because whether you love or hate fashion, everyone needs a little help sometimes.

Natural Looks Are Best

Before we talk about products, let’s start with the basics – makeup shouldn’t be used to enhance features. It should simply serve as a tool to make our faces presentable. That means using cosmetics primarily for their function rather than appearance. When applied correctly, almost anyone will look better and feel healthier. You’ll also save money in the long run because you won’t need to buy expensive foundations and powders each month.

So next time you go shopping at Sephora, resist temptation and stick to these basic rules:

Wear moisturizer. Your skin isn’t actually supposed to be dry — it should be hydrated. Use sunscreen lotion daily (even though I personally am not big into sunbathing) and take extra care of your lips, which require special attention. Sunscreens can cause severe allergic reactions, so consult your dermatologist before ingesting them. Also, exfoliate regularly to remove dead skin cells and prevent acne breakouts.

Use light colors. Skin tones vary widely among individuals, so choose clothing and accessories based upon your own coloring instead of popular trends. This goes double for women because men tend to dress differently depending on the season. For example, guys often wear darker suits year round, whereas women should avoid dark dresses except maybe around Halloween.

Have fun with your wardrobe selection. Don’t limit yourself to certain types of clothes because they might clash or work well together. Try mixing different patterns, textures and styles. Bright colored leggings paired with a neutral top makes everything appear brighter and fresher. Wear black tights under bright red pants to add depth to your complexion. Experiment with scarves, hats, jewelry, earrings, shoes, bags and other accessories until you find items that complement your unique personality.

Make sure you use quality brushes and sponges. Cheap makeup tools are notorious for clogging pores and spreading bacteria onto the skin. Go for ones made specifically for application purposes. There are plenty of affordable options available.

The Foundation Myth

Foundation is perhaps the number one product needed to achieve a beautiful finish. However, many women believe it’s important to apply base products separately, layer by layer, over several hours, in order to create a smooth canvas for their favorite eye shadows and lipsticks. While foundation may indeed play an integral role in achieving professional results, layering products can lead to streaks and uneven blending which ultimately defeat the purpose of having a nice base to begin with. Instead, pick a great foundation once and put it away. Then, experiment with various shades until you discover what works best with your skin tone.

Also, foundation comes in two distinct categories: liquid and cream. Creams generally offer less coverage per ounce and blend better, making them ideal for oily complexions. They also allow you to build coverage gradually, providing ample time between applications for blending. Liquid formulas provide heavier coverage with slightly faster touch ups due to being thicker. Both come with pros and cons, so it’s really a matter of personal preference regarding which type would suit your lifestyle better.

Next, learn how to properly select foundation shade.

For those whose skin is either extremely pale or very olive/tan, white foundation is recommended. White reflects the least amount of melanin, allowing lighter shadow pigments to show through and creating a purer, more luminous effect. Most white foundations contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to reflect UVA rays and protect against UVB radiation. Since most people suffer from combination skin, choosing a yellow or peach powder helps balance out brown spots and hyperpigmentation.

One thing to note: If you happen to have acne prone skin, steer clear of foundations containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or retinoids. These ingredients can irritate sensitive areas.

What About Blush?

Blushing is another common way to add subtle dimension to your facial features. Redder cheeks signify heightened blood flow, while bluer hues signal increased oxygen levels. Just remember that blush must compliment your overall complexion. Too rosy of a hue can easily become clownish. On the other hand, going overboard on the blue end of things could make your face appear unnaturally drained of life force. Stick to warm pinks and peaches.

If you want to spice things up a bit, consider playing with shape, texture and intensity. Apply blush lightly with your fingertips, starting near the apples of your cheekbone and sweeping toward your temples. Next, sweep upward towards your ears and down along your jawline. Never place blush directly onto your nose unless you enjoy looking like a chipmunk. Blend thoroughly to ensure uniformity throughout.

Then, follow up with a bronzer to give your skin added radiance. Bronzers are essentially shimmery versions of traditional foundations. Shimmery bases typically contain silica gel to minimize oiliness and silicone oils to reduce shine. Popular bronzers include gold, pearlized pink and champagne.

How To Achieve A Natural Look

Now that you know how to achieve an effortlessly fresh air look, here are some helpful pointers for you to practice at home.

Powder vs. Brush: Using proper technique is essential to obtaining consistent results. Beginners should always start with loose powder, giving themselves room to adjust. Once mastered, however, the brush method becomes quicker and easier to control. Loose powder provides greater versatility in terms of adjusting opacity, texture, consistency and sheerness. Brushes, on the other hand, are perfect for adding fullness to crease areas like eyes, noses and mouths. Choose whichever works best for you.

Begin with clean hands: Start with cleansed, moistened fingers to avoid smudging. Always set aside adequate space for storage and cleaning supplies. Keep your brushes sanitized by dipping them in alcohol solution before and after usage. Wipe excess powder residue from applicators with tissue paper afterward.

Mix it up: Mix different colors of concealer, foundation, powder and lipstick to shake up routine and change things up. Vary the size of your brush strokes and the length of your finger swipes. Experiment with varying angles and positions.

Experiment with angles: Angles are especially useful for contouring the sides of the face. Before applying foundation, draw lines at the outer corners of both upper eyelids horizontally across the lower lid vertically upwards toward the eyebrow. Repeat at the inner corner of the upper lids horizontally downwards toward the brow vertically downwards. Draw diagonal lines diagonally across the forehead horizontally inward toward the temple vertically downward. Do the same for the chin horizontally outward toward the neck vertically downward.

Go easy on the edges: Avoid caking foundation beyond the edge of the eyelid. Applying too much foundation along your eyebrows can result in unnatural thickening. Similarly, avoid heavy application above the upper lashes. Eye primers are usually reserved for the area surrounding the lash line and below, where skin tends to thicken fastest.

Keep the glow inside: Many experts recommend avoiding foundation altogether during humid months. Moisture causes the skin to expand and lose its elasticity, leading to duller skin. By keeping moisture trapped within the epidermis by using lightweight formulations, the skin maintains its firm structure and prevents sagging.

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