Taylor Swift Without Makeup

“I’ve always loved makeup,” she told Vogue in 2015. “But I never thought that it was something people would pay for.”

Well, they do! And so does everyone else who loves beauty products — there were more than $12 billion dollars spent on cosmetics last year alone. But according to Forbes, only 1% of those purchases went toward makeup. So, why not spend your money on what you love?

Swift is one such person. Her debut cosmetic collection, 1989, released in October 2014, had fans cooing over its high quality packaging (which also doubled as marketing) and range of product types. It included everything from deodorant to lip balm.

And now, after months of waiting, the beloved singer has returned with another line called Lovesick. If you can’t wait until this fall to try out new shades or textures, here are some of our favorites from the first release…and maybe even a few tips along the way.


The Red Lip

This bold shade lives up to its name. For lips like these, apply two coats of the color before applying any other type of lipstick. You’ll be amazed at how sheer it will look without being too obvious.

On me, this applied beautifully — just enough pigment to make my natural coloring pop while keeping an airy finish. My friend tried the same technique using a matte red lippie and ended up looking like she’d fallen asleep by bedtime because all you could see was faint traces of the lipstick on her bottom lip.

If you have thin skin, take extra care when choosing this formula. As someone whose skin tends to react negatively to certain lipsticks, I found myself breaking out around my mouth area while wearing this particular shade. If you experience similar problems, stick to lighter colors.

What you need: Any good liquid foundation should work well for this look. I used Hourglass’ Silk Foundation Stick ($28). Apply your primer, then set under powder if needed. Then, use a brush to blend the rest of your face, focusing especially on your eyelids. Use a light hand when blending the edges of your cheekbones down towards your jawline. Next, sweep a pea-sized amount of loose powder across your nose bridge and tip your head slightly upward to settle into place. Finally, dust lightly with translucent finishing powder. This is optional but highly recommended.

Eyes That Glow

There aren’t many celebrities with naturally flawless skin, but Swift comes pretty close. She often uses foundations that enhance rather than mask imperfections, which is why her glowy eyeshadow formulas tend to lean more toward the luminizing end of things.

To achieve the effect, start off with a base shadow to help keep shine at bay. Mine is Smashbox Photo Finish Oil Free Shadow Base Primer SPF 15 ($26), which gives my entire eye a nice mattifying effect. When I want a little bit of shimmer, Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeshadow Palette ($34) works perfectly. Or, if you prefer creamier shadows, MAC Pro Longwear Cream Shadow & Blush Duo ($38) keeps everything super smooth throughout the day.

Next, add layers of your highlight. In Swift’s case, I chose Benefit Benetint Highlighting Gel ($36) to give my puffy cheeks a healthy flush. To get started, swipe each corner of your lid with your highlighting gel, making sure to blend outward and downward. Using a damp Beautyblender sponge, layer additional amounts over top, moving inward from outer corners to inner ones. Keep swiping away until you reach the desired intensity level.

Then, finish your look with mascara. No matter where I go during the day, my lashes are always a mess. Mascara helps tame them, so I’m constantly reaching for different brands depending on mood. Right now, I’ve got waterproof Max Factor Lash Blast Volume Waterproof Liquid Mascara ($18) sitting next to Naked 2 Week Edition Volumizing Mascara Trial Pack ($10) and Tarte Lights Camera Action 3D Mascara ($19) nearby.

Everything Else

Everyone knows Swift’s iconic cat ears are made of real hair, right? Well, if you’re going to wear fake ’em, might as well pull off a perfect job.

First, grab a pair of falsies. I picked up Kylie Cosmetics Push Up Wig Style Full Head Hairpiece – Light Brown ($25) at Sephora recently, but most department stores carry wigs, including Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue. Just check their wig section, and you’re bound to find something cute.

Once you decide on your style, pick a matching blush. There are plenty of options available online and in store. Try Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tinted Blusher Brush Set ($30) or Bobbi Brown Cheek Stain ($23) for a subtle rosy hue.

You may already own a couple of items from the collections, but if you don’t, consider grabbing a few basics. Since Swift isn’t known for experimenting with texture, she usually opts for creams instead of powders. Some suggestions include Soft & Gentle Mineral Powder Foundation ($24), Pressed Juicy Couture Medium Texture Loose Powder Bronzer ($17), and Too Face Let Down Mineral Power Blotting Sheet ($21).

A Favorite With A Twist

So far, we’ve mostly looked at ways to recreate Swift’s signature smoky eyes, but there’s no reason to limit yourself to traditional methods. Instead, play around with your usual tools and techniques and come up with something fresh.

For example, I typically use black liner to draw sharp lines beneath my brow bone before sweeping a dark brownish-red taupe shadow upwards, but when I wanted to create something a little more interesting, I swapped out my standard pencil for Benefit Erase Paste Liner($22) instead. The latter adds definition without drawing attention up to my forehead. After lining my upper lash line, I blended a medium pink shade underneath to complement my overall neutral palette.

Since I didn’t plan on doing anything drastic with my eyebrows, I skipped priming my bare spots and kept things simple. First I swept Estee Lauder Double Wear Ultimate Definition Concealer ($35) onto my chin and up past my temples. Then, I took a small angled brush and gently dabbed Color Club Supernatural Multi-Use Shadow Quad ($20) directly above my eyebrow ridge, letting the concealer act as a transition point between both areas. Lastly, I added a tiny bit of Essence Love Me Top Coat ($13) to seal everything together.

Now, I know it sounds counterintuitive to put a darker shadow on your palest spot, but trust me, it really works. While Swift’s smokey styles are definitely noticeable, nothing pulls focus quite like strong contrasts. Plus, this method allows you to control opacity better than layering multiple, separate shades. It’s easy to build up and blend out gradually, making sure you hit every necessary part of your face without having to worry about clumpy application.

Another trick I learned earlier this summer is that you don’t necessarily have to fill in everything below your brow bone. Noticing the lack of contour on Swift’s album cover photos, I decided to skip out on my typical bronzing powder and buy a mini Kabuki brush ($16) to blend Maybelline New York Fit Me Smoothing Balm ($17) all over my face. Because I felt like my complexion deserved a boost, I topped it off with Mac Prep + Prime Hydra-Mask Finishing Spray ($39) to lock everything in overnight.

As you probably noticed, this wasn’t exactly cheap. But hey, sometimes you gotta splurge, right? Especially considering I rarely touch makeup anymore anyway.

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