Some of the most dramatic makeup looks at the fall 2014 shows were super-natural: flawless skin, muted lips, even bleached brows. The hyper-nude palette made the long-legged, high-cheekboned genetic miracles on the runway look downright ethereal. On mere mortals, though, the effect could more likely be cadaverous. The key to embracing the new nude trend—and still looking radiant? Strategic hints of color. “Nudes are about using shadow and light to sculpt the face, not about washing yourself out with beiges and browns,” says makeup artist Wendy Rowe. Find your perfect nude palette, then follow Rowe’s advice for a successful nude look:
Perfect your skin—with a light hand. A flawless complexion is key for a nude look, but you don’t want to spackle on makeup. To avoid overdoing foundation, step back from the mirror when you apply it—if you can see every flaw, you’ll be too heavy-handed. To minimize dark circles, tap on a creamy concealer with a luminous finish. “But don’t take it all the way up to the lash line,” says Rowe. “Keep it a hair below or else it can look unnatural, like a mask.”
Mix up textures. If your eyes and lips are matte, keep your skin dewy. If skin is matte, use a little shimmer on your eyes and lips.
Create subtle contours. To add definition to your face, smooth a sheer liquid concealer one shade lighter than you normally use over the tops of your cheekbones. You can then blend a rosy cream blush on the apples of your cheeks.
Play with purples. Remember, nude doesn’t have to mean neutral. So skip the taupe eye shadow and choose one that matches the violet undertones in your bare skin. (A deep purple tinged with heather gray flatters dark skin; if you’re fair, look for lilac. Either way, keep the finish matte.)
Lighten up lips. Models can get away with blotting out their lips with concealer. The rest of us should try a less extreme muted mouth: Choose a semimatte lipstick shade that’s only one shade lighter than your natural lip color, whether that’s red, rose, or caramel.
Additional reporting by Elizabeth Einstein.
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