As a beauty obsessive who has experimented with makeup since I was 11, I can do a lot of things with my eyes closed. Perfect a bushy brow? Tick. Ace a crisp red lip? Check. They say liquid eyeliner can sense fear but it wouldn’t dare cross me.
All of these makeup looks have one thing in common: they’re pretty heavy. I may have nailed a full face but the trend I just can’t seem to get the hang of is truly natural makeup. I want it to look believable, almost like I haven’t tried. But seamlessly blending concealer, creating a subtle contour and beefing up my lashes seems to take a lot of precision.
I needed schooling, and who better to give me advice than the pros that man the Trish McEvoy counter in London’s Selfridges? Like Bobbi Brown and Kevyn Aucoin, this is a brand that goes back years. That it’s still going strong among countless buzzy additions to the beauty world proves that it holds unshakable cult status. Thinking of Trish evokes images of gleaming cheekbones, naturally flushed skin, fluffed up brows and glossy lips — how natural makeup should be.
If you seek help from Trish’s team of makeup experts, be prepared to get your hands dirty. Little did I know that my artist, Sara, would only work on half of my face and expect me to do the rest. In doing so, what I learned about how to achieve the most convincing natural makeup was invaluable. Even better? The new, effortless look takes me around 10 minutes, which means I don’t have to wake up in the dark to get ready.
Here’s everything I want you to know about achieving easy, natural makeup that actually stays put.
Always Start With Skincare
Without skincare, makeup (no matter how minimal) is unlikely to sit seamlessly on your face. I arrived with freshly cleansed skin and makeup artist Sara suggested we look to the Beauty Booster Eye Serum, £70, to plump out any fine lines and smooth over my dry under-eyes, where concealer always settles. I much prefer a serum over an eye cream, as makeup tends to slip and slide on top of the latter. If you have less to spend, I love L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Filler Eye Serum, £24.99. The great thing about serums this lightweight is that they can be topped up over makeup as they just sink straight in.
Next we applied the Beauty Booster Cream, £68 (a moisturiser, primer and hydrating mask in one) all over. It makes skin dewy and acts like Velcro for any makeup you put on top. Also try Glossier Priming Moisturizer, £24, or The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA, £5.
Choose An Eye Base Over Concealer
“Here at Trish we always start with the eyes,” Sara told me, “so step one is the Jumbo Eye Base Essentials (£31). This is like a concealer for your eyelid. You can apply eyeshadow over the top of it or you can leave it as it is.” For ease, I chose to skip eyeshadow and the difference using just the Base was eye-opening — literally. It brightened my eyes, which can appear dark thanks to discolouration (particularly in the inner corner) and it blanketed the stubbly bits under my eyebrows that I was too lazy to pluck before my appointment. A product like this is undetectable compared to concealer, which accentuates lines and can appear chalky. If you’re on a budget, try KIKO MILANO Neutral Eye Base, £8.49.
Tightlining Is Key To Fuller Lashes
If you’re going to do natural, Sara told me, reach for a deep brown eyeliner pencil and swipe it along your upper waterline. Makeup artists refer to this trick as “tightlining”. Using your finger, lift up your eyelid and glide the eyeliner pencil along, trying your best to avoid the tear duct. “Doing this thickens up your lashes without you having to do anything major,” said Sara. “It makes the lashes look so much more dense. Even if you didn’t want to wear mascara, but you wanted some kind of definition, this is so quick.” Sure enough, the slick of liner made my lashes look lush. Who would’ve thought something so simple could make such a difference?
Ditch Eyeshadow For Powder Bronzer
If you don’t want to use too many products and want a quick, simple look, take your bronzer on a small, fluffy brush and put it in the crease of your eyelid. “Always tap off the excess and follow your natural crease with your eye open,” said Sara. She used the Dual Resort Bronzer, £22, on me. Concentrating it solely in the crease created a sort of halo effect on my eyes and I realised that applying eyeshadow all over my lids was just dragging my eyes down. This trick lifts them, and takes moments. Also try Fenty Beauty Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer, £23.20, or Huda Beauty GloWish Soft Radiance Bronzing Powder, £25.20, if you like a slight shimmer.
Backcomb Your Lashes
I like full, Bambi-esque lashes and Sara said I’d need the Dramatic Lash Mascara, £22.50. “One coat is enough but you want to coat the top and the bottom of your upper eyelashes.” TikTok calls this hack “lash backcombing” and it really works. “I like to roll the brush down over the top of the lashes first,” said Sara, “as this evenly separates them and builds up the volume.” Then wedge the mascara wand into the base of your lashes and wiggle upwards as usual. “If you just do this step without coating the top of your lashes, you won’t get that volume,” said Sara.
For a natural look, Trish’s makeup artists leave the lower lashes free of mascara. “If you don’t have any lower lashes, I prefer to take a light brown eyeshadow powder and lightly smoke it underneath the lower lash line,” said Sara. “This lends definition, rather than applying mascara and it giving you three lashes.”
Now, onto brows. Mine are thick but I have a few sparse patches. Brushing the hairs into place with a brow wax like the Brow Perfector, £25, really helped minimise the gaps so I could skip the brow pencil.
Practise The “Triangle Of Light” Technique
The “triangle of light” is Trish’s signature makeup method for brightening under-eyes. Using the Instant Eye Lift, £40, which features a soft, doe-foot applicator, Sara traced a large triangle from the inner corner of my eye down to the outer edge of my nose and back up to the outer corner of my eye. She then filled it in.
“When people usually apply concealer or brightening products, they don’t use enough,” said Sara. “I see a lot of people doing the dot, dot, dot and blend method. In order to get a brightening effect, really get it on.” With the small end of the Wet/Dry Even Skin Brush, £55, Sara taught me to smooth it out and blend it in. “You can use your ring finger to press it in, too, but the effect brightens and lifts.” I found that it cancelled out redness and practically erased my large, oily pores. “Because this is a brightener and not a concealer, if you wanted to use a concealer on top, you definitely could,” said Sara. I personally didn’t think I needed to.
If you have less to spend, try e.l.f. Putty Color-Correcting Eye Brightener, £6, or Saie Hydrabeam Sheer Brightening Under Eye Concealer, £20, which boasts a larger shade range.
Swap Foundation For BB Cream
Skin tints have had their moment. Now it’s the return of the BB (blemish balm) cream. Sara used the Beauty Balm SPF 35, £65, on me but also consider Saie Dewy Tinted Moisturiser, £27, or Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop, £21.60, which have wider shade ranges. “This BB cream does everything,” said Sara. “It primes, controls oil and gives good coverage. After applying, take a brush and stipple it in.” Stippling is pressing the product in using round motions, sort of like you’re pressing and rolling the bristles over your face. Not only is using a brush going to be more hygienic, said Sara, but when you use your hands, you bring too much blood to the surface of your skin thanks to the rubbing motions. Essentially, you’re encouraging the very redness you might be looking to hide. Try the Trixie Cosmetics P-13 Stippling Brush, £13.
Layer Translucent Powder Under Blush & Bronzer
If you hate that bronzer and blush disrupts your base makeup or ends up looking like a hard line along your cheek, apply a touch of translucent powder over your cheekbones first. This creates a seamless canvas for any colour you then layer on top and makes everything look smooth.
Your technique matters, too. When applying bronzer, I typically dunk the centre of my fluffy brush into the powder. This isn’t doing me any favours, said Sara. “We coat the entire brush all the way around, tap it off and simply apply on the higher part of the cheek in little circles. Hit the forehead where the sun naturally kisses you, apply along your jawline, and then whatever is left on the brush, dust it down the neck.” The result was the most believable sunny glow without harsh stripes.
You can stop here but if you want to dial up the colour with blush, opt for a cream or liquid version. Sara applied a dab of the Liquid Face Colour Lip & Cheek Stain, £27. “You can put this on top of powder and it will give you the nicest, blushed glow. Place it onto your skin with your middle finger and tap it out with your ring finger, concentrating it to the high apple of the cheek to lift. Then press up to the temple. It looks very strong but it’s actually so sheer.”
If you want something more pigmented, try Glossier Cloud Paint, £20.
Try A Liner & Gloss Combo
Sara would usually suggest a tap of lip balm but I wanted some sort of definition and I always line my lips. We went for the Long Wear Lip Liner in Barely There, £22, but any nude that suits your skin tone will work. “Start off in the centre of your top lip and trace upwards towards the bow,” Sara advised, “then repeat on the other side.” When you’re lining the bottom, always start at the centre of the lip. The trick is to take a small, fluffy brush and diffuse the liner so it’s less of a harsh line. A little nude gloss in the centre is all you need to complete the natural look.
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