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I Asked 8 UK Make-Up Artists For A "Natural Look" And Here's What Happened

What does "natural" mean, anyway?

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First of all, I'm going to blow everyone's minds by pointing out that I am not a professional model. Hard to believe, I know, but here is my face with no make-up.

Przemyslaw Stradczuk for BuzzFeed

Eyebrow invisibility counts as a superpower, right?

On a day-to-day basis, I'd say I'm about 6/10 happy with my make-up routine.

My make-up routine is fairly minimal. In terms of self-esteem, I'm fine with what my face looks like, so I'm not one of those people that has to put on slap every single time I leave the house.

My basic make-up routine currently consists of about six items:

Primer

Foundation/BB Cream/Tinted moisturiser

Concealer

Eyebrow pencil

Mascara

Blusher

Sometimes, if I'm going out or just because I feel like it, I add one or more of the following to make my face a bit more jazzy:

Eyeliner

Eyeshadow

Lipstick

Here's a "natural look", using my own make-up.

Przemyslaw Stradczuk for BuzzFeed

For me, a natural look is something I can happily wear on a day-to-day basis, whether it's just at home in my office or out and about.

But I'm always on the lookout for new tips.

I'm always interested in better products that don't cost the earth, and I'm never one to turn down tips, such as how to make foundation stay on my face longer.

So I went to Glasgow for the day to find out what eight different make-up counters consider a "natural" look, and to learn a bit more about how a change in your make-up can make you feel.

I chose all of the counters based on what's popular at the moment, and also what's affordable at the top end of the high street. I decided not to feature the likes of Chanel and Tom Ford because their products are more expensive.

The first make-up counter I visited was Bobbi Brown.

Przemyslaw Stradczuk for BuzzFeed

Bobbi Brown always have a "basic list" of products that they use when someone comes in asking for a make-up look. These include foundation, highlighter, powder and mascara.

The foundation was light and didn't feel too cakey – the only thing I didn't like was the lack of brows. But that’s not her fault. Damn you, genetic make up.

Number of products used: 8

Foundation

Bronzer

Blush

Brow product (clear)

Eyeshadow

Lower lid shadow

Eyeliner

Mascara

As well as:

Cleanser

Eye cream

Face cream

Cost of makeover: Free.

Reaction: Of all the looks I was given, this one was the closest to how I look with no make-up on. Personally, I'd like a bit of a stronger look (primarily in the eyebrow department), because I feel like if I'm spending money on make-up, I want to be able to see the difference it's making.

Benefit was next on the list.

Przemyslaw Stradczuk

Benefit is the brand from which I already own the most products. Unlike Bobbi Brown, Benefit don’t have a set natural look, it just depends on the individual and what they are looking for.

Although there were fewer products used on this look, it felt heavier in terms of the amount of make-up I had on. I think this was to do with the fact that the foundation was thicker. On the plus side, she went with a darker brow product, so my invisible eyebrows made a welcome comeback.

I use Benefit's foundation already, but I use a shade lighter than the one the make-up artist applied.

Number of products used: 7

Facial emulsion

Primer

Foundation

Powder

Brow product

Concealer

Mascara

Cost of makeover: Free

Reaction: I would still consider this a natural look, despite the fact that the make-up used felt slightly heavier on my skin. There wasn't a lot of make-up used, but I think this shade of foundation is too dark for my skin and it's not something I would wear.

Urban Decay was the heaviest look I was given.

Przemyslaw Stradczuk for BuzzFeed

This was definitely the heaviest natural look that I was given on the day, and was also the brand that used the most products.

What I especially like about this look is how it makes my eyes stand out. They're fairly blue anyway, but I think this look makes them (I can't believe I'm about to say this) "pop" more than any of the other have.

Number of products used: 15 (see photo below)

Cost of makeover: Free

Reaction: I like that it was a bit of a different look from the rest. While it's not a look that you could pass off as "natural" in the sense of, "Oh, I woke up like this!", I think it's definitely a look you could wear on a day-to-day basis and not feel overdone.

Nars was another brand that had a certain "natural" look that its consultants are trained to do.

Przemyslaw Stradczuk

I know I keep harping on about my eyebrows, but I think they are the aspect of my face that changes the most between each look. They look a bit on the light side here, just a slightly more shaded-in version of the mousey-brown tone that they really are.

Number of products used: 12

Primer

Foundation

Powder

Eyeshadow base

Eyeshadow lid

Eyeshadow bridge

Eyeliner

Mascara

Brows

Bronzer

Busher

Lip colour

Cost of makeover: Free.

Reaction: I liked this look, particularly the foundation that they used. However, I think the Nars look used too many products. I don't want to spend lots of time or money on creating a look that's just for heading to work or out to the shops.

Lancome was probably the priciest brand out of the eight that I visited.

Przemyslaw Stradczuk

Before the look was applied, the consultant went through a longer skincare routine than any of the other brands. Lancome, along with Clarins and No. 7, was one of the best for doing this.

According to the lady who was applying my make-up, they also had the most mature (40+) customer base of all the brands featured.

Number of products used: 8

Foundation

Concealer (corrector)

Mascara

Eyeshadow

Eyebrow pencil

Bronzer

Blusher

Lip gloss

As well as:

Cleanser

Radiance enhancing cream

Illuminating eye care

Highlighter

Cost of makeover: £20 (offset against the cost of products)

Reaction: Looking back, I like it a lot more now than I did at the time, although I would choose a lighter shade of foundation. The brows are dark enough for my liking, and I think the eyeshadow used helps to make my baby blues stand out.

Mac was one of two brands that used a BB cream instead of a foundation.

Przemyslaw Stradczuk

Mac were very thorough in explaining the products that they were using, and asked me a lot of questions like: Do I prefer matte or dewy-looking foundation? What do I do with my eyebrows? What products do I want to learn how to use? It put me at ease and made me feel like I could ask the consultant any questions about both the products and applying make-up.

EYEBROW UPDATE: I really like how they look here. Not invisible, not too mousey, and they match my hair colour.

Shout out to my consultant, who was wonderful. All the consultants in there looked so on point and I think I might have fallen in love with them a little bit.

Number of products used: 9

Primer

BB Cream

Concealer

Eyeshadow

Eyebrow pencil

Mascara

Powder

Blusher

Lipstick

As well as:

Moisturiser

Cost of makeover: £30 (offset against the cost of products)

Reaction: Although the Mac makeover was the most expensive, I think it was my favourite of the lot. The consultant was so good at helping me discover what was right for me. It made me feel a bit more confident in my decisions, and that I should just go with what colours and shades I think are right for me because, at the end of the day, I'm the one that's going to be wearing them.

The No. 7 consultant was the best when it came to talking about skincare.

Przemyslaw Stradczuk

The best thing about No. 7 was their colour-matching service for foundations, concealers, and now lipsticks. They just have a wee handheld machine that they put up against your skin, and it takes a picture to determine what shade of their foundation you should use.

Number of products used: 8

Foundation

Concealer

Powder

Blusher

Eyeshadow

Mascara

Brows

Lip colour

As well as:

Cleanser

Moisturiser

Cost of makeover: Free.

Reaction: The colour-matching was useful, and also made me feel a bit more confident about wearing that shade, because a person's opinion can differ but a machine giving you a result is something a bit more concrete.

Clarins was the brand that used the fewest products out of all the different counters that I went to.

Przemyslaw Stradczuk

Like Mac, the Clarins consultant went for a BB cream when I told her I wasn't one for heavy coverage.

The only thing I didn't like about this consultation was that some of the skincare products are quite strongly scented, which isn't something that I would go for if I was looking for a new cleanser, for example.

Number of products used: 4

BB cream

Blush

Lip

Mascara

As well as:

Cleanser

Moisturiser

Eye gel

Cost of makeover: Free.

Reaction: I think this look is probably the closest to the natural look I apply myself when I'm putting my make-up on. I liked that they used fewer products, and I prefer the use of BB cream for a day-to-day look because it doesn't feel as heavy on my skin.

I thought this project might make me feel less confident about make-up.

Back in my teenage years, my make-up collection consisted of a badly matched foundation from the Natural Collection, some blusher, and a couple of my mum's lipsticks that she never used, but boy did I know how to rock that look (I didn't).

Meanwhile, thanks to the internet, 15-year-olds want to know how they can get lips like Kylie Jenner – while I spent my spare time as a teenager trying to rack up a high score on Tony Hawks Pro Skater, they already know way more about contouring than I ever will.

I don't think I've really had a chat with a make-up artist for more than about a minute since I first discovered Benefit make-up when I was 17. This is probably more to do with me and my reluctance to interact with other human beings rather than anything anyone at a make-up counter has done.

Because of this, I thought this project would make me feel less confident about make-up, but the opposite happened.

I shed my preconceptions.

Przemyslaw Stradczuk for BuzzFeed

I thought that each brand would have a readymade look for me, and was also worried that my make-up preferences might seem a bit out of date.

I think my favourite looks from the day were from Mac and Urban Decay because they gave me different products to use and both went for something a little different. I love wearing lipstick because it makes me feel sassy as hell, and a lot of the pinks and reds go well with my skin tone, so I liked the fact that both of these looks involved a stronger lip.

But now, I definitely feel more confident about make-up, especially trying out different colours and brands that I might not have used before.

The only thing that made me feel awkward was having my photo taken about a million times in one day, but it made me realise how confident fashion bloggers must be just to go out and about and take pictures of themselves on the street!

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