Oh god. This is a topic I have strong views on, as a makeup Nazi. I have an opinion and I’m NOT afraid to express it.
“When women wear makeup, they’re basically lying to us”
Why should I be blamed for a man stupid enough to think I have gold sparkly eye lids!? To completely avoid this situation, simply steer clear of any unnatural glittery products. He will be none the wiser that your eyelashes are not actually black or your skin isn’t actually perfect.
Wear what you like, do what makes you happy but there are some major fails and elements of makeup that most men do not understand let alone approve of. While some of you might shout at me and explain that makeup and general beautification is not done for the approval of men… looking your best for a date kind of is. If he’s a nice guy, it shouldn’t matter and needn’t feel like a compromise.
There is not one specific look that makes all women breathtakingly beautiful, nor are there very specific products that help achieve this. My personal and professional beautifying arsenal, hundreds of hours applying, practising, working with clients and observing absolute makeup artist legends at work, has given me some pearls of makeup wisdom, that I’m willing to share with you lucky people…
99% of Men will all say when asked about makeup, that they prefer women to look “natural”, or wear none at all. Makeup in general is an odd concept to most men; they imagine blue eyeshadow, gothic black liner, red lips and sticky, transferable textures, all over the face of a woman they are already attracted to. This sentiment is lovely. In the eyes of these men, women are good enough as they are. YOU are good enough as you are. As you get ready for a date, dress yourself in this knowledge and put on your confidence on before you apply any mascara. Funny is always sexier than poreless skin, and a playful personality trumps even the fluffiest of eyelashes. You didn’t start reading this post to be told to prioritise your personality though, despite this being the most important form of beauty, in my humble opinion. I digress. Now let’s move onto makeup.
THIS Bobbi Brown tutorial is one of the loveliest, most excellent 10 step guide to gorgeous makeup that is perfect for a date:
Skin needs to look like your skin, not masked in anything drying, caking, or obviously shimmery. Think flawless and tactile, non-transferable. Rather crucially, this starts with good skincare, so after a cleanse, use a moisturiser that adds life to your complexion and makes your skin feel soft. Follow with primer, I am in love with Emma Hardie Protect and Prime SPF30 at the mo. Other amazing primers are the Delilah Time Frame Primer and Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer. These will keep your makeup firmly on your face and not all over your date’s shirt, or melting off in a hot bar.
Get the right shade and blend any foundation thoroughly – if your wear foundation! Followed by concealer… every woman looks better with a bit of concealer. My most-used bases to achieve this look on clients, and indeed myself are NARS Sheer Glow, Chantecaille Future Skin, Chanel Les Beiges, Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer (the only concealer/foundation hybrid I use on really problematic skin) and Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector over the tops of your cheekbones for an ethereal glow. I use my hands, sometimes a beauty blender or a flat-top buffing brush. WORK that product into your skin, so much so that it does not look like makeup, it just looks like perfect skin. This takes some practice, but less is always more here. Blend blend blend. Then blend some more.
Eyes are SO important. My preference is always to focus on the eyes, over lips. This needn’t be complicated! I blend a beige base colour all over the lid, and a colour like MAC Wedge through the crease. Charlotte Tilbury’s Sophisticate Eye palette is something I go back to time and time again when creating a naturally glamorous eye, date or wedding perfection. Liner, something that blends softly and intensifies the lashline – MAC Coffee or NARS Kholiner in Minorque is THE ultimate black liner in my opinion. I blend this with a little smudger brush, pulled out into a feline wing – because this suits my eye shape, then on a little angled brush, I push a dark brown or black eyeshadow into the lash line to lock it in place and add softness. Under the eye I use a cotton bud (or Q tip to my American gals) and softly blend the Wedge eyeshaow under my lower lashes, joining up with my slight feline flick. This is so easy and makes everyone’s eyes look so pretty. Importantly, this is not the kind of makeup men notice, there is nothing that screams “look at my eyeshadow!!”. Your eyes will be intensified, more defined and give you that smouldering confidence to lock gazes.
Pretty is key. Step away from the Kim K contour tutorial. YES, if you are a very experienced and confident makeup applyer, then go for a soft contour, highlight your cheekbones and dust a bit of bronzer all over. I am sick of seeing people caked in obvious contouring makeup. Few men will appreciate it, let alone understand why you need to change the appearance of your bone structure with makeup. It makes me mad.
The right blush lifts and gives that gorgeously pretty glow. Pretty is what we are aiming for, so one way to find your ultimate “pretty” hold up the blusher next to your eyes, if it makes them look brighter and the colour pop, then this could be the one. My loved friend and makeup artist crush, Hannah Martin, provided makeup assistance to the royal wedding bridal party. The press will tell you Hannah has an impressive clientele – Pippa, Beatrice, Zara and Alexandra Shulman are all rumoured to request her expertise. Hannah’s signature style is the English Rose look. She has this knack of making women look like the most intensely pretty version of themselves, without looking really “done” or obviously covered in makeup. Hannah’s look (to me) is the opposite of a Scott Barnes makeup. She is one of my biggest inspirations! High on her list of beauty arsenal is BLUSH, a pinky rosy one at that. I always think of Hannah when applying my blush.
Curl and apply loads of black mascara, there is not much more to say here! Tubing formula mascaras are my favourite, they don’t run or give you that Panda look in the morning (this has turned into a GOOD date if we are now into the morning!). My favs are Kevyn Aucoin Volumizing, Sensai 38 degrees. Brush through and make sure there are no clumps. Clumps are not sexy.
I always powder after applying mascara. Loose powder applied to the interior section of your face – under the eyes, around the nose and on the chin and forehead will keep any shine at bay. Go back with a damp beauty blender or clean flat-top buffing brush and blend any blush lines until you look seamless. This will also lock-in your base makeup. You can skip this step if you have really dry skin. My three fav powders are the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, Sunday Riley Loose Powder and if you are on a budget – Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder.
Like cheeks, do not go overboard. THIS Eyeko pen is one of the most amazing discoveries I have made, very fine, sheer brown strokes that unlike any pencil or powder, have everyone fooled because you cannot see a hint of product through your brows. If you don’t get the felt pen brow thing, I also and equally love the Delilah Brow Line, Soap and Glory Archery, and any cool powder applied with an angled brush and combed through. But the pen… honestly, it’s amazing. Again, you don’t want to look like you have makeup on your eyebrows. You want to look balanced, defined, polished but not “done”.
Unless you wear bright lip colours every day and this your signature look, I would err on the side of caution with anything bright or loud. Red lips are gorgeous but in a date scenario they are high-maintenance, require reapplication, monitoring and will smear all over a glass and your date. Fact. My fav date lip is a soft pinky sheen of Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfector, By Terry Baume De Rose or Dr Paw Paw tinted lip balm. Why? Because they add a hint of colour and won’t get everywhere. Make sure you have exfoliated lips if they are dry and you can use some lip liner over the top to increase definition to your pout. This is usually done when running out the door. Don’t over-think your lips.
SO there we have it. I have written a complete essay on man-friendly date makeup. I hope this has been helpful. Please do not be put off by my expensive product recommendations, there are so many good cheaper alternatives, I just am lucky enough to get my hands on the likes of Sunday Riley and Chanel. *dances*
Love and lip
gloss balm x