From contouring and strobing to artificial hair, nails and lashes, make-up techniques seem to get more and more extreme. But while disguising our natural beauty is becoming the norm for some, many women are instead choosing to embrace their natural beauty.
Enhancing the features we love and playing up our unique, so-called 'imperfections' is the new way to feel beautiful: moles are beauty spots, hair kinks are luscious curls, and our eyes are the windows to our souls - there to show emotion, not reveal our age. After all, what could be more beautiful than a warm smile, sparkling eyes and a natural glow? Here's how to join this pared back beauty trend...
1. Fall for your freckles
A sprinkle of freckles across skin is beautiful, unique and reveals your character. So rather than wearing a thick, heavy foundation, opt for a light BB cream or tinted moisturizer that your freckles can peep through. Blush-wise, use a cream and lean towards peachy shades, rather than pink. For extra freckle 'pop', add a little golden shimmering highlighter to cheek bones.
2. Keep your curls
Whether you have relaxed beach waves or tightly coiled curls, step away from the straighteners, which can give a harsh, unnatural look. Look around and you'll see how many straight-haired ladies are trying to manufacture those curls that are so effortless to you. We know they can be prone to frizz or dryness - but treat them right and they'll look stunning.
Avoid foamy shampoos, which can strip away natural oils, choose products specifically formulated for curls and enriched with natural oils like coconut, argan oil and shea butter. Shape your curls with a serum or curl cream by tousling individual curls, and swap your brush for a wide-toothed comb to maintain those textured ringlets. If your curls drop, use a reactivating or sea spray and a comb to get the structure back into them. Don't try to force your curls - work with their natural shape and tong curl any strays that are doing their own thing.
3. Love your lips
You don't need a slick of bright lipstick to look alive - there's no better shade for you than your natural color, so take care of your pout to enhance it. Just like you exfoliate your skin, you need to slough away a layer on your lips regularly. After showering, gently rub them with a mixture of olive oil, sugar and honey, or put a drop of olive oil on a spare toothbrush and gently brush your lips, then rinse to reveal a beautifully soft pout. Regularly apply a natural oil-based lip balm made with beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter or mint for a natural boost. And don't forget to apply sunscreen to your lips whenever you're outside! Remember - dark colors can flatten them, so for full lips try a simple gloss, dabbed in the middle of your lips to pick up light. Finish with a dab of highlighter in your cupid's bow for a perfect pout.
4. Enhance your eyes
To make sure your eyes and the delicate skin around them look healthy, use products specifically created for that area, such as the new Olay Eyes Pro-Retinol Eye Cream, which has wrinkle-fighting ingredients to smooth out crow's feet and hydrates the eye's sensitive skin area. Make sure you're drinking lots of water, and eating hydrating foods like cucumber, melon and carrots. Curling your lashes instantly opens up eyes so that your natural color will pop - catwalks regularly feature mascara-free models as it's so chic! If you fancy giving your lashes the day off, apply clear mascara after curling to keep that wide-eyed look. For extra dewiness, apply a little highlighter to the inner corner of your eyelids and below the arches of your brows.
5. Boost your brows
Embracing your natural brow shape is the trend now, so to work out where your brows should start and stop, hold a pencil straight up along the side of your nose - where it meets your brow is where they should ideally start. Next, angle the pencil at 45-degrees from the outer corner of your eye - you'll see where beauty experts say your brows should ideally end. Gently pluck any strays that fall outside these lines but leave the rest be.
Next, brush your brows upwards to see where you have any sparse areas, then softly fill them in with a pencil in your natural brow color. Once you've filled, comb on a tinted brow gel, get the closest shade to the natural color on your arches - where brows are darkest. You're done!