Early on in my beauty career I worked at French cosmetics brand Bourjois, where I spent 5 years launching fun, feminine and tongue-in-cheek products on the UK market. Even in the London head office it was still a decidedly French environment, with the General Manager and half the marketing team hailing from France. And if there’s one beauty topic the English and French have a very different approach to, it’s the notion of the ‘natural make up look’. Attending a make up class on how to achieve said look, I was sat next to a French colleague whose expression of surprise, shock and a hint of disgust gradually intensified as the – English – make-up artist kept building layer upon layer of concealer, foundation, highlighter, powder, blusher and bronzer. By the time the model walked off the stage she looked like an extra from Made in Chelsea: a natural look on steroids, by any means not a TOWIE look but also a far cry from a French interpretation of natural, where tinted moisturiser, concealer and mascara is quite often as far as it goes. Here I share my take on the ‘no makeup’ makeup look, a hybrid of both approaches for an everyday 5-minute look using natural cosmetic products.

Start with beauty from within

I love skincare, but topical creams will only take you so far in creating a great canvas for any makeup look. I’ve started taking supplements this year and noticed my skin generally looking healthier, with the likes of Neal’s Yard Remedies Frankincense Intense Beauty Boost supplements resulting in clear radiant skin – a strong contributor to achieving a natural makeup look.

Get the base right

This makeup result is characterised by a light application of face products and the use of nude shades. Take the time to assess where you wish to apply product rather than use a blanket approach. Typically I would apply a thick formula such as a clay or stick to the dark areas of my face (pigmentation, blemishes, acne scars) then blend with a brush. The Body Shop Matte Clay is perfect at providing full coverage without caking or drying skin, and teamed with Clinique’s Buff Brush I can take a featherlight approach to application. I follow up with La Rose-Posay Hydreane BB Cream, also applied with the buff brush and also sparingly, usually around my nose, chin, jawline and to cover the pigmentation on my forehead. The moisturising formula provides light coverage, but combined with the clay that’s enough to result in an even complexion. I finish off the base by dotting The Body Shop Lightening Touch under my eyes and lightly blending into the inner corners.

Get the glow

Now that the canvas is prepped it’s time to add a couple of glow-giving products to achieve the sought-after healthy-but-not-too-try-hard look. I’ve recently discovered Honest Beauty, Jessica Alba’s natural and organic beauty brand sold in Boots, and have fallen hard for the comfortable textures and beautiful shades. I apply the Crème Cheek Blush straight onto the apples of my cheeks with fingers and blend in. The Peony Pink shade offers the perfect dark peach colour that looks more natural than pink but less obvious than darker tones. If I’m in the mood for an even more subtle result I’ll go for Burt’s Bees All Aglow Lip and Cheek Stick in Blush Bay, a pinkier tone for a more flushed-by-a-breezy-wind look. I’ll then follow up with Burt’s Bees All Aglow Highlighter in Opal Mist which comes in a stick and can be applied straight to the cheekbone. I trace a line across each cheekbone then – you guessed it – whip my trusty buff brush to blend in for a gentle light-catching effect.

A touch of colour and definition

The final touch: a hint of colour with Honest Beauty Lip Crayon Sheer in Blossom. With a nourishing blend of waxes and oils, this crayon can be applied straight to lips without dragging or drying, and this particular shade is exactly what I’ve been looking for to replace a discontinued nude lipstick I’d been relying on for years. For eyes if I have time I’ll curl lashes with Shiseido eyelash curler for extra lift and follow up with Zuii Organic Flora Volume mascara. For a softer look I’ll go for Adorn Mineral Mascara which comes in a brown shade. Then a quick brush of my eyebrows with a clear mascara and the natural makeup look is complete.

Intensify for the evening

If I want to build on this natural look I would typically add some of the following:

  • Translucent powder to my forehead and chin for a matte finish
  • Beige eyeshadow for more of a sophisticated eye makeup look
  • Brown eyeliner for increased definition
  • Eyebrow pencil for more structure

British heightened natural makeup look or French less is more approach: which way do you sway? Please leave a comment below to let me know.

Features gifted products.


  1. The Empties Diaries says:

    If I see/read one more article about French beauty I’m going to have to scream. So overrated in my opinion. Plus, French beauty always seems to be about only one type of woman, wearing the exact same makeup – there’s zero diversity.

    Love British style, natural as well as stronger looks.


    • FreshBeautyFix says:

      French beauty – and fashion to some extent – is much more classic so I agree the British style is a more fun and experimental. I definitely got some funny looks from my French friends when I trialled fuchsia eyeshadow in my twenties! Fantastic shade for bringing out blue eyes though. What I find interesting is taking inspiration from both sides and picking the tips and tricks that work best for your style.

      Liked by 1 person

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