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Best natural-looking makeup styles for summer and fall 2021

What’s the best natural-looking makeup style?

Over the past couple years, many people have traded their dark eyeliners and heavy bronzers for pared-down, natural makeup styles. 

Natural makeup styles often embrace simplicity and subtle colors to let natural beauty shine. Many of these looks feature lighter-coverage foundation, softer blush shades and a touch of highlighter. As far as lips are concerned, natural shades and glossy formulas are top choices.

As you build a natural makeup look, keep in mind that there isn’t an “official” definition of the style. It even varies considerably among professional makeup artists. Fortunately, you can achieve the natural look you envision by drawing on inspiration and exploring new products.

What to know about natural makeup looks

What is a natural makeup look?

While they vary in terms of style and execution, most natural makeup looks lead with simplicity. It’s not just a matter of rolling back the number of products to achieve a look, though. In many cases, natural makeup is a softened or toned-down version of other makeup looks.

Basic features of natural makeup looks

Face: Light-coverage foundations are popular options for natural makeup looks, including foundations with buildable coverage, BB creams and tinted moisturizers.

Eyes: Eye looks often include sheer, nude or earth-toned eyeshadow colors. As far as eyeliner goes, brown or taupe shades are the most common. Mascara is either clear or in a color close to the natural lash color. 

Cheeks: Natural makeup looks often include sheer blushes, as well as shades that accentuate the cheeks without appearing too brash or bold. 

Lips: There’s a diverse range of options for lips, including sheer glosses, lip balms and lipsticks or lip crayons in roses, pinks, nudes and certain berry shades.

Contouring: Highlighter is often used in natural makeup looks to add a glow. Lighter bronzers and contouring sticks are used sparingly in natural makeup looks. 

Does natural makeup mean I can’t use black eyeliner?

Believe it or not, there are quite a few natural makeup looks that include black or dark eyeliner colors. However, they’re used a bit differently to achieve a lighter look.

Take black liquid liner as an example. It can be used to create a thin, defining line just above the upper lashes. The line can be simple and effective and can be worn without eyeshadow. To keep the look as natural as possible, the liner isn’t used to line the waterline or lower lash line.

Importance of skincare

Skincare plays an important role in natural makeup looks, too. At the very least, invest in a quality moisturizer that keeps skin supple and soft for smoother makeup application. Exfoliators help refine textured areas or patchy skin, while eye cream can reduce the appearance of puffiness and fine lines. 

Day and night natural makeup styles for summer and fall

Natural everyday look

An everyday natural makeup look is versatile and easy to recreate on a daily basis. Ideally, it accentuates your best features and gives your face a refreshed, upbeat glow:

Eyes: A lengthening or volumizing mascara defines the eye and pairs well with neutral or earth-toned eyeshadow colors. 

Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara

This bestselling long-wear mascara, which is smudge- and sweat-resistant, lengthens, curls and volumizes lashes.

Sold by Ulta

Lips: A liquid lipstick a shade or two darker than your natural lip color is a flattering option that is also suitable for professional settings and engagements. 

Revlon Super Lustrous Glass Shine Lipstick

Appreciated for its glassy finish, this Revlon lipstick features a hydrating formula that melts onto the lips. It’s available in 25 shades.

Sold by Ulta

Cheeks: A highlighter with a soft, subtle strobe brightens and lifts the face when swept across the forehead and just above cheekbones.

Wet n’ Wild MegaGlow Highlighting Powder

For a subtle glow, this Wet n’ Wild highlighter has a buildable, pearly finish. It’s available in four colors.

Sold by Ulta

Natural evening look

A natural evening look focuses on elegantly emphasizing features, namely the eyes and lips, without going too heavy on color. A soft glam look, for example, is a simple, sophisticated option: 

Eyes: A neutral eyeshadow color, like vanilla or taupe, pairs well with a simple matte black or brown liner above the upper lashes. For a bit more dimension, sweep the crease with a shadow that is a couple shades darker than the base.

Maybelline Nudes of New York Eyeshadow Palette

With 16 colors in three finishes, this palette makes it easy to create several day-to-night natural makeup looks.

Sold by Ulta

Lips: A deeper rose- or coral-toned lipstick emphasizes lips without overpowering the rest of the look. Some people are partial to subdued matte finishes, while others prefer high-gloss finishes.

MAC Matte Lipstick in Whirl

This MAC lipstick in Whirl is appreciated for its matte finish and long-wear formula. The dusty rose color adds just enough dimension to the lips when lined with a matching color.

Sold by Ulta and Macy’s

Face: An illuminating or dewy primer can brighten the face, not to mention it makes it easier to layer foundation and blush for a smoother, more natural finish.

Estée Lauder The Illuminator Radiant Perfecting Primer + Finisher

This dewy primer hydrates and brightens skin. It can be applied to the entire face or concentrated around the cheeks and brow bone as a subtle highlighter. 

Sold by Ulta, Sephora and Macy’s

Best products for natural makeup styles

A tinted moisturizer

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer

Lightweight and comfortable to wear, this tinted moisturizer with SPF 30 is suitable for outdoor wear. It’s rich in vitamin C to protect and brighten your complexion. 

Sold by Ulta, Sephora and Macy’s

A glassy lip gloss

NYX Professional Makeup This Is Milky Gloss Lip Gloss

Wearers appreciated the ultra-glassy shine this lip gloss delivers. The hydrating formula, which is vegan and cruelty-free, can be worn on its own or over lipstick. 

Sold by Ulta

A highlighting pencil

Anastasia Beverly Hills Pro Pencil

From lifting to highlighting, this Anastasia Beverly Hills pencil does it all. It dries with a matte finish that layers easily over primer and foundation. 

Sold by Ulta, Sephora and Macy’s

A versatile eyeshadow primer

MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot Eyeshadow

Wear MAC’s best-selling Paint Pot as a creamy primer or eyeshadow. It’s now available in 22 shades, ranging from nudes to pinks to earthy brown tones.

Sold by Ulta and Macy’s

A neutral blush

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush

These Tarte blushes are known for their flawless application and long-wear formula. They’re available in a variety of flattering, natural shades. 

Sold by Ulta, Sephora and Macy’s


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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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