classic makeup: beach babe

Today's post is the seventh installment of my classic makeup series. It's a fun one, I think. What I love about this Beach Babe look is that it really suits everyone, and just looks so fantastic during the warmer months. It took me a while to get this look figured out for myself, because it's tricky to fake a tan when you've got alabaster skin. For me, faking is the only option becauseβ€”let's be real for a secondβ€”I can't comprehend why on earth people are still tanning! We all know that it's not only hazardous for your health, but incredibly aging, so why do people do it? 

Just this week I met with a new dermatologist and he told me my skin is so pale and high risk for melanoma that I have to wear sunscreen indoors. "Anytime you're in sight of a window," he said. Wow. So here I sit now with SPF 60 on my face, inside, on a rainy day, while writing this.

Let's leave suntanning out of the picture for today's look, okay? Know that when I say beach babe, I actually mean beach babe (with adequate, responsible sun protection). To achieve today's sun-kissed look, we're faking it with the help of makeup. Thanks to a beauty intervention that was sprung upon me in San Francisco (more on that shortly) I now know some great tricks for applying bronzer and am excited to pass them on to you. Let's get started, shall we?

Here are some examples:


Here's what you need:


Here's how to do it:

Back to my beauty intervention: when I was on our honeymoon in California, I was walking through the makeup section of a Macy's, when a gentleman at one of the counters stopped me and asked if he could offer me a beauty tip. He asked if I was a natural redhead (this story sounds like it's taking a creepy turn, but it's not, stay with me). Anyways, when I admitted I was a bottle ginger, he suggested a way to make my eyebrows match my hair more convincingly: bronzer. After using an angled brush to powder my brows with a matte, red-based bronzer, he held a mirror up and I agreed that it looked much better. I asked him if he had any other tricks up his sleeve, and he showed me half a dozen ways to use bronzer. It was amazing.  His tips form the foundation of this tutorial.

"Okay, can I be honest with you?" he asked.

"Of course!" I replied, always eager to soak up more makeup knowledge.

"I see that you're wearing a bit of bronzy blush, but you're totally doing the Nike swoosh. This is a much better pattern for most people," he said, as he traced an inverted triangle formation on the apples of my cheeks. 

"The trick is to use a smaller brush blush, even a large eyeshadow brush, to softly outline the triangle shape [see my sketch above for reference] then fill it in and blend a lot to break up the obvious triangle shape. Then you want to use the same smaller brush to dust a bit at your hairline, just along the part, and some on your neck, too, to balance everything out."

He finished, I looked, and it was as if my face shape had been transformed to have more definition as well as a natural bronzy glow.

"A lot better than the Nike swoosh most women do under their cheeks and up along their cheekbones, am I right?"

I told him to hand over the bronzer immediately, and I've been loving it ever since. It was by Studio Gear, but other ones I'd recommend are Bobbi Brown Bronzer in Bahama, Stila Custom Color Blush in Self-Adjusting Bronze, or Bare Minerals Warmth All-Over Face Color.

So, once your foundation (preferably one with built-in SPF) is set the way you like it, dust on some bronzer following my makeup guru's instructions. Then, add a little more dimension by dusting a shimmery powder (I used MAC Mineralize) on your cheekbones, above your brows, along the bridge of your nose, and on your chin.

Sweep your eyes with a wash of a shadow only slightly darker than your skin tone. I used MAC Kid. Apply a second shadow, a shimmery nude one, on your lids (I used All That Glitters by MAC). 

Apply a bunch of brown eyeliner along both lashlines, smudging with your finger or a Q-Tip to mess it up a bit. Set the eyeliner with a shimmery brown eyeshadow in a similar colour (like MAC Mulch). You can then smoke that colour out a bit by blending it outwards. If you're fair, consider using a brown mascara. If you have a darker complexion, go for black. Fill in your brows with a tinted brow gel (Anastasia makes great ones).

For the final step, apply a sheer nude lip colour. One of my favourites is NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in Buenos Aires.

That's it, you're ready for the beach, but don't forget to pack extra sunscreen! Final look:



I hope you enjoyed today's look, and benefitted from my makeup intervention!