What is a "natural" look when it comes to make-up?

Okay, me and my boyfriend disagree on this. He showed my two pictures of the same actress, Amber Tamblyn, with two completely different types of make-up? Now, I prefer the one the first one. She looks young, fresh, not dolled up.
My boyfriend is just the opposite. He thinks the make-up looks more natural in the second picture. Now, to me, in that picture she looks very fake. Her hair is severely pulled back, her eyebrows looks stencilled on, and she looks like a porcelain doll.

What I want to know is…is this just a matter of opinion, or is there some way to prove that she looks more natural in one or the other?

Here are the pictures. Please tell me what YOU think. And guys…please try to keep the dress out of the equation in the second picture. We are only looking at the face and hair here, and I know how hard that can be for men sometimes. :wink:



I have to go with your boyfriend here. A “natural” look is close to the real colours of a person’s face (their lips, their cheeks when they blush lightly… etc.) and the colours in the second picture are very neutral.

I’d say a natural look in makeup is looking like you’re not wearing makeup at all.

I would also say that the first picture looks more natural to me, save the eyeliner and mascara. In the second picture, the blush is obvious, and she has shimmery stuff under her eyes. The first picture sort of lets her skin glow through.

I agree, and that is what my boyfriend and I disagree on. He thinks she looks less like she is wearing make-up in the second one, where I prefer the first one.
It got me to wondering if it was a male/female perspective, or just what different people prefer, or is there an actual way to prove what looks more natural.

That’s what makes it looks “natural”. Less makeup. When you wake up in the morning without makeup, you are your natural self. Using as little makeup as possible is key to only bringing out subtle differences in your appearance. That is what natural means in this instance. I didn’t know it could go the other way. The first picture look more like a bondo session gone bad. But that’s just my opinion.

Ask yourself this. Which picture displays a more aggressive use of the makeup?

I am confused by this question because it seems obvious to me that the second one is much more natural. Natural means that it looks like she is wearing less makeup and more subdued tones on places like the lips. That fits the second picture much better.

Now I am confused. To me, her face looks shiny and unnatural in the second picture. It does not look like her natural skin tone. A woman’s face does not glow naturally like that. I see the make-up as much more obvious in the second pic.
That is whay I wonder…is it a matter of perception?

Also take into account, that there are two different pictures taken with two different types of lighting. That’ll definitely give different types of “glow” to ones face. But my basis is going off of how much makeup is used to cover up your face. The more you use, the more it doesn’t look like you. The less you use, the more “natural”, it looks.

That’s true. But it does not refer to her makeup :smiley:

The mouth’s color is more natural on the second picture. I don’t know whether it was taken in the spring or she’s just a “Snow White”, but I know many women with that kind of coloring; know a lot less with lips like the ones in the first pic.

Totally agree with that. In the first picture, I thought it appeared that she had less eye-liner, less foundation (if any), less blush and no shiny stuff on her cheeks. I will say, though, that the lipstick color was more natural for her in the second picture.

For most of us, yes, you are absolutely right. For Amber and anyone else in front of a camera, it’s almost the opposite. It is very hard to do makeup for a camera that looks like you’re not wearing any makeup at all. Blending must be impecable; colors must match not just the actor’s skin, but the actor’s skin as it is going to appear under lights and through filters. And of course, the actor, her agent and the art director don’t *really *want the makeup to match, pimples and all. It has to have ubercoverage and hide all flaws, and yet look as if there’s nothing there. This means that a totally “natural” look under the stage lights with the cameras rolling may in fact look completely obvious and wrong when viewed under incandescent lights.

Stage and screen actors are often forbidden from having visitors or interviews in the dressing room, or from appearing front of house, until they have removed their stage makeup (even the “natural look”) and replaced it with street makeup. This makes award and premier appearances awkward. Do you make-up to look good for all the people who are seeing you there, or for the several million who will see your picture the next day?

I can tell from looking at those photos that she’s wearing much more in terms of actual types and quantity of makeup in the glamor shot (the SAG awards), even though the color choices in the first (the premier) are more vibrant. But I can only tell it because I know the industry and have done makeup for stage and screen.

So, I guess the answer to you and your boyfriend is that you’re both right. The color choices of the first one are less “natural”, but the application techniques and amounts of makeup used are more “natural.” The colors chosen in the second one are more “natural,” but the amount and technique of makeup is quite advanced. I’d rate it at an “evens out”, and use pics like this and this, where it’s much, much more obvious. (Even though she still has quite a bit of makeup on in the first. But I think that one we can all agree “looks natural”.)

WhyNot …thanks so much! I think you answered what I was getting at. It was obvious to me as well that she had a lot more make-up on in the second pic, but I have done acting myself (stage performance) and I understand how much work goes into making you look “perfect” under those lights. :wink:

Wow WhyNot! You’ve done stage and screen makeup? That’s so cool!

To me, the first one looks like less makeup, but that’s only because I know how much work it would take to get the second look. The second one does have a less obvious application (while I cringe at thinking how long I’d be in front of the mirror trying to get that look–even if just for the street rather than a shooting).

It’s funny. These pictures really prove the point I was trying to make with my boyfriend a year ago. I was saying that less makeup doesn’t always look more natural. If I’m rushed, I don’t have time to apply and blend makeup to give it that “fix me up but don’t look obvious” appearance. If I have time, I can get it to look much more “natural”–even if I’m spending more time on it and applying more products.

First picture looks more natural than second, although I think that has more to do with her hairstyle than her facial apperance.
Also, in the first picture she looks disturbingly like my 13 year old cousin. I don’t know if that means anything.

In both of the instances where it looks like Amber Tamblynn looks like she’s wearing less makeup, could it be that she applied the makeup herself? Maybe she used a lipstick color that wasn’t the absolute best choice. And in the two photos at the award shows, her makeup would have had to be applied by a professional makeup artist, not herself. Remember, Ms. Tamblynn is in her early twenties and thus would still have a “young” appearance that wouldn’t need much artifice in order to look good. In the first awards show photo, her makeup was so perfectly blended that she looked airbrushed. In the second photo, that bright red was not only perfectly applied, but it was the dead solid perfect red of the gown she was wearing. Hope this makes sense.

I’d say that many men are clueless as to what women look like with and without makeup and they often say things like “I like it when women don’t much wear makeup - like her” while pointing to the second picture. And women stare at them in disbelief because she’s wearing so much makeup that it is impossible to imagine how anyone with working eyes can think that that is subtle or natural looking.

In other words, I’m with you.

"What is a ‘natural’ look when it comes to make-up?"

Do you see [http://www.geocities.com/tammyfayebakker/redchin.jpg]this picture?

“Natural” makeup means you look nothing like that.

Right. He said that she was wearing at least as much make-up in the first picture, but also claimed to be aware of how much she was wearing in the second. I told him most men can’t tell how much make-up a woman is really wearing. Ahhhh, well, he is a good guy, and I can’t fault him for being male. :wink:

That’s exactly right. And actually, most women don’t even know what other women look like without makeup. We all seem to think we’re the most hideous ones without it and that no one else has random splotchy bits.

Wanna take a guess at who this is?

It’s Marilyn Monroe, sans makeup.

Now, don’t get me wrong - she’s still fantastically gorgeous. The camera loves her no matter what. But she ain’t no this!

Frankly, while our colors are the more “natural” palatte, most American women wear exactly this much makeup in terms of product itself. Look closely and you’ll see foundation (opaque white), blush (pink), two eyecolors (same pink as blush and green), eyeliner (liquid black), mascara and lipstick. Her eyebrows are darkened with paste instead of pencil or powder, and there’s some neat sparklies on her eyelids (same as I’ve seen lots of young girls wear.) This is all, sparklies and eyebrow color included, the same makeups on Ms. Tamberlyn at the SAG awards. The difference is her colors are browns and golds and a bit more translucent (though not much, actually - they’re substituting shimmer agents for translucency. It can trick the camera pretty well.)

So next time your boyfriend says he like the “not a lot of makeup” look, try Kabuki on and see what he says! :smiley:

I agree with the OP and not her boyfriend. I’m no expert, but having struggled with makeup myself, I can see at a glance how much artifice had to go into the second picture.

In the first picture, the only thing that stands out about the makeup is bright red lipstick. Otherwise she looks much more relaxed and natural. And I really have to say no amount of makeup can look “natural” when it’s as overall shiny as in the second picture. Glittery highlights can look really nice when applied with good taste, but for a “natural” as opposed to “obviously artificial” look, IMHO you really need to go matte. You could apply touches of glitter onto a basic matte background, but when the whole face is shiny, you’re calling attention to the makeup.

Both pictures in the OP are obviously heavily made up, it’s just a difference of emphasis. In the first one, the lips get the color emphasis while the foundation uses a nice warm tone. In the second, the eye makeup is played up, especially the brows. Careful with those brows. It’s one of the things that look the most artificial when done to excess, and the hardest thing to fix when it goes wrong. In the second picture the warm tones are missing, and that looks more “artificial” to me. It’s been said that the best art is that which hides itself. In the first picture, she may not actually be wearing any less makeup than in the second, but it’s a mellower look.