Using Natural Cosmetics the Right Way

Women have always enjoyed makeup. But if you haven’t updated your look recently, your old habits can make you look—well, old.

A Light Touch

To create the best look for daytime, remember that less is more, says New York makeup artist Rose-Marie Swift.

“The goal isn’t to have people notice the makeup but to have them notice your best features.”

Swift, who has worked with such famous faces as Gretchen Mol, Celine Dion, and Sheryl Crowe, notes that cosmetics have a tendency to collect in our tiny lines and wrinkles, making them noticeable.

“The key to your most youthful look,” she says, “is to limit the number of cosmetics you use on your face and to use a light hand when applying your makeup.”

Swift and others are concerned about the potential toxins in many beauty products. Unless you know your cosmetics have been created without ingredients that may be harmful, why would you put them on your skin every day, and leave them there all day long?

Perfect Eyebrows

One of the easiest ways to limit your need for makeup is to start with a properly shaped eyebrow. Not only does the right brow shape frame your face, lift your eyes, and soften your appearance, but it can also reduce the amount of makeup you need to look your best.

Tame unruly brows with a dab of aloe gel. Or thicken sparse brows with short, feathery strokes from a natural eye pencil.

Another trick to enhance your natural beauty is to curl your lashes, but according to Swift, you need the right technique.

“You don’t want your lashes to end up looking like the letter L. You want to create a beautiful curved lash.”

Place your upper lashes in the curler, and move it as close to your lid as possible. With gentle pressure, close the curler, then move the curler out slightly, and gently press again. Continue the process, moving gradually out to the tips to create a beautiful curve. Follow with natural mascara.

The Right Basics

Carefully applied, natural mascara can eliminate your need for eye shadow. To apply mascara, tilt your head back and look upwards into a mirror when coating your top lashes. Place the wand at the root of your lashes, wiggle it slightly, and comb out to the ends. Let your top lashes dry before starting to coat your bottom lashes (or putting on other makeup).

When your mascara starts to dry out, resist the temptation to pump the wand; instead, rotate it gently in the tube. Never add water to mascara, since that can encourage bacteria.

To draw more attention to your eyes, choose a natural brown or black liner. Rest the pencil on the base of your lashes and follow the natural line of your eye. This way, you’ll see the color fill in the area around your lashes. Keep the line as thin as possible at the inner corners of your eyes, gradually making it thicker toward the end.

Experiment to find the best finishing point for the liner. Stopping at the end of the eye will give you a round eye suitable for daytime. Elongating the line past the end of the eye will create drama, and slanting the liner upward at the end will create an almond-eye effect.

The next step in your natural makeover is to apply a little bit of foundation. It shouldn’t cover up your natural glow, though, says Dean Palompo at Zia Natural Skincare.

Instead, use foundation sparingly to even out skin tone and to cover up minor imperfections.

Most women need a touch of foundation on their nose, chin, and perhaps on their cheeks.

Keep foundation far away from crow’s feet near your eyes, since it will get into these fine lines, calling attention to them.

“Use a wedge sponge to blend your foundation and to remove excess product,” says Palompo. (Clean your sponge regularly with your favorite natural shampoo.)

Beautiful Color

Choosing the right foundation shade is also important, adds Palompo.

“If your skin has red undertones, select a cool foundation color. If you have golden undertones, use a warm color. Test the foundation along the jaw line to be sure you’ve found your skin match.”

Palompo recommends choosing a foundation with nourishing benefits, like antioxidant green tea or Ginkgo biloba to help repair skin.

For a sun-kissed look, apply some blush. Whether using creme or powder, smile at yourself in the mirror and apply blush to the plump “apple” of your cheek. Blend carefully to eliminate any apparent start and finish line.

Because everyone notices a beautiful smile, pay special attention to your lips. As we age, gravity pulls the upper lip downward, making it seem thinner. To plump up your lips, line each lip with a shade that matches your natural lip color, just outside the natural lip line. Slightly round the lip line from the bow (the indent at the center of the upper lip) to the corner of the lip. Keep peaks rounded, and move the center of the indent slightly upwards.

If you have a problem with color bleeding, be sure your lipstick is made with natural oils. Synthetic oils don’t absorb into the skin: They slide around and into any tiny lines around your mouth.


Lisa Petty, PhD

Lisa Petty, PhD, is a midlife mentor and well-being strategist who helps women release the pressure to be everything to everyone so they can take care of their own well-being—without guilt. Dr. Petty helps women move through midlife uncertainty to emerge re-energized, with a redefined sense of who they are and what they want.