The fresh face look at Fashion Week

Mar 4, 2013 at 2:15 p.m. ET

The old phrase "less is more" is true — especially when it comes to what is going on our faces! Balance out imperfections without drowning your face with makeup!

Woman with natural makeup

The journey

The reason I became a makeup artist to begin with had a lot to do with my insatiable fascination with fashion, its people and the collaborative aspect of it all. Although painting had been the main subject of my studies back in my university days, the thought of always standing alone in a studio somewhere while exorcising my inner demons on a canvas made me fear boredom.

From the eye of the storm’s vantage point, I see fashion and beauty styles constantly evolving even when much inspiration is drawn from years past. To the untrained eye, makeup trends probably seem to be looking just about the same year after year as the focus moves from eyes, to cheeks, to skin, to lips, and back again.

One thing is certain: The makeup quality itself surely has evolved. Hallelujah! I remember as a novice being taught how to use certain cosmetic products and even then thinking, “Wow! Why does it have to feel and look so thick and pancaked on?” Heavy foundations and concealers are so greasy that no amount of powder was ever enough to set any of it long enough. Even today, I am still shocked at the sight of some “urban legends” of makeup being perpetuated and caked on poor willing women, models and actresses alike.

A fresh arrival

I have been a huge proponent of The Fresh Face look for quite some time now (also known as the “makeup-no-makeup” look) and have based my entire creative process on this concept while designing my own line, Veil Cosmetics.

Consequently, watching the latest edition of New York Fashion Week was quite exhilarating since a strong focus on creating that perfectly bare looking complexion was on generous display. Perhaps a testament to the more refined quality makeup and skin care available, this weightless approach also spurs from a desire to finally let real skin represent itself as the true picture of health.

The ultimate Fresh Face look

 “Real” looking skin is such an art that very few artists and women get it right. After all, it is much easier to slather and pack on the paint in an attempt to “even out” the skin tone. The same is true about being too subtle and sheering out or rubbing away most of the makeup, letting areas of concern come through in plain sight. The Fresh Face look has everything to do with achieving the perfect balance between the level of moisture on the skin, the perfect buildable coverage given by the concealer and its refined texture, while leaving good skin untouched.

When all three elements are in perfect harmony, chalky face powder becomes obsolete in favor of blotting papers. That is, unless you need to appear in front of powerful flashbulbs (like a red carpet appearance). Fall 2013 presentations from Alexander Wang, Phillip Lim, Richard Chai, Reed Krakoff and Theyskens’ Theory are just a handful of examples where the veneration of the naked looking complexion has been embraced as the contemporary way to go.

Makeup extras

There is such a strong case to be made for pairing off dramatic eyeliner or a very bright lipstick along with the fresh face approach. It only adds volume and cachet to the contrasting spare approach creating beauty nirvana. However, keep your distance from sporting too much blush since it tends to look like makeup/artificial (not to mention, a bit outdated…).

Keep in mind that even models have their little imperfections and their skin insecurities — they just happen to be treated to the best makeup artists around showing them how it is done. If you aspire to getting this clean face trend right, just remember my motto: “Makeup is a mask, beauty, a veil.”

The Fresh Face Trunk Show

More beauty tips and tricks

Moisturizing guide
Beauty boosters

Celebrity skin care secrets