I've been doing makeup for the better part of two decades now. One thing that I've learned in these years of working with hundreds upon hundreds of faces, is that we all have different definitions for things, makeup being no exception.
I've had clients sit down in my chair saying "I want a natural look", and then pull up a photo of Kim Kardashian's over-the-top glamour to show me the "natural" look they want. I try to respectfully educate them on my definition of natural and find out what they are really trying to express. Because natural in my world, does not only mean brown/gold eyeshadow.
In the makeup world, natural definitely has a broad definition, but we lean towards the "less is more" side when working with a natural beauty application. These styles tend to be important for makeup artists to master when it comes to commercial work especially.
My natural looks tend to emphasize features over color, subtlety over drama, precision over broad application, and working with colors that are present in the hair and skin.
What does natural mean to you? If you want a natural makeup look, be sure that the person you are hiring has examples of this in their portfolio. Make sure you're both on the same page with your definitions, and that you work together ahead of your special event to achieve that perfect style you want.
Here are some of the characteristics of the perfect natural makeup look, according to my personal preferences. This is by no means exhaustive, or "right", but the list of things I find appealing. I hope it can help you create your own natural looks;
1) Skin is polished, brightened, slightly transparent, and skin-like. You see flawless, not obvious signs of foundation or texture. Tinted moisturizers or sheered down foundation are one way to achieve this. You can apply coverage only where needed, rather than all over the face as well. A soft, but dense brush can help the product blend into the skin more perfectly.
2) We work with colors present in the skin, hair, and potentially the eyes. These tend to be browns/golds/soft beige/soft pink but can also include charcoals/grey, anything that the eye tends to read as contour/highlights or colors present even when makeup is not applied.
3)Eyeliner and eyeshadow tends to emphasize the eye without being about the product. You notice eyes rather than makeup. There are several ways to achieve an emphasis on the eyes, without using a lot of product, including liner that is soft-edged and tucked into the roots of the lashes.
4)Blush and lip color tend to look like it is radiating from within, slightly transparent and close to colors that are already in the skin. Airbrush is an especially appealing way to add a transparent hue of natural color. Cream blushes are ideal for dry and/or mature skin, sheered down with a blush brush that is fairly dense with shorter bristles.
5)Mascara as well as eyeliner, can be applied to only the top lid, leaving the under-eye area open and clean. This can look more natural and subtle, even if you choose to wear a bit more makeup on the lid. Under eye liner and color sends us towards a more dramatic look very quickly. Nude eyeliner can add a bit of brightening and polish for the under-eye area if you tend to have dark circles or redness near the eye.
6) Consider a moisturizing lip gloss, or lip stain for a transparent pop of color.
7)Set your makeup with a few light spritzes of rose water for a dewy, natural glow without shine. Only use a setting powder where it is needed, using a small brush.
In closing, remember that "natural" means different things to different people and if you are used to wearing makeup every day, your natural is not the same as someone who generally wears nothing.
Preference is queen when it comes to choosing makeup looks you love! So don't be afraid to express your own preferences, even when it comes to natural makeup.
Pro product tips;
Tinted moisturizer by the Balm
Dual action concealer, rose water spray, and eyeshadow palettes by Serenity + Scott
Rose Helichrysum face lotion by Mountains to Sea for preparing skin
All of these products, and more advice available at the studio. :)