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How to Apply Natural Looking Makeup: Getting Around a School Makeup Ban

Updated on March 16, 2018
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Punkmarkgirl is a freelance writer with a passion for DIY projects, natural health & makeup - featuring the best products for oily skin.

More & more high schools are embracing a “no makeup” policy for students, in the effort to put less emphasis on physical appearance. For girls who deal with issues such as oily skin and acne, this feels like a nightmare - especially when skin problems instigate bullying and social rejection.

While I can understand why schools want to de-emphasize the importance of physical appearance, what about the thousands of teens who struggle with acne breakouts? To think that appearance has nothing to do with happiness (especially during high school years) is vastly naive. In many scenarios, bullying begins because girls blessed with good looks feel the need to belittle girls who are faced with the completely normal cycle of hormonal skin changes.

While the school’s intentions for enforcing this policy might be in the right place, they aren’t considering the negative effect that a makeup ban could have on some students. Luckily, many companies now have blendable foundations and natural looking products - allowing teens with skin problems to easily fly under the radar of a makeup ban.

How to Apply Natural Looking Makeup
How to Apply Natural Looking Makeup

Suffer from Oily Skin?

If you have a nice complexion that doesn’t need much coverage, but you're still burdened by oily skin, use a transparent oil absorbing face powder. Try Mattify Cosmetic’s ULTRA Powder for Oily Skin. This is a completely invisible form of makeup that controls oil for hours. If you do have blemishes to cover, Mattify Ultra also works great as an oil control setting powder over any type of concealer or foundation, to prevent smudging and fading.

Since this face powder is completely colorless it can be worn alone, or under and over foundation. It even works for men who have oily skin! With this powder and a few blotting sheets, you should be able to survive the school day without looking like a total grease-ball.

Apply transparent matte face powder to absorb oil and keep skin looking fresh.
Apply transparent matte face powder to absorb oil and keep skin looking fresh.

Mattify ULTRA Powder for Oily Skin

ULTRA Matte Powder for Oily Skin by Mattify Cosmetics Vegan Makeup (Transparent)
ULTRA Matte Powder for Oily Skin by Mattify Cosmetics Vegan Makeup (Transparent)

This colorless matte face powder is a natural looking line of defense against oily skin!


Suffer from Acne Breakouts?

Acne is something that all teens (and even many adults) must battle daily. Unfortunately, acne is worse for some than others. While one person may only get 2 breakouts a month, others suffer from several per day.

First & foremost, follow a good cleansing routine to ensure that breakouts don’t get worse. One very simple and inexpensive treatment is to apply organic Apple Cider Vinegar as a toner, in the morning and evening. It prevents bacteria from cloistering inside pores, and kills the bacteria already present. Some people like to use it full-strength, but others dilute it with 50% water. You can try a few different application methods, to find the most suitable one for your skin.

Good skincare techniques + natural looking makeup = a flawless look.
Good skincare techniques + natural looking makeup = a flawless look.

To cover existing blemishes, use a gentle concealer designed for acne prone skin. Powder concealer is best, as it allows skin to circulate oxygen, so blemishes heal faster. Try Mattify Cosmetic’s Conceal-Zit & apply with a small concealer brush. It’s nearly impossible to find a liquid concealer without silicone (dimethicone), which can clog pores - but as long as your skin isn’t super sensitive, you could try a liquid concealer like Almay’s Clear Complexion, or a stick concealer like Tarte’s Waterproof Concealer. Spot-test these on an inconspicuous area for a few days, to be sure they aren't triggering breakouts.

Have Acne Scars or Hyperpigmentation?

For those whose skin tone is exceptionally uneven, from hyperpigmentation or scars from old acne blemishes, purchase a full coverage foundation. To get full coverage without the need for concealer, try Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Maximum Cover (perfect to hide hyperpigmentation). If you prefer using concealer to erase individual blemishes, but want an overall even skin tone, try L’Oreal True Match. Just be sure to blend thoroughly, to fool school officials into thinking it's your natural skin. This can be accomplished by using a damp beauty blender sponge.

Have Small Eyes or Wear Glasses?

If you have small or almond shaped eyes, going without eye liner can make you look tired and uninterested. Give some lift to your peepers by tracing a line of shimmery brown eye liner VERY close to upper lash line & smudge it into a slight wing at the outer corners. This adds depth and lift to eyes, without adding a noticeable stripe of obvious color. Try Urban Decay’s 24/7 Eye Pencil in Underground - which is a bronzed brown color that looks incredibly natural. Curl lashes and use just 1 coat of waterproof mascara, to hold curl all day. This is a simple and virtually makeup-free way to help your eyes stand out!

Have Faded, Pale Lips?

Sweep on a bit of lip stain. These dry to a natural finish – so it will look like your real lip color, only a bit more pigmented. Just don’t buy a shade that’s too outrageous or bright, and avoid using lip liner. Stick with light beige or medium pinks that won’t look obvious, like Ulta’s Double Duty Lipstain in Suspense or Fantasy. Top with a clear gloss, as most schools don't object to non-tinted cosmetics.

Uneven or Sparce Eyebrows?

Before you resort to a cosmetic fix, visit a salon to have your brows shaped. Most salons only charge around $15 to wax away stray hairs and give brows a shape that compliments your face. You can usually maintain that shape by plucking stray hairs, or return to the salon after a few months to have them re-waxed.

If your brows still need a little help in the shaping department, use a waterproof brow pencil that matches, or is 1 shade lighter than your brow color. Try Sephora’s Retractable Waterproof Brow Pencil, or Anastasia Perfect Brow Pencil, which both have built-in brushes. Since these are water-resistant formulas, they work wonderfully on oily skin types and resist smudging. To apply, draw small lines in the direction of hair growth and blend with the attached brow brush.

Use Waterproof Eyebrow Pencil, for Perfectly Shaped Brows
Use Waterproof Eyebrow Pencil, for Perfectly Shaped Brows

Makeup Streaks & Fades by Noon?

Since you can’t apply makeup with a heavy hand & expect it to go unnoticed by school officials, you need some extra insurance so your makeup can survive the day. Nothing will give you away faster than streaky blotches of foundation or eyeliner! If you're in an athletic program or gym class, makeup is tested even further. After finishing your morning makeup routine, mist your face with a makeup setting spray to lock everything in place.

Nothing screams “look at me” like a giant glob of mascara running down your face after you fell asleep during 3rd period! Makeup setting sprays are clear and light weight, so nobody will know your secret. Try Urban Decay’s All Nighter or Model in a Bottle's Setting Spray. Close your eyes and mist over your face after all of your makeup has been applied.

Final Rule: Cover the Bad, Show off the Good

Everyone has features that they aren’t particularly fond of – thankfully makeup can help you minimize bad areas, so flattering features can take center stage! Always remember to take good care of your skin and blend, blend, blend! Applying makeup with a light hand and not going overboard with bright color palettes will leave you with a beautiful, natural look.

Whether or not you’re facing a school makeup ban, keep in mind that natural makeup accentuates your confidence and appearance 100x more than caked-on war-paint!

What Would You Do If Your School Banned Makeup?

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© 2014 Ashley Bergin


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