As the veil was lifted from the face of a beaming Meghan Markle on her wedding day in May, the first thing that everyone noticed was that unabashed, happy smile. The second? Those freckles. Markle’s make-up artist Daniel Martin did a stellar job of perfecting and enhancing her skin, whilst still letting that smattering of freckles shine through. (Put it this way, Google searches for “Meghan Markle freckles” have risen by 100% in the past month).
And it’s not only the new Duchess of Sussex making the most of her freckles. Kylie Jenner shared a picture of herself on Instagram sporting an uncharacteristically low-key makeup look, showing off a sprinkling of freckles from her forehead right down to her chin. So far it has over 7 million likes.
“Revealing and emphasizing freckles is another example of women’s desire for skin which is more real, healthy, fresh and a bit outdoorsy – probably as a reaction to the faked perfection of social media beauty,” Terry Barber, MAC’s director of makeup artistry, told us. “There is a definite movement back to the idea of effortless, well-conditioned skin, even if you’re wearing makeup. It’s adding that bit of sunniness back.”
Certainly, magazine covers showcasing famously made-up faces in a more raw and natural-looking state have been the ones to set newsstands alight in recent months – take Christina Aguilera’s headline-grabbing make-under for Paper magazine earlier this year and Adwoa Aboah on Edward Enninful’s debut British Vogue cover. There’s a youthfulness and a summeriness to freckles that only adds to natural beauty. After all, that’s why all of the best Snapchat filters bestow a smattering of freckles across the user’s cheeks and nose. For many of the freckle-faced among us, however, getting the right level of foundation coverage can be difficult. Too heavy a formula and you obscure them entirely, too light and you wonder why you bothered in the first place.
“Revealing freckles is all about easing up on the all-over foundation coverage,” Barber says. “Opt for a sheer tint and just conceal in the areas you need or alternatively put your foundation on and then remove it from the bridge of the nose and centre of your cheeks where you want that smattering of freckles to come through.”
And if you don’t have freckles, but wish you did? Well, fake it – a brow pencil or two does the job just fine. Use a few in different shades for a more realistic effect. “Concentrate them mainly on and around the nose with a lighter sprinkle out onto the cheeks and forehead,” adds Barber. “Use varying pressure on the pencil so that you get different sizes and a more random dispersion. If they look too regular it all gets a bit pantomime.”
And if in doubt? Follow Jenner’s lead and take a selfie.
This article first appeared on Vogue.co.uk