In Praise of Natural Makeup

In Praise of Natural Makeup: A 40-something year old face with natural makeup | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style blog

My last post – my monthly Best of the Blogosphere round up – featured not one but two links to a similar theme: natural makeup.

Or, as it’s sometimes referred to: no makeup makeup. (The latter, however, can be something quite different to natural makeup… it all depends on your take on it.) If you didn’t read the links, please check out the post here – it features links to one 50 year old in barely-there makeup and one 23 year old in natural makeup. Both women are absolutely stunning, yet they both look fresh-faced and let their features (rather than the makeup) do the talking.

Now this is where I should make it clear that although this post is in praise of natural makeup, I am in NO WAY criticising the fact that some women and young girls like a stronger, heavier look. “Instagram makeup”, as it’s often called, is the complete opposite of the natural look. But in the same way that I believe in people wearing whatever they like, I believe it applies to makeup as well.

And also in the same way that I feel that a woman has the right to wear, for example, a skintight, short, cleavage-revealing dress with Pretty Woman-style patent boots if she wishes, it doesn’t mean I personally LIKE that sort of look. But if that type of dress is totally you, then damn well go for it, I say. I won’t go onto an Instagram account and say “love your look!” in a faux fawning kind of way, and likewise I sure as sh*t won’t criticise them just because it doesn’t appeal to my taste. I just fall silent and scroll on, happy for them that they’re happy with what they’re wearing.

So yes I’m labouring the point here: I love natural makeup. But then again, I love some not-so-natural makeup looks as well. Personally, I just don’t like the way that I look with heavy or dark makeup anymore… I’ve experimented a lot over the years and have done the full face with strong eyes and strong lips thing just as much as any Instagram makeup lover – probably more so, in fact.


My version of natural makeup… and no-so-natural makeup

The selfie I posted this week got a lot of likes and comments, and it seems I’m not the only one singing the praises of natural makeup. The makeup I wore wasn’t strictly natural (meaning almost no makeup) – I was still wearing foundation and blush with enhanced freckles and eyebrows as well as eyeshadow and eyeliner, gloss and highlighter. I was trying lots of new products so I still ended up with a full face of makeup, but in natural colours and nothing too heavy-looking.

To be honest I’ve realised I don’t really have a point to this conversation other than the fact that I make no secret of the fact that I’ll be super glad when the Instagram makeup look goes out of fashion and we have something else instead. Maybe that means that bold eyebrows will give way to thin, plucked eyebrows again? I know most 20-somethings would be HORRIFIED at the thought of having skinny brows like we did back in the 90s (or the 70s!), but 20 years ago who’d have thought that huge, dark brows would one day sweep across the faces of young women the world over?

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In the spirit of social media RESEARCH ( 😉 ) I thought I’d see what I looked like with “Instagram makeup”… I hope you’re prepared for this: I tried an app on my phone called Perfect365 which paints makeup onto your face:

In Praise of Natural Makeup: A 40-something year old face with Instagram makeup (using a makeup filter) | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style blog

I gave myself the works: cat eyeliner, lashes, eyeshadow and dark lips (ewww…) – then I erased my freckles, which unfortunately left grey blobs all over my nose. And a good helping of “foundation” which smoothed out my skin’s uneven tone (except for the grey nose situation). This also proves that you should never, ever believe someone is necessarily as “perfect” as you might think they are: I stopped short at making my eyes bigger, lifting my cheekbones or slimming my face (all possible with the app, eek).

It’s pretty funny, but it’s also pretty scary (reminds me of my 40-year-old uber-Photoshopped face post from several years back).

If I were to do my makeup like that for REAL I can’t say it’d be too flattering. I think I look a thousand times better with the patchy skin tone and the paler eyes – I think I look younger “as myself”.

In the meantime I salute the girls who apply the makeup they want to apply, and wear the makeup looks they want to wear. Whether that’s natural or not-so-natural, it’s all about pleasing yourself, no matter what. I may have my own personal preferences about when someone looks “better”, but it doesn’t mean I’m right, does it…?!




My 40 Year Old Face, Uber-Photoshopped
My 40 Year Old Face | Is There Beauty In Symmetry?

Before and “after”:

In Praise of Natural Makeup: A 40-something year old face with Instagram makeup (using a makeup filter) and real, natural makeup | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style blog

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So all that’s left to say is – I’ve shared my thoughts/stories/tuppence-worth this week, now it’s time to share yours… LET’S GET THIS [LINK UP] PARTY STARTED!

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  1. 27 December 2018 / 4:44 pm

    I like how you said that enhancing your look with natural makeup helps you look younger while still looking like yourself. I’ve been interested in trying new makeup styles to improve my look. I didn’t realize that less could be more when it comes to anti-aging makeup, so thanks for mentioning that!

  2. 16 August 2018 / 11:34 am

    First of all you are really very beautiful and I just love the way you wear your makeup. Thanks for sharing this.

    • catherine
      16 August 2018 / 2:11 pm

      Sabrina that is so kind of you, thank you ever so much x

  3. Issie
    9 July 2018 / 12:29 pm

    ็็Hi CATHERINE. You’re not like 40 year old. It seems you taking very good care of your health. It’s brilliant before and after. Both natural and makeup looks is beautiful but just different style. I think it’s good to make yourself in many style so you can feel fresh look all the time.

  4. 7 June 2018 / 5:16 am

    Your ‘after’ photo reminded me of a princess Fiona (from Shrek) type look, which is not a criticism, just an observation. However, I love your natural look, it really is stunning. An inspiration, actually. Keep being You, xxx

  5. 6 June 2018 / 10:36 am

    Well, Catherine… you (of course) look beautiful in natural makeup BUT I actually like the colours of the second look.
    I love a bit of a Goth vibe!!
    Back in the real world that lippy wouldn’t be very flattering on anyone unless they were 16 with perfect full lips, BUT fantastic for a costume party or a theme night?!
    Makeup and makeup apps are great fun!

  6. 4 June 2018 / 10:44 pm

    I like both of those looks on you. Certainly the other one (ok, I’d change the lipstick colour) would be perfect on you for a big event or a big night out. As I said on Instagram, that photo of you with the touch of makeup is just gorgeous. You have SUCH a pretty face, and such a unique look. xx

    • catherine
      5 June 2018 / 7:57 am

      I think it’s because it looks nothing like me that I find it so scary!! And thank you Lisa, you’re too kind xoxo

  7. 4 June 2018 / 4:06 pm

    Oh what a fun post! I’ve all but lost my eyebrows in my 60s so fingers crossed that skinny eyebrow thing WILL come back in fashion again! Hugs, x

    • catherine
      5 June 2018 / 7:55 am

      I think lots of us lost our eyebrows in the 60s, 70s or 90s, didn’t we Mary… it’s very unusual to find someone over the age of 40 with healthy, thick eyebrows!!!!

  8. 4 June 2018 / 9:48 am

    That after photo is truly scary I have to admit to rarely wearing any makeup. I do have the advantage of a light healthy tan but I think I look older when I wear lippy or mascara. On a more serious note I do see women who have permanently ‘photoshopped’ their faces ie with repeated Botox and surgery. For them there is no way back….and that is very scary!

    • catherine
      4 June 2018 / 12:12 pm

      Those “real-life photoshopped” faces aren’t reserved for older women, either Sarah – some young girls have it done too (have you seen them, a lot of reality stars have so much work done?) It’s a shame as I prefer natural beauty too, but as I said it’s all about choice and who am I to judge if that’s the look they prefer? It’s just not for me x

  9. Rachel
    4 June 2018 / 9:11 am

    I was hoping for a tutorial or product list from your natural look as it was lovely.

    I do admire the skill and artistry in full insta make up and think actually having make up done would result in a very diff look to the app. That said it’s not for me

    • catherine
      4 June 2018 / 12:09 pm

      Ahh sorry Rachel – my Saturday Share posts are about sharing thoughts and stuff I’ve been thinking about, so if I do a tutorial in the future it would say ‘tutorial’ in the blog post title. Sorry to mislead you!

      Once I move house (HOPEFULLY this month) I’ll have more space and will be able to do YouTube videos/tutorials at long last, so watch this space! x

  10. Linda
    3 June 2018 / 11:13 pm

    Hi, wow, what effects, you almost look like two different people! I vote for natural, you look lovely. The older I get the less makeup I wear. I go with serum/moisturizer/oil and then concealer, maybe a blot of powder around the nose. Eyes… a little creme shadow (sometimes liner, mascara) when I’m in the mood). For me, more is less. That said, I love the instgram version of your lipstick –it’s a cool shade.

    • catherine
      4 June 2018 / 12:07 pm

      Oh gosh that surprises me about you liking the strong lipstick Linda… I thought I’d gone for the most unflattering (for me) shade!! Goes to show it’s all subjective, doesn’t it 😉

  11. 3 June 2018 / 8:14 pm

    In the first picture, you look very nice, but that is just me. Thanks for hosting and I hope that you are having a wonderful weekend.

    • catherine
      4 June 2018 / 12:05 pm

      Thanks Patrick – I prefer me in the first picture too!!

  12. Claire Munkenbeck
    2 June 2018 / 8:19 pm

    If I didn’t have menopausal spots/dark circles under my eyes and a scar; maybe I could do the no make up look. However, I do try to not look too made heavily made up being very fair skinned: and it doesn’t suit my style.
    Most of the young women I work with seem to prefer a very strong make up look.

    • catherine
      4 June 2018 / 12:05 pm

      It’s interesting about younger girls preferring strong makeup looks, isn’t it Claire – goes to show how much trends dictate what we wear when we’re younger…

  13. 2 June 2018 / 6:16 pm

    Hi Catherine! The last couple of times I’ve tried linking with you I get an error message that “Unfortunately you are not allowed to add link to this link up”. Not sure what’s going on? I love your natural look with no makeup. I’m a less is more person too. 🙂

    • catherine
      4 June 2018 / 11:47 am

      Hi Lisa, I’ve looked and unfortunately it seems you were blocked because of linking up posts to the #iwillwearwhatilike linkup that had nothing to do with outfits – I have someone do odd admin jobs for me and that’s one of them… the link up there does say you’ll be removed if you link up non-outfits! So I’m really sorry about that, but what we didn’t realise is that it affects other link ups as well, not just Monday’s one. I’ve reinstated you, but if you could make sure you ONLY link up your outfits on a Monday then she won’t block you again. Let me know if you have any other problems! C x

  14. 2 June 2018 / 4:14 pm

    I’m a huge fan of makeup…I love experimenting, especially with eyes. Your no makeup look is beautiful and definitely “Catherine”, although I don’t hate the full makeup that the app “applied”. I love to look at full makeup looks because the skill just amazes me…it’s just not a maintainable everyday look IMO.

    • catherine
      4 June 2018 / 11:42 am

      I agree about the skill, Debbie… girls that do the IG makeup are so bloody skilled!!

  15. 2 June 2018 / 3:59 pm

    Holy Shit! Catherine–my big beef with IG is the ridiculous amount of fakeness and filtering with faces and makeup. I did a blog post last night about “The Summer Face” which I’ll link. But you look so gorgeous naturally. Freckles are a sign of natural beauty and in the summer, I love when my freckles take over.

    You’re a good egg!!! XOXOXOXO!!

    • catherine
      4 June 2018 / 11:41 am

      My freckles take over in the summer too, Cathe – but they go very splodgy and anyway I try to keep my face out the sun. So I enhance the ones I’ve got, and I’ve been doing it for about 25+ years. I should just get them tattooed on!! 😉

  16. Janet
    2 June 2018 / 3:52 pm

    I think the made-up look gives you a sort-of android look, a bit like the robot characters in the TV show “Humans”, while the natural look is that of a genuine human being.

    • catherine
      4 June 2018 / 11:39 am

      Yes to looking a bit like an android in the second photo, Janet!! A bit creepy I thought 🙁

  17. 2 June 2018 / 1:35 pm

    I was brought up by a mother (born in the 1920s) whose make-up was always perfect, and so she had me made up to the nines from my mid teens. Having said that, I loved make-up and all the different looks I could create.

    Nowadays, at 52, I go for a natural make-up look every time. It suits me better, especially as my face has changed with my age, but I also have the problem that I’ve become long-sighted so I have to be in the right light with a magnifying mirror to be able to see well enough to apply my make-up, hence the added popularity of a natural make-up look for me.

    I much prefer your natural make-up look and thumbs up for freckles.

    • catherine
      4 June 2018 / 11:38 am

      OMG yesssss to the problems of seeing what you’re doing as you get older, Fi… I’m so thankful for my huge magnifying mirror!! 😉

      Funnily enough my mother was born in 1934 so a similar era, but she never really wore very much makeup. However I had much older siblings so was fascinated by my sister’s heavy kohl and mascara in the 70s and always wanted to recreate it – SHE was my makeup guru!

  18. 2 June 2018 / 10:11 am

    No heavy make-up for me! Funnily enough, I was thinking about what I used to wear when I was a young punk before I saw your post. I would go to town on my eye make-up – red, purple, green, gold, silver – and wear lipstick too, of course. Funnily enough, I never wore foundation or bluster. And my make-up was minimal compared to some of my friends’!

    Nowadays all I wear is mascara, lipstick and lip liner, so it literally takes me two minutes to put it on. I do think elaborate make-up can look really great, but it’s not for me now.

    I like your IG face – great eyes! – but I like your natural face much more.

    • catherine
      4 June 2018 / 11:35 am

      Thank you Emerald 🙂 – I wore really strong looks in the 80s but I went the pop-art brights route: pink, yellow and blue shadow worn all at once (with electric blue mascara of course) wasn’t unusual for me…!!!!

  19. 2 June 2018 / 8:10 am

    You look beautiful in the first natural look. You look interesting the second one. I prefer natural makeup as I look better and younger but sometimes to have fun I apply it more heavily.

    • catherine
      4 June 2018 / 11:34 am

      Thanks Martina – I too like to switch it up every now and then, and tend to go stronger or bolder for an evening out. But yes, I do find I look younger with a lighter touch!

  20. 2 June 2018 / 6:01 am

    Your before and after is brilliant- how did you do that? I also hope that the Instagram trend will go away. As I get older, I have to use more products and make up to get the “No make up look” (the irony!) yet young women have wonderful peachy skin but you can’t see it.

    • catherine
      4 June 2018 / 11:33 am

      It’s an app, Gail: Perfect365. It paints makeup onto a picture you upload… isn’t it clever?!!!!

  21. 2 June 2018 / 12:25 am

    Oh my stars, the made-up look is quite a look, but I will say, it’s not bad. It’s just A LOT. I follow several beauty bloggers who create these beautifully layered looks that I’d probably never ever wear, but you can’t help but appreciate the artistry. That said, I tend toward a more natural look, albeit one that takes several products to re-create. My mom always said I look better with a little color on my lips, and she’s right. Do what makes you feel best.
    Cheryl Shops

    • catherine
      4 June 2018 / 11:32 am

      I totally agree about the artistry Cheryl!! Their skill is quite amazing. “Do what makes you feel best” – never a truer word said x

  22. 1 June 2018 / 11:13 pm

    Wahhhh that gif is so bloody clever Catherine! A.MAZE.ING! Way to make a point woman 😉

    I think make up is like any fashion in that there is always a rebound effect after some time of the one style. The no make up make up look will have it’s moment just like any other make up look. Thin eyebrows to uber thick, over-lined matt lips of the 90’s to high gloss glass of 2000 & what ever…I forget the exact date, you get the gist.
    The great thing about make up now is the amount of choice. You’re absolutely right to point out the degrees of weight – heavy to the point of appearing Anime right through to barely there dewy, almost imperceptible. I apprecitae it all & love the freedom it gives so many women.
    However there is nothing more liberating than feeling comfortable going bare-faced in public. I hope every woman enjoys this feeling at some point in her life because WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL JUST AS WE ARE xx

    • catherine
      4 June 2018 / 11:30 am

      You’re so right about choice MT… and about going barefaced! Whilst I wouldn’t be happy going to an event or something where I have to interact with people [on a professional level] without makeup, I’m more than okay going to the shops for milk without it. 😀

  23. 1 June 2018 / 10:36 pm

    Wednesday. ……. You know Addams Family…. You don’t need that much make up! Your a natural beauty!

    • catherine
      4 June 2018 / 11:28 am

      Thanks Nancy 😉

  24. 1 June 2018 / 10:34 pm

    I actually like both looks! But the lighter makeup is far nicer. The older you are and the heavier the makeup, I think it can be a little ageing.
    Laurie xx

    • Catherine
      2 June 2018 / 9:15 am

      I definitely find myself looking older with heavier makeup Laurie… I find that the eyes make the difference, too much black is very ageing on me for sure!

  25. 1 June 2018 / 10:32 pm

    Oh wow, the After is SCARY! Though that’s how my niece looks in a lot of her selfies. Heehee.
    I’m curious now to see what the app would do to me.
    I’ll post my results (after I delete photos to make room for it!)

    • Catherine
      2 June 2018 / 9:13 am

      Anne I agree about the after being scary!! Goes to prove how easy it is to manipulate images, doesn’t it…?!

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