Meet my good friend Idgy (the beauty in the photo above)! She is a lover of natural, cruelty-free beauty products. I have known Idgy for many years, and have adapted several of her beauty methods into my own regimen. Recently, a coworker of mine expressed some frustration in finding beauty products that work for her red hair, so I referred to Idgy – who was so gracious to put together some techniques that have worked well for her:
“Print and television advertisements for cosmetics invariably feature dramatic looks. Applied to someone with unusual coloring, these palettes can appear garish. There are some guidelines that can make choosing make-up and skin-care easier for redheads. Most of the products mentioned here are natural and/or organic; a few of them are not. NONE of them are from companies that allow testing on animals. To reliably locate cosmetics companies that are cruelty-free, mybeautybunny.com is very helpful. My favorite resource for product reviews is beautypedia.com
Beginning with skin (as all beauty routines should), it can be thin and delicate. There is also a tendency toward warm tones; this combination explains why the entire world knows when you blush or have been crying. The first tenet of skin care is to treat it gently. Look for products with soothing ingredients like green tea, honey, aloe, neem, lavender, and rosemary. Known irritants, such as alcohol, sulfur, cinnamon, and peppermint should be avoided. Keep in mind that any ingredient can potentially be irritating to any individual. If it turns your skin red, it’s not for you. One skin-care line worth consideration is all-natural Lotus Moon. The Amaranth Gentle Cleanse cleanser and the Organic Honey Purifying Mask are soothing for most skin types.
You already know sun protection is important, but two things worth mentioning are that many commercial sunscreens contain chemicals you may not want on your skin; and there is some controversy over whether sunscreens themselves are in fact harmful. I won’t enter into a debate, but will say that Lotus Moon makes an excellent, gentle sunscreen; and regardless of your stance on the sunscreen quandary, I advise a hat with a brim, and large sunglasses during the daytime. Sunscreen leads us to the next bone of contention: self-tanner.
A tanned redhead is typically an odd-looking creature; it’s been pointed out to me that a tan makes me rather resemble a large penny. The best approach is to embrace your pallor and eschew the self-tanner – with one exception. Pasty legs can benefit from a little color. There are several tanning products that are relatively easily applied, with some practice. Layering light, even coats over the course of a few days is the best method. The lotion can collect and turn quite dark in creases, but a cotton swab can take care of this. Nature’s Gate Sunless Tanner is an inexpensive option and available at a discount at vitacost.com.
When selecting make-up, the first decision regards foundation. Most do not need a full face of foundation, at least not for the daytime. A little finishing powder can tone down ruddiness. I like to use a powder that can double as foundation and have found natural, mineral-based products to be the most skin-friendly choice. Honeybee Gardens Pressed Mineral Powder Foundation is an elegant and inexpensive option. I dust it on lightly with a large brush most of the time, and press it on with either a dry puff or a dampened sponge for more polish on special occasions. If your skin is quite dry, a liquid option or a BB cream might be a better choice.
Concealer is an important item to have on hand. NARS Radiant Cream Concealer has a nice texture and is available in many shades. It works well on dark circles. For heavier coverage, or for oily skin, try Kat Von D’s Lock-it Tattoo Concealer. (Which actually won’t obscure a tattoo, but it’s great for imperfections.) Speaking of imperfections, see those broken capillaries at the base of your nostrils? Tap a little concealer there; it makes a difference.
Appropriate make-up colors can be described as warm and soft. Black eyeliner and mascara are not the best options: try brown mascara instead. Choose eyeliner colors to complement, but not match, eye color. Blue eyes are most flattered by browns and coppers. Green eyes benefit from plums and purples. Younique’s mineral eye pencils are a worthy product to try; Passionate is a nice mid-tone purple. Those with brown or gray eyes can opt for some fun colors: teal, violet, green. Keep in mind that the lighter your hair and skin are, the lighter and more blended your make-up palette should be. For example, a strawberry blonde would be better served by golden brown liner than chocolate, grass green over moss, turquoise instead of teal. Use a cotton swab or blending brush to blur the line for a softer effect. Kriss Cosmetics makes gel eyeliners that apply flawlessly. Black Cherry is a deep aubergine, with flecks of copper, that would be too harsh for strawberries, but it’s very flattering to darker auburns. Keep eye shadows warm or neutral: nudes, golds, browns, plums.
Think about peach-based colors for cheeks and lips, instead of pinks. One of my favorite blushes is Mineral Blush in Kitten from Honeybee Gardens. Flattering lip colors will be peach instead of pink, coral rather than mauve, and tomato instead of burgundy. Do not take these colors too deep if you are paler. Stick to apricot, coral, and lighter red.
Once you are comfortable with the colors that are best for you, feel free to branch out and have some fun. A bright berry lipstick may work, if the rest of your make-up is warm/neutral and minimal. You can still do a smoky eye design, but use mid-tone brown or plum shadows, instead of gray and black. If it looks harsh, try softer, lighter colors, and blend, blend, blend. Emphasize only one feature at a time: a bold lip OR a smoky eye OR bright blush. Apply muted shades sparingly to the rest of the face.”
Have you tried any of these products? What are your favorite beauty tips for redheads?