Meghan Markle loves her freckles, and why shouldn’t she? They add character to her face and set her apart from the rest of the Hollywood crowd. According to the soon-to-be royal’s make-up artist, Meghan’s biggest pet peeve is when her freckles are airbrushed out of photographs, and she hates when they’re covered up by product. “Every time I’d do her makeup, she’d say, ‘Can we just make sure my freckles are peeking through? I don’t want a ton of foundation,’” Lydia F. Sellers, told Refinery 29 last week.
But not all freckled people are as confident. For years, we’ve been made to feel like we’re lesser – and I, for one, spent my teens plastering my face in foundation so that nobody would see them. It wasn’t just the teasing I got in school that made me self-conscious, but also the fact that freckled women were never represented in beauty advertisements. Nobody in magazines or on TV looked like me, and as such, I felt ugly. Thankfully, things are changing.
We’re going through a sort of ‘freckle revolution’. Celebrities, such as Meghan Markle, Emma Watson, Angela Scanlon, and Gisele Bündchen are proudly embracing their skin’s natural pigmentation. The idea that freckles aren’t pretty has been flipped on its head – so much so that some people even paint them on. Semi-permanent ‘freckle kits’ are an actual thing now, and I’ve seen other women apply temporary ones using dark brown eyeshadow mixed with water, or a dab of a brown eyebrow pencil.
So where has this shift come from? Instagram and YouTube star, Jen Morris of Too Dolly Make-Up, puts it down to a new ‘fresh’ trend sweeping the industry. The heavily contoured ‘Kardashian’ look is slowly (and finally) on its way out. “I love my freckles, I think they’re really youthful and make your skin look very fresh!” she tells me. “One of the most commonly asked questions on social media is how to cover freckles – to which I generally answer, ‘don’t!’”
If Saoirse Ronan and her make-up artist are anything to go by, Jen is right. Make-up artist Karen Alder told Harper’s Bazaar, “I can’t stand seeing all these girls walking down the street looking like they’ve got sideburns of contour. I want to show that you can bring structure to the face without contouring.” So when creating Saoirse’s BAFTA look, she focused on making her natural beauty pop, using neutral shades and subtle highlights to emphasize the star’s gorgeous bone structure.
There’s no doubt that natural beauty is on the rise. For the first time in ages, I feel comfortable wearing light to medium coverage foundation, and sometimes I’m confident enough to go out without any make-up on at all. Katie Jane Hughes, a New York-based make-up artist, is all about letting skin breathe. She uses minimal amounts of product to enhance her features, rather than cover them up. In many of her looks shared online, she avoids foundation completely and opts for a light, dewy concealer instead.
While she doesn’t have freckles, she is an advocate of letting your natural beauty shine through. Aging skin doesn’t bother her, but dull skin that lacks radiance is a whole other story. Speaking to Into The Gloss, Katie Jane said, “I’m 33 now and I feel like I’m fine with lines on my forehead, and the ones around my eyes and mouth because as long as my skin looks glowy and fresh and not dry, I’m down with any of it.”