Illustration by Corrinne James.

Illustration by Corrinne James.

I have never really used makeup because I never really felt like it suited me. HOWEVER, my eyebrows are extremely thick, and I have gotten quite tired of them. I know they have so much potential, and I want to show them off, but they are so thick and not well maintained. BUT…because I have never used makeup, I am the worst at it! I bought a pomade for my eyebrows, but I am horrible at putting it on! I want to keep my eyebrows trimmed but thick but also maintained—like a Cara D. kind of look. Any tips? —Desperate brows, 18

With great brows comes great responsibility! But not too much responsibility—you don’t really need makeup or knowledge of it to spiff up your built-in eye visors. I used to get my eyebrows waxed until freshman year, when an unfortunate trip to the aesthetician ended with my left eyebrow in the shape of a thick, crooked face-twig. I never went back. (What I’ve learned from life with thick brows is that 2 percent of aestheticians understand what “keep them full” means.) That summer, I also accidentally bleached my eyebrows (!!! long story), and NYX Eyebrow Marker was my saving grace. It has build-able, natural color and its marker tip makes shaping easy.

Now my entire eyebrow-grooming routine consists of tweezing and…tweezing. I recommend investing in a pair of tweezers to just pluck away the strays. Before I tweeze, my brows look like a dark cloud looming over my eye:


Then I start plucking, focusing on the stray hairs in these zones:


All done!


After being tweezed a couple times in the same spot, eyebrow hairs sometimes get the hint to not come back. These days, I only need to tweeze about once every two months! What a life!

Long story short: Brow-beauty comes from the inside. You don’t have to pluck them all away or cover them up with goop! With a little sprucing up, your brow babies will realize their full potential, I promise ;) —Alyson

Hello! I’m a redhead with fair skin and a decent amount of freckles. This means that any and all redness is VERY obvious :( Red hair is a recessive gene, so growing up surrounded by dirty-blonde, tan females hasn’t given me much knowledge on how to apply makeup. Most important, it’s hard to figure out what would look good with my hair and skin tone as a pair. Finding YouTube videos on how to apply makeup for redheads is hard enough, let alone NATURAL redheads. I’m just curious if you could elaborate with the knowledge that you have? Is contouring possible? Highlighting? What types of eyeshadow should I try? Do I cover up my freckles? THANK YOU :) —Chloe

Hello, fellow fiery-haired friend! Isn’t it a gift being a natural redhead, with our pale, almost-transparent skin dotted generously with freckles? I love occasionally appearing almost alien in the summer sun of Australia, where I live. It took me a long while to embrace my naturally red hair and pale, sensitive skin, but I’m there now and it’s great. So, I can offer you a few pieces of advice to hopefully make it easier to exist as a ginger in the makeup world.

The most important thing for our skin is sun protection. This has been instilled in me from a young age. Here in Australia, the sun has a little more bite to it than elsewhere on the planet, but it’s still important for you, too, wherever you live! I use a primer that has sunscreen in it. This Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer is like nothing I’ve ever had on my skin before. It’s pricey but lasts a long time and is completely worth the investment. If you try another brand, look for something with a high enough SPF to shield your skin from the hot, hot rays (i.e., SPF 15 or higher) while providing a base for makeup application.

From there, I use Nars Sheer Glow foundation in Mont Blanc for a kind of dewy coverage that’s not too thick but evens things out. (If you’re looking for a drugstore dupe, a bunch of beauty blogs say Neutrogena’s Healthy Skin Foundation is similar.) If I have any redness or pimples, I’ll dab on some cream concealer (I’m also partial to Nars’s concealer). From there, I apply a coating of foundation powder to set things (Smashbox is my go-to), and then finish with some sheer, peachy blush to highlight my cheekbones (I’m a fan of Nars’s Deep Throat). I like being able to see my freckles a little through my makeup, and this routine leaves my spots visible while still making me feel put together and confident. When I want even less coverage, I’ll skip the liquid foundation and apply powder over the primer, followed by blush.

It’s important for redheads to use a dark brown or brown mascara, I think, rather than black, as black is usually pretty harsh against the paleness of everything else. I also have a little eyebrow comb thing that I use to just neaten my brows up, too—but that’s not specific to redheads, I suppose.

At this point, I’d be done with my makeup, except for lipstick. I always have a really strong red lip, which some might say is a “bit much” with my hair and all, but I enjoy channeling Rita Hayworth in my day-to-day existence (I use MAC’s Russian Red). If I’m gonna wear eyeshadow, I’ll tone down the lip to a more neutral shade (a smudge of MAC’s Real Redhead) and use a gold, bronze, or brown-toned eyeshadow. I think brown tones are best for everyday wear, if you’re into that. You could even try for a smokey eye with brown and bronze tones, which I think sit better than gray or black shades on pale skin like ours.

As for contouring and and highlighting…you know, I’ve never tried it. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be possible for our skin type, but I wouldn’t feel qualified to give you instructions on how to do so. You could always try following this highlighting and contouring tutorial and see how it goes with your skin— you could be like a pioneer for redhead makeup application! Let me know how it goes. If you can’t find resources out there for your specific needs, I say do the groundwork yourself. Perhaps you’ll become a natural redhead beauty blogger, and I’ll subscribe to your channel ’cause you’ll know all the secrets! Until then, don’t be discouraged by urban myths on what redheads “are” and “aren’t” supposed to wear on their faces. The most important thing is that you feel confident and cool in the products of your choice. —Minna ♦

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