Chanel's make up artist on tricks for natural beauty

Chanel artist Ninni Nummela offers insider tips for achieving a natural makeup look with this easy step-by-step guide

Two photos of a model with natural makeup in two different outfits
Makeup by Ninni Nummela, photography by Jan Lehner, as originally featured in the June 2016 issue of Wallpaper*
(Image credit: Jan Lehner)

For those used to applying make up everyday, the past few months have offered a respite from our usual routine. Wearing no makeup at all, or very little of it, is the new norm.

Chanel's UK Beauty Ambassador, Ninni Nummela, believes the paired down, less is more approach to makeup will have long lasting popularity even after lockdown restrictions have eased. Below, she breaks down the best products and professional tricks for achieving a natural look that isn’t (entirely) natural.

Create your base

During the sunny days we’ve had, and continue to have over summer, it’s even more important to include a protective SPF in your beauty ritual. I’ve been using Dr. Barbara Sturm’s light-textured Sun Drops, which work perfectly underneath makeup. 

With clean, moisturised skin as your base you're ready to start working on your complexion. For a natural look it’s best to wear a hydrating sheer foundation that evens out your skin without any cakey consistency. Something like Chanel’s ‘Les Beiges Fresh Water Tint' is your best bet for this. 

If your skin is playing up while in lockdown, blend a full coverage foundation, or a concealer over where extra coverage is needed. Keep in mind your skin tone changes throughout the year, so you might need a slightly warmer shade if you’ve spent time in the sun. I like having two shades in my makeup bag, which can be blended together in order to cover all seasons. Kjaer Weis’s ‘Cream Foundation' is great to cover up any imperfections, and they can be bought as refills to easily create your own palette.

Model with natural makeup looking directly into the camera

(Image credit: Jan Lehner)

Highlight your features

Most of us won’t be getting the glowing, tanned skin we usually would this time of year. Using a subtle bronzer like Chanel’s ‘Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream' transforms pallid skin without making it look artificial. Using a big round brush, blend the bronzer on the areas of your skin the sun would naturally tan you the most; on top of the cheekbones, on the bridge of the nose, middle of the chin and on the forehead. It’s also the perfect tan shade to use as an eyeshadow to naturally contour and accentuate your eyes. 
To enhance your features even further, play with light and shadow and use a mix of different textures. Cream based products are my favourites in the summer because they are easy to build up and give a natural finish. Chanel ‘Baume Essentiel' is good for highlighting the top of the cheekbones and the eyelids for a dewy look. It gives a glossy skin finish that looks natural and doesn’t move throughout the day.

Accentuate your brows

Thick, luscious brows have been a trend for a long time now, as they frame your face and give you a youthful look. Allowing my brows to grow freely, without any grooming, has been my mission during the lockdown. I apply castor oil to them daily, which is an ancient trick said to stimulate the growth of your eyebrow hairs and lashes. 

In case of any gaps or missing hairs, use ‘The Precision Brow Pencil' by Kevyn Aucoin to gently fill in strokes where needed. To make the hairs stay in place, and to make them look thicker, brush a tinted eyebrow gel upwards through the hairs, I like Chanel's ‘Longwear Eyebrow Gel.'

Model with natural makeup looking directly into the camera with hair slightly blowing in the wind

(Image credit: Jan Lehner)

Open up your eyes

In case you have avoided makeup altogether during the lockdown, an essential first buy is a mascara. Your mascara has most likely dried out by now and, because of bacteria build up, it’s important to get rid of it after around three months.

Mascara makes a big difference to a pared-down look, it somehow makes everything fall into place. I’m a big fan of ‘Le Volume de Chanel' mascara both for work and on myself. And don’t forget to curl your lashes before applying mascara to really open up the eyes.

Experiment with colour

Applying a joyful, bright pop of colour is an easy way to give an edge to your makeup look. Using this pared-down look as a base, you can easily amp it up with a bold eye by applying a wash of colour all over the eyelid. Or if you prefer, a matte bright coloured lip paired with highlighted, bronzed skin is always a powerful yet beautiful statement. 

When adding a strong colour, either to your lips or eyes, you might require a touch of colour on your cheeks to balance the look. A cream blusher is a staple in my professional and personal kit. To find your ultimate shade, pinch your cheeks and choose a blusher mimicking the colour of your natural flush. Using the warmth of your fingers apply it high on top of the apples of your cheeks (the padded part of your cheeks when you smile), blending up and out for a youthful glow.