Thursday, January 19th, 2012

By Dustin Hunter, Makeup Artist

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Dustin Hunter has been designing various media since his early teen years. Studying several different art forms, Hunter’s creative background ranges from illustration and photography to fashion and interior design to music production and makeup artistry. He has worked for over a decade as a professional illustrator and his retail interior design concepts have been featured in nation-wide publications, receiving recognition for their uniqueness and creativity.  Check out his blog and YouTube channel!

No-Fail Natural Beauty Products for Women and Men

Thinking about my Holy Grail products and my everyday easy, no-fail beauty tricks got me wanting to empty my makeup bag, which I refer to as my “car bag,” (because I like to think I’m manlier than I am) to see what I had in there and what I would freak out about if I lost.

These products and tips are good for women AND men who want to focus on a natural makeup look. I have found these techniques and products reliable and easy to work with (I use these on myself almost every day):

Highlight Pens

Everyone makes one (think YSL’s Touche Éclat), and they are all different. Some are heavy like a concealer, some aren’t. Some come in correcting tones, some come with shimmer. They work wonders for brightening the inner eye area, along the brow bone, just below the dark circles on your eyes, or around the nostrils and mouth. Anywhere you show fatigue is where you want to use a product like this–to “wake” you up.

Eyebrow Pencil (Powder, Brow Set, etc.)

Ladies: I always see you overlook your eyebrows (they are one of the most important parts of your face). I like them full and soft, groomed but never over-plucked. Brow products are right up there with mascara in terms of “if you only have time for one thing in the morning, make it this…”

Fellas: MAC’s Brow Set (comes in multiple colors, $15) is the one product I lose it over if I can’t find it. If you have light facial hair and want to fill in your sideburns or beard a little more (so it doesn’t look creepy and clear), you can brush one of these over the hairs to instantly (and naturally) transform your look. I started going grey in high school – I used to dye my facial hair. I use this now instead.

Powder? Yes or No?

Ladies: If you are going for a more natural look you want to be able to see the texture of your skin. Don’t over-powder. If you have a hard time with this one, make luminizers your best friend! Strobe Liquid pressed into the high points of the face will give you back the glow (and some of the texture) that you lost after you powdered your face.

Fellas: If you want to look like Divine, go for it! If you want to look more “natural” then don’t powder AT ALL! If you need to, use blotting films as an alternative. Focus on skincare to take care of your face instead of looking for something to cover it up. I have seen far too many tutorials on men’s makeup that use mineral and other powder foundations. STOP! A matte face will be your biggest tell! (That and blue eyeshadow of course.)

Know Who You Are

More important than any other tip or trick you’ll ever learn from any makeup artist, magazine, book or YouTube tutorial: You’ve got to know who you are and be comfortable with yourself. Regarding makeup, this is important because you need to really know your skin: the pros and the cons, what works for you and what doesn’t. You also need to consider your natural habits (especially when choosing tools). People ask me all the time, “What’s the best blending brush?” My reply is always the same: “That depends, are you light-handed or heavy-handed?” There’s no one answer that is going to work for every person – not in life and not in makeup.

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

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54 thoughts on “No-Fail Natural Beauty Products for Women and Men

  1. Chelsea

    This is fabulous and so well-timed. Lately I’ve been laying off the color and focusing on how I can bring out the best in my face.

  2. Grace

    Dustin, I’m very much heavy-handed. Can you please recommend brushes for blush, blending, kabuki, powder and/or any other that you think are musthaves for applying makeup on a daily basis?


    • You’ll really have to try stuff out for yourself to find out what’s perfect for you (and I’m STILL finding new brushes that I fall in love with all the time)! Generally speaking though, most heavy handed folks I know tend to prefer softer, fluffier brushes. Here’s why: The softer the brush, the less product you will usually end up grabbing with the bristles so you will have an easier time building and blending color.

      The MAC 224 is one that heavy-handed friends of mine like for eyeshadow blending – I’m ultra light-handed so I actually use brushes the MAC 242 and 239 for that task.

      Synthetics will USUALLY be too dense and stiff if you’re heavy-handed – Unfortunately some of the BEST brushes for you to look at are also the most expensive! Brushes by Hakuhodu are supurbly soft and brilliant for a heavy hand. Of course, those are just suggestions and there are exceptions to every rule :) That’s a good place to start looking though!! Hope that helps :)

  3. Jinete

    Good thoughts in your article. So glad to see you over at Temptalia’s blog. Love your videos and really looking forward to the video overview on the Estee Lauder and Chanel foundations! You are the best!

    • Thank you!! I’m excited to dive into the new Estee Lauder one’s myself (I keep hearing about new foundations coming out this winter but have yet to see anything for myself yet).

  4. Carlea

    Good article that’s full of practical advice! Please keep articles from this guy coming! Thanks!

  5. Sarah R

    Great article Dustin! You are simply amazing!

  6. Heather

    Dusty I love you! You always have great advice! I especially agree on the “know thyself” point. As a makeup artist myself, sometimes I find that people think that there is one perfect product that I can recommend for them. It’s rarely the case!

  7. Elle

    I love it! Great tips! I agree about the brows being a necessity! I will go without makeup but my brows must look polished!

  8. Kendra

    Thanks, Dusty!

  9. Edith Padilla

    Great advice, Justin. I have been slacking on repurchasing the Touche Eclat and you’ve definitely reminded me why I loved it so much when I had it.

  10. amanda

    this is one of the best articles ive seen here <3 love

  11. Liz

    Love Dustin! More articles from him would be great, his videos are my fav.

  12. shelly

    I loathe it when someone posts on a makeup forum, “What’s the best (insert product here)?” There is no “best” anything, really; it’s all subjective and dependent on the individual and their wants and needs. What works best for one person may not work for someone else.

    • It’s kind of like asking “I want to watch a movie, which one is the best?” LOL

    • Ida

      Very true, but there is some consistency to be found in what products are absolutely great quality and tend to work on most people and then those that most people usually hate. I like to found out those that seem to work and start from them as I don’t have much money and I try to minize the risk that the product is absolutely horrible, you know :) That’s why I tend to buy losts of things from MAC for example 😀 Investing, that’s what I call it… LoL

  13. Anne

    DUSTY! I’m an avid watcher of your youtube videos — it’s wonderful to see you here. I love your practical advice, and I couldn’t agree more with you on the brow points.

  14. Jamie

    Dusty – per usual you nailed it. I like how you infuse humor with your tips. I love watching you on YouTube because you have that natural ease on camera! Keep these posts coming, Christine!

  15. mumtaza

    Dustin, hi! What do you use the tiny fan brush for?

    • That’s a mascara fan brush. Lots of people use them to brush any mascara clumps out of their lashes. If you don’t like to wear a ton of mascara you can also use them to apply mascara (or just about any cream/gel eyeliner to your lashes). I like using it that way – especially for men’s makeup – It mostly tints the lashes instead of giving them volume or length.

  16. AH I love this post! Very insightful. It’s tricks I feel like professionals don’t emphasize enough because they’re not fun and colorful. LOVE this.

  17. Dustin as always I love it! Any tips for ladies eye brows, in particular for those of us who get bad groom after bad groom? I have wild eyebrows and I would love to have them shaped but everyone I go to just massacres them.

    • You’re lucky to have wild brows to start with! Always best to have more to take off than not enough 😉 As far as tips go, there are several charts that you can find showing you what brows are “supposed” to look like. If you are going to a salon to have them done, explain to the person your past experiences and tell them (or show them if you can) exactly what you didn’t like about your previous visits. It’s always helpful to bring in photos (from magazines, etc.) showing the shape/look that you’d like to have. It’s also better to be conservative first when removing hair, then go back and get heavier if you need to. You can also “try out” shapes at home by using a heavy concealer to cover your brows, then draw them back in with shadow. You PROBABLY won’t want to go out of the house like that, but it will give you an impression of what a shape will look like on you.

      • crystal s.

        Thanks Dustin. you are the best, even if you are a snow thief. :p

        • PLEASE take some! 14″ of snow, then freezing rain and wind storms! The trees are all over the road and the power lines are low enough to skip rope with. I trek to a friend’s house once a day just so I can get on line and check email/reply to comments/etc. This is laaaaaame. LOL!

  18. Great advice! I have recently gotten more serious about keeping my eyebrows groomed. Speaking of over-powdering… I have a hard time keeping the texture of my skin looking nice, even if I use a very light hand with powder. Could it be the powder I am using? I’ve tried several and haven’t been really pleased with any. Do you have any suggestions for a very natural looking setting powder? Thanks!

    • I can’t tell you what will look best on you or what you will like the most – But I WILL tell you my favorites.

      MAC Blot Powder (pressed): All time favorite. It’s nearly transparent and very light. Love it for a not-so-matte/just-dull-the-shine-please finish.

      MAC Studio Careblend (pressed): I’ve really grown to love this one. The texture is SO soft and it has a nice matte finish. They say it’s for dryer skin but I have seen it perform really good on oily skin as well.

      Purely Cosmetics Diamond Finish (loose): If you like transparent powders (MUFE HD, etc.) this one, in my opinion, is the best. A little goes a very long way – I use it with a stippling or fan brush and just dust it lightly over the face.

  19. Edelmc

    Hi Dusty. What are your thoughts on strobe liquid v strobe cream? Thanks

    • OMG I LOVE this question!! Because Strobe Cream is a consumer favorite, but I think Strobe Liquid is a better product. Fans of Strobe Cream usually talk about how they love it as a moisturizer (it IS a really good one) – It’s packed with skin-loving goodies that your face will thank you for, but at the end of the day, it’s really just a moisturizer with some shimmer in it. Strobe Liquid doesn’t have all the same juicy ingredients, but it’s not really a moisturizer either (in my opinion).

      Strobe Liquid has the same opalescent finish as Strobe Cream, but with a much better dry down factor (it doesn’t stay greasy or creamy), making it a great luminizer. You can take a little in your hands, rub them together and press it into the high points of a powdered face for a natural looking highlight that won’t show off your pores like some powders will!

      • Edelmc

        I tend to use strobe cream mixed with my foundation for a dewy finish but I was thinking strobe liquid might be a more suitable texture for mixing with mac face & body. I could keep strobe cream and use it for mixing with thicker liquid foundations like studio sculpt or Bobbi brown skin….what do you think?

        • I would experiment and see what works well for you. Sometimes I will mix highlight/luminizing products with foundation and sometimes I prefer more control over where it’s placed. You can also make your own version of either of those by mixing something duo-chrome like Pink Opal Pigment by MAC with any moisturizer (for Strobe Cream) or Face & Body Mixing Medium (for Strobe Liquid). That will give you more control over the amount of “glow” you get. Of course, you can also mix duo-chrome powders right in with your foundation too, why not? :)

          Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair serum (NOT the concentrate, but the regular serum) is also a FABULOUS product that I keep on hand for mixing with foundations to create a very luminous finish. It’s brilliant for glowing Barbie-like skin :) Not duo-chrome but still very useful.

  20. Very very interesting post! It will save many people from making huge make up mistakes! Which are the two eyeshadows?

    • I think those were Mystery and Bamboo. Espresso is really popular for brows (it’s far too warm-toned for me though). Copperplate is one of my favorites because it’s so neutral you can use it with MOST brown hair, almost all blonde hair and grey hair.

  21. Carmel

    Thanks Dustin! This confirms for me that I should use Touche Eclat. I’d really appreciate it if anyone could suggest the right shade for an NC45! :)

    • I know folks who are NC45 and use shade #1 (which is the one I use and I’m NW15 LOL!) The product is so sheer and blends so well. If I had darker skin I would probably have more than one on hand though. For you, take a look at #1 and #3… maybe even #6.

  22. Laura R

    awesome points, Dusty! i’m trying to master an au naturale look (as opposed to my usual) and these tips fit the bill perfectly!

  23. Carolina

    Great post: short and to the point.

  24. Conrad

    I really appreciate this post! As a guy who regularly uses a Givenchy concealer pen for my bags, wears a thin tinted moisturizer along with a MAC beauty powder to pull out my high cheekbones (Shell, from the Liberty of London collection), I always find it refreshing to find another guy into polishing his look.

    Nothing over the top, just making my skin nice and even…and it always gets compliments at the spa I work at (“You have perfect skin!” “What did you do to make it like that?”) since it usually assumed guys don’t wear any makeup, lol.

  25. raven

    i love dustin hunter <3 im subbed to him on youtube <3 hes fantastic

  26. I totally agree on the brows! Having groomed brows makes SUCH a huge difference!

  27. Alice

    Hi Dustin! I loved your tips. I just have a quick question, how can we know which Touch Eclat is right for our skin tone?

    • You can search for swatches on-line (there are SEVERAL examples if you just type “touche eclait swatches” into Google. The best way is really to test them out – Luckily they are so sheer that as long as you don’t get one that’s too yellow or too pink, you should have an easy time matching. Keep in mind that YSL isn’t the only company that makes these. My personal favorite (for finish and texture) is By Terry’s version. It’s far superior IMO – BUT – it’s heavily rose scented so I can’t use it, it’s just too strong, it burns my eyes :/

  28. Amy

    Ah I’m so happy that someone agrees with me when it comes to full and soft brows. I was lucky enough to be blessed with soft and full Asian brows with just a bit of an arch and I find it to look so much better, natural, and young than thin super dark arched brows. I often find it funny how I’m 16 and I understand this but most women don’t. I mean if they like an arched brow, great. But if they’re specifically tryin to achieve a younger and innocent look, it might not be the best option.

  29. Amy

    Oops phone didn’t let me finish. Have you tried those products that imitate hair with fibers and color? I forgot the brand.

  30. K

    Great post! Love that it covers both females and males. I liked your closing statement – nice touch.

  31. There is no other good things than having a clear glowing skin. Having a nice skin is a pride, it makes women even more beautiful, more attractive, and being attractive could boost confidence.