I’ve long been of the opinion that people should wear as much or as little makeup as they want to. If wearing false lashes and a perfect contour every day makes you feel like a queen then just do it; equally, if you want to rock a naked face, you should. If I’m honest, though, doing what I want is not always easy – particularly within the confines of restrictive beauty standards – and my relationship with makeup has grown more complicated than simply deciding whether or not to wear it, and feeling great either way.
There’s an artistry in makeup that I relish. I can spend hours watching beauty tutorials; wide-eyed in awe at their ability to create such stunning looks, hoping I’ll be able to blend nearly that well one day. As you’ll know if you follow me on Instagram, I’m no stranger to a good selfie, usually taking several after doing my makeup nicely, as if to preserve the occasion. It’s not every day I get my eyebrows just right, or wear a liquid lipstick in a daring shade.
Recently, though, I’ve started to feel increasingly as though my makeup-free face is not fit to be seen, as if I literally shouldn’t go outside unless I’m wearing foundation. Surely, my skin is too blotchy, my under eyes too baggy, my brows too patchy, to bare to the world. I’ve dabbled a few times with not wearing makeup to work, but I always revert to my trusty foundation; even though it hardly makes it to lunch time without having flaked and caked on my face, it somehow feels safer.
I hate that I feel like that. It doesn’t reflect my view that everyone should be able to present themselves however they want to in the world. But it is just another complex symptom of societal beauty standards; expectations which dictate that I need to buy hundreds of pounds worth of products to make myself look a certain way deemed acceptable to the masses. Slowly, something I’d thought was my own choice or preference has become a chore, an obligation. Something needs to change, and quickly.
For the last week or so, I’ve been giving my skin a break from its war paint, wearing a minimal amount of makeup, and skipping foundation altogether. Luckily enough, I had a few nice bits to try from French organic cosmetics company, Avril, who sent me four products of my choice to try: their BB cream*, Concealer in Porcelain*, Blush Rose in Praline* and Eye shadow in Beige Mat*. Many of the products Avril have to offer are vegan, and they are certified organic, with at least 95% of ingredients being naturally derived.
There’s something about doing my eyebrows which makes me feel like I’m wearing more makeup than I actually am, and keeping them primped has helped me transition to a lighter beauty routine. For the most part, I have been applying Avril’s concealer as a base where I want to add in some coverage – under my eyes, on my chin and on any spots that might have come up. The consistency of the product is very light and almost dry – at least in comparison to the concealers I’ve been using – which makes it easy to work with and blend into my skin. It’s not oily or sticky at all; it works well on its own as well as under foundation, as I’d been testing it prior to ditching the hard stuff this last week. At the end of a day at work, I’m happy to report that Avril’s concealer was still looking good, having not creased or cracked much at all.
On days where I want a little extra coverage without going for a full face of foundation, I’ve been reaching for the BB Cream. Available in one shade, this product boasts organic shea butter and organic jojoba oil as ingredients, offering a long-lasting, illuminating finish. If you’re after a very light coverage, this BB Cream might suit you nicely, but I found I could hardly tell the difference between my complexion with or without it applied. As I said, if this is what you’re after, then Avril’s offering could be perfect for you, but I had hoped it would provide a more noticeable finish. I’d love it if Avril released a BB or CC Cream with SPF, that I would definitely be interested in trying!
Although my skin is naturally quite flushed with patches of redness here and there, I still like to apply a small amount of blush to add shape to my features. Avril’s blush – which I picked up in Praline, a gorgeous mauve rose – lived up to its claim of providing a “non-drying, healthy glow.” It is a lot more pigmented than I’d expected it to be; to create a natural finish, I’ve found that I only need to dab the smallest amount onto the apples of my cheeks with a fluffy brush, blending it out along my cheekbone for a more chiseled effect. This is a beautiful blush for all seasons, and I’m sure it’ll be worked down to the pan in no time.
Lastly, I decided to add to my already overflowing collection of eyeshadows with Avril’s Beige Mat shade. Ideal as a base to set eyeshadow primer, I’ll be getting most use out of the shadow when I want to intensify other shades. Although it’s quite a chalky texture, there’s no fallout. At just €6, Avril’s eyeshadows are very reasonably priced, and there are a number of exciting shades to choose from, which would work well together to create anything from everyday looks to dramatic smokey eyes. It was difficult not to go for Vendange or Prune Mat, but I have so many similar shades already. Perhaps next time.
Now that I’ve learned how to feel a little more confident in my nearly naked skin, I feel I could get used to being a part of the No Foundation Crew. I’m hoping that, with time, I’ll see an improvement in my complexion and, more importantly, my self-esteem. I want makeup to feel fun again, and to be something I can practise on my terms.
Have you tried anything from Avril before?
| Kristen talks about her skincare journey
| JKissa, veteran of the No Foundation movement, creating the baddest of badass beauty looks over on the ‘Tube – unicorn rainbow vibes guaranteed
*I was sent this product to review, and have given nothing but my honest opinion!