By now, we’ve all heard about ‘effortless beauty’; the “oh, she woke up like that” types, the people who manage to pop out the door in a pinch but always look like that girl, the ones with the ‘je ne sais quoi’. The effortless beauty trope surrounds people who have a mystical allure that we can’t quite pinpoint, but we just know they have everything going for them. People always point to French women when they think of effortless beauty, and to a degree, they’re right! French women can be completely understated in their appearance, yet totally captivating. It all comes down to adopting key virtues in your routine.
To be clear, effortless beauty is for everyone – not just unicorn humans who seem to possess a certain charm and breeziness, although they make it seem that way. After spending my life dedicated to beauty (hey, I even chased this path on a professional level as a hairdresser!) I have cracked the code to what effortless beauty is, and how you too can attain this carefree approach to beauty.
So what is it exactly that sets apart effortless beauties from the rest of us? It’s actually quite simple…they know what works for them, and they don’t deviate much. When it comes to their routine, effortless beauties choose products that work for their skin types, colors that compliment their complexion, hairstyles that aren’t overly complicated or too labor intensive (they know how to work with what they’ve got rather than fight it!), and they choose the right features to enhance without being fussy.
Before I continue, it’s important to emphasize that being an effortless beauty does not equate to being a minimalist or having a boring routine. Effortless beauty can very much so encompass bold colors, prints, and drama if that’s who you are! However, these elements must be utilized effectively; rarely do we look at someone who is heavily contoured or with intricate eye shadow and think ‘that looks so effortless’. Quite the contrary – we think ‘that looks like it took ages to achieve’.
Part of the allure of effortless beauty is the thought of ‘I can attain that’, but perhaps not knowing how or where to start. We humans tend to over-complicate things when given the chance. Our beauty routine is no exception especially when you consider the fact that the beauty industry is valued at a whopping $534 BILLION. Companies prey on our insecurities and convince the masses that their products will solve our problems. What sets ‘effortless beauty’ apart from other routines though is like what I mentioned earlier – effortless beauties know what works for them, and because of this there is a certain level of organization to their routines. Their counter tops and makeup bags aren’t overflowing with products because they choose only what’s essential. Not every beauty launch appeals to them because there is a contentment within their routines – their products are reliable and allow them to get ready without thinking too hard about their next move.
One of the core essentials to being truly effortless is by taking care of your skin and hair. These are the foundation to anything else you’ll do in your routine. Caring for yourself does not have to be expensive either – there are tons of excellent drugstore choices! For the record, I once saw a woman with the most beautiful skin ever…I asked what she used and she replied just Pond’s Cold Cream (go figure). A great beauty routine starts with cleansing your skin and hair. Ideally, you’ll use a formula for both that thoroughly removes dirt and impurities without stripping moisture. Next, you’ll want to follow up with moisture for both your skin (face/body) and hair.
You can add as many products into your routine as you’d like, but the big takeaway here is being clean and moisturized. Bonus points if you adopt a signature scent. I cannot tell you what a difference this makes! Choosing your signature fragrance – the one that people will associate you with – is one of the most impactful things you can add to your routine with the least amount of effort. Decades later in my life, I still think of specific people if I smell classic Old Spice, Thierry Mugler Angel, or Warm Vanilla Sugar. Fragrance is mega impactful with minimal effort. Effortless, yet unforgettable.
When it comes to hair styling, if you’re trying to achieve an effortless look you need to evaluate what it is that your hair tries to do at baseline sans styling. Is it straight? Curly? Somewhere in between? Identifying what your hair does naturally is the key step to developing a styling routine for it. The goal here is not to completely change your hair’s texture, but rather support it in order for it to look it’s best. Now I know what some of you are thinking…
“But Lauren, I don’t like what my hair wants to do naturally”.
I know this because of years working behind the chair and hearing it daily from clients. You may not like what I’m about to say next, but working against your hairs natural texture is not effortless. Part of what makes effortless beauties so appealing is their confidence with their natural appearance. The sooner you can make peace with what your hair wants to do, the sooner you’re on your way to achieving effortless beauty. Don’t fret though, there are ways to make your hair texture work for you!
Once you’ve identified your hair texture, you want to choose products that will support it’s shape. If you have straight hair, look for products to boost volume like mousse if your hair is fine. If you’re wavy or curly, look for a mousse/gel/or styling cream to define the movement in your hair and cut down on frizz. Effortless in the case of hair can mean airdrying, but you can certainly use a hairdryer or tools to enhance what it is your hair does naturally (i.e. blowdrying or diffusing). For ALL hair types, I highly recommend using a hair oil through the ends to boost glossy shine and cut down on frizz. You want to make sure the weight of the oil is appropriate for your hair type. A great haircut for your texture is also essential! The right haircut will make styling a breeze, as well as a become a statement making accessory. There’s a reason why major life changes often prompt big hair changes – our hair matters!
Next, take a look at yourself – an honest, good hard look. Evaluate what features you love about yourself and what you can do to make those things shine! Do you have absolutely gorgeous skin? Make it glow with a pinch of color on your cheeks and a little highlighter. Are your eyes bright and sparkling? Frame them with a little liner and mascara. Love the shape of your lips? Emphasize them with some lip gloss or lipstick. What you’re looking for at this phase in your routine are the ways to adorn yourself that are impactful but don’t necessarily take a long time to achieve. You want dependable staples – that can even mean a bright lipstick or loads of mascara, but the key is choosing things that won’t slow you down much during the application process. Additionally, choosing a focal point (i.e. a bold eye or bright lip) will give you the effortless vibe. Emphasizing too many features a) takes too much time, but b) becomes distracting.
Something that can completely change your relationship to your beauty routine (and fashion for that matter) is identifying your personal color palette through color analysis. There are specialists who help people do this, but you can also take quizzes online to help you discover what colors suit you best. Once you know what your color palette is, every decision you make from then on out becomes very streamlined. You will always look your best without trying hard regardless of whether you’re trying to choose a new blush or decide which color to get of that cute top you saw online.
The most important takeaways if you want to achieve effortless beauty:
-Narrow down what is absolutely essential in your routine, and use what works for you, not every new product or trend on the market. Streamline your routine, not because you want to be minimalist, but because you have dependable staples.
-Work with and embrace what you have. Highlight the things you love about yourself and create focal points. Don’t fight your hair. Let your confidence carry you.
-Analyze your color palette and choose makeup, hair color, and clothing accordingly.
-Celebrate style elements that you love! Whether you love neutrals or a bright palette, statement jewelry or dainty, lean into them because they are a reflection of you!
-Ditch perfection. Let your products be the tools that help you get on with your day and don’t worry if everything isn’t perfect. Choose interesting over perfection.