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We’re no stranger to a statement red lip or eyes adorned with glitter (diamonds are forever, after all), but sometimes a full face just feels too full on. Not quite evening-out makeup but a little more than a lunch-date look, let us introduce you to the wonderful world of soft-glam makeup…
Think soft-focus skin, romantic eyes and neutral shades reminiscent of warm, dusky skies. Katie Levy, Pro Makeup Artist at Trinny London, advises that a soft-glam makeup look should be “that next step up from being your everyday look, think of it as a level up from ‘no-makeup makeup’”. A soft-glam look is perfect for making a statement on the subtler side – and really, it’s all in the application. Featherlight fingers at the ready? These are the key components of a soft-glam look:
It’s best to keep your base light, glowy and, most importantly, beautifully blended. If there’s one thing that takes the “soft” out of soft-glam it’s harsh lines – we want to create a radiant, even base that marries perfectly with whispers of blush and bronzer. So, take your time to gently swipe and swirl your brush or tap and buff edges of colour with clean fingertips.
When choosing your eye shadow shades, aim to keep them within the same family of colour to ensure a seamless blend. For soft-glam eye makeup, you’ll want to lean more towards neutral tones and apply with a light touch. Complete your unique profile with Match2Me, our unique tool, to discover the perfect complementary eye shades to your eye colour.
We prefer to use natural, neutral tones on the lips for a barely-there, your-lips-but-better feel but whether you’re opting for matte, gloss or a subtle sheen is completely your choice.
When we talk about full-glam makeup we’re referring to those statement looks that pack the “wow” factor. “Full-glam is all about intensifying your look, whether that’s dialling up your coverage, adding a smoky eye or opting for bolder shades on the lip,” says Katie. Essentially, think of full-glam as the grown-up sister of soft-glam.
Taking the eyes, for example, a classic full-glam look is the much-loved smoky eye. Bold, mysterious and sexy – the smoky eye features darker shades across the lid, diffused outwards to create that intense effect. This is perfect for those evenings where you want your eyes to do the talking. As much as we love these looks, they can be slightly too bold for occasions in need of a lighter touch.
To pare back your smoky eye, swap darker shades for softer, neutral tones. Instead of packing on the pigment, lightly apply the shade and build up slowly – always remembering to blend and diffuse outwards to keep the look subtle. We’re talking less smoke, more haze. With soft-glam makeup, we’re essentially turning the volume down on full-glam makeup for a more laidback look.
So, let’s see soft-glam in action. Makeup Artist Mary Phillips is known for creating beautiful soft-glam makeup looks for the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Chrissy Teigen – safe to say, we’re learning from the best…
Mary chooses to start with a cream-based bronzer to add a touch of warmth to her complexion. “I’m going to go around my hairline, on my cheekbones, a little bit on my eyelids, across my nose – all the places that the sun would hit,” she says. By using a subtle cream bronzer here, instead of all over, Mary keeps the look soft and luminous.
Blush is a key component of a soft-glam look, creating the perfect just-finished-pilates flush. Mary prefers “to apply the blush on the higher side as it’s a very youthful look”. Soft-glam makeup calls for a rosy wash over the cheeks rather than pops of bold pigment.
Mary keeps her eyes simple when creating a soft-glam look, preferring to stick to one neutral shade – Eye2Eye in Faith is our cool fawny brown. She starts with a wash of shadow over the lids and builds up the colour slightly on her outer-eye, noting how cream-based eye shades are “super blendable, so if you get a little too much product you can just take your finger, or the brush, and keep blending it out.”
For her soft-glam lip, Mary takes a subtle shade (Lip2Cheek in Freddie, a soft terracotta), and gently taps the colour onto her lips “just to give the lips a little natural colour”. By diffusing the colour and avoiding harsh lines, Mary creates a soft, plush lip to complement her look.
The final touch? Mary saves her highlighter until last, describing it as “the icing on the cake”. Soft-glam makeup loves a luminous finish, don’t be afraid to dab on a touch of shimmer anywhere you want to draw attention to. Mary recommends using The Right Light in Candlelight on your cheekbones, nose and cupid’s bow for a pop of radiance.
If your special day is approaching, you may consider a soft-glam look when thinking about your wedding makeup look. Katie notes how “every bride is different, and I would always say it’s down to the individual” when choosing wedding day makeup. It’s all about what makes you feel comfortable and confident. “You want to look like the best version of yourself, rather than someone completely different” Katie advises.
If you’re someone used to wearing less makeup, soft-glam makeup can be a perfect alternative to full-glam makeup for your wedding day. By enhancing your natural features, rather than overpowering them, you’re more likely to feel like yourself while walking down the aisle.
It’s also important to remember that longevity is key when it comes to wedding-day makeup – it may be necessary to wear a little more than usual to ensure that your makeup lasts through any nervous sweats, tear-jerking speeches and everything in between. After all, there is flash photography to think of here too. A soft-glam makeup look may be the perfect middle ground between too little makeup and potentially too much makeup for your ideal wedding day look.
However, Katie notes how “soft-glam is beautiful but just like most things, it’s not for everyone”. It’s important to trial your wedding day makeup ahead of time to ensure you feel confident in your makeup on the big day.
If you’re interested in a soft-glam look for your wedding day but aren’t sure where to start, consider booking a bridal makeup appointment with one of our Trinny London Pro Makeup Artists. Over two appointments, a talented Bridal Artist will talk you through your Match2Me to find your perfect wedding day palette and give you all the makeup and skincare tips you need to recreate your glowing bridal look on the day.
Whether you’re a full-glam extraordinaire looking to tone things down or a minimal-makeup lover looking to amp up your everyday look, soft-glam can be an ideal middle ground. This makes it perfect for both day-to-day makeup and special occasions – the beauty of the soft-glam look is its versatility.