The Confidence-Boosting Power of Finding a Signature Makeup Look

Photo: Stocksy/Giorgio Magini

Anna Wintour has her fringe-framed bob; Gwen Stefani, her red-lipsticked pucker; and Ariana Grande, her crown-hugging ponytail. These signature looks do more than make icons out of Wintour, Stefani, and Grande respectively; they also provide an easy, confidence-boosting way for these busy women to get ready on the fly. Because when you know what works for you and how to pull it off in a cinch, it kind of takes the guess-work out of getting ready.

But unless you want to let the zodiac decide it for you, finding your signature will likely take some trial and error. "[It] should always fit your personality, wardrobe, lifestyle, and makeup skill set," advises celebrity makeup artist, photographer, and beauty blogger Robin Black. "It has to be authentic to truly be a 'signature.'"

In other words, the idea isn't to simply steal a common trademark look, but rather to carefully craft one that fits you—and makes you feel like your best self.

Keep scrolling for tips on how to nail your signature look.

Beauty Is Boring
Photo: Beauty Is Boring

Have fun experimenting

Rather than getting a haircut (it takes so long for it to grow back), Black suggests starting with makeup. "Collect inspiration images," she advises. "Organize them into colors, styles, and overall looks, and chances are that you will find yourself with lots of variations."

Once you've identified a few of your favorites, Black recommends playing around with them to see both what you like and what you like to try. And don't get discouraged! If you don't nail it on your first shot, remember it takes practice. "There are professionals who can help as well as endless tutorial videos," she says. The former may come in handy if you're stuck on a look that just doesn't seem to work for your features, as a pro may be able to offer modifications in hue or style.

When it comes to experimenting with color, Aliana Lopez, makeup artist to #bossbabes like Eva Chen and Emily Weiss, recommends starting simply. "Creamy lipsticks will be the easiest way to try color, as you can use them on your cheeks and even your eyes, too," she says. "Stick with complimentary colors first, like mauves, peaches, and nudes, as these colors in variations work on all skin tones."

For those looking for a more vibrant effect, however, Lopez suggests going wild at the makeup counter with reds and berries but remember, whatever you choose should work on an everyday basis—try to avoid trends.

Beauty Is Boring
Photo: Beauty Is Boring

Give the classics a whirl

Still not sure where to start? Start with the classics. A cat eye, which works with nearly every eye shape, Black says. She specifically suggests that those with round eyes try a cat-eye look that utilizes a dramatic upward tilt and that those with monolids experiment instead with a straighter, or only subtly-tilted, line. "It's really about customizing the placement, texture, and color to work with your unique features," she says.

Despite popular thinking, Black insists the same is true for bold lips—anyone can pull them off.  "I remember hearing an old adage that you should never wear bold lipstick if you have thin lips," she says. "However, with just a little bit of shaping from a lip liner, bright lipstick can look great."

In the end, your statement look may end up evolving with you as does any other element of your style, changing several times over the course of your lifetime. Or, you could end up like the legendary Vogue boss lady, with her instantly recognizable—and painstakingly perfect—look. (Seriously, try to "name that year" on her front-row Fashion Week appearances.)

Your foundation matters, too! Here are 11 brands that will totally hydrate you through the winter. Plus, learn a little 101 on how to read a beauty label.

Loading More Posts...