How To Enhance Your Freckles Like A Pro — Or Draw Your Own

Photo courtesy of Mira Parmar

Years ago, freckles weren't celebrated in media and on runways, but public figures like Salem Mitchell and Emma Stone have embraced them in public — and in return, helped launch a freckle beauty trend that has people trying to draw their own spots.

But be clear: freckles — areas of your skin that contain high concentrations of melanin — are, first and foremost, genetic. And fun fact: no one is born with freckles all over their skin. Instead, they develop over time for numerous reasons including sun exposure, says Dr. Gary Goldenberg, the assistant clinical professor of dermatology at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. And there are several types of freckles, too. "Ephelides are the type of freckles commonly seen in children," Dr. Goldenberg says. These are related to genetics and sun exposure. "Lentigo is a type of a freckle that starts in adulthood and is related to sun exposure and skin aging," he adds.

Weirdly enough, there's almost something artful about the smattering of spots on the nose and cheeks — so much so that in recent seasons, makeup artists at Preen and Ryan Lo displayed their iterations on the runway. “It gives the illusion of wearing no makeup. Freckles tend to make a face look younger and are the ultimate anti-aging tool,” makeup artist Mira Parmar explains.

To enhance your own freckles, you can darken them or add a few more to even out a particular parts of your face. Parmar notes that the key to creating believable freckles is to have a light hand and a great pencil or freckle pen, and from there, it’s relatively simple. “Apply small dots around the cheek area and bridge of the nose and lightly pat into the skin to give a lived-in look,” Palmar explains.

For faux freckles, makeup artist Susie Sobol believes that successful (and believable) spots start with the prep. She preps the skin the same as she would before any makeup look — that includes making sure the cheeks and nose are set with a clear powder, so the surface area isn’t too slick or shiny. “I use an eyebrow ink pen start making freckle like dots randomly, some in little clusters, some sprinkled over the bridge of the nose, and some across the cheeks,” Sobol says. “I then press the freckles with my ring finger to smash them a little to make the dots appear smaller — it’s all about making tiny and irregular sized freckles to make them look natural," she says.

London-based makeup artist, Christelle Gbeudjeli also uses a minimal amount of products to create natural looking freckles. “I mix darker skin powders with a setting spray,” she says. Then, “I use a brow brush and flick it gently on the skin. I let it dry and dab it softly with a brush or my fingers.”

But whether your spots are real or faux, don't forget the most important aspect of them: confidence. "Myom looks just like me," Mitchell once told Byrdie. "She has a face full of freckles too, so I grew up thinking This is normal. Everybody can look like this. Everybody should look like this... I never thought the way that I looked, or the way she looked, was different than anybody else."

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