The ultimate guide to tomboy chic

  • Crystal Schwanke
  • Beauty
  • Oct 12, 2015

Look your best without a lot of makeup!

When we think of late fall and winter makeup, dark, sultry colors instantly come to mind. This year, though those shades will definitely have their place, the beauty world is also going the complete opposite direction. You can call it tomboy chic, a “fresh face,” or even a light version of some 70s glam styles, but it’s bound to make you look your best whether you’re wearing the latest athletic fashions, your work clothes, or a cocktail dress.

What is tomboy chic, anyway?

It’s casual, but not unkempt or totally “no-makeup, makeup.” It’s sophisticated, but not too defined. There are no vibrant colors or perfectly drawn lines. Think Alexa Chung and even Kristen Stewart. They take care of their appearance and look polished — they do their hair and makeup — but it never looks obvious or like they’re trying too hard to look glamorous.

How to Do (or Not Do) Your Hair

First, let’s talk hair: Do as little as possible with it, regardless of length. Embrace your natural texture, and go with a simple middle or off-center part. Choppy bangs work well with this style and frame your face (think Alexa Chung again), but aren’t necessary. A texturizing beach spray works for almost any length of hair, giving it that carefree rolled-out-of-bed-gorgeous vibe.

Makeup Tips

Love the no-makeup, makeup look, but taken up a notch? This is just your style. Start with a canvas that will give your skin a natural, gorgeous lit-from-within look. Try IT Cosmetics Celebration Foundation Illumination for something that takes less than a minute to apply. Cover any under-eye circles or blemishes with your favorite concealer. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer  is worth a look. The name says it all — it’s creamy and radiant, but without shimmer.

Cheek color should be applied lightly, directly to the cheekbones. Pearlescent and matte shades will both work, but just be sure it’s not too rosy. NARS Orgasm and Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Exposed are almost universally flattering. Two other crowd-pleasers are Kat von D’s Everlasting Blush in Bellissima and Milani’s Bake Blush in Berry Amore. Even your favorite bronzer would work.

The eyes are where you get to have fun! To maintain that fresh faced look, you’ll want to stick with golds, browns, tawnies, beiges, and similar colors that will blend in with your coloring while adding emphasis where you want it.

Choose a medium-toned, light-reflective shade for your lid (for example, Amber Lights) then shade in the crease with a domed brush dipped in a matte brown that’s just a shade darker than your skin tone (you want it to look like a natural shadow, not eye shadow). Blend that edge with a large fluffy shadow brush dipped in a satin shade of shadow that matches your skin tone.

Another option is to take the matte brown and apply it from lash line to crease, then blend up until it fades to nothing. Urban Decay’s Naked palette is a good one to play around with.

Line the top lash line and the outer  of the lower lash line with a deep brown or black shadow or smudgeable liner (like Cover Girl’s Perfect Point Plus in Espresso or Black Onyx). Make sure the line’s not too crisp. Finish with a natural mascara that adds length and a little volume (L’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga mascara).

Fill in your brows with a shadow shade or brow pencil one to two shades lighter than your hair color if you’re brunette and a shade or two darker if you’re blonde. Try Anastasia Brow Wiz.

Finally, it’s time to put on the lipstick that completes your look. Look for a shade that mimics the natural shade of your lips —  maybe a bit darker if your lips aren’t very pigmented — while reflecting a little light (sans glitter).

Try MAC’s Spice Lip Pencil topped with a hint of clear gloss, or Urban Decay’s Revolution Lipstick in Naked or Strip.  These makeup tips and hairstyles take little time to accomplish.

There’s nothing “perfect” about it, so there’s no need to stress in the mornings, either, and you’ll look like you just woke up gorgeous.


Crystal Schwanke

Crystal has been a freelance writer and editor since 2005. Her work has appeared on multiple channels at, as well as Mia, M Magazine, Moultrie Magazine, and others. Her interests include fashion, beauty, history, hiking, reading, and spending time with her husband and daughter. You can find her blog at

October 12, 2015