The French Girl's Guide To No-Makeup Makeup

Photo: Courtesy of Robin Black.
It's been a year since design darling David Koma started as the artistic director of Mugler, the French fashion house that epitomizes the strong, sexy, and shoulder-padded woman of the '80s. Koma's penchant for sharp tailoring, strong silhouettes, and graphic elements continue to bring that woman into modern territory.
Her beauty game also gets a significant update. "The hair and makeup not only accents the pieces in the collection, but it also captures the Mugler woman's attitude, her identity, and how she presents herself to the world," Koma said before his pre-fall presentation in New York City yesterday.
Who better to help than the inimitable Robin Black? The makeup artist dreamed up a fresh-faced, contemporary look, complete with matte pink lips. (Her pal, Charlie Taylor, complemented it with a chic, sleek-and-low ponytail.)
"David created such an evocative and alluring collection, so a strong brow and a matte, nude lip is all that was needed to complete a feminine, yet powerful look," explained Virginie Courtin-Clarins, the director of brand development at Mugler. No-makeup makeup that's equal parts powerful and pretty? Sign us up. Click through for exclusive backstage photos and how-tos.
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Photo: Courtesy of Robin Black.
All About That Base
"With winter still in full swing and many of the models just returning from holiday vacations, dry and irritated skin was a common ailment backstage," said Black. "Makeup always looks better over clean, well-moisturized skin, so I layer a serum with a moisturizer. Then, I apply a foundation immediately afterward, before the product is absorbed. This actually sheers down the coverage and allows for a very smooth application, giving the face a first-thing-in-the-morning look — slightly dewy, plumped from sleep, and without any redness brought on by environmental exposure."

After applying a thin layer of foundation, Black blended a "tiny bit" of liquid concealer over any visible discolorations using the ring finger in a tapping motion. To finish, she dusted the cheeks and T-zone with loose powder. She instructs to "avoid the cheekbones, browbones, and jawbone — that keeps the radiant glow in place for a bit longer." This step is essential, considering you've applied your base to dewy skin: It ensures that it won't slip or crease throughout the day.

"Finally, I wanted to add a healthy flush, so I contoured slightly under the cheekbone with bronzer, and then added a highlighting blush in a peachy-pink shade right to the apple," said Black.
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Photo: Courtesy of Robin Black.
Bare-Naked Lady
Apparently, your eyes can be both "defined" and "completely nude," or so Black insisted. First, she smoothed a creamy primer all over the lids using her ring finger. This not only acts as a base, but it corrects discoloration and adds texture.

"Then, I swept matte eyeshadows in either beige or pale pink, depending on the model's coloring, across the entire lid, blending upward to the crease," she said. "For extra definition on some of the girls, I added a taupe shade in the crease."

Now, for the kicker: There's liquid eyeliner hiding in this look. "The trick is to gently tap it in-between the lashes on the upper lid, like you're filling in the gaps between them," Black said. "This gives you instant definition without visible eyeliner."

Since you're likely using a black pen, mascara is a necessary follow-up — especially if you're fair-haired. For a your-lashes-but-better effect, curl first, blot your wand, and apply a single coat. But, make it count! Hold your wand horizontally and wiggle it into the roots of your lashes. Then, brush up and outward, paying careful attention to coating the outer corners.
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Photo: Courtesy of Robin Black.
Frame Work
"A strong brow instantly elevates any natural look," Black said. "However, it's important to keep them feeling organic — no Sharpie drawn-on styles here!" She used an eyebrow kit to apply a layer of each model's natural shade, and then applied a couple of shades deeper right over it. "That makes it intense, but still wearable," she said. "Once the shape and shade were intact, I applied a clear wax to keep it all in place."
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Photo: Courtesy of Robin Black.
Nouveau Nude
Most no-makeup makeup tutorials call for a shiny, tinted lip balm or a light layer of lipstick. But, in keeping with the Mugler woman — that chic, French-girl vibe — Black and Courtin-Clarins wanted something a bit more elevated that wouldn't look too "done."

"A simple, matte pink lip transcends seasons," Black said. "It also looks amazing on a variety of skin colors." Matte is key for the cool-girl effect, since a pale-pink stain could seem too sweet or romantic. She prepped the lips with balm, allowed it to sink in, blotted, and sketched the entire mouth with a pale-rose pencil. "A little bit of translucent powder further emphasizes the matte finish," she said.
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Photo: Courtesy of Robin Black.
Pony Show
No look is complete without the right hair to accompany it, which is why Taylor was on hand to complement the makeup with glossy, low ponytails. "Each woman has a precise part, individually tailored to suit to her face, either center of her face or slightly off-center," she explained. "To prep, we blowdried using Bumble and bumble's Tonic lotion spray, and then flat-ironed it completely straight."

She placed the ponytails precisely and kept them neat. "It should drape elegantly, following the body lines and complementing the expert draping," Taylor says. "The strict parting in the hair flatters the masterful tailoring of the collection."
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Photo: Courtesy of Robin Black.
Lacquer Factor
After tightly securing the ponies, Taylor ran a tiny bit of a medium-hold pomade in-between her hands and lightly smoothed the sides of the models' hair, taming flyaways and adding major shine.
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Photo: Courtesy of Robin Black.
Final Touches
For hair that was "shiny, healthy, and expensive," Taylor finished with a mist of glossing spray, smoothing it through the ponytails with her hands.
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Photo: Courtesy of Robin Black.
There you have it: a look so pretty (and fairly simple) that it deserves a big smile.
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Photo: Courtesy of Robin Black.
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