not a professional. just crazy.

The Autumnal Look That Convinced Me Orange Makeup Is Flattering

Photo: Courtesy of Rio Viera-Newton.

My fall palette generally consists of one color: brown. Once September hits, I whip out my coffee-colored lipstick (either Charlotte Tilbury’s Birkin Brown or Glossier’s Gen G in Leo, a cocoa brown, for a more smudged effect) and my cinnamon eye shadow (I use my Canmake palette for that) and immediately feel cozy and autumnal.

But recently, I was scrolling through my beauty-inspo Pinterest board (anyone else have one of those? Just me?) and found a photo I’d saved over a year ago. It was a photo of Lily Aldridge, with the prettiest makeup look: her skin was natural, freckly, and flushed, almost as if she’d been out in the sun, but the color story (her lids, her lipstick) was pure autumnal orange. It was, I decided, the perfect transitional glam: not quite summer, not quite fall. The makeup artist behind this look, I quickly deduced from her tags, was Hung Vanngo, who also works with Emily Ratajkowski, Selena Gomez, and Bella Hadid.

I messaged Vanngo immediately, and didn’t hear back — which might have something to do with the fact that he has 1.5 million Instagram followers. And since I wanted this look on my face immediately, before the in-between season shifted fully to fall, I decided to get on it myself. I did some serious internet sleuthing, and got my arms very dirty with swatches, and within a couple of days, got very, very close, if I do say so myself, to Lily’s beautiful, ruddy, pumpkin flush. Below, the products I used to copycat Vanngo’s brilliant pre-Autumn glam.

I generally tend to gravitate toward pink and red tones for my blushes (I find that they most closely mimic the color of my natural flush). And I’d never even considered reaching for an orangey shade until I saw how natural and sunlit Lily’s tangerine-tinted cheeks looked. I believed that orange blushes were so far from my natural flush shade that they’d look garish and clown-like (in other words, a makeup disaster). I decided to go with an Em Cosmetics Serum Blush for this experiment because the formula is so light, buildable, and blendable. This formula is amazing in any shade, but this warm coral blush got rid of my orange-based fears. When applied, this blush looks like a lovely, soft (and extremely natural-looking) sunset across the cheeks.

Hung made Lily’s brows look bushy and big, but not too sculpted, so I opted for a clear gel versus a tint. This, from NYX, is one of my all time favorites for just that. And it also happens to be the best dupe out there for the very-popular Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel — it’s under $5, makes your brow hairs look super natural, and won’t move all day.

I searched high and low to try to find exactly what color lipstick Lily was wearing in this photo: I tried Fenty’s Poutsicle in Sunsnatched (a little too neony), Colourpop’s Check Please (not enough red undertones), and Glossier Play in Casino (so pretty, but too sheer and glossy for this look) . I don’t think I got it 100 percent right, but I did find this shade from Make Beauty that is practically identical. Before this little experiment, I felt the same way about orange lipstick that I did about orange blush: I thought it would look too bright and loud. But when I tried this nude-ish, tangerine-y orange shade on, I absolutely loved it. It’s very flattering and pretty, and I found it actually added some warmth into my complexion. And like all Make lipsticks (Scarlett and Radicchio are two of my all time favorites ever), this product has square edges, which makes for really easy application and lip lining. This lipstick is a total treat and if you’re in the market for a pretty, autumnal color story, it’s the one.

To replicate Lily’s clean yet natural looking base, I decided to first apply the Stretch Concealer from Glossier with my It Cosmetics Heavenly Perfecting Brush #7. It’s on the lighter side (for more pimple-busting coverage, I’d of used my Fenty Pro’Concealer) so it gives my skin this perfect, radiant tint, and just enough coverage to take the edge off of any dark marks or red patches. I adore this concealer.

Vanngo wrote in the photo’s caption that he used Marc Jacobs’ Coconut Dew Drops on Lily, which thrilled me, because I already own and love them. They give your skin the most beautiful blinding light-bulb effect. A lot of makeup-obsessives I know mix a few drops into their foundation or tinted moisturizer to get an all-over gleam, but for this look I just tapped it along the high points of my face (cupids bow, cheek bones, brow bone, inner corner; you know the drill) until it seamlessly blended out. And that was it! I can’t wait to wear this look on picnic dates with my boyfriend, to weddings, or even to the office if I’m feeling extra cute. And I know for a fact it will look amazing with a big navy sweater when it gets colder.

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The Autumnal Look That Made Me Embrace Orange Makeup