I have a confession: even though I’ve been using parabens and sulfite-free shampoo and organic facial products for a while now, I haven’t implemented this habit in regards to my use of decorative make up. I haven’t been as stringent with concealer, rouge, and co., mainly because I was sure that natural make up would look as bland as it sounds. I worried that instead of glamorous long lashes I’d be left with an unwanted, naked looking face with brown, crumbly mascara and henna-red cheeks.
Thanks to Berlin’s UND GRETEL I’ve recently changed my opinion on natural make up. Founders Christina Roth (make up artist) and Stephanie Dettmann (marketing expert) are unwavering in their promise to their customers: luxurious and efficient cosmetic made from wholly natural ingredients, ethically sourced, sustainable grown, and BDIH-certified.
In order to delve deeper into the topic I made my way to the Berlin showroom for a self test, on my way there I’m excited and make up free. Together with the on-site make up artist Johanna, I decide to concentrate on my complexion rather than testing my way through the complete lipstick palette. The goal is to look like I’m not wearing any make up, only better. A natural look is what we’re going for here, not to be confused with a careless look. The catchphrase “contouring” is heard around the beautysphere a lot these days, and this is precisely what I’m here to test with UND GRETEL.
What do you need? Four products and a little bit of courage.
Step 1. LIETH FOUNDATION
“Lieth” is derived from the Middle High German and literally translated means light. Johanna spreads the “fluid light” (in beige) on to her hands first, before applying it to my face. The warmth of the palm of your hand ensures that the texture is right, and thus makes it easier to apply. This happens to work better with the fingers than it does with a brush. The skin rapidly absorbs the make up and is left feeling rich with no residue in sight. The smell is subtle, like a summer meadow, and leaves you feeling moisturized and cool. The cooling effect is achieved with clary sage and the camomile extracts calm the skin. My skin feels fresh and firm, almost like it does after a moisturizing mask, and it looks like it’s been subject to a soft, real life filter. Johanna reminds me that it’s better to use the foundation sparingly, and instead to touch up specific spots, rather than use too much of it. This is the perfect groundwork for the subsequent contouring.
Step 2. CONCEALER TUNKAL
Johanna applies concealer (in porcelain) beneath and around my eyes. She explains that, in order to balance the blue shadows underneath my eyes, I should be using a pinkish concealer, like a light rose wine. Up until that point I’d been using light beige or white, but the pink truly works! When I look into the mirror I see a more awake, glowing version of myself. The concealer’s light reflecting pigments correct any redness, while avocado oil and camomile soothe the delicate skin around the eye.
Step 3. LIFTING MODELLAGE POWDER SUNNE
This is where the fun really begins! I used to think “contouring” was only for photoshoots and TV. After all, you apply more because the cameras swallow most of the make up. But what about the day-to-day? The contouring powder (Johanna uses Wide light rosé and Wide light brown on me) is applied with two identical brushes. The dark powder goes onto the spots that shape my face: beneath the cheekbones, on the temples and the hairline, as well as the nostrils, the tip of my nose, and my throat. The light rouge tone is used on my cheeks and beneath my eyebrows. This creates the illusion of a ‘lift’ while also giving the face some glowing highlights. Johanna, who has absolutely no fear of contact, applies the powder to one half of my face before she works on the other side. This allows me to truly appreciate the difference between the non-contoured side and the contoured half. The difference is notably visible. The detailed contours give my face expression, the best parts are enhanced while my slightly-too-big-nose is optically reduced. The soft tan lends me an air of health and I look like I’ve just been sunkissed.
Step 4. EYEBROW PENCIL SPRUSSE
Eyebrows give the face additional definition. Those of us, and I count myself amongst them, who don’t have visible eyebrows are very aware of the problem: it’s hard to trace the eyebrows, the color needs to be exactly the same, and for god’s sake visible lines are the enemy! Several pen strokes (color no. 2) later and I’m delighted. The pen is held at an angle and lightly follows the eyebrows’ form, afterwards you lightly brush the brows with the included brush to rid them of any excess color.
After scrutinizing my face in the mirror I’ve come to the conclusion that natural, decorative cosmetic is here to stay! The make up lasts until the evening, with the added bonus of a clear conscious. I’m become a fan of not just UND GRETEL but also of countering in general. If you’re not convinced yet, you will most definitely be on ‘team contouring’ after reading Leandra Medine’s charming article on the topic. I promise!
Translation: LIV FLEISCHHACKER
Originally from Hamburg, Julia Alfert moved to Berlin from Paris in 2010. After completing her studies in Art History and trying out different jobs, her path led her to Harper’s Bazaar, where she worked as Fashion & Beauty Assistant until mid 2015. While she’s harboured a love for all things beauty-related for as long as she can remember, her discovery of the written word is recent. When Julia isn’t busy trying out different creams, oils, and sprays she writes and styles for an assortment of magazines and websites.