As far as my beauty routine goes, I’ve never been one to chase trends. At 30, I’ve figured out what works for me, and I’m comfortable sticking to the tried and true — be it my haircut, makeup products, or color palettes. However, when I came across the dreamy cottagecore makeup aesthetic — a look you’ve undoubtedly seen go viral across fashion, home, and beauty over the last few years, I finally felt compelled to give the trend cycle a go. Unlike many social media fads, this look felt like a natural extension of my daily beauty routine — feminine, glowy, and subdued — and didn’t demand a major overhaul of new products or hours at my vanity. While the trend itself isn’t new at this point, its presence in the beauty space was only a recent discovery of mine. And with all the gorgeous inspiration I was stumbling upon on my Instagram and TikTok feeds, I was excited to recreate the look on myself. Spoiler: The results did not disappoint.
This gorgeous aesthetic has definitely proved its staying power across categories, but as it turns out, beauty is by far the simplest place to start exploring the trend. Cottagecore makeup is all about enhancing your natural features while channeling an ethereal charm. Think soft, earthy tones reminiscent of a wild garden in bloom, flushed cheeks that mimic a rosy sunset, and a touch of whimsy that makes you feel like a character from a countryside fairytale. It’s a lit-from-within glow; a romantic yet wholesome look. It’s also the perfect way to nail the no-makeup makeup look. Best of all, it's surprisingly simple, taking just about five minutes (yes, really).
To achieve this effortless and dreamy look, I simply follow a few key tactics, which I outline, below. Trust me, it's simpler than you might think, and the results are divine.
The foundation of cottagecore makeup is glowing skin, so good prep is a must. I personally run dry, so I double up on my hydration with a brightening vitamin C rose oil, followed by a luminizing moisturizer to really achieve that radiant, glazed-looking base. From there, I recommend a lightweight foundation or concealer and only applying where you absolutely need to even out your skin tone or cover up red spots. The goal is to maintain that fresh-faced, natural look, allowing your skin to breathe and avoid being weighed down with products.
The second hallmark of cottagecore makeup is that wholesome, just-been-kissed flush on your cheeks and lips. Choose a creamy blush (one that offers a hydrating finish) in a soft pink or peach shade, and gently blend it out onto the apples of your cheeks. For your lips, opt for a tinted lip balm, sheer lipstick, or lip stain in shades of rose, coral, or berry. You want to find a hue that mimics the natural color of your lips while providing that softly-bitten effect. Avoid formulas that are too pigmented or matte.
To master the cottagecore makeup look, it’s essential to keep your eye makeup, well, nearly non-existent. I fully embrace the whimsical and skip mascara. Instead, I fluff up my lashes with a spoolie brush to create a bit more volume and flutter. A single, delicate swipe of mascara could also work here if the product is a must-have for you — just don’t overdo it. For eyeshadow, stay neutral and earthy. I actually dab a bit of my same rosy cream blush onto my eyelids, which brighten them up. I also embrace my natural brows, delicately brushing them upwards, but leaving them sparse rather than filling them in.
Cottagecore makeup is all about letting your inner glow shine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a little help from highlighter to get that outer glow going, too. Stick to rosy or neutral hues, and avoid anything too bronzed to maintain that natural-looking glow. I opt for a warm and romantic soft pink shade, first using a cream formula to build on the dewiness, but topping it off with a second powder highlight along my cheekbones, T-zone, upper lip, and outer eyelids. You can also complete the look with a hydrating setting spray to give your skin that final radiant, ethereal glow.