Meet Byrdie Boy Harry Hill. Each month, he'll be sharing his latest musings on beauty and pop culture. This month, he get a lesson in the art of faux freckling via Caroline Calloway.
By now we’ve all experimented with those Instagram filters that make us look like amped up versions of ourselves: plumper lips, smoother skin, and lighter eyes. More and more these filters are completing the look with a spattering of freckles across the nose and cheeks, giving an effortless late summer vibe via facial recognition. What if you could achieve that look without giving your facial data to Russia? Look no further than Freck.
Given the name, it’s not hard to assume what this product provides: fake freckles. In order to get the sun-kissed tea on this buzzy product, I called upon an influencer who’s been using (and loving) Freck for a minute. And no, it’s not Tik Tok’s reigning renegader, Charli D’Amelio—her freckles occur naturally (allegedly).
Caroline Calloway’s face is very online. There’s hardly a day that goes by without the influ-writer sharing at least one selfie (usually it’s more like 37) on her Instagram story (or OnlyFans account). By now, she’s mastered the art of posing for her front facing camera; lips cleverly pouted and eyes smiling even if she’s not. Her selfie-game isn’t a fluke; Calloway just doesn’t believe in using facial filters on Instagram (but we’ll get to that later).
I caught up with Calloway over Facetime, because where else would we talk face during this crazy time? More specifically, I wanted to know why she came to love Freck and how she uses it on the reg to achieve maximum resting beach face, even when she's just vibing on the floor of her grandma's condo.
Like all things tanned and true, Calloway was first introduced to Freck via Emily Ratajkowski’s Instagram page. Naturally. “Oh, this is what hot girls are doing? I guess I’ll join the bandwagon,” she joked. Since then, it’s become a mainstay in her summer beauty routine. “This is a new essential part of my life. I use it everyday.”
Freck OG, self-described on their website as “The World's First Freckle Cosmetic that took the internet by storm,” is just one product in the lineup that is Freck Beauty. Overall, it’s a quickly-growing line of vibe-y cosmetics and skincare, from cactus moisturizer dubbed "Rich Bitch" to a cheek and lip stain called “Cheekslime.” Their Instagram bio touts Freck as “bold, clean beauty for anyone who cares about ingredients, respects the process, and doesn’t care about the rules.”
Remi, Freck’s founder and CEO, was inspired to formulate the product after a lifelong desire for a face full of freckles. “Being from Seattle without much sun, I was always envious of my friends who had them—it's really been a life-long obsession,” she told me via email. “Even growing up, my childhood drawings had freckles on everything: the sun, the animals, the people, the houses. Everything that could have a freckle, got a freckle.” And now everyone can get some freckles.
The product is seemingly so intuitive that it doesn’t even come with instructions. However, I doubt I would’ve been able to make my freckles look even semi-natural had it not been for Calloway’s digital guidance. It’s kind of obvious that you have to use a finger to blot out each freckle, because otherwise it just looks like “putting dirt on your face.” What’s not obvious is how to make them look real. The last thing you want, after all, is to look like you just survived the Dust Bowl.
Luckily, Calloway came wielding a secret weapon: bronzer applied with an eyeshadow brush. “I go beneath my eyelids really lightly. And then I just go really lightly on the lids, and I feel like that’s what gives you that sort of smoldery eye look with the freckles," she explains. In this pre-faux-freckled scenario, her bronzer of choice is Guerlain. I followed suit with my beloved Hoola by Benefit. Immediately I understood why this works. There was a new depth to my face.
“I feel like with a lot of people’s complexions, the freckles don’t look natural unless you darken up your eye area a little bit,” she explains. “I know it seems counterintuitive to play up the under-eye area instead of trying to conceal it, but I swear to god it’s like my go-to secret." And in case you were wondering, Calloway likes to bronze IRL, not by aligning her face with a filter. “I just feel like they distort your face! When you use a filter, it’s like you’re wearing a nametag that’s like ‘just so you know, I’m not ok with my actual face.’” This revelation was a minor blow to my filter-obsessed sense of selfie, but I wondered if I would even need the TOP MODEL 3 filter once I provided my regular-schmegular face with a helping of fake freckles.
“It’s sooo easy to look like a Pollyanna doll,” Calloway warned before giving me the lowdown on how to best apply Freck. “The classic freckles are like this bridge across your nose, right? To make them look natural, you actually need to do this bridge across your nose and this little area on your forehead. You need to go up your nose and over your eyebrows,” she directed, like a tenured professor at Freckle State University. “Don’t make it symmetrical, and then tap it out. Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap.”
From our respective screens, we both started the process. Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap. As if she could sense my apprehension over the airwaves, Calloway reassured my newly freckled self. “It’s really easy to see that dark, dark, dark artificial looking freckle and be like ‘FUUUCKKK’ but it’s normal, just use your fingers as a stamp tool, it mellows out.” And with enough tap, tap, taps, my spattering of freckles did indeed mellow out.
The Freck website describes the product as “quick, realistic, buildable.” After using it multiple times, I would agree with all three of those descriptors. It's easier to add more than it is to get rid of them, so work your way up sparingly. It comes off easily with any face wash (or just water) so there's no need to worry about the freckles sticking around longer than desired.
One thing that does come as a shock is it’s size. Calloway and I both agreed it was shockingly small upon first impressions. Like, not even the length of two quarters side-by-side small. Which is why Calloway opts for Freck XL, OG’s slightly more expensive big sister. It’s only $10 more and no matter, she’s using her OnlyFans money to pay for it. To be clear, though, the small size isn’t a downside; a little bit goes a long way with Freck. Just don't drop it into your purse or you will need a hook to fish it out.
To recap, Calloway’s three steps to natural looking, Insta-ready Freck freckles are:
- Use bronzer as eyeshadow
- Use your finger as a stamp tool
- Do the forehead freckles.
Now that we’ve tapped (sorry) into the tips and tricks of Freck, it’s time for you to try it out for yourself. It's the perfect late-summer beauty buy to take you seamlessly into fall. Freck OG is available on the Freck site for $22. It’s also sold at select Urban Outfitters locations in case you want a plaid frock dress to go with your freckles. Just be careful—you could end up looking like a Pollyanna doll.