Our formative teenage years and early 20s are a time for beauty experimentation. But we can all agree that after a few too many Facebook "On This Day" posts, finding a signature beauty style is preferable. While taking a trip down memory lane is fun, I often ask myself What was I thinking? when looking at old pictures, whether it's in reference to a particularly unflattering full fringe I had circa 2007 or my penchant for outlandish lipsticks during my university days. Now I have my signature beauty style nailed.
I no longer wrestle with the straightening irons to make my hair poker straight or trick myself into thinking a cat eye looks good on me. The route we take to our signature beauty style is different for everyone, and it could be the result of trying to save time in the mornings, wanting to play up a favourite feature or play down another. Our wardrobe often plays a deciding factor; someone who is super girly is likely to have a very different signature beauty style than someone who channels Kate Moss in the '90s.
Still searching for your signature beauty style? I called on five industry experts to find out how they finally found a signature look that works for them.
It took me years to find my signature look, but now I definitely have one. It's called BRONZER.
"The thing is, everyone says stick to your skin tone blah, blah, blah. I am naturally quite fair, but I always want to be more glowy and J.Lo-esque. So I just chose a look that I love and made it my own rather follow what I am 'meant' to do," says Alessandra Steinherr, Beauty Director at Glamour UK.
"The key for me is to use very sheer, lightweight products that are buildable and look like skin, so it's not fake.
"I moisturise like mad to make my skin dewy (instead of using highlighter). I rely on La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream (£115), then a super-sheer base like Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation in Camomile (£60). And if I need to pop the bronze, I mix in a few drops of Dr. Hauschka Bronzing Tint (£28).
"For a bit of sculpting, I use the Burberry Face Contour Stick in Medium (£25)."
So I would say my signature beauty look is my brows.
"They used to be so big and bushy that they made a statement but not in a good way. But now, with regular grooming (threading changed my life), they have come to be my favourite part of my beauty look.
"If you have bold brows and need help to define the shape, definitely look to an expert to advise (I like going to Blink Brow Bar), or on the flip side, if your brows are a little on the sparse side, look to fill them in with a fibre-based brow gel, one of my favourites is Benefit Gimme Brow (£20)."
I would also say select two things to make your focus, not everything! Two things that you feel confident with and find easy to play up.
"For example, I have always focused on my skin. I have naturally shiny skin which I embrace wholeheartedly using a few clever products to turn shine into 'dewy.' Wearing a radiance-boosting SPF 50 is the first trick I swear by. Yes, it protects my skin but it also glows through any makeup your wear to create extra radiance. Over this, I'll wear a tinted moisturiser to maximise my glow. It's something I always get complimented on. Matte does not work for me at all. Also, I am hopeless at doing my own makeup.
"My hair is my other thing—again, I go with what I've got: long, straight, fair hair that looks best when left to its own devices. In my younger years, I cut, dyed and tried to make it choppy/wavy/brunette, but for the last 10 years, it's had the same colour (blonde balayage) and length because it works for me. I find an 'ethereal' vibe works best for me with my hair colour and length; anything too structured or blunt or statement-making doesn't sit well.
"Once you've worked out what your two things are, you'll find it easier (and cheaper) to shop for beauty products, as you will know your focus and won't waste money on random items you'll never use."
To me, a signature look is a comfort blanket. It's the 'you' created from an expertly winged liner or an artfully painted lip.
"It's about finding what you're good at, what works for your face and your level of beauty skill, and honing it. It's about making it work for you.
"I have the minimum amount of time to get ready in the morning. Therefore, an expertly swiped line of Kat Von D's Tattoo Liner (£16) does it for me. I literally trace my eye definition on each morning, and it's rare you'd see me without it. Whereas a contoured cheek akin to a work of art? Never."
I can advocate a little bravery. Experimenting is important because the thing that suits you best might be out of your comfort zone.
"My signature look, a bold matte lip, only became so after I reluctantly tried the brightest new lipstick at a press event for Dior over 10 years ago. I was slightly makeup-phobic before then, thinking I could only do natural. Red lipstick washed me at best, was vampiric at worst. I just hadn't found my red lipstick yet. I wore it, went out afterwards, was showered with compliments and asked out TWICE. Job done; confidence instated; new signature makeup, mine."