Makeup Looks That People Find Attractive

Makeup is a fascinating world in which artistry and self-expression merge, but what exactly is considered attractive in this world? Within this world, countless techniques and styles cater to different tastes and preferences, but this doesn't mean answers are unobtainable. Still, while we explore some of the makeup looks that are commonly considered attractive, it's important to remember that beauty is inherently subjective. What one person finds alluring, another may not. Furthermore, while some features and styles may be deemed appealing on a wide scale, the true essence of makeup is in its power to boost confidence and bring out the best in you by accentuating your natural features (or by creating something new and fresh, which often happens in the world of drag makeup). Ultimately, makeup is a personal choice, and there are no rigid rules.

That said, certain makeup products and styles hold wide appeal, capturing the looks of those who don't wear makeup but appreciate the effort that goes into using it. From a minimalist approach that enhances natural beauty to bold and daring styles that make a statement, a broad spectrum of makeup looks are considered attractive, and we've got a neat breakdown of them for you.

Sparkly eyeshadow + light lipstick

A look that seems popular amongst those who wear makeup and those who appreciate it is the combo of sparkly eyeshadow and barely-there lipstick. "When a woman wears light sparkly shadow around her eyes that makes them glow and minimal lip color, I think that's the perfect makeup look. If her lipstick is too bright, I'm afraid to get in there and really kiss her if the opportunity arises," one man told Cosmopolitan.

To embrace this easy-going style, simplicity is key. Start with a fresh and well-moisturized face. Then, pick between a light coverage foundation or a tinted moisturizer to even out your skin tone while maintaining a natural finish. Now, let's turn our attention to your eyes, the focal point of this mesmerizing look. Select a single eyeshadow shade that complements your skin tone. A creamy eyeshadow formula is ideal for this purpose. The key to achieving that enchanting sparkle around your eyes is to choose a hue that closely matches your skin tone. Earthy tones like champagne, rose gold, or soft beige or brown work wonders to create a subtle, captivating shimmer. Since this is an all-over-your-eyelid look, you can use an eyeshadow brush or finger. For your lips, opt for a neutral shade of lipstick or a tinted lip balm that enhances your natural lip color while allowing your eyes to be the focal point of the look.

Minimal base makeup

When it comes to the base of your makeup, many agree that less is more. "Minimal makeup speaks to a certain amount of confidence that is incredibly attractive," one man admitted to Glamour. This sentiment is echoed by many who appreciate the beauty of authenticity in makeup. The key to achieving this is in enhancing your features while maintaining a natural appearance. As another man told Cosmopolitan: "I don't like when a girl wears a lot of makeup because if she has too much on, then it's not really her. A light amount of foundation that matches her skin tone is the best—when it doesn't match the rest of her skin, it looks too fake and not attractive."

Of course, a great base starts with proper skincare, which is why it's important to always cleanse and moisturize your face before you start applying any makeup. A primer can help smoothen out your skin, and a sheer foundation or tinted moisturizer can help even out the skin tone without looking cakey. Then, if any imperfections are still peeking through, you can use a bit of concealer to cover them. And if you want to use contour and highlight, keep in mind that less is more — and cream products tend to look more natural than powder ones.

Eye makeup over everything

According to the dating platform Zoosk, women who incorporate eye makeup into their beauty routine receive significantly more initial messages — specifically, 139% more than those who opt out of eye makeup (via Observer). Needless to say, enhancing the eyes can indeed be a game-changer in your makeup routine. Bigger eyes have long been deemed captivating, and while there are various tips and tricks that can help achieve this effect, it's crucial to recognize the importance of understanding your unique eye shape.

Different eye shapes call for different eye makeup application techniques, so knowing what shape you have is crucial. For instance, individuals with almond-shaped eyes could enhance their natural fox-eye shape with eyeliner and eyeshadow. On the other hand, those with hooded eyes might aim to create depth and dimension by placing a darker eyeshadow above their crease. Ultimately, the key to successful eye makeup isn't just about wearing it but also understanding how to use it to unlock the full potential of your gaze. And, of course, we always encourage you not to be afraid of testing out new colors and looks — after all, makeup should be fun and exciting!

Dewy skin and shiny lips

Dewy skin and shiny lips will never be out of style, mainly because both immediately remind us of healthy, hydrated skin. However, one person pointed out to Glamour that men tend to like that look for another reason, too. "Dewey skin reminds me of all those girls I had crushes on in gym class. They aren't hiding behind gobs of makeup, and that's hot," he told the outlet.

Achieving a dewy makeup look involves creating a fresh, luminous finish on your skin — something that can be achieved with multiple different techniques. It all starts with a well-moisturized base to provide hydration. From there, you can choose whether you want to create a dewy look after applying your foundation (or tinted moisturizer) or before by using TikTok's viral underpainting technique. Either way, opting for a highlighter with a pearlescent and glowy finish and placing it on the high points of your face will help you achieve natural-looking dewiness. A popular product for creating that dewy look from within is an illuminating primer, which can give your entire face a subtle glow. Complementing this radiant skin with shiny lips adds the perfect finishing touch.

The no-makeup makeup look

The Zoosk survey shed more light on men's makeup preferences, particularly revealing that men seemed to like subtler looks on celebrities when compared to women on dating apps, where they liked more "dramatic makeup." According to the Observer, the celebs in this survey included Beyoncé, Jessica Alba, and Kim Kardashian, among others.

Of course, achieving that natural-looking no-makeup makeup look is easier said than done, as makeup tends to be rather visible on the skin. However, a couple of tips and tricks can help enhance your beauty in a subtle way. The golden rule of no-makeup makeup is that less is more. Instead of a foundation, opt for something like a tinted moisturizer, BB cream, or CC cream. In fact, if you're having a good skin day, just a little concealer to brighten up your under eyes is all you need for your base. We recommend skipping eyeshadow and using a bit of blush or bronzer on your eyelids for that sunkissed look instead. Keep your eyebrows as natural as possible, and instead of black mascara, consider using a brown one for that ultimate "I'm not wearing any makeup" look.

Luscious lashes

When it comes to making a memorable first impression, captivating eyes framed by luscious lashes are a safe choice. As one man put it to Glamour, "Mega-lashes are playful and flirty—almost as if the girl is saying, 'You can look, but you can't touch.'" For those who are already blessed with naturally long and thick lashes, you're in luck. Achieving this look can be as simple as investing in a high-quality volumizing and lengthening mascara. With just a few easy swipes, you can emphasize your lashes and draw even more attention to your eyes.

However, not everyone is naturally gifted with luscious lashes, and that's where some beauty tricks come into play. If you find yourself wishing for fuller lashes, you have a couple of options. Professional lash extensions can provide the dramatic, voluminous look you desire. If you're more of a DIY enthusiast, you can also opt for eyelash extensions that you can apply yourself when doing your makeup. If you're not blessed with luscious natural lashes and you hate the idea of fake ones, there are a couple of tips you can incorporate to have your lashes grow longer. Either way, ensure that the lashes you choose still look natural. "I don't mind fake eyelashes either as long as they don't look tacky," one man told Get the Gloss. If you're layering on the mascara, make sure to avoid lumpy lashes, as those seem to be a no-go for men.

Subtle eyeliner

Subtle eyeliner can work wonders to enhance your natural beauty, as one man revealed to Get the Gloss. "Depends on the person, but a little bit of eyeliner and subtle touches go a long way. Nothing too heavy, just a little to show the natural beauty she has. It's natural beauty all day, every day for me," he told the outlet.

This understated approach to eye makeup involves using eyeliner sparingly to accentuate your eyes without overwhelming your overall look. While most makeup enthusiasts love classic winged eyeliner, it seems as if men prefer the liner to be a bit less dramatic. In their eyes, the goal is to create an illusion of fuller lashes and more defined eyes while maintaining a fresh and youthful appearance.

To create a barely-there eyeliner look, start with a soft eyeliner pencil or gel liner in a shade that complements your eye color. Earthy tones like brown or taupe are excellent choices for a natural look. Avoid harsh blacks or overly dramatic colors. Apply the eyeliner close to your upper lash line, focusing on the outer two-thirds of your eye. For an even softer look, you can smudge the liner slightly with a brush. However, if you still want to create a proper wing with liquid eyeliner, ensure you go for a smaller and thinner one — think of it as an extra eyelash at the ends of your eyes.

Natural-looking blush

Achieving a natural-looking blush can be the key to an irresistibly alluring appearance, as one man revealed to Cosmopolitan: "The tiniest amount of pink color on a woman's cheeks is really sexy," he told the outlet. "The more natural, the better. I like it because it looks like she just came in from outside on a cold day or just finished running."

The art of applying blush to mimic that fresh, outdoor flush involves selecting the right shade and placement. Opt for a blush shade that complements your natural skin tone. "You can create a healthy, natural-looking glow by swirling a small dab of color onto the apples of the cheeks and buffing it out in circular motions," makeup artist Elisa Flowers shares with Allure. On the other hand, if you're aiming for a more contoured look, position the blush slightly higher on your cheekbones and blend it toward your hairline. 

To achieve the most natural finish, consider using liquid or cream blushes, as they tend to blend seamlessly into the skin, mimicking a genuine, dewy flush. However, if you prefer a longer-lasting blush, you can set your cream or liquid blush with a bit of powder blush. This layering technique helps lock in the color so it lasts all day.

Lip gloss

As one man pointed out to Glamour, lip gloss is "like red lipstick's sexy younger sister. Just as kissable but a little coyer. I see it, and I just hope she's got more stashed in her bag for the reapply after our first great kiss." The charm of this makeup product lies in its glossy finish, making any lips look more plump, alluring, and ready for a memorable smooch.

Achieving the perfect lip gloss look is surprisingly easy, whether you're enhancing your natural lip color or adding a hint of seductive shine to your favorite lipstick. For a minimalistic effect, you can opt for clear lip gloss, which enhances your lips' natural color by adding brilliant shine. If you're looking to infuse a pop of color into your lips, choose a tinted lip gloss in a shade that complements your overall makeup.

As far as application goes, using lip gloss is very easy. However, we recommend that you always start by gently exfoliating your lips to create a smooth canvas — the last thing you want is crusty chunks disturbing your gloss. Once that's done, go in with a thin layer of lip balm to nourish the lips, and add the lip gloss on top. While everyone has different techniques, starting from the center and working your way outward is always a safe choice.

Smoky eyes

Considering that going for the au naturel look seems to be the most popular option, many might be surprised to also find the classic smoky eye on this list. However, for a fun occasion, men seem to love those who embrace a little darkness around their eyes. "Smoky eye makeup makes a woman look like a seductive temptress while still keeping it classy. I like to call it freaky chic," one man told Glamour.

Due to smoky eyes easily adding drama and mystery to your looks, it's actually not too surprising that it's a crowd favorite. Achieving the perfect smoky eye begins with the right eyeshadow palette. You'll want a range of shades in the same color family, typically varying from light to dark. Classic choices include gray, brown, and black, but you can experiment with other bold colors, too — as long as they're on the darker side. Since this look is eyeshadow-heavy, we recommend always using a primer, as it will make the colors more vibrant and prevent smudging and fallout. Always start with the lightest shades, and slowly add darkness to the look to create dimension — and keep in mind that creating a smoky eye is a trust-the-process type of look. Finally, finish the eye makeup with mascara and eyeliner for an extra touch of drama.

No makeup at all

While various makeup looks seem to be popular with those who admire them, rocking no makeup at all is also a popular answer. The allure of no makeup at all, as expressed by one man to Cosmopolitan, lies in its inherent confidence and authenticity. He told the outlet, "I like it when a girl doesn't wear any makeup at all. I know it sounds cliché, but it lets me know that she takes care of her skin and is confident in herself because she doesn't need to cover her complexion up with foundation or anything like that." This sentiment isn't uncommon, as research published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology suggests that many a "mistaken preference" for makeup often revolve around "perceived expectancies" (via Time). Women may feel pressure to wear makeup to meet these expectations, particularly those set by men. However, men seem to be more into natural-looking or no makeup.

To embrace the no-makeup look, skincare is crucial. A consistent skincare routine that addresses cleansing, hydration, and protection from the sun can help achieve a radiant and even complexion. Proper hydration and a balanced diet can also contribute to healthy, glowing skin. Remember, while makeup is a tool that can help you feel better, true confidence comes from within. It's about embracing and loving yourself unconditionally and letting your inner light shine.