“Italians are always well-dressed.”
Who hasn’t heard that one at least once in their life?
It’s one of many stereotypes about Italians and, just like any stereotype, it’s not entirely true…but it does have a kernel of truth to it.
In my experience, people here are generally very concerned with the way they look, and they’ll usually put a lot of thought into what they wear.
There’s also a general sense of decorum that people are expected to observe. For instance, you’ll never see college students go to class in sweats and flip-flops. Here, dressing appropriately and looking nice are real social conventions.
So, what is makeup’s role in a country where most people always try to dress well and look good?
Well, Italians don’t normally use as much makeup as you might expect. A typical Italian look, which I’ve recreated for you today, will usually feature very few products.
Care to know which ones? 🙂
Foundation (often a shade too dark)
That’s for two main reasons. The first one is that many people think the purpose of foundation is to make them look tanned, while the second one is that it’s pretty hard for those here with lighter skin tones to find the right color match.
The lightest shade of foundations from Italian brands will usually be my skin tone or darker and, although I’m pretty pale, I’m definitely not the palest. Even international brands will often have a more limited shade range here than abroad.
Most Italians don’t contour very much, but they definitely like to bronze. A LOT.
Side note: Tanning here is like a religion. If you come back from a beach vacation and don’t look heavily tanned, people will comment on that. Unless you look completely brown, the first thing they’ll ask will be, “Why are you not even tanned??”
It goes without saying that tanning salons prosper and bronzer sales never go down.
Simple makeup to enhance the eyes
A typical Italian eye look will consist of only two products — pencil liner (either black or brown) and mascara. Also, brows will often be left au naturel.
Most Italian women don’t wear lipstick, but if they do, it’s usually in a neutral color. There obviously are exceptions (like yours truly — #brightsforlife), but in general it’s pretty hard to see someone sporting a bold lip.
This is the look an Italian woman might wear to one of our favorite activities, which is andare al ristorante (go to a restaurant). Italians don’t “just go grab some food.” Most of the time, we cook our own meals from scratch at home, so going to a restaurant is a real event, and one that requires dressing up.
If you were to recreate the ultimate makeup look to represent your country, what products would you use?