Welcome to Byrdie UK's Brit Month, a month-long celebration of all things eccentrically and wonderfully British. From the little-known, home-grown beauty brands we're championing to the beauty trends that we Brits will be all over in 2017, this is the place to dive into all things quintessentially and brilliantly British.
When it comes to beauty, I may be biased, but I think British women do it best. Why? Because we are fearless, whether that means being brave enough to try something different, making a classic look our own or being confident enough to take the less-is-more approach. We also have some brilliant beauty icons to look to for inspiration (well, we never copy), from Kate Moss's rocker hair to Adele's signature liner to Grace Jones's complete fearlessness when it comes to using beauty to make a statement. Essentially, Brit women have it right because they're confident enough to wear a look their way and own it.
Keep scrolling for the six lessons we've learnt from these very British icons.
Rule #1: Don't Try Too Hard
Kate Moss is the queen of the less-is-more approach. From her affinity for an easy smoky eye (that you know she only used a kohl pencil to create) to her deliberately messy rocker hair that says I'm having too much fun to locate my hairbrush, Kate Moss is living proof that you should stay true to yourself.
Re-create Moss's textured waves with Lee Stafford Lived in Spray (£6).
Rule #2: Never Copy
Kristina Bumphrey/StarPix/REX/Shutterstock; Matt Baron/BEI/REX/Shutterstock
Alexa Chung's beauty vibe is almost always retro, whether it's a nod to the '40s or a twist on the '60s. But as you'll see, she wears it her way. On the left, she mussed those classic retro waves and bronzed up her skin (rather than wearing it pale). On the right, you can spy a nod to a '60s back-combed crown complete with a retro long-parted fringe. But the whole look is super modern thanks to the textured ends and no sign of a '60s liner flick or full-on lashes. It's all about balance.
Rule #3: Find Your Signature
Finding a signature beauty look and sticking to it is far from boring, just take Adele, Naomi Campbell and the late Amy Winehouse as examples. Sure, Campbell dabbled with textured hair, but this London model has been wearing it sleek and straight way before Kim Kardashian West even knew what straighteners were, while Adele and Winehouse put retro liner back on the beauty map. (Shop our favourite eyeliners here.)
JK/KEYSTONE USA/REX/Shutterstock; Matt Baron/BEI/REX/Shutterstock
Rule #4: Be Unexpected
You may think I'm about to talk about Cara Delevingne's brows (I mean, they are great), but no, it's that black line running down her décolletage that piqued my interest. Delevingne kept her makeup classically, well, her—bold brows and sultry smoky eye—but then flipped the script by wearing minimalistic body art on the red carpet.
Rule #5: Master Your Beauty Wardrobe
Gregory Pace/REX/Shutterstock; Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley proves that nailing a beauty wardrobe is key to owning it at any event. The Brit model is rarely without a soft brown or golden smoky eye and a little liner, but she has a wardrobe of lipsticks (nude, pink and red) that she will draw on depending on her outfit and the occasion. You may love a nude lip but enjoy playing up your eyes; in that case, find the tones and textures that suit you, and then create a wardrobe of looks. It will save you time and stress before any night out.
Get the look with Rosie for Autograph Lipstick (£14).
Rule #6: Be Brave With Beauty
Of course, it's wonderful to find your beauty signature or a wardrobe of looks you can pull from, but remember that your makeup can be washed off and those hair accessories can be packed away at the end of the day. Feeling experimental? Channel your inner Grace Jones and play around, even if it's just on holiday or at festivals. Beauty should be fun. Jones gets it.
Next up, see all Kate Moss's best beauty looks through the years.