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Cheat Sheet 27 September 2022

How to Nail the Italian-Girl Beauty Formula

Here’s how to achieve that effortless Italian glow in 4 easy steps.

In the wake of Milan Fashion Week, we’re feeling inspired by the classic beauty formula that’s been giving Italian women that La Vita è Bella look for decades. Shop the cohort of product guaranteed to give you that effortless Italian glow, below.

Words By Brittany Lyons

Cat Eye

Whether you’re a fan or indifferent, it’s hard not to think of Sophia Loren when thinking of classic Italian beauty. Born as Sofia Costanza Brigida Villani Scicolone, this Italian icon and actress stands to this day as one of the last surviving actors of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Hailing from Rome, Sophia’s classic European look was easy to spot amongst her American co-stars. Easily identifiable thanks to her dark features, made more dramatic by her signature look of a cat eye winged liner, Loren’s cat-eye quickly became quintessentially Italian.

The inky black and defining flicked line to the top lash area not only adds definition but accentuates the dark features and provides a sultry look to your makeup.

In order to achieve a Sophia Loren-approved cat eye with ease, we recommend going in with a eyeliner pen with a felted tip. These tools easily dispense a thin and inky gel formula, with a sharp tip that guarantees precision.

If you’re a little more old school and want to really step into Sophia’s shoes, why not opt instead for eye pencil? This charcoal one from Estee Lauder is a perfect tool to give a smoked out wing.

Charlotte Tilbury The Feline Flick Liquid Eyeliner Panther, $42.15, Net-a-Porter

Glowy Skin

Thanks to a European diet full of good fats and oils, locally grown produce and a healthy dose of vitamin D from the sun, it’s evident why Italians are known for their glowy skin.

Sophia Loren included and many notable Italian stars of today such as Chiara Ferragni, all sport a healthy glow that totally support the idea of the simplistic Italian Beauty Formula. Perfected skin requiring not too much base, to allow the glow to truly shine through.

If you’re not blessed with living under the Tuscan sun and can’t achieve that Mediterranean glow al natural, don’t fret, we have some products that can help, no matter where you’re located around the globe.

First up, glowy skin should and will always start with skincare. A targeted exfoliation system to rely upon two to three times per week is essential in buffing away dull cells and encouraging new healthy ones. Miranda Kerr’s Kora Turmeric Infused Brightening Mask is a great ritual to welcome a glowy complexion.

To lock in the luminosity, we recommend adding a light reflecting primer such as the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter to make that glow shout louder!

Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte’s Magic Cream Moisturizer 15ml, $45, Net-a-Porter

Inky Lashes

Second to the defining cat eye eyeliner trick, inky and elongated lashes are a staple in the Italian Beauty Girl Formula. Pairing perfectly with the dark smudge of the liner, the dramatic black lashes add to the sexy and sultry look associated with this Sophia Loren inspired aesthetic.

When it comes to the elongation and volumizing of the lash we rely on our trusty mascara. Now we’re sure you probably already have a favourite, as many of us do, but the below selection are standouts in achieving that over dramatised Italian-girl lash.

For a boujee option, we recommend going for a luxury branded mascara such as those from Dior, Lancome or Vapour. Not only do the formula in these products promise to lengthen and add drama, but the packaging provides the added touch of European glamour that is always appreciated.

If you’re not into dropping in excess of $50 for a mascara that you’ll only be able to use for 6 months max, we totally get it. Thankfully one of the drug-store options for makeup that, we think, is the best, is mascara.

Brands like Maybelline have been producing knock-out mascaras under $20 for decades, and they absolutely rock.

Vapour Beauty Mesmerize Mascara Jet, $46.93, Net-a-Porter

Voluminous Hair

A quintessential element to the Italian Beauty Formula is voluminous hair. Cutting back to the iconic looks of Sophia Loren, the star was often photographed or filmed with a understated beehive or heightened hair at the top of the head.

The best way to achieve volume to hair that may not be genetically endowed with it to begin with, is through product. You can change up your entire washing routine to include shampoos, conditioners and masks that are specifically geared to add volume or add styling products post wash to achieve the desire look.

We are big fans of Kevin Murphy’s Powder Puff volumising dust, which adds grit and definition to the hair which helps make any look hold for hours and hours, great for an updo or a when wearing your hair down.

After applying the Powder Puff we recommend going in and back-combing near the roots of the hair at the top and crown of the head to add height. If you’re opting for this method, we recommend relying on a teasing comb like the option below from Evo Hair, shoppable at Adore Beauty.

For extra va-va-voom, the addition of hot rollers will totally nail the 50’s Sophia Loren style look with Hollywood waves. A longer process but definitely a considered style that will dial up that Italian drama to the max.

Leonor Greyl Paris Gentle Volumizing Shampoo 120ml, $56.86, Net-a-Porter