Kate Middleton is undeniably a style icon and—for many—a beauty muse. It's the reason why so many of us are invested in her go-to beauty products, which reportedly include as many high-street favourites from the likes of Clarins and Lancôme as luxury designer items.
From softly tonged waves and natural make-up for royal engagements to high glamour on the red carpet, the Princess of Wales has an impressive repertoire of beauty looks. When it comes to make-up, Kate knows her own mind and famously oversaw her own make-up for her wedding day in 2011. And thanks to the conveniences of modern technology (Google search history), we now know her most coveted make-up moments from the last 15 years.
As make-up artist and beauty expert at FalseEyelashes.co.uk Saffron Hughes explains, "Kate’s make-up resonates with many across the world, as her approach to make-up focuses on timelessness and embracing her natural beauty, much like her late mother-in-law Princess Diana.”
So, whether you're looking for timeless make-up inspiration or are simply feeling nostalgic, these are Kate's top make-up moments, according to 15 years of avid googling from fans of the Princess of Wales' beauty looks.
Kate Middleton's top make-up moments
FalseEyelashes.co.uk conducted a deep dive into which of Princess Catherine's make-up looks were the most popular between 2008 and 2023. Naturally, Kate's effortless wedding day make-up came out on top, with holiday looks and examples of when the Princess wears her signature smokey eye in the mix as well.
1. Kate's wedding day in 2011
Kate's wedding-day make-up was all her own doing, with a little help from Bobbi Brown (a brand team Marie Claire UK adores for the best foundations) make-up artist, Hannah Martin. Hannah said of Kate's make-up style, "Nothing says bridal make-up to me more than that radiant glowing skin. At first glance a bride wants their guests to be blown away by how happy and healthy they look and this can be easily achieved with makeup, balancing the need for coverage for a flawless finish and not overdoing it."
Saffron explains that Kate's wedding day make-up strikes a "harmonious balance" between a natural look and a "touch of drama". She says, "Kate unveiled a make-up look that impeccably complemented the opulence of the royal celebration. Her make-up struck a harmonious balance between natural allure and a touch of drama, slightly veering from her usual style.
"Her eye make-up showcased a captivating bronze smokey eye, enhanced by defined eyebrows and an elegant black eyeliner. This was fused perfectly with a rosy blush, subdued nude lipstick and a 'flawless' base."
2. The birth of Prince George
By all accounts, a photoshoot days after giving birth isn't top of many mothers' priority lists. But interest in Princess Catherine's make-up was piqued again in 2013 after she was photographed on the steps of the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in London looking radiant.
As Saffron explains of Kate's dewy make-up look, “Kate's make-up approach leans towards the natural side. Radiant skin, well-defined brows and rosy-pink cheeks form her make-up essentials. Kate wore a rosy blush that perfectly complemented her peachy-toned, natural lipstick."
3. Princess Charlotte's birth
Another make-up look that topped the list was Kate's natural look for her photoshoot after the birth of her second child, Princess Charlotte in 2015.
Saffron says, “If there’s one thing that Kate is praised—and scrutinised—for, it's her ability to always look put together. A key beauty rule among the royals, both men and women, is that they must never look unkempt. The Princess of Wales has famously sported a fresh blow dry and her usual make-up just seven hours after giving birth."
4. Kate's Royal Tour of South East Asia and the South Pacific
Princess Catherine masters glowing skin with ease, so it's no surprise that this royal tour look was high on this list, with Kate's natural make-up looking showcasing her holiday glow in all its glory.
As Saffron explains, “Kate embraced a bronzed base that subtly defined her features, with a gentle dusting around her temples and cheekbones for a touch of contouring. Alongside this, Kate had a pop of peachy-pink blush to match the pink on her dress.
"The statement part of the make-up look was her lips, which were also pink but glossy, perfectly complementing her shimmering pearl-drop earrings. Enhancing her eyes, she wore a thick smokey outer corner winged eyeliner, artfully accompanied by a softly blended eyeshadow in a shade only slightly deeper than her bronzer.”
5. The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant
The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant in 2013 saw the then Duchess of Cambridge opt for an elegant smokey eye to match her glamorous red ensemble, dialling up the drama for the high-society event.
To recreate the look, Saffron advises, “Achieving this elegant smokey eye is easy in three steps. Begin by priming the eyelids for lasting make-up, as it's crucial for maintaining composure during lengthy events. Urban Decay's original eyeshadow primer potion is a popular option. Apply a small amount to the lid and blend.
“Next, apply a slightly lighter eyeshadow shade to your make-up base colour, blending from the eyelid to the brow bone. Enhance the look with a matte eyeshadow darker than your bronzer, blending across the lids and into the eyelid crease for a seamless finish and to avoid harsh lines. Deepen the effect with an almost-black brown eyeshadow, tracing it along the lash line and softly under the lower lashes.
"Finish with a black pencil eyeliner to encircle the eye, with particular emphasis on creating a winged outer corner that merges with the deeper eyeshadow tones."
6. The Armed Forces Day Ceremony
Another key beauty look from 2011 saw Princess Catherine team her signature kohl-lined eyes with a neutral lip. In honour of Armed Forces Day, Kate's make-up was elegant and understated.
As Saffron explains, “There are actually royal beauty protocols that Kate rarely, if ever, breaks. One such rule dictates avoiding bright lipstick, deemed a royal no-no. The rationale lies in the potential for wardrobe mishaps, like smudging onto clothing, teeth, or appearing too harsh against the skin."
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Lauren is the former Deputy Digital Editor at woman&home and became a journalist mainly because she enjoys being nosy. With a background in features journalism, Lauren has bylines in publications such as Marie Claire UK, Red Magazine, House of Coco, women&home, GoodTo, Woman's Own and Woman magazine.
She started writing for national papers and magazines at Medavia news agency, before landing a job in London working as a lifestyle assistant and covers everything from fashion and celebrity style to beauty and careers.
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