Fake freckles, Penélope Cruz’s trick to look younger

TikTok is full of tutorials with techniques to achieve this look, from eyebrow dyes to root touch-up sprays or stickers. Experts analyze the effectiveness of the myriad of alternatives

Penélope Cruz
Penelope Cruz at the Goya Cinema Awards in 2018.Carlos Alvarez (Getty Images)

Lately, two things have unleashed a passion for freckles among Gen Z: the acceptance of a natural, inclusive beauty that highlights what makes us different, and the optical illusion of Real Freckles, one of the most popular filters on TikTok, which has shown millions of people the rejuvenating power that a simple constellation of small spots can provide. If for years having freckles was a cause of shame and all efforts were aimed at hiding them with thick layers of makeup or dermatological treatments, now every tiny new speck that appears on a person’s face is a reason for joy. Luckily, those who do not have them can learn to fake them with the arsenal of tricks and tutorials that can be found on social media.

Simulating freckles with makeup is not something new. In the 1940s, many women used to copy Marilyn Monroe’s famous beauty mark, which was nothing more than a freckle drawn with a black pencil. In the 1960s the model Twiggy made them fashionable, and in the 1970s the actress Charlotte Rampling consolidated a trend that never fully left. In fact, applying freckles to simulate youth is one of the favorite tricks of Pablo Iglesias, Penélope Cruz’s makeup artist.

There are some basic recommendations if you want to create them with makeup. “It is necessary to apply a primer to ensure that they adhere to the face and don’t fade over time. In addition, they must always be done over the foundation and blush, taking into account the color of the skin: if it is light, the freckles should be more reddish, and if it is dark, we should opt for the brown range, for a realistic result. The best is to combine two tones so that they are not homogeneous. And of course, they have to sealed with a makeup fixative that integrates all the products and keeps them intact throughout the day,” explains Montse Sanfeliu, a professional makeup artist for television series and movies. Here, we analyze some techniques to fake freckles.

Drawing them with pencil, shadows or cream

Drawing them on the skin is the simplest, most practical way. The key is to apply different pressures to achieve an irregular result.

- Pencil or pen: The easiest way to create freckles is to use a specific pen. “If you don’t have one, you can use an ultra-fine eyebrow pencil, which has a drier texture than the eye pencils. The dots have to be of different intensity, uneven and not symmetrical so that they look natural,” says Sanfeliu.

- Shadows: The textures of eye shadows are useful to complement the pencil and ensure that the transparency, amount and density of the freckles is realistic. “But you must be careful. If the shadows are bright you will achieve the opposite effect and they will look artificial. Once the freckle design is done, I recommend blending and erasing the excess with a makeup sponge, tapping lightly on the skin. It’s okay if one disappears or loses its rounded shape, because it will look even more natural,” explains Alessandra Wilson from Yanbal.

- Cream: The experts from the Spanish perfumery chain Primor recommend the LA Girl eyebrow pomade. “The first step is to choose a creamy product that is easy to apply with a fine-tipped brush. This way we create different sizes, densities and intensities around the nose, the cheekbones and the central area of the forehead. Then, you blend them into the skin with a loose-bristle brush.”

Natural freckles with a self-tanner

To achieve the perfect fake freckles, you only need two things: a self-tanner and a toothbrush. To do so, the experts at St. Tropez recommend “putting a small amount of self-tanning foam in a container or on a mitt and carefully wet the tips of the brush bristles with the foam, taking small amounts. Then, lightly press the brush on those areas of the face where freckles would appear, such as the upper part of the cheeks and the bridge of the nose. Finish by removing the excess with a tissue.”

Creating freckles with eyebrow dye

It is the latest viral trick to achieve long-lasting freckles. You choose a natural color eyebrow dye and mark the freckles with the flat end of a manicure stick, wait for the dye to settle and then carefully remove it. But does this technique actually work? “Personally, I don’t recommend doing it with dye. There could be allergic reactions. Also, dyes are not made for the skin and they tend to disappear rather quickly,” says Giner Muñoz, from Benefit Cosmetics.

Simulating freckles with the L’Oréal Paris Magic Retouch Spray

The Magic Retouch Spray by L’Oréal Paris serves to camouflage gray hair in just three seconds, and it is another trick that people use to splash their face with freckles. Many makeup experts share videos in which they subtly shake the bottle over their face so that the small droplets land on their face and become freckles. To complicate matters, some place a steel strainer in front of their face, like a mask, to spray the product over it. Makeup artist Noemí Nohales warns of the complexity of this method: “It is really very difficult to get it right. You have to have a lot of experience so that your face doesn’t end up with a large, unflattering dark blot.”

Freckle stickers or tattoos

Just like your childhood stickers. You stick a strip with fake freckles on your nose and cheeks, moisten it with a damp cloth and carefully remove it after 30 seconds. “You have to have experience, because sometimes half of the tattoo can remain untransferred. If this happens you have to start over. The result may not be so natural, but it is super fast,” explains Sanfeliu.

Six basics for faking freckles

1- Eyebrow Pencil, by Sephora Collection

The Sephora Collection pencil has an extra fine, waterproof, long-lasting tip to draw freckles with accuracy.


2- Eyebrow Pomade, by LA Girl

Perfect for drawing and defining freckles on your face. The LA Girl pomade stays on all day without fading or staining.

la girl

3- Brow Microfilling Pen, by Benefit Cosmetics

The Benefit Cosmetics Brow Microfilling Pen can create freckles of different intensities in a single stroke thanks to its three ultra-fine tips. Its long-lasting formula is waterproof and smudge-proof.


4- Freckle Pen, by Langmanni Makeup

This long-lasting freckle pen has a felt-tip applicator to effortlessly create the look you want.


5- Self Tan Luxe Whipped Crème Mousse, by St. Tropez

This mousse is enriched with natural ingredients that hydrate, reduce redness and provide a uniform tone. It is easy to apply and has an immediate, long-lasting result.

St. Tropez

6- Magic Retouch, by L’Oréal Paris

The Magic Retouch root touch-up spray covers gray hair instantly.


Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get more English-language news coverage from EL PAÍS USA Edition

More information

Archived In

Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS