Want to Know How to Get Freckles Naturally? Here's Everything You Need to Know
There is just something about freckles.
It is quite hard to put my finger on it but is probably a combination of the sunkissed glow that usually accompanies them and the youthful appearance of a freckled face.
While I have always found them quite beautiful and endearing in a way, in the past, the freckled amongst us would go to great lengths to hide their dazzling spots. However, those days are gone. A new, freckle-celebration era has emerged and it is safe to say our love for those cute little spots is here to stay.
To help you get in on this adorable beauty trend, we broke down the details on freckles, how to get them naturally, and how to get them unnaturally—if you are not so lucky as to get a dusting after a sun-filled day.
What are freckles?
Technically, freckles are actually a sunspot. With UV radiation, our skin experiences inflammation that can lead to the production of extra pigment or melanin. This overproduction looks different to all of us. While some of us are simply left with hyperpigmentation and dark spots, others come away with a dusting of freckles.
Our tendency to freckle is actually genetic. While all types of freckles come from sun exposure, they only appear on people who have the hereditary ability to form said freckles. In a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, only patients with a genetic predisposition were able to produce freckles when exposing their skin to UV rays.
And while it used to be believed to be dependent on skin tone, it really depends on your genetics.
Additionally, the term “freckle” is used for two different types of spots: ephelides and solar lentigines. While they are both affected by sunlight, ephelides are more so genetically determined and appear mostly during childhood. Lentigines on the other hand are typically induced by photodamage to the skin.
In other words, if your face has been graced with freckles tracking back to childhood, those are most likely due to genetics—whereas if you have new ones cropping up after some time in the sun, it is most likely due to lentigines.
Nobody is born with freckles. They usually first start to develop during childhood, and sometimes vanish as we get older. Additionally, most people’s freckles fade in the winter months when our sun exposure is more limited. Freckles are more common on people during the summer months.
While it is not fully understood why some people get them, it has been linked to a gene called MC1R. Variations in this gene are associated with normal differences in skin tone and hair color (that's why if you have red hair, you might be more likely to have them).
Certain variations do seem to be more pronounced in people with fair skin, freckles, and increased sensitivity to sun exposure. This however does not mean all fair skins have freckles or that darker skin does not; it more points out that some people are just predisposed to having them.
Can you get freckles without sun exposure?
While it may not be what you’d like to hear, the answer is unfortunately no. The only thing that can bring about freckles is sun exposure.
It is important to note though that freckles don’t necessarily mean sun damage. The smallest amount of sun exposure can cause freckles to become more pronounced, but repeated sun exposure can lead to sun damage.
So, while the first sign of new freckles forming isn’t all bad, it’s probably time to reach for the sunscreen.
How do you get freckles naturally and safely?
If you are looking to safely get your summer spots, it is important to do it safely. Since freckles do require sun exposure, use these tips to avoid skin damage.
This should be a no-brainer by now, but be sure to wear sunscreen. While it might sound counterproductive, you’ll still be able to get freckles while wearing sunscreen. The sun is much stronger than we sometimes realize, and a day in the rays, even while wearing sunscreen, will still result in your body producing melanin.
For our complete guide to mineral sunscreen, check here.
2. Avoid mid-day
Between the hours of 12-4pm, the sun is at its strongest. Since you don’t need a ton of exposure to get those freckles to pop anyway, try to avoid these times and the likely sun damage that may come with it. The risk factors for damage and ultimately skin cancer is highest when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
3. Set a limit
Be sure you give yourself breaks from the sun. Most people only need about 15 minutes in the sun, depending on how fair their skin is. Set a timer and be sure to seek shade accordingly.
Another option for getting those spots is to fake it. The growth in popularity of freckle make-up is sky-rocketing as people found they can get that look without the risk of damage. Here’s how to do it.
The best makeup for natural-looking freckles
Pseudo Lab PHreckles
Pseudo Lab’s founder first started applying faux freckles on her face using mascara. She would meticulously apply dots to appear like freckles, changing them from day to day. One large one, however, remained situated under her left eye to imitate her mom’s real freckle. At the time, she was frequently teased for pretending to have freckles, so she stopped wearing them.
Years later, as she drove through LA traffic doing her makeup done in the car, a wonderful accident happened. While applying her mascara, some flicked off the wand, leaving her with those mascara freckles she used to flaunt.
After work, she ran to the store and grabbed a handful of different mascaras and brow gels to create the perfect look. She then set out to create the best product for those faux freckles, and after 50 different formulas, PHreckles was born.
PHreckles revolutionary products are vegan, hypoallergenic, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and water-resistant. It comes in three shades and helps you create the perfect spotted face. Vegan beauty has never been more beautiful!
Freck Faux Freckles
Freck is considered one of the OG’s of cosmetic freckles. In 2017, the brand launched and debuted its beauty mark on an industry that traditionally focused on covering them up. Freck has now become a cult favorite in the beauty space.
They have helped shape the freckle movement into what it is today; a group of trailblazers and rule breakers who are born to stand out from the crowd. All of Freck Beauty’s products are vegan and cruelty-free and inspired by founder Remi’s vision for a vibrant life.
Candy Girl Fake Freckles
KimChi Beauty was started by the incredible Drag Queen, Kim Chi. When she first dressed up in drag, Kim Chi found a true passion. One that combined her love of art, painting, fashion, and photography into one vessel.
“I believe your face is a canvas to create art. Whether it's subtle or out of this world, makeup can elevate the way you feel about yourself. With the right mug, I feel invincible and confident!”
From there, her passion morphed into a beauty line that is cruelty-free, vegan, sulfate, and paraben-free. Their fake freckle product is perfect to give you the most natural-looking freckles.
Plant Makeup Freckle Paint
Plant Makeup was founded by an artist and herbalist. She launched Plant Makeup as an artisanal apothecary skincare brand that is handmade with 100-percent natural ingredients. All the ingredients, including roses, flowers, roots, berries, and herbs, are selected carefully and inspired by a natural flow of energy.
These products are a bit different than traditional makeup brands as it is less pigmented on the skin compared to synthetic dyes or iron oxide derived colors. Early on in her career, she crafted plant pigmented paints and was inspired to create plant makeup. The products are a first of their kind, providing light natural hues of color—to bring a new wave of beauty products.
Plant Makeup’s Freckle Paint is a plant-based twist on this ever-so-popular trend. The light brown chocolate hue is slightly bronze in color, allowing you to easily craft the perfect cluster of dots. The makeup gently dries on your face quickly for a smudge-free look.
ColourPop Freckle Pen
ColourPop is another new, but increasingly popular, beauty brand that was founded in Los Angeles. They pride themselves on being both wallet and bunny-friendly (they are cruelty-free all around).
This company believes in testing on humans instead of animals—and we are here for it. Vegan beauty products have never been so appealing. Case in point: ColourPop HQ employees get the pleasure of testing out all their new products, keeping bunnies out of the equation.
The easy-to-use freckle pen is available in two shades—light brown and dark—to cater to different skin tones. The pen is equipped with a foolproof felt-tip application and long-wearing formula so the ink stays put all day long. The natural-looking and buildable customizable color creates the most effortless sunkissed look. And they never test on animals.
How to apply fake freckles
Step 1: Foundation Makeup
Freckle makeup is best if applied near last in your makeup routine, so get your layers of sunscreen, moisturizer, and even foundation on before you reach for that freckle pen.
Step 2: Dot, Dot, Dot
Once your skin is oh-so-glamorous, you can grab that pen. The key to achieving the perfect freckled face is to dab lightly with the pen and go slowly.
Don’t try to overly control the placement, as it may cause them to look a bit forced ... and fake. Dab those dots into the areas of your face that are naturally hit by the sun (you know, where real freckles would appear if we were part of the chosen ones). Concentrate on your cheekbones, nose, and forehead. Diffuse the dabs outward from the center of those areas, getting less concentrated as you go.
Step 3: Dab & Blend
Once you are happy with your freckle-filled face, you’ll actually want to dab them a bit to blend into your skin and look more natural. Freckles in the wild are not symmetrical, so blending them in a bit will help their overall appearance. Tap at them with your fingertip or makeup sponge to blur them into your skin. Go over and reapply your freckle pen to any areas you want to be more pigmented and continue until you have achieved the right results.
Remember, when it comes to beauty, practice makes perfect. There is a good chance you might not nail this on the first try (I may be talking from experience), but never be afraid to try, try again!
Step 4: Bronze & Set
Bronzer can technically be added before or after, really just a personal preference. But if you really want to achieve that sunkissed glow, a touch of bronzer sure will help—and will also help those freckles look like they appeared after a sun-filled day at the beach (not in your dimly lit bathroom). A light dusting over your now freckle-filled areas will help them blend in a bit more leaving an ultra-natural look.
Additionally, a translucent powder can be applied before and after as well. This will help your freckles last longer throughout the day. Lastly, use a setting spray to keep all your makeup in place. This will help oil control and keep those newfound freckles smudge-free.
NOTE: A product appearing in our blog is not an official Kinder Beauty endorsement. While every product we feature in an article is cruelty-free and vegan, these products do not necessarily meet all of our strict brand standards for curation in one of our boxes.
Jackie Lutze has been writing about cruelty-free beauty for years and loves finding the best vegan products to help readers build their ultimate beauty routine.