How I Learnt To Love My Freckles

After years of covering up her own freckles, Sophie Cullinane explains why she’s glad that freckles are finally having a moment


by Sophie Cullinane |
Published on

Me and my freckles have always had a little bit of a complicated relationship. I think the problem started – as many do – when I was in the school playground. There I was, merrily minding my own business sitting on some grass making daisy chains when a massive brute of a boy called James sat down next to me and said, ‘Eurghh, you’re all dirty!’ and tried to rub off my freckles with a rubber.

I can take some solace in the fact that seven-year-old James was obviously a fool with little to no understanding of the human anatomy, but the seeds of hating my freckles were sown, and from that day on (until very recently) I’ve always veered from barely tolerating my freckles to vehemently hating them. Cheers, James. You massive prick.


But freckles are having a fashion moment, as Topshop’s beauty consultant Hannah Murrah explains: ‘I love freckles, they are so endearing,’ she says. ‘Whenever I do freckles for shoots or catwalk shows, I use multiple brow pencils in a range of hues in order for them to look as realistic as possible as no freckles are the same colour. This clever pencil swirls two shades of brown so that you can achieve the most convincing freckles.’


The fact that freckles are having a moment can’t be anything other than good news – especially considering how much time I’ve wasted fretting over them over the years.

When I was little, I was told by my (totally clear-skinned) grandma that freckles were a sign of beauty – probably, in hindsight, because she anticipated me having a problem with them later – but this all changed a bit in my pre-teens.

After the whole James incident, I started hating what I saw as brown blemishes all over my body and as I teenager I spent hours trying to cover them up with fake tan or make-up. I wanted my skin to be smooth smooth smooth and I felt that freckles made me looked dimpled, like I had cellulite on my arms.

When I was 16, I once even put foundation on my arms to cover them up, which ran all over my white top later on in the day when it started to rain outside. Not such a strong look for me.


I think the problem, at the time, was that all the glamorous models and film stars had freckle-free skin and wore luminous, powdery make-up to make their skin look smooth. Freckly celebrities always seemed to cover theirs up – or have them Photoshopped out and, if you want any confirmation of how anti-freckle things have been in the past – Nicole Kidman even had hers lasered off.

Basically, all that doesn’t really make you want to shout out about all those brown ‘blemishes’ on your skin, does it?

But things stared to change when I got a bit older and a more natural make-up look started to become more fashionable. Freckly girls like Emma Watson started enhancing them in photo shoots and designers started championing them on the catwalk.

This was all good news for me because covering them up or worrying about them had become more than a little bit of a bore. Anyway – everyone else seemed to really like my freckles – I just suddenly didn’t know why I was being such a twit about them any more.

So even though a product that’s basically designed to create a natural look with even more make-up might seem a little bit counter-intuitive, I really couldn’t be more pleased with Topshop’s new product. Even though I’ve got freckles all over my face, I’d probably use this to pick out my natural ones as a way of combatting that grubby look you get from putting on foundation.

And for those of you who are faking it and joining the freckly ranks for the first time, come on in, the water’s lovely!

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Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophiecullinane

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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