It’s official, freckles are fashionable. Whether you’re blessed naturally from your family’s gene pool and want to highlight them, or you need to fake a constellation get on board the 2021 sun-kissed beauty trend with the latest faux freckle pens we’ve tried and tested.
Once upon a time we’d have covered our freckles up under foundation, but make-up artists such as Katie Jane Hughes or Nikkie de Jager from NikkieTutorials have shown us that they can make a complexion look fresh and youthful. Just like bronzer, freckles warm a complexion, even when there’s little sun to be had as we go into autumn.
From long-stay liquid lipsticks to brow pens and everything in-between, the internet is awash with different ways to fake freckles. But for the most realistic finish, we found you should turn to the new crop of pens and markers, specifically designed to dot on and emulate them.
These offer a softer, more natural-looking speckled finish than anything else on the beauty shelves or their virtual counterparts. Simple to use, faux freckle pens should be dotted on the bridge of your nose, cheeks or forehead where freckles naturally form. Pat or blend with your fingertips or sponge for a subtle effect, or leave to dry for a bolder look.
The key is to remember freckles are never uniform in shape or size or where they sit, so it doesn’t matter if you’re not precise. Use on bare skin or on top of your base and set with powder or setting spray if you have a combination or oily complexion for best results.
How we tested
We put the latest faux freckle pens to the test to see how well they fared at faking believable-looking freckles. To make our winning selection the product had to be effortless to use, look realistic in both finish and colour and be long-wearing.
The best faux freckle pens for 2021 are:
Best overall – Jason Wu Beauty Jason the freckled boy faux freckle marker: £16.50, Beautybay.com
Best for subtle freckles – Lottie London freckle tint: £6.85, Feelunique.com
Best for longevity – Freck OG faux freckle cosmetics: £17, Beautybay.com
Best high street option – Missguided frecks appeal freckle pen: £8, Superdrug.com
Best for redheads or fair skin tones – Lime Crime freckle pen: £18, Lookfantastic.com
Best for darker freckles – Barry M freckle tint: £4.99, Barrym.com
Jason Wu Beauty Jason the freckled boy faux freckle marker
The Jason Wu SS21 Tulum-inspired runway at New York fashion week was packed with models looking fresh-faced and sprinkled with faux freckles. Therefore, it’s only natural that the fashion designer would have a freckle pen in his beauty collection too and we have to say it’s one we were very impressed with.
You can get quite precise with the fine-tipped applicator, whether you want to draw on a cluster or apply delicate single spots here and there. Simply dot and if you’re fair like our tester, tap out with your fingertip after a few seconds to soften and blend. Leave on slightly longer for a bolder, darker effect. Fuss-free and effortless to use, this mimicked a soft but most importantly realistic freckled finish that has all-day staying power too.
Buy now £16.50, Beautybay.com
Lottie London freckle tint
Best: For subtle freckles
On first use, we thought this was going to be a tricky product to get the hang of, as the watery consistency makes it almost impossible not to draw on freckles with different strengths of pigment. Yet, we found this actually adds to the illusion of a realistic scattering of freckles that aren’t all the same colour naturally anyway. There’s a light or deep shade to pick from, we tried the one designed for fair skin where the key is to blend after just a few seconds to get a sheer, sun-kissed and very natural barely there finish.
Buy now £6.85, Feelunique.com
Freck OG faux freckle cosmetics
Best: For longevity
Just as the name suggests, this is the original faux freckle pen that started the trend. It’s tiny compared with the rest, which, in our opinion, is its downfall, too. Otherwise it would go straight to the top of this round-up.
That being said, it might be small but it is also mighty. It’s a universal shade that the longer you leave on, the darker your freckles will go, although it’s still not suitable for darker skin tones – you’ll need to opt for the Freck Noir (£25, Beautybay.com). Expect it to be easy to use, mimicking buildable brown spots with a staying power that lasts until make-up take-off. It’s still hard to beat.
Buy now £17.00, Beautybay.com
Missguided Frecks Appeal Freckle Pen
Best: High street option
Once you get past the fact that this looks just like a permanent felt-tip marker pen, you realise how effortless the thick nib makes application. The key with this one is to directly tap and blend, not giving it any time to dry and you’ll create the most believable finish. Unfortunately, there’s only one shade that’ll work for fair to medium skin tones and isn’t suitable for darker complexions.
Buy now £8.00, Superdrug.com
Lime Crime Freckle Pen
Best: For redheads or fair skin tones
Reach for the “amber” shade of this freckle pen for sheer-toned freckles that will look soft and blend and blur naturally on to even the fairest complexion. The felt-tip pen makes light work of creating the finest freckles with a light hand, as well as more rounded pigment spots with more pressure – creating a natural asymmetrical real-looking finish.
There’s also a “cocoa” shade that draws on medium-toned beauty marks and with the US brand just having launched a darker shade state-side hopefully it will go on sale here in the UK soon.
Buy now £18.00, Lookfantastic.com
Barry M Freckle Tint
Best: For darker freckles
Turn to Barry M for the darkest faux freckles we put to the test, with two shades to choose from in its budget make-up collection. The first will suit those addicted to their fake tan and the second will work well on medium to deeper skin tones.
The tint is water-like, so the key to nailing a flawless finish with this one is to let it dry and then seal with a translucent powder or setting spray. Still, a great option when you consider the price.
Buy now £4.99, Barrym.com
The verdict: Faux freckle pens
Our best buy goes to the Jason Wu Beauty faux freckle marker for its versatility at creating different-sized freckles with as fair or strong a pigment as you’re in the mood for. If you want to try the trend for less to see if it’s for you, opt for the Missguided frecks appeal freckle pen.
For more of the latest beauty trends, check out these best eyebrow pens for a DIY microblade look