No-makeup makeup is a confusing thing because while it looks super minimal and effortless, to get it right probably requires even more time, precision, and effort than your usual full-face feat. cut crease and lashes. It’s all about subtlety, and subtlety requires skill – because it’s all about fooling people into thinking you’ve gone au natural.
Once you get the hang of it (basically, less is more and layering is key), you’ll realise it’s actually quite easy. So, if you want to appear like you’re wearing no makeup, but still want to look really, really good – in a genetically-blessed-celebrity-on-Instagram kinda way – scroll for our guide on how to get the no-makeup makeup look.
Start with skincare
The trick to a fresh, even complexion is to capitalise on your skincare routine. Choose products that will give your skin a smooth surface and natural glow so that you don’t need to fake these features with makeup. Plus, looking after your skin will make it clearer and healthier in the long-term – so you won’t need to rely on makeup at all – win, win. Use a multi-function serum like The Ordinary Buffet to even out tone and texture.
Brighten & blur
You don’t have to have flawless, perfect skin to embrace the no-makeup makeup look. If you’re concerned about whether your skin tone looks dull, red, or blemished, use a blurring base product like NIOD’s Photography Fluid to create a more even finish (you can use it as a primer or wear it alone).
You want something to hide your dark circles, breakouts, and redness, but the key here is to not go overboard. Apply a full-coverage concealer like the LA Girl Pro.conceal HD Concealer only where essential, and dot it on in small amounts before using a fingertip to blend it into the surrounding area. To cover major breakouts and blemishes, build conceal in multiple thin layers rather than one thick one.
The thicker a foundation, the less natural it will look, so embrace foundations with light coverage and thin textures. Base products like The Ordinary Serum Foundation will still help to even out your skin tone and reduce discolouration, but will allow enough of your skin to show through and prevent the thick, cakey look. Got a major problem area? Again, rather than slapping it on thick, just build sheer layers.
Choose cream over powder
To make skin look natural, it needs to look dewy and glowing – which means cutting all powder formulas out of your routine. So swap your powder highlighter for a cream version like the RMS Living Luminizer and use your fingers to blend it along the high points of your face.
Restore natural colour
Don’t skip out on blusher – cheeks are naturally flushed and because you’ve evened out your skintone with primer, foundation, and concealer, you need to add the colour back in (to the right places). Use a cream or liquid blush like Illamasqua’s Colour Veils, and blend backwards and upwards from the apples of your cheeks.
Learn the power of brow gel
If you’re used to a multi-step brow routine involves powders, pomades, and pencils, cut it right back. The only product you need is a brow gel (preferably a tinted one like Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Tinted Brow Gel) to add volume, brush and hold your brows in place, and add subtle colour for definition.
Stick with nudes
It goes without saying that red lipstick has no part in a no-makeup makeup look. Instead, stick to nude shades like those in the Anastasia Beverly Hills Matte Lipstick Nudes Set. If you can, match your lipstick as close as you can to your blush colour, and rather than swiping lipstick on, dab instead to create subtle definition.