How You Can Expertly Achieve the “No Makeup” Makeup Look
Your step-by-step guide from the pros for nailing the glowy, minimalist makeup look.
If you’ve spent time scrolling through your TikTok FYP as of late, then you’re already up to speed: the “no makeup” makeup trend is very much having a moment.
As our daily routines and beauty priorities have taken the “self-care and simplified” road since quarantine, effortless, low-key makeup has become a cult favorite for good reason — it highlights your natural beauty and incorporates skin-loving products that enhance your complexion rather than suffocate it.
Think: glowy skin, bright eyes, and luminous cheeks that have you still looking like yourself, but with an IRL Facetune filter.
For many, applying and wearing makeup is fun, empowering, and a little slice of “you” time. Natural makeup will still give you that dewy-skin confidence boost with the added bonus of streamlining your routine (buh-bye, 20-step regimens and breakout-inducing foundation!).
Plus, the final look is easy to achieve and rock every day, whether you want to look fresh-faced for a Zoom call, or pretty and polished for a special occasion.
To try your hand at the “less is more” makeup look, we have your step-by-step guide here, packed with expert tips from beauty pros and product suggestions to help you get glowing.
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Know that skincare comes first
The best way to achieve the look of glowy, healthy skin is by actually having glowy, healthy skin.
“Clean, dewy skin is key for ‘no makeup’ makeup, so skincare is possibly the most important step,” says Jamie Greenberg, Celebrity Makeup Artist and Founder of JamieMakeup.
Before you dive into your makeup application, make sure you’re cleaning your skin twice a day with a gentle cleanser and following up with a moisturizer or serum to lock in hydration for bouncy, supple skin. Additionally, Greenberg encourages you to exfoliate your face weekly, which will remove dead skin cells, brighten your complexion, and give you a good base to work with.
Primer is your ultimate makeup prep step
“Think of primer as a protective barrier locking the good stuff close to the skin and blocking out pollution — it’s essential for smoothing the texture of your skin and locking your skincare [and makeup] in place,” says Nick Lujan, Director of Artistry & Education at Kevyn Aucoin Beauty.
Select a hydrating face primer packed with good-for-skin ingredients to minimize the appearance of pores and encourage an even, smooth-as-butter makeup application that stays put.
Try: IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Makeup Primer+ Oil-Free ($29.62)
Try: NUDESTIX Blot & Blur Matte Primer Stick ($32)
Glow up with tinted moisturizer (+SPF)
Lighten up in the foundation department—we want to see those freckles!
“Allowing people to see your natural skin distinguishes the ‘no makeup’ makeup trend,” says Lujan. It’s all about enhancing your complexion for a glowy, dewy finish while letting your skin breathe.
First things first: forego heavy, full-coverage foundation and opt for a lightweight makeup-skincare hybrid product (think: tinted moisturizer or serum) that blurs well into your skin and brightens things up. Since daily sun protection is a must no matter what makeup look you’re going after, select a double-duty formula with built-in SPF.
Pro tip: Keep loose powder to a minimum, only applying where needed with a small fluffy brush; powdering your whole face will dull your glow.
Apply precision concealer
If you love the idea of going au natural but still want to keep blemishes, redness, and dark circles under wraps, don’t worry—you can still apply spot coverage, but only where you need it.
Select a concealer with medium, buildable coverage (full coverage will look too heavy) in a shade that’s as close to your skin tone as possible. Apply and blend by dabbing a face sponge to seamlessly blur the edges.
Fluff up your brows
Say “no” to try-hard, lined, and defined eyebrows. Instead, channel your inner Lily Collins for that fluffy and feathery look. Put down your brow pencil and opt for a tinted brow gel infused with buildable fibers, which will add airy volume, fill in sparse areas, and enhance your natural brows.
To make brows look effortlessly fuller, use the gel’s spoolie brush wand to brush hairs upward for a hint of color and hold.
Try: e.l.f. Cosmetics Wow Brow Gel ($5)
Try: Kosas Air Brow Tinted Clean Volumizing Eyebrow Gel ($24)
Opt for neutral eyeshadow and soft eyeliner
As much as we love a sultry smokey eye, it definitely doesn’t give “I woke up like this” vibes. To keep your eye look beautifully toned down, “Look for eyeshadow colors that closely resemble the shadows that are naturally cast on your features,” says Lujan. “Browns with neutral or mauve tones are excellent ‘no makeup, makeup’ shades.” Start with a light color application and build (it’s easier to add than take away!).
Eyeliner can work in your favor, as long as you’re not too heavy-handed. “Soft neutral eyeliners applied tightly to the waterline can help control redness around the eyes. Stick to shades that are close to your skin tone or matte brown,” adds Lujan.
Choose a subtle mascara and curl your lashes
Mascara is an everyday makeup must, even when you’re keeping it simple. For enviable lashes that appear naturally long, swipe a good-quality lengthening mascara onto your top lashes, working from the roots upward in a zig-zag motion. Stick to brown or black, and only one coat to avoid clumping.
Then, grab your trusty eyelash curler to really create that wide-eyed look.
“The perfect lash curl is just as, if not more important than, your mascara application,” says Lujan. “It enhances the look of lashes by aligning them on the same plain, while giving them the look of length with a nice crimp.”
Finish up with tinted lip balm
To complete your “no makeup” makeup look, you’ll want just a kiss of color on your lips with yummy sheen that isn’t too glossy. The move: swap your lipstick for a tinted lip balm with hydrating benefits to both nourish and enhance your pout. Look for a shade that is almost the same color as your lips, but with a little more oomph for naturally flushed pucker.