10 Hacks to Achieving the “No Makeup” Makeup Look

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Source: Glossier

Isn’t it weird that we want to apply makeup . . . that looks like we’re not wearing makeup? Existential beauty crisis aside, the off-duty model, no makeup vibes are here to stay. This look directly goes against the typical “Instagram” beauty looks we see a lot of —bold brows, full coverage foundation, winged liner, you know what I’m talking about. “No makeup” makeup is basically the bare minimum, focusing more on the steps of application than the number of products.

We’ve broken down the best tips and tricks for this natural trend as well as rounded up our favorite products to get you there quick and easy.

 

Meet the expert
Erika LaPearl
CELEBRITY MAKEUP ARTIST
Erika is the key makeup artist for rapper Cardi B, focusing on natural and full glam looks.

 

1. Skin First

This look is all about glowing, natural skin. The easiest way to get that? Actually have glowy, natural skin. While not everyone has the amazing youthful glow of Amal Clooney or Jennifer Aniston, we know how to how fake it! Before embarking on this no-makeup- makeup journey, indulge in some skin prep. Using a hydrating face mask before applying makeup makes sure the skin is already supple and moisturized. 

Versed

Dew Point Moisturizing Gel-Cream

A gel moisturizer will add a layer between your skin and foundation without adding extra shine.

Summer Fridays

Jet Lag Mask

To ensure an ultra-moisturized complexion, apply this cult-favorite mask and let it sit for about 10 minutes. The trick is to leave it on—this works flawlessly as a primer for makeup.

 

 

2. Prime

When you’re going for a minimal look, a primer is the easiest way to get a smooth base. “For me, using a primer creates a base that keeps your makeup in place, so it lasts throughout the day instead of sliding around your face,” said celebrity makeup artist Erika La’Pearl. You can cater your product choices to what kind of look you’re going for or your skin type. A pore-filling primer will smooth and fill any pores without clogging them the way a thick foundation might. An illuminating primer will add that “lit from within” glow and make you look extra hydrated.

Tula

Blurring & Moisturizing Primer

This is the perfect mix of a blurring, soft-focus texture with a bit of radiance. Our editors swear by it.

ColourPop

Hydrating Illuminator

Add a glowy, luminous finish to any foundation by applying this underneath.

 

3. Go light on the coverage

Steer clear of thick, full coverage foundations for this look. Tinted moisturizers, BB and CC creams, and skin tints give your skin some extra hydration and still allow some of your freckles, redness, and imperfections to shine through. La’Pearl swears by liquid foundations in this step because they keep your skin looking radiant, blend easily, and can be built up. One of her favorites is Be a 10’s Beyond Belief Foundation if you want a fuller coverage that doesn’t look cakey. Apply your liquid foundation or skin tint with a buffing foundation brush to cover more, or with a sponge to keep the dewiness and sheer it out—La’Pearl’s ideal method of applying foundation.

NARS

Radiant Tinted Moisturizer

The Goldilocks of tinted moisturizers: has a little bit of coverage but not too much, never gets cakey, blends seamlessly, and actually has a wide shade range.

The Lip Bar

3-in-1 Tinted Skin Conditioner

This has customizable coverage that takes you from sheer/light to medium depending on how much you build it up.

Milani

Glow Hydrating Skin Tint

Your skin tint doesn't have to cost a lot, and this Milani proves it. It has a gorgeous radiance that makes your skin look like it's glowing from within.

 

4. Use a lightweight concealer for blemishes

If you’re still not used to letting your blemishes or dark circles go uncovered, use a lightweight, hydrating concealer. Blend with your fingers—the warmth of your skin makes the product melt right in!

NARS

Radiant Creamy Concealer

Arguably the most famous concealer on the planet: our editors swear by this cult-classic for its blendability, shade range, and ability to somehow always look good. La'Pearl also swears by this concealer for her celeb clients, like Cardi B.

NYX

Radiant Under Eye Concealer

This concealer has crept up to the top of our Beauty Editor's favorites list because it's a medium coverage that looks luminous without ever looking oily.

 

 

5. Cream everything

Creams make everything just blend and sink right in, and it tends to look more natural than powders. After applying your foundation and concealer, blend a cream bronzer with a damp sponge. Set lightly with a powder bronzer if you’re worried about everything lasting all day or keep all the glowy goodness by locking in with a setting spray. La’Pearl applies bronzer to her cheekbones and the temples, and even blends it on her eyelids as eyeshadow to create dimension and intensify the look a little bit without going overboard. 

Em Cosmetics

Multi Face Play

This contour/bronzer hybrid will add shadows and dimension to your face, but unlike other bronzers, it blends seamlessly into whatever's underneath it. For a natural look, put your brush directly into the product and then blend on your face.

e.l.f. Cosmetics

Putty Bronzer

This inexpensive bronzer rivals some of the most expensive cream bronzers on the market, coming through with a great shade range, a buildable coverage, and easy-to-blend formula.

 

6. Dew is your friend

Adding a nice dewiness to the tops of the cheekbones can go a long way in making your face look natural but still glowy. Rather than going for a traditional shimmery highlighter, opt for a cream with a clear base. This basically looks just like sweat (sounds gross, but trust us!) or a natural dew to the skin. The texture of the product will also blend right in with all the other cream products on the face.

Merit

Day Glow Highlighting Balm

This highlighter is so good, it sold out for months. Snag this if you like a natural dewy look with a hint of shimmer and gloss.

Danessa Myricks Beauty

Hydrating and Highlighting Balm

If you'd rather not look like you're wearing anything but just want a slight sweaty glow to your face, this is the one.

Flower Beauty

Day Glow Highlighting Glaze

Opt for this drugstore highlighter if you want the best of both worlds: light shimmer with a dewy, glossy finish.

 

 

7. Fake the flush

There’s something about a natural, blushed look to the skin that is so gorgeous and unpolished. Get that look the easy way by adding a little bit of a cream blush to the apples of the cheeks, up onto the temples, and right on the bridge of the nose.

Makeup By Mario

Soft Pop Blush Stick

If you're a beginner in cream blush, this is the easiest formula on the market, thanks to the built-in applicator that blends the edges seamlessly.

Glossier

Cloud Paint Blush

The blush that started it all: the Cloud Paint from Glossier is the perfect dewy blush that you can wear sheerly or build up for more color (making it ideal for all skin tones).

 

8. Brush Up Brows

The best part of this look? Bushy, unruly brows are both accepted and encouraged. Enhance the beauty of your natural brows by simply using a brow gel with fibers and brushing them up and into place.

REFY

Brow Sculpt Shape and Hold Gel

This clear gel will hold down even the thickest of brows, holding them in place all day long and creating a laminated effect.

Milani

Weekend Brow Pen

A pen like this will create hairlike strokes in your brows that actually look like little hairs—perfect for someone with naturally sparse brows.

Fenty Beauty

Ultra Fine Brow Pencil & Styler

For those with thick brows naturally, this brow pencil will add some light shading and depth without going overboard. And because it's Fenty, the shade range is strong.

 

 

9. Light Mascara or Skip It

The skin is the star of the show with this look, so it’s okay to go light on the lashes. I know I haven’t worn brown mascara since middle school, but unless you have super dark lashes naturally (so jealous!), it just lightly opens your eyes without looking too heavy. Curl your lashes and apply a brown mascara to the top and bottom lashes, or really go for the natural look and skip mascara altogether. La’Pearl suggested applying mascara with a smaller brush to help you apply less, like using an old brow mascara wand or repurposing a spoolie from the end of an eyebrow pen. 

Covergirl

LashBlast Volume Mascara

A brown waterproof mascara deserves a spot in everyone's "no makeup" collection. It'll open up your eyes without looking like you have anything on.

ILIA

Limitless Lash Lengthening Mascara

This adds lots of length and separation to mimic the look of lash extensions or just naturally long AF lashes.

 

10. Popsicle Lips

Ah — popsicles. Now I’m hungry! Anyhow, you know the look after you eat a popsicle, where your lips just have a natural tint? Luckily, there are products that give you that same look without the sticky hands. Hack your way to this look by applying any lipstick and blotting off the excess with a tissue.

Persona

E-Balm

This gives popsicle lips a 2021 glow-up with a glossy, smooth finish that's ultra-hydrating on the lips.

Sephora Collection

Lip Blush Blotted Matte Lipstick

For a matte look, a blotted lip color like this will make you look like you were just sucking on a popsicle—literally.

 

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