Contour for what? The biggest beauty trend of the decade involves very little (if any) makeup. Off-duty models of recent years have made the “no-makeup” look totally coveted. Let’s be real, we’ve never seen women more beautiful than with bare skin and big smiles—talk about a natural, healthy glow.
In order to pull off going sans makeup, skin care comes first. But even if you feel like you’re cursed with blotchy or sallow skin, or a few relentless dark spots, you can still create the illusion of being fresh-faced with a little makeup magic. (We won’t tell.) But when we say “a little,” we mean it. Resist the temptation to go all out with highlighters, eyeshadows (even if they are neutral), and eyeliner—these all defeat the purpose. Here’s all you need to let your inner radiance shine through.
Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate
The no-makeup look starts with clean, polished skin. If you’re not already exfoliating with a mild scrub once or twice a week, time to get on that. This simple 2-ingredient DIY scrub is the only one you’ll ever need for smooth, baby-soft skin: Add 2 tablespoons grape-seed oil to ½ cup brown sugar and mix. Gently massage the scrub all over your face in circular motions for 1 to 2 minutes, then rinse off and pat skin dry.
Take Five to Mask
Masking two to three times a week is an incredible gift to your skin. Alba Botanica Even Advanced Deep Sea Facial Mask uses a signature Marine Complex and kaolin clay to purify and visibly brighten the complexion. Bonus: it works in just 5 minutes!
Moisturize With Oil
Moisturize immediately after exfoliating and/or masking. You might be a fan of traditional creams, and that’s totally fine. But may we suggest organic, cold-pressed rosehip seed oil? It’s the ultimate multitasker, able to provide plenty of moisture without greasiness while simultaneously firming skin, fighting acne, and fading dark spots over time. Gotta give it up for that vitamin A! If you’re trying to work up to going bare-faced, this is essential for repairing problem skin.
Make sure to top your moisturizer with SPF. Dermatologists and aestheticians alike will tell you straight up that sunscreen is the No. 1 most important product in a skincare regimen. It’ll save your skin from all kinds of free-radical damage from UV rays in the long run. But what about the unsightly white residue it leaves behind? Well, that’s no longer an excuse thanks to Julep’s No Excuses Invisible Sunscreen Gel. It boasts an SPF of 40 along with other active ingredients that’ll get you glowing: rosehip seed oil, melon extract to brighten, and camellia seed oil to stimulate collagen production.
Lighten Up Your Cover-Up
We get it—foundation can be like a security blanket. If it makes you feel more comfortable in your skin, then by all means, use it (sparingly, if possible). But if you’re seriously trying to commit to the no-makeup look, then save the full-coverage stuff for another time. Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC Cream will do the trick for color correcting and smoothing texture while delivering anti-aging antioxidants all in one weightless, breathable formula. Apply and blend in with your fingers—easy, breezy.
Whether you’re skipping foundation altogether or need a little more coverage on top of it, spot concealing can hide away any and all imperfections. Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage is a good all-around that sinks in invisibly. Using a concealer brush, blend it onto to the under-eye area to cover dark circles, the labionasal folds and sides of the nose to instantly brighten your face, and blemishes, too. Sometimes, two concealers are better than one—if you want something a little thicker to camouflage pimples and dark spots, Urban Decay’s got you covered as well with the 24/7 Concealer Pencil. Apply and blend it in with your ring finger.
Fake the Flush
Some gals just have that natural cherubic radiance, and others, not so much. Thank heaven for blush. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush goes on like second skin and lasts as long as it claims. Try the shade Peaceful for a soft nude peach. Take a light swipe from the compact with a blush or stipple brush, tap of the excess, and apply to the apples of your cheeks.
Ready, Set, Glow
To keep your makeup looking fresh and clean, set it with W3ll People Bio Brightener Invisible Powder, especially if you have oily skin. The ultrafine loose powder has gorgeous a soft-focus effect. Brush it lightly all over your face.
Boost Your Brow Game
If you do nothing else, absolutely, positively preen your brows. In case you didn’t already know, Glossier’s Boy Brow is everything. No other brow product does quite what it does: thickens, fills, and grooms while honoring the integrity of your god-given brows. So what if yours don’t look like Cara Delevingne’s? If you weren’t born with bushy brows there’s honestly not much you can do to fake it without looking obvious. In just a few simple swipes, this creamy wax formula gives you your brows but better. Instant face-lift!
Don’t Forget the Mascara
A little mascara never hurt anybody, but reserve the high-intensity products for more dramatic evening looks. For a daytime no-makeup look, e.l.f. Mineral-Infused Mascara will do. It’s surprisingly volumizing without looking heavy. And for $3 you really can’t beat it. Feel free to curl your lashes before applying if you have an extra few seconds.
Perfect Your Pout
A kiss of tinted lip balm or a neutral matte lip color is the finishing touch. A nude shade with pink undertones, like NYX Butter Lip Balm in Biscotti or NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Stockholm, looks beautiful on a variety of skintones.