If you’ve ever tried to achieve a perfectly subtle, yet totally flawless makeup look that every makeup artist in the world swears is easy as hell, then you know it’s basically the unicorn of makeup looks, and that whole “easy” claim is completely false. Riddle us this: Why does every tutorial tell us to apply pounds of makeup to make it look like we’re not wearing any? And why does it never actually look subtle?! Clearly, though, we’re not alone in this struggle, because with over 30 million hits on Google (and 37 million YouTube videos), dewy, natural-looking skin is a much-coveted trend that surprisingly requires way more time and skill than you’d imagine.
Unless, of course, you’re Hung Vanngo, the magician-level makeup artist who is essentially the king of all no-makeup makeup looks (no, seriously—his Instagram is like a trophy case of glowing, iridescent skin), and has transformed the faces of celebs like Ashley Benson, Emily Ratajkowski, Lily Aldridge, and pretty much every single Victoria’s Secret Angels into ethereal angels—including, most recently, Karlie Kloss. In a photo posted to Vanngo’s Instagram, Kloss sits in a white robe, with natural, ruffled hair, and the dewiest freaking skin we’ve possibly ever seen. And though we’ve finally accepted that we will never have Kloss’s cut-from-stone cheekbones or seven-foot frame, we refuse to believe that you have to be a supermodel (or Vanngo’s best friend) to get the same glowy, lit-from-within look at home.
So instead of leaving you to navigate through another 15-minute-long, product-laden YouTube tutorial, we’ve gone ahead and made no-makeup-makeup even easier for you by breaking down the look into a simple, four-product approach. No confusing contouring, no insanely intricate blending, nothing—just four drugstore products (yeah, we’re that nice), a little bit of dabbing and brushing, and voilà; you’re basically Karlie Kloss.
Lest you think that the secret trick to glowing skin is slathering on loads of highlighter, think again. If you want dewy, moisturized-looking skin, you actually need to—wait for it—moisturize your skin. Crazy, right? And the trick to executing a Vanngo-level no-makeup makeup look is prepping your skin with super-hydrating, yet incredibly lightweight products that both plump fine lines and smooth rough patches, before you even begin your makeup. So next time you’re planning to do a no-makeup makeup look, make sure you first cleanse your face with a sulfate-free (sulfates are harsh detergents found in most cleansers that strip away your skin’s natural moisture) cleanser, like CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, then immediately, while your skin is still slightly damp, massage a lightweight daily moisturizer, like Lumene Intense Hydration 24H Moisturizer (which is filled with ultra-moisturizing glycerin and shea butter) across your skin. And don’t just slather it on, either—if you want your skin to really glow, take a few minutes to really massage in your moisturizer to increase circulation to your skin and bring out a natural glow.
After your moisturizer sinks in (wait at least five minutes), smooth a pea-size drop of an illuminating primer, like Almay Smart Shade CC Luminous Primer, over your skin to both seal in your skin’s moisture while creating a smooth, iridescent base for your makeup to glide over. And, unlike most tutorials which tell you to layer on foundation and highlighter to get your glow, we’re here to tell you that foundation is basically the enemy of no-makeup makeup, since it creates a matte, flat finish. Instead, swap your foundation for a BB cream, like L’Oréal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream, which is essentially a moisturizer, color corrector, and foundation mixed into one tube. Blend a few drops over your face with a damp Beauty Blender or makeup sponge, making sure to bring the BB cream over your jaw and down your neck, and boom—you’ve got a glowing, dewy base, a la Kloss.
Of course, Kloss also has a smattering of other products on her face, like blush, bronzer, eyeliner, and mascara, but if you’re going for the simplest of simple skin looks, just stick with these four drugstore products. And, if you do try to go full-Karlie on yourself, make sure to stick with cream-based products, which are more hydrating and sheer than their powder counterparts, who will threaten to steal your glow. Now go forth with your new, dewy face—you’ve got a Victoria’s Secret casting call to prep for.