The No-Makeup Look, Broken Down

Sable Yong


Beauty trends seem to relive themselves year after year (or decade after decade) in evolving ways, until they eventually collapse on themselves and then it’s like anything goes! Perhaps that’s what’s been brewing this past year and last, since the no-makeup look has become a runway staple and a statement in and of itself. What’s it all about though? Celebrating your individual pared-down beauty? Dolly Parton may proclaim that there is no such thing as natural beauty, but we would love to know her opinion of Marc by Marc Jacobs’ Spring 2015 runway show.

If the idea of actually stepping out sans makeup gives you panic attacks, fear not. The “no-makeup look” is just that—another look. There are plenty of ways to play into the look and play up your best features, all while looking your most “who me?” innocently radiant.

Get Your Skin Care Game Up to Par
Obviously starting with the best possible canvas is ideal when that’s what you’re showing off—your beautiful skin! Skin care is different for everybody and everyone’s concerns are different, so finding what works for you is key. One tip to make sure your skin care products are able to work to their most efficient degree is to make sure you’re applying them correctly and that your skin is prepped to absorb them. Try an essence as a post-cleansing step to revitalize your skin cell turnover and also allow your following facial oils/serums/moisturizer to absorb better.

MORE: The Best Tinted Moisturizers For Your No-Makeup Look

Find your tint
No-makeup sometimes just means that you can’t actually see the makeup, not that there isn’t any there. Everyone wakes up with redness or dullness sometimes and a sheer wash of color has you looking alive once more. Tinted moisturizer or BB cream is the key player here. You don’t have to eschew foundation completely, if that’s your thing and you have one that you love. Mixing either with a dab of moisturizer will sheer it out a bit if the finish is too opaque or matte. You want to look dewy not caked. Spreading with your hands and fingers gives a more natural-looking application, a bit imperfect just like real skin. If your freckles are showing through, you’ve got it right.

Work your glow
This is the fun part—the one that gives you a radiant finish. A cream blush that mimics your actual blush (or you can find one that looks like the color of the inside of your lips) works best for the most natural finish since you apply with it your fingers and can press it into your skin. Bonus, if it can work as another moisturizer too. Josie Maran’s Argan Infinity Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil goes on like a balm and delivers the most dewy sheer wash of color on cheeks or lips. On the apples of your cheeks, blended outwards, you look like you just came in from the cold or maybe went running (without the sweat). A liquid highlighter dabbed on top of your cheekbones, bridge of your nose, brow bones and on your cupid’s bow gives you an angelic dimension to your face. Try Charlotte Tilbury’s Wonder Glow or Kevin Aucoin’s Celestial Skin Liquid Lighting. The great thing about these liquid highlighters is that the shimmer particles are so micro, you can barely see them—but they still reflect light in such a pretty way.

Go for contrast, not color
Veering away from the nude smokey eye or lined anything, you want to define your eyes and brows just by subtlety deepening them, not really adding color. Curl your lashes. Instant pop, right? If you’re still not satisfied, a clear mascara will do the trick for adding a bit of depth in color. For fairer faces, a tinted brow gel will do the trick for both brows and lashes. Eyeko’s Brow Gel is a great find. Defining your brows is a no-brainer, and more than long flirty lashes, a statement brow is the look of the moment (that moment has been going on a year plus now). Same goes for your lips. Think tint, not stain or color. Above all, a well-moisturized pout with no dry scaly bits will look the freshest.

MORE: Barely There Makeup For Barely Any Money