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Everyone wants the “no-makeup” look. Surprisingly, getting that “I woke up like this” face can take a lot more work. Unless you’re Beyoncé or Lili Reinhart. They’re just gifted. Finding the right products to wear when you’re going for natural-looking makeup can be more complex than you think. You don’t want anything too cakey, too bright, or too dark. You can’t go too heavy on the contour, either. Basically, you don’t want your makeup to be noticeable enough that you’re getting complimented on your shade of lipstick. The “natural” look does indeed require some makeup application—and some skill, too. The good news is that it shouldn’t take as much time, especially if you have a many-step makeup routine.
For starters, we always recommend wearing colors close to your natural skin tone, or ones that enhance it. You don’t want a situation where your face looks like it’s a different shade than your neck. You should have a trusted concealer and a light-weight foundation, preferably powder. When it comes to eye makeup, it should also be subtle—you’re going to need to leave the eyeliner in your cosmetics bag for this look.
Below are more beginner-friendly tips and tricks along with some of our favorite beauty products for getting your no-makeup look just right.
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Creating a clean base for your makeup is very important. After washing your face, moisturizer benefits your skin by hydrating and promoting anti-aging benefits. By bathing your skin in nutrients before applying coverage, you’re creating a smoother palette that your foundation or concealer can seamlessly blend into.
Keep Your Coverage Minimal
Erase dark circles, fine lines, or blemishes with a medium coverage concealer. This will disguise imperfections and leave your skin looking flawless, or in other words—like you found a secretly amazing Instagram filter for your selfie.
Stick to powder or light foundation
When your goal is a barely-there finish, we recommend using a powder or an airy liquid foundation. Thick, cakey makeup doesn’t exactly support the illusion we’re going for. Be sure to apply evenly with a brush or sponge for an even, non-streaky, finish.
Keep your blush subtle
Cream blushes work well because you can build and blend as much as you like for dramatic or subtle color payoff. Depending on your skin color, blush colors will vary, but peaches tend to look great on everyone. Apply to the natural cheekbone line where pink undertones normally show. For most of us, that’s just under the outside of the eye and going toward the temple.
Opt for neutral shadows
Sweep a neutral color over your lids for a muted but beautiful eye moment. Choose a color that is just a shade or two darker than your skin tone; anything too dark will take you into dramatic territory.
Find your favorite nude lip color
When choosing a lip color, go for the light pinks, peaches, and sand colors. You could also nix the lipstick and swipe on a little gloss for an even more pared-down pout.
Swipe on just a little mascara (if any).
A thin layer of mascara is all you need. You still want your eyes to stand out, so if you have light lashes, a layer of mascara may be a good idea. If you naturally have dark, full lashes you might want to skip altogether.
Step away from the liner
While eyeliner is great for a dramatic eye, it doesn’t fit with the natural makeup look. Don’t apply any eyeliner on the top or bottom. Not only will your face look naturally stunning but you’ll love how easy taking off your makeup is!
An original version of this story was published in May 2015.