Start by exfoliating
Getting your bare skin glowing will make it easier to get gorgeous skin without caking on makeup. Start with an exfoliating treatment to buff off any dead skin. ‘If you get off the dry skin, you get that smooth surface for when you apply makeup,’ says Hannah Baylog, lead makeup artist trainer with Blushington makeup and beauty lounge in Dallas.
‘No-makeup makeup is all about the skin, so it’s very important to have very hydrated-looking skin,’ says Mariah Jere, market manager, and makeup and hair stylist for WarPaint International Beauty Agency. Start with a toner or rose water, then add a lightweight moisturizer—ones with hyaluronic acid tend are good for all skin types, she says.
Prime your skin
Applying a primer before makeup will help your makeup last longer. ‘Primers have different purposes depending on the formulation,’ says Jere. ‘The variety of primer depends on the skin type and what you want the end results to be.’ Assess your skin type, then decide whether one that’s smoothing, oil-controlling, or color-correcting is best for your needs.
Swap foundation for tinted moisturizer
Tinted moisturizer gives you lighter coverage than traditional foundation, letting your natural glow shine through. ‘Light to medium coverage is my best recommendation for that kind of natural look,’ says Jere.
Pick the right foundation
If you need more coverage than a tinted moisturizer, go for a water-based foundation, which will give you a barely-there feel while evening your skin tone. ‘Oil-based ones can sit on the skin and separate more,’ says Baylog. ‘Water-based formulas tend to be more long-lasting while still looking dewy instead of matte and heavy.’ Mix your foundation with a bit of moisturizer to look even more fresh-faced, says Jere.
Use tools designed to blend
Swap out your usual foundation brush (and don’t use your fingers!) for a beauty blender, which will keep your makeup from looking thick and cakey. ‘That will give an airbrushed look and apply flawlessly without looking heavy or painted-looking like a brush can,’ says Baylog.
Define with bronzer
A cream-based bronzer just a couple shades lighter than your natural skin tone will let you emphasize your natural shadows without creating a heavy contour. Blend it into your jaw, temple, and over your cheekbones to get a natural look. ‘It gives a little sculpting to the face and warmth,’ says Jere.
Fake your glow
Sweep highlighter over your cheekbone, brow bone, and the inner corner of your eyes to look like you’re glowing from within. ‘It’s that highlight that makes people say, ‘You look so glowy,’’ says Baylog. ‘It looks like you’re radiating light.
Add a natural flush
‘Especially if you’re using foundation, you mute the natural color you’d have in your cheeks with a flesh-toned base, so you want to add some of that back in,’ says Jere. To return that natural flush, Baylog recommends using a cream blush or cheek stain to get a healthy glow without the powdery look of a traditional blush. Stains look complicated but apply easily with your usual blush brush or beauty blender, she says. If the color is too heavy, press a beauty blender against the pigment to take off the excess while leaving on the light glow you want.
Blend, blend, blend
Harsh lines will make it obvious that you’re wearing makeup, so be sure to blend them in. Use a big brush to blend powder or bronzer under your chin and down your neck. ‘People tend to skip that step,’ says Baylog. ‘Even makeup artists do the face and forget the neck and décolleté.
Never skip your brows
‘The eyebrows are one of the most important things on the face, whether you’re doing full makeup or not,’ says Jere. ‘They frame the eyes and complete the facial look.’ Stay away from sharp angles and arches, and instead comb a light eyebrow powder through any sparse areas, using wax to tame the hairs.
Even out your lids
Pick an eyeshadow close to your natural skin color, then sweep it onto your eyes to create a soft, natural-looking base. ‘A lot of times the lids have redness or broken capillaries,’ says Jere. ‘That will neutralize some of the red or blue undertones.’
Shape your lashes
Before you add mascara, give your lashes definition with an eyelash curler so you look naturally bright-eyed, even without makeup. ‘That shapes them a little and opens the lid a little more,’ says Jere.
Go subtle with eyeliner
Instead of drawing a thick line, dot a bit of eyeliner as close to your lashes as possible. Pick brown over black for the most subtle, natural look. ‘I doesn’t look like liner, but it makes lashes more defined,’ says Jere. You could also soften a thicker line by smudging it out with an angled brush, focusing on the outer corners to lift your eyes, says Baylog.
Buy a natural-looking mascara
Mascaras with a thin, comb-like brush will look more natural than one with a thick, fat, brush, says Baylog. Find a lengthening mascara that uses natural fibers, which won’t look as heavy as a volumizing or waterproof formula. ‘Lengthening tends to clump less, vs. volumizing, which adds a lot of polymers to the eyelashes,’ says Jere. Black looks perfectly natural for most people, though blondes might prefer brown mascara, she says.
Focus on the top
Keeping makeup on just the tops of your eyes will give a more natural look than adding it to your bottom lash line. ‘For a softer eye, just brush mascara lightly on top, and touch the bottom lash instead of combing all the way through,’ says Baylog. ‘A lot don’t even want it on the bottom.’
Stick with a lip tint
For a kiss of sheer color, use a gloss, stain, or balm that’s close to your natural lip color, like light pink or mauve. Matte formulas tend to look more natural than high-gloss ones, so lip pencil with a balm will look natural while keeping lips hydrated. Pick one with real fruit for a fresh look. ‘It looks like you just came out of a berry garden,’ says Baylog.
Try a multipurpose product
Two-in-one products for eyes and brows, or lips and cheeks are generally natural-looking choices because they tend to be less pigmented. ‘Anything you can use for lips and cheeks is a more light application anyway because you wouldn’t put heavy lipstick on your cheeks,’ says Baylog. ‘It applies really fast and looks like you’re so fresh.
Start fresh and end fresh