Basics Baby: How to get the ultimate no makeup makeup look

No makeup makeup. Sounds a total oxymoron doesn’t it? But it’s a feat attempted by many, some with pleasing results, others with quite a lot more than what you would’ve expected in a no makeup look. Today I’m going to share my take on what I define to be a no makeup makeup look. If you’re interested to find out, then continue to read on!

The no makeup makeup phenomenon is amongst the most prevalent in the beauty world. It’s a look that many aspire to achieve, with some even taking classes from cosmetic companies and establishments to get that no makeup look right. While it is indeed an annoying antithesis (with many makeup haters saying just don’t wear makeup for god’s sake), I have personally always held a no makeup makeup look in high regard because it is, to be honest, more challenging than a typical makeup look. It takes precision to attain that balance between looking polished, yet fresh and ultimately natural. Working on that second skin is a juggling act altogether as you need just the right product, just the right amount, and just the right technique to have it appear as your own skin, untouched. Understanding your features and what it takes to just amp them up a tiny bit is key to achieving a beautifully bare-faced look. Again, I’m not claiming to be an expert but what I’m going to share today is what I feel to be the best no makeup makeup look for me.

The Skin

For me, a good no makeup makeup look focuses on the skin. I wouldn’t babble on about skin prep here as I’ve done that for most of my previous makeup posts. So I’m just gonna reiterate the importance of skin prep prior to your no makeup makeup look. In my case, my routine stands – brightening essence, moisturizer and face oil. Let’s now shift to the actual makeup itself.

One of the first giveaways that you’re wearing makeup is usually the foundation. With it being visible on the skin, one can easily tell that you are wearing makeup. Hence for the no makeup look I have decided to skip foundation or BB cream. I have instead opted for a primer and a lightweight concealer to basically even out my skin tone. Unlike a normal makeup routine where the base makeup is meant to cover imperfections and create a smooth, flawless canvas, a no makeup makeup routine only aspires to give you a decent even skin tone, minimizing patchy areas and visible redness or discoloration. Most importantly, it’s meant to give you that healthy skin effect.

For that, I chose to start with my Laura Mercier Foundation Primer (Radiance). This product has no coverage or tint whatsoever. The only thing it imparts on your face is a healthy dew to get your face looking well, radiant. Because it doesn’t help to even out my skin tone (I have slight discoloration around my nose area), I got a lightweight, luminous, aqua-based concealer to do the job. Using my Becca Aqua Luminous Perfecting Concealer, I applied just the tiniest dots sparingly over areas that needed evening out, and then buffing the concealer into my skin using a damp beauty blender. This helps to remove any excess product my skin doesn’t need and melt the product into my skin, so that it appears as one – the key to an invisible base.

To achieve the “my skin but better” effect, I decided to add another luminizing product for that healthy glow. I used my Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Cream Candlelight, a cream highlighter which provides a more natural glow than a powder one. Again, applying it very sparingly over areas that naturally catch light such as your cheekbones, forehead and nose, I then buffed it into my skin with my damp beauty blender. I’m sure by now you’re noticing the pattern – buff every product into the skin for the most natural effect.

Now if you have dry to normal skin, you can totally skip powders. I mean powders are also another clue that you’re wearing makeup. But for combination to oily skin girls, powders can make a difference between a healthy glow and an oil slick, especially with this kind of ultra minimalist makeup. For me, powdering my shine-prone areas is just a form of insurance to prevent the products applied from slipping or transferring. But for a no makeup makeup look, ensure that the powder is applied ever so slightly, and ever so sparingly only on shine-prone areas to prevent any unnatural matte feel and look to the skin. I decided to go with my Lancome Teint Miracle Loose Powder as it’s not just a finely milled powder, but it’s created to illuminate your face and bring out your natural light for a healthy, radiant complexion. For the most natural effect, you can either apply the powder with your damp beauty blender, a small buffing brush or a precision micro setting brush, all using the barest amount of powder and the lightest hand.

Thus far the products have been focusing on skin texture and consistency. My final skin product would address color. This is truly subjective and you need to understand the natural colors of your skin to achieve the best no makeup makeup look. Take the time to analyze the visible colors on your face – does it have natural contour colors, or flushed cheeks etc. For my own skin, I have sort of a light tan shade around my natural contours so I want to bring this natural feature out. I enhanced it using my Marc Jacobs Beauty O!Mega Bronzer Perfect Tan (Tantric). This shade is actually a little darker than my natural contour shade but it still looks natural and befitting of a summer tan! Again, since this is a powder product, apply minimally to reduce any chances of a powdery look. For dry skin, you can totally use a cream or stick bronzer.

Once skin is done, spritz a face mist all over to bind the products to your skin and eliminate the powdery look altogether – a step that shouldn’t be ignored for a no makeup makeup look.

The Brows

For those who already have a perfectly dense set of brows (lucky you), you can just apply a brow gel to give a feathery look to it. I need a teeny bit of help as my eyebrows are not as full as I want them to be. Using my Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade (Medium Brown), I used a flat angled brush to lightly fill in any sparse areas, and then set it with my Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel.

The Eyes

While typical makeup focuses on varying colors around the eyes, the no makeup makeup look emphasizes more on the texture. Pressed powder eyeshadows, especially those with a matte finish, I feel is a no go for this look as it is unnatural for your eyes to have a matte appearance. Usually it has more of a creamy kind of texture, at least for mine since my eyelids can get oily. Therefore I’ve only opted for cream/liquid based products for my eyes. I’m not even using actual eye products here, but just borrowing  some face products that bear the appropriate consistency for the natural look I would like to achieve. It’s a super simple look, only two products used, no brushes.

For my entire lid, up to my crease area, I used a pinch of my Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer in Shade 2, and blend with my fingers. Since it is an illuminator with a sheer formula, it imparts a subtle sheen to your eyes, giving the most natural, radiant finish.

For that fresh and wide awake look, I added a touch of my Burberry Fresh Glow Highlighting Luminous Pen to my inner corners. Breathe a little more life to this minimal look by adding mascara to your lashes. The trick to the most natural mascara effect is to only coat the ends of your lashes very lightly (I used no more than one coat for both eyes) to add believable length and curl. 

The Lips

As with the pattern so far, we’re also sticking with natural colors for the lips. Again this depends on your natural lip color and the whole no makeup vibe that you want to exude. Some prefer to pair their monochromatic complexion with a juicy red or pink lip, that enhances their natural lip color. Others prefer to accentuate a more bronzed kind of complexion, especially during summer. Since summer is approaching and I personally prefer a bronzed look, I’m going for the second option. A trick to enhance that bronze-ness if you will, is to put on a light nude color that’s suitable for your skin tone. It’s not supposed to impart much pigment to visibly color your lips, yet it shouldn’t be too pale and ghostly.

I love mixing my lip products so in this case I first applied Colourpop Lippie Stix in Cookie, a supposedly warm brown nude with a matte finish but appears more pinkish and satin-matte on my lips. To tone down the pinkish hue and give off a healthy sheen, I applied NYX Intense Butter Gloss in Cookie Butter, a sandy nude color. I didn’t exercise any precision when applying the lip products. I just dab the colors on my lips using my fingers for the most natural effect.

And this is the final result.


I hope you found this post helpful in creating your own no makeup makeup look. Remember, a little goes a LONG way. Till the next one!


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