How-To: The No-Makeup Makeup Look for Fall

Written by: Brianna Peters


Published on: September 19, 2023


Whether you’re slipping on crisp tailored jackets or experimenting with a new bias-cut dress, clean-looking, subtly flattering no-makeup makeup looks especially fresh this season. The key: a creamy, natural-looking flush of color, plus subtle tweaks for brows, lashes, lips, and skin.

These simple steps should take minutes at most and leave you fresh-faced and pulled-together for the entire day.

1. Think Skin Care, Not Makeup

The right routine—exfoliating regularly, applying treatment serums, moisturizing when you need to, and always wearing SPF—leaves your skin glowy, plumped, smoothed, and hydrated so you need less makeup in the first place. And what makeup you do use goes on more evenly (and looks more natural).

  1. Skin-Smoothing Polisher

    goop Beauty
    Microderm Instant Glow Exfoliator
    goop, $125.00/$112.00 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
  2. Brightening Vitamin C Serum

    goop Beauty
    20% Vitamin C + Hyaluronic Acid Glow Serum
    goop, $125.00/$112.00 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
  3. Nighttime Superserum

    goop Beauty
    Youth-Boost Peptide Serum
    goop, $150.00/$135.00 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
  4. Nourishing Face Oil

    Le Prunier
    Plum Beauty Oil
    goop, $72.00SHOP NOW
  5. Priming SPF 30

    Saint Jane
    Luxury Sun Ritual Pore Smoothing SPF 30
    goop, $38.00SHOP NOW
  6. 5-Minute Facial

    TRINITY+ and Effective Lip & Eye Set
    goop, $495SHOP NOW

Tip: If you use no other skin care, always start makeup with a swipe of eye cream. There isn’t a makeup artist out there who doesn’t put eye cream on their clients before they begin: It plumps lines, refreshes skin, and helps makeup last. This one is a brilliant gel-cream that brightens and color-corrects as it hydrates.

  1. goop Beauty
    Vita-C Brightening Eye Cream
    goop, $58.00/$52.00 with subscriptionSHOP NOW

2. Color Comes Next

A pop of color livens up skin and subtly defines your face so you can wear less makeup overall. This creamy cheek-lip-anywhere balm is made with skin-care ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin E, and superhydrators to nourish your skin as it delivers sheer, natural-looking color. Dab it at the apples of your cheeks, across your nose, and at the brow bones (honestly, put it anywhere you want a bit of color) and blend with your fingers—it takes all of 30 seconds and the invigorated flush you get is sexy, fresh, and flattering no matter your skin tone. Choose your favorite or try GP’s three favorite shades for fall.

  1. goop Beauty
    Colorblur Glow Balm Trio
    goop, $102.00SHOP NOW
  2. goop Beauty
    Colorblur Glow Balm
    goop, $34SHOP NOW

3. Use Concealer, Not Foundation

Cover redness around your nose, soften under-eye circles, and spot-treat breakouts, pigmentation, and dark spots rather than covering everything with foundation (which doesn’t cover as effectively—it functions more to even your skin tone). Apply concealer with fingers or, better, with a brush so you can get the tiniest amount of concealer onto precisely what you want to cover; you can always add more later if you need to. Then, with your fingers, pat—don’t rub—to blend.

  1. Creamy Pigmented Serum

    Tower 28 Beauty
    Swipe Serum Concealer
    goop, $22.00SHOP NOW
  2. Thick Cream

    RMS Beauty
    goop, $38.00SHOP NOW
  3. Best-Ever Brush

    Westman Atelier
    Spot Check Brush
    goop, $38SHOP NOW

4. Brush Up Brows

Beautifully defined brows can energize your entire face. Have them shaped professionally once, then use tweezers to maintain. To fill in sparse areas, make tiny hairlike strokes with a slim, precise pencil, then set, lift, and condition your brows with gel.

  1. ILIA
    In Full Micro-Tip Brow Pencil
    goop, $24.00SHOP NOW
  2. Kosas
    Air Brow Tinted Volumizing Treatment Gel
    goop, $24.00SHOP NOW
  3. Kristie Streicher
    Essential Eyebrow Grooming Kit
    goop, $225SHOP NOW

5. Tint Your Lips with Sheer Balm

Translucent moisturizing color looks polished but natural. This set gives you three gorgeous choices: There’s a glazy clear shade, a your-lips-but-better pink, and a translucent punchy red.

  1. goop Beauty
    Clean Nourishing Lip Balm Trio
    goop, $48.00SHOP NOW


Define Your Eyes

You might just stop here, but liner and mascara can really wake your face up. If you need a lot of definition or often feel like you have to apply multiple coats of mascara, the way to get the most natural look is with liner: Dot it along the top outer half of your lashes, as close to your lash line as possible, almost as if you were connecting the lash roots with pigment (choose a silky pen or a creamy pencil depending on your preference—both are super easy). When you’re through, use a Q-tip to wipe away any excess. Apply your mascara afterward—you’ll find you need much less than you otherwise would.

  1. Liquid Pen

    Clean Liquid Liner
    goop, $28.00SHOP NOW
  2. Crisp Pencil

    Eyeline Define Eyeliner
    goop, $28SHOP NOW
  3. Glossy Black Mascara

    Tower 28 Beauty
    MakeWaves Lengthening and Volumizing Mascara
    goop, $20.00SHOP NOW

A Touch of Highlighter Can Look Really Natural

Adding a gleamy luminescent highlighter at the high points of your cheekbones, the inner corners of your eyes, your Cupid’s bow, or the bridge of your nose gives an extra dose of dewiness and dimension. We love the pretty effect of subtle sheen versus full-on sparkle; the Westman drops smooth effortlessly over skin, and the Ami Cole stick is magic.

  1. Luminous Liquid Serum

    Westman Atelier
    Liquid Super Loaded Drops
    goop, $58.00SHOP NOW
  2. Subtle Shimmer Stick

    Ami Cole
    Light-Catching Highlighter
    goop, $22.00SHOP NOW