Jillian Dempsey applying makeup

The Skin Routine for
No-Makeup Makeup

Whether working with clients like GP, Julia Roberts, and Kristen Stewart or just giving herself a little refresh, LA-based makeup artist Jillian Dempsey believes in effing things up a bit. “Cheek color, eye pigment, eyeliner—rub it around and diffuse it,” she says. “I don’t ever want to look too polished.” A master in the art of the undone (drapey sweaters, perfectly fitted jeans, mussed bleached-blonde hair, and a tangle of chunky gold bracelets are her uniform), Dempsey says the key to the effortless makeup she’s famous for is fresh, energized skin and a light, offhanded approach. “There’s something about a worn-in vibe that’s always so attractive,” she says. “I love a badass, intentional cool eye, but most of us are just trying to get out the door looking awake and like a really good version of ourselves. For that, high-quality skin care and hits of color in little areas around your face make all the difference.”

Her easy, sculpting, ultramoisturizing, flattering-on-all-skin routine takes minutes, feels fantastic (ever used a pocket-size face-massage device?), and leaves you looking like the healthiest, most beautifully rested version of yourself.


Moisturizer Is Everything

All skin types need moisturizer, whether you’re dry, combination, or even oily and blemish-prone (if you’re the latter, moisturizing can help temper excess oil production), Dempsey says. “I love a clean (of course!), rich cream that sinks in easily and really feeds the skin,” she says. Full of skin-plumping, firming botanicals, this one is made with plant-based ceramides and squalene to make skin look and feel more supple in seconds (moisturizing has the instant effect of making fine lines look less noticeable)—and look better in the long term, too. “Smooth it on, apply some to your neck, then give it a minute to do its thing,” she says. “Allowing a little processing time—you can pick out your outfit or brush your teeth—gives the cream time to sink in and work its magic.”


Fake a Great Night’s
Sleep with Eye Cream

“The most common complaint I hear from clients is about the undereye area,” says Dempsey. Eye cream—one that’s light enough so makeup can go on smoothly over it—is the key, she says. “I love how this one feels on my skin—I love the quality,” she says of the silky, puffiness-easing GOOPGENES formula. “This morning, I applied it straight from the tube onto my under-eyes, but you can use your index finger to massage it in and smooth it over crow’s-feet. The way it blends is just lovely, and it looks so glowy. And I like the little tube—it allows you to control the amount you squeeze out. All you need is a tiny dot.”

Its nonscent also appeals to her: “I’m sensitive, and a lot of eye creams have a perfumy smell that bothers me. This one sort of has a faint organic scent.”

Its nonscent also appeals to her: “I’m sensitive and a lot of eye creams have a perfumy smell that bothers me. This one sort of has a faint organic scent.”


Lift Your Skin with a Vibrating Massage

“I don’t really do makeup unless I have a few minutes to do the gold bar,” says Dempsey. “Before the red carpet, people show up after a boozy night or they’re stressed out—not everyone arrives with a face that’s ready to go.” The twenty-four-karat gold-plated bar uses subtle vibrations to temporarily lift skin and sculpt the jawline. “Trace it over your face in upward strokes—so it’s going against gravity—to get the lifting effect. I like to go from the jowl, where the frown lines are, and move diagonally up toward the ear and temples to contour. It’s also amazing for smoothing those little puffy creases under the eyes. You see the difference in your face immediately—it’s noticeable,” she says. “It also helps relieve facial tension, so it feels so good as you’re doing it.” Dempsey recommends using face cream with the bar: “With face oil, there’s a lot of slip and slide and the bar glides too fast and doesn’t catch skin in the same way it does when you use moisturizer.”

The bar works for other areas, too, she continues: “It’s great for tech neck. Get in there and trace vertically over the neck lines, slowly moving the bar up and down over them. Massage is the thing—it doesn’t have to be the gold bar. A minute or two of any face massage, including with just your fingers, really helps wake up skin.”


Touches of Berry
Are Super Flattering

“A little hint of color on lids and cheeks is nice when you don’t want to look completely bare,” says Dempsey. “Swirl your finger in the pot, then just dab and tap the pigment—don’t be fussy about it. Color looks better when it isn’t applied perfectly. I made my Lid Tints as lazy-girl makeup that you can layer for an easy, sheeny, youthful glow.” One of her favorite shades is Ruby (she uses it on model Maxine Christian in the video below), a translucent berry red that adds gorgeous warmth to any skin tone. “Ruby’s become this cult-favorite color,” Dempsey says. “People aren’t typically like, ‘Oh, let me put ruby on my eyes,’ but it works—and it’s beautiful dabbed over cheeks and lips, too.”


Liner Looks Best “Lived In”

When Dempsey feels the need to do a little more, she gravitates toward brown eyeliner. “I do a soft-brown kohl across the top and lower lash lines, then smudge it across the lower lash line,” she says. “Lived in and worn in—it’s what I always go for.”

Makeup Artist Jillian Dempsey:
Lazy-Girl Makeup in 2 Minutes