The Best No-Makeup Makeup

The easy, natural feeling of ambling down the beach in a sundress, the breeze in your hair and the sun on your face, is hard to beat.

The equivalent of a foolproof outfit, makeup that looks just like you, optimized (as opposed to you with lots of makeup on) is easy to do—and worth mastering. Not only is it most people’s best look, it works just as well at the office as it does a day at the beach, or a full-on floor-length black-tie situation, for that matter.

1. START WITH SKINCARE

The key to the natural look is actually amazing skin care—proper cleansing, exfoliation, treatment, and tons of moisture. A daily clean mineral-only sunscreen is an essential final step in skincare, either a basic moisturizing
formula, or one made with tint to even out skin tone and flatter skin.

2. GO BRIGHTER

Beyond protected, moisturized, and beautifully evened-out skin, a natural flush of color at your lips and cheeks from a gorgeously translucent stain is flattering on pretty much anyone. It’s counterintuitive, but a “natural”, neutral (aka non-intense) shades are not necessarily the most natural-looking. Bright colors in sheer formulas brighten up your face without texture, and the brighter the color, the less you need.

Dab (or brush—the same principles work no matter what the formula) pigment at the apples of your cheeks—this is where blood flow goes naturally, so it just looks right—then blend at a slightly upward angle for a chiseling effect. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.

3. WAKE UP YOUR EYES

Eyeliner isn’t exactly no-makeup makeup, but it’s a brilliant way to define and emphasize your eyes without coats and coats of mascara. On the upper outer third of your lashes, ink little dots of liner between the lashes. Smooth and fix mistakes with a Q-tip, then add a single coat of mascara if you like.

We like these products:

W3ll People Expressionist Liquid Liner
Jillian Dempsey Eyeliner Pencil

A flick (and no more) of mascara will draw attention to your eyes but keep the look fresh, without clumps or smudges—this one is our all-time favorite.

Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Ultra-Natural Mascara