More often than not, perfecting that "no-makeup" makeup look can be more challenging than applying a super-intense smoky eye. While dramatic makeup calls attention solely to your eyes or lips, natural looks don't have one specific area of focus, and finding that balance between the perfect "I woke up like this" radiance and a completely naked face can be a tricky one. If you're eager to go for a barely-there effect à la Rihanna, read on for our tips on mastering it without looking totally washed out.
Opt for Bold Neutrals
Take a page out of Rihanna's book and swap your traditional lineup for a palette of soft, earthy shades that mimic the tones of your own skin. If you must wear eye makeup, stick to matte neutral shadows to contour the shape of your eyes, and trade your traditional black liner for a softer brown tone. You'll want to use a light hand when applying the product to your top lash line, then blend it out to diffuse the color so that there isn't an obvious line. Another way to amp up the intensity without going overboard is to use the same brown hue to rim your lower waterline. Frame the overall effect with a defined brow, but choose a color lighter than you normally would so the focus isn't completely on your arches.
Add Strategic Highlights and Washes of Color
When you're working with a minimal look, skin often ends up with a too-flat appearance if you're strictly using foundation and concealer. We recommend a lightweight foundation or a tinted moisturizer so your natural complexion can peek through a little, and apply concealer only where you need it—we're not going for that Instagram-perfect effect this time. That being said, you'll want to lighten up on your contouring technique (if you choose to do it at all), and instead, use a warm blush on the apples of your cheeks to give skin some warmth. A sheer highlight blended onto the tops of your cheekbones will enhance the glow you already have going on. Top everything off with a sheer pink stain on your lips.
Don't Underestimate the Power of Mascara
One reason those "no-makeup" looks on the red carpet always seem to pop around the eye area? Though most people may deny it, the answer often lies in a few well-placed individual faux lashes. Applying falsies may seem pretty counterintuitive when it comes to a low-key makeup look, so try mirroring the defined lash look with your favorite mascara and a clean spoolie brush. After a few pumps of the curler, apply a few even coats from root to tip, then brush through with the spoolie to separate and de-clump your lashes.