The Best No-Makeup Makeup Look Actually Requires 7 Steps
A celeb makeup artist confirms: There is no such thing as no makeup.
A "no makeup" look is a bit of an oxymoron, because more often than not, makeup is used to get a glowy, bare-skinned look. That is, unless you're one of the few people on the planet that manages to get a full eight hours of sleep every night, drinks enough water, and texts everyone back in an appropriate amount of time.
"No-makeup makeup is kind of like the face equivalent of jeans and a T-shirt," says celebrity makeup artist Andrew Sotomayor. "In other words, it's makeup that looks casual and feels casual to apply, but helps you feel pulled together."
Here, Sotomayor guides us on how to nail the no-makeup makeup look, starting from skin prep to picking the right your-lips-but-better lipstick shade.
Step One: Prep Your Skin
"Gentle exfoliation and a good simple skincare routine are the first steps in getting the most beautiful makeup look," says Sotomayor. "Surprise bonus: If you take good care of your skin and eat healthy, you might not feel like you need to wear as much makeup to make it look gorgeous."
Chemical exfoliation can help improve skin tone and texture. Sotomayor is a fan of HydroPeptide's 5X Power Peel Face Exfoliator. These pads remove dead cells from the skin's surface without causing redness or dryness.
To buy: $68; hydropeptide.com.
Step Two: Apply Foundation
Since fresh, healthy skin is the focus of a no-makeup makeup look, Sotomayor recommends applying your base makeup first. Start off with foundation, and then go in with concealer on any spots that need some extra coverage.
As for what kind of foundation to use, go for a medium-coverage formula rather than a sheer one. "I think that 'sheer' products aren't always better, because most of the time people end up applying a lot more of it on their face to try to get it to do anything."
To buy: $10; walmart.com.
Step Three: Use Eyeshadow to Brighten Up Eyes
"For the no makeup look, colors that are somewhat similar to your natural skin tone are the way to go," says Sotomayor. "Depending on your complexion, matte or soft pearl in shades of ivory, dusty rose, caramel, or bronze are all great because they'll brighten your eyes, but keep the overall look balanced."
Viseart's PARIS palette is a good one to add to your collection. It includes matte and shimmer-finish shadows in a range of colors that suit a number of skin tones.
To buy: $39; sephora.com.
Step Four: Groom Your Brows and Lashes
Pick a brow gel that's the same color as your brows. "This will make it look like your brows are the same color, but you just have a few more brow hairs than normal," Sotomayor explains. A clear brow gel is also a foolproof option. Sotomayor likes Anastasia Beverly Hills' gel because it isn't too shiny and doesn't get flaky.
As for mascara, go with whatever formula you like — whether that's adding more volume or length.
To buy: $22; nordstrom.com.
Step Five: Brush on Some Blush
Sotomayor suggests swirling a powder or cream blush on the apples of your cheeks. "Powder is definitely the easiest to use, especially if you're layering it on top of other products," he says. "Liquid is great all by itself or mixed with your moisturizer, and cream is good too if that's what you prefer." A kabuki brush or small synthetic powder brush is the perfect tool for applying blush exactly where you want it.
To buy: $30; sephora.com.
Step Six: Highlighter and Bronzer
A bit of bronzer and highlighter will define your facial structure, plus give you that elusive glow. "I use bronzer with a large brush across the temples, the cheekbones, the sides of the neck," says Sotomayor. "As for highlighter, sweep it across your cheekbones.
To buy: $68; sephora.com.
VIDEO: What Every Beginner Needs to Have in Their Makeup Kit
Step Seven: Finish with a Your-Lips-But-Better Lipstick
"Lots of colors work great for a no makeup look, but the key feature is that they need to be sheer," explains Sotomayor. "Rather than covering up or hiding your own lip color, this is all about the tint." While it might seem counterintuitive, he suggests a red shade.
"Everyone on earth is the same colors inside, and everyone's blood is red," says Sotomayor. "A hint of red gloss or tinted balm on your lips looks like a boost of circulation like after you've been to yoga or gotten a good night's rest, and this color works on everyone."
His favorite sheer red is RMS Beauty's Lip Shine in Sacred because the clean, vegan formula is packed with nourishing oils that help keep lips soft and smooth.
To buy: $25; dermstore.com.