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Creating a perfect no-makeup makeup look is just about every makeup minimalist’s dream accomplishment. But despite the trend’s name, which infers an effortless routine and little product, achieving this barely-there look is surprisingly challenging. For starters, it does require the use of makeup, and it’s easy to go overboard when attempting it, which basically defeats the purpose. In order to get the look right, we tapped NYC-based makeup artist Kasey Spickard to get his natural makeup tips. Ahead, a step-by-step guide to nailing the no-makeup makeup trend and the products you’ll need by your side.

What Is a No-Makeup Makeup Look?

No-makeup makeup refers to a natural look that utilizes minimal makeup to highlight your features. The idea behind no-makeup makeup is that it’s meant to appear like you’re wearing next to no makeup. Despite its name, you actually do need some makeup products in your lineup to nail this extremely popular trend. It tends to emphasize glowy skin, nude eyeshadow shades, a natural flush on the cheeks, defined brows and glossy lips.

Your No-Makeup Makeup Look Step-By-Step Guide

STEP #1: Make Sure Your Skin Is Prepped

The key to no-makeup makeup is perfect skin prep, says Spickard. “You want to hydrate and illuminate the skin as much as possible beforehand,” he says. Start with an eye cream and hydrating moisturizer and then apply a face primer that’ll help lock your makeup in place. Look for a primer that targets your skin’s needs in addition to providing longer makeup wear. You can find formulas that help reduce redness, illuminate the skin, blur pores, mattify the skin and more.

STEP #2: Spot Treat Your Complexion

Instead of applying a thick layer of foundation all over the face, spot treating your complexion is the ultimate way to nail a no-makeup makeup look. “Use a fluffy eyeshadow brush to buff foundation or concealer into any areas that have discoloration or blemishes to even out the complexion,” says Spickard. For no-makeup makeup looks, we like complexion products that have a natural or luminous finish. “Less is more, so you want to use a half-pea-size amount of product,” he adds.

STEP #3: Choose a Warm Eyeshadow

Next, apply a warm-toned nude, taupe or brown eyeshadow. “Take a warm brown shade and buff that into the outer corner and lower lash line,” says Spickard. You definitely don’t want any harsh lines with no-makeup makeup, so be sure to continue to blend to get that soft, diffused look.

STEP #4: Define Your Brows and Apply Mascara

Use an eyebrow pencil with a precise tip to draw on tiny, hair-like strokes to fill in any sparse spots in your brows. Once you’ve finished filling them in, use a clear brow gel to brush the brows up into a fluffy, feathery shape and lock them in place. If you don’t need to fill in your brows, opt for a tinted brow gel to add subtle shape and dimension. Finally, apply a mascara formula of your choice to define your lashes. For a no-makeup makeup look, we prefer mascaras that add length, lift and buildable volume. If you’re heading to a special event or will be out in hot, humid weather and want to avoid smudges and smears at all costs, we recommend choosing a waterproof or water-resistant formula.

STEP #5: Create a Subtle Contour With Blush and Bronzer

For subtle definition, apply a contour shade onto the hollows of the cheeks, forehead and jawline. Feel free to add a touch of bronzer where the sun would naturally warm your complexion and apply blush on the apples of the cheeks. Spickard’s trick is to use cream blush when going for a no-makeup makeup look. “It will give you a natural flush while melting into the skin,” he says.

STEP #6: Finish With a Gloss

To wrap up your no-makeup makeup look, finish with a subtly tinted lip gloss. We like the Lancôme Juicy Tubes, a high-shine gloss that’s available in 20 shades. For a super natural look, avoid products with shimmer or flecks of glitter and go for a shiny finish instead. If you’re not a fan of a glossy look, opt for a tinted lip balm or a subtle lip stain instead.

OPTIONAL STEP: Apply Setting Spray

If you want your no-makeup makeup look to last for as long as possible, finish up with a few spritzes of setting spray. For added glow, look for a formula with a dewy or radiance-boosting finish. To help control shine, look for a mattifying or oil-absorbing spray.


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