The art of "no-makeup makeup" is one that takes some refining. No matter who you are, though, it all boils down to one thing: great-looking skin that's healthy and vibrant. This can be achieved through a thoughtful skincare routine, but you can fake it a little bit with makeup.
Oftentimes men are worried about others finding out that they wear makeup. To that, I say, "Who really cares if you're wearing makeup? It's your face!" Still, I understand that there are societal norms and you don't want to let anyone else know you're tiptoeing the "bro" line.
To the men reading this, here's a secret: women don't want people to know they're wearing makeup, either. At least not when it comes to foundation and concealer. A flawless, "air-brushed" final result is what we all strive for. Cosmetic companies know this and have created plenty of tools and products to help create that "no makeup" finish.
A woman's "no-makeup makeup" routine can be a little more involved than a man's. Just because it's a "natural finish" that makes it look like you're not wearing much makeup, doesn't mean a number of products aren't involved. Also note that the products you choose may very well be different compared to the ones I use; I'm quite pale, so keep that in mind. That said, I'll provide tips along the way to help you find the right products for you.
Men's No-Makeup Makeup
Say hello to David. Here's the before picture.
Not a drop of product on that handsome mug.
The first thing we're going to do is apply a moisturizer with SPF. One of his favorite places to shop for guy products is the GroomingLounge, which is loaded with a bunch of hip stuff for cool dudes. This is Jack Black's Double-Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20.
Post-application, you can already tell that the skin is visibly more moisturized. David's skin leans on the dry side, so this works perfectly for that. If you have oily skin, opt for a mattifying moisturizer with sunscreen.
The next step for natural-looking men's makeup is a lightweight tinted product. He's using Dr. Jart Black Label Detox BB Cream, which is very sheer and creates a matte, seamless finish. It's important to avoid anything thick and anything with a sheen or shimmer. Tinted moisturizers and BB creams are usually your best bet.
You can see a dramatic difference in David's skin now that we've applied a moisturizer and BB cream. We've created a more even color throughout and reduced redness around the nose and eyes, but you can still see his skin peeking through.
Tip: always apply with a sponge or brush, which will help really blend the product into the skin.
Now it's time to do some light concealing under the eyes and on red spots.
I used Susan Posnick Color Correct C2. For the most natural, "no makeup" finish, you absolutely want to blend this in with a clean concealer brush or sponge.
See the difference? An improvement, but still very natural.
After you've applied concealer, set it with some powder. I used Make Up For Ever's HD Microfinish Powder. Setting with powder keeps the concealer in place throughout the day and also prevents creasing or product movement.
Another wise move is a clear but moisturizing lip balm. This Kiehl's Facial Fuel Lip Balm, also purchased from the GroomingLounge, is perfect.
The last step is to comb out your brows a little bit.
And there's the finished look! No one's the wiser, but you've got enviable skin!
Women's No-Makeup Makeup
Here's a photo of me without any makeup.
We've got some uneven skin tone, a few red spots and tired eyes. Let's remedy all the above.
First, apply a primer. I'm using Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15. Primer's going to set you up for a nice, even application of tinted moisturizer/color. It'll also help your makeup last longer through the day.
This Hourglass primer feels silky on the skin and I love the matte finish. See how I'm already less shiny?
Next comes some color. You'll want something sheer and moisturizing that lets your skin breath. The goal is to reduce redness and make the skin look healthy and even-toned.
I'm using BECCA's Luminous Skin Colour Ultra Sheer Foundation SPF 25, which creates a dewy finish.
You can use clean fingers if you want, but for a really flawless finish, I find that sponges are your best option.
Next comes concealer. I'm trying Revlon's ColorStay Concealer. It's got a nice, creamy consistency and is applied with a doe foot applicator. I like that it doesn't dry immediately, which gives me time to blend it into the skin.
I applied the product under my eyes and on red spots, then blended with a clean concealer brush.
To create a bit more dimension and a healthier, glowier complexion, I'm going to use Lush's Feeling Younger highlighter.
I like this product because it goes on white. I am extremely pale, so this suits my coloring. You may want to try one with a bit more of a yellow, pink or gold undertone depending on your skin type.
I blended it out with my Beautyblender. It's easier to see the effect of this product in real life as the face moves and catches the light.
In my opinion, groomed, shaped and slightly filled in brows can transform your face.
First, I combed my brows up and outward. I'm also using the Sumita Eye Pencil, which is super-easy to work with.
With the pencil, I went in and filled in any sparse spots. I also have one brow that's short than the other, so I extended the natural brow slightly.
I am not a fan of super drawn-on eyes no matter what look I'm going for, but obviously you want to lean more light/natural when doing a "no-makeup makeup" look.
I'm using Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner to tight-line my upper lashes. I did take a picture of the process, but it is very, very scary-looking, so I'll spare you.
To tight-line, lift your upper eyelid and gently draw a line along the inner portion of the upper eye. This subtly defines the lash line.
Follow up with several coats of mascara. You can use a brown mascara if you want a softer look. Alternatively, you can use a clear mascara to get a glossy sheen with no color. Of course, you can always go without. Mascara always makes a big impact, though, and if you apply it well and use a quality product, it's not detectable.
You can always apply a bit of a neutral-toned eyeshadow if you want to. Just choose one that's matte and ever-so-slightly darker than your natural color.
Here's where we bring the face to life: blush. I'm using Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Thankful. I like this blush because it allows me to gently build up color for a more natural finish.
My tip: Choose a shade in the color you'd turn if you were flushed. Then, apply it to the areas of the face that blush naturally. For me, that's the apples of my cheeks.
Finally, I'm apply a bit of lip color. I personally think that adding a little color to your lips is important, even when you're going for a no-makeup makeup look. The key, though, is to choose a color that simply enhances your actual lip color.
I'm using Laqa & Co's Fat Lip Pencil in Bossy Boots. It's really easy to layer and manipulate, plus it's moisturizing without being shimmery.
And there's the finished look!
What are your favorite products to use for a no-makeup look? Do you think more guys wear a makeup than they admit?