While there is much to be admired about the art of full glam, most of us prefer a quick, more natural alternative for our everyday face. Enter: the ‘no-makeup’ makeup look.
Don’t be fooled by the ease of this makeup routine: while the subtle look can be created in as little as five minutes, it packs a punch with few but powerful skin-enhancing products to improve the look of your complexion or add a healthy, barely-there glow.
The most important step of such a sheer, low-coverage look begins prior to makeup application. Given that this look centres around a smooth and glowing base, it is important to prepare your skin accordingly. Make sure to apply your toner, serums and an adequate amount of moisturiser, as your makeup will apply more smoothly and blend more seamlessly on hydrated and plump skin.
When it comes to creating the look and applying the makeup, don’t forget that less is more. Nailing this look is more about technique and application than simply piling on product. For example, concealer should be used with caution, sparingly and only where needed. To frame your face, all you really need is a swipe of brow gel, and a slick of mascara that will effectively but naturally define your eyes. For your complexion, use a cream highlight and blush to add colour and dimension without mattifying the face with heavy foundation.
What is particularly important to achieving a natural look is being mindful of the texture and blendability of products — thinner consistencies and creams are generally preferred, with lighter, silkier textures helping to create an undetectable, natural finish. Below, we’ve rounded up our top products to build the ultimate ‘no-makeup’ makeup look.
(The products featured on Lifestyleasia.com have been independently selected by our editors. However, we may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through our retail links.)
The Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter is an incredibly versatile product, acting as a foundation, primer or highlighter depending on how it is applied. Mix it into your foundation or tinted moisturiser to amp up the glow and lighten the coverage, apply it under your base to add a lit-from-within radiance, or simply dab it on the high points of your face for a barely-there highlighter.
HK$255 from Net-a-Porter
Chantecaille’s tinted moisturiser is a creamy, hydrating base and a smooth and lightweight texture. Ingredients such as thyme and butterfly bush extract work as antioxidants to bring vitamins to the skin, whilst sodium hyaluronate (a finer form of hyaluronic acid) seals in moisture. The end result provides a light coverage that evens out skin tone and blends seamlessly for a glowy finish. And did we mention there’s SPF?
HK$690 from Net-a-Porter
For those of us that struggle with more stubborn scarring and acne, targeted spot-concealing can do wonders to cover up blemishes without having to apply a full face of foundation. The Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion concealer is a potent medium-full coverage formula, so make sure to apply sparingly. Aside from blemishes, just one to two dots around the nose and under the eyes can help eliminate redness and dark circles whilst still maintaining a natural finish that is transfer, sweat, humidity and water-resistant.
HK$216 from Harvey Nichols
A brow gel is a great ‘one-and-done’ product that can thicken, lift and hold your brows — and the Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Brow Gel does just that. The lightweight, tinted formula thickens and volumises brow hairs with pigment without leaving them feeling crispy or overly waxy. Make sure to comb the product evenly throughout the brows and brush upwards for a lifted and defined result.
HK$200 from Sephora
The Kjaer Weis Cream Blush is formulated with a special blend of oils to nourish the skin, with a creamy and emollient texture that allows it to blend flawlessly into the skin. The formula is also free from gluten, petroleum, parabens, artificial colouring and fragrance as well as being eco-conscious and refillable, housed in the brand’s chic silver packaging for a luxurious feel.
HK$440 from Net-a-Porter
The Marc Jacobs Glowstick boasts an impressive cream-to-powder finish, meaning that it applies and blends with the seamless nature of a cream but stays with the lasting power of a powder. Additionally, the balance of gold and silver pigments create a universal shade that suits both warm and cool undertones.
HK$245 from Net-a-Porter
Laura Mercier is known for their smooth and finely-milled powders, and their Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder is no different. Pearlescent, ultra-fine flecks help to brighten the complexion by reflecting light, allowing the powder to effectively set your makeup in place without looking dry and cakey — leaving a healthy, natural finish. This can also help to prolong the wear time of your makeup, which can be useful if you are wearing a face mask or simply have an oilier skin type.
HK$280 from Harvey Nichols
The Laneige Stained Glow Lip Balm comes in three subtle shades, each imparting a sheer flush of colour that stains the lips with lasting staying power. Murumuru and Shea butter create a moisturizing film around the lips, that help to smooth and plump while leaving a glossy finish. Due to the sheerness of the balm, this is a great no-fuss product that can easily be reapplied throughout the day without a mirror.
HK$180 from Laneige