These Products Make Skin Look So Good They'll Replace Your Foundation

woman with clear skin and curly hair

@tobimakeup / Instagram

Dewy finishes, blurred imperfections, customizable coverage. Sure, there are plenty of things we love about our favorite foundation formulas. However, that doesn't mean we wish to be strapped to the stuff (or feel obligated to wear it) 24/7. While it looks great in photos and blesses us with an extra notch of confidence pre–blind date, there's something equally beautiful about a completely bare, foundation-free makeup look.

Plus, going without also saves us time (blending can be a pain, am I right?) and paranoia (there's no risk of pilling come noon). And with so many amazing, glow-inducing products on the market recently, we've been feeling increasingly inspired to ditch our foundation altogether in lieu of our makeup bag's other shining stars. However, if you're used to wearing foundation on a regular basis, transitioning your makeup routine to one without foundation can be a hair intimidating. To ease the switch, we reached out to celebrity makeup artist Tobi Henney, who shares the skincare products she uses instead of foundation.

Meet the Expert

Tobi Henney is a New York City-based celebrity makeup artist.

Keep scrolling to learn how to get a no foundation makeup look.

De-puff Your Eyes

Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels
Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels $33
Shop

Especially handy for jet-setters who are no stranger to switching time zones, de-puffing eye gels are a must. Henney calls these ones from Skyn Iceland "eye saviors" if you're feeling really tired in the morning, as they douse the under eye area with puff-reducing botanicals and cooling Icelandic glacial waters (yes, it's as fancy as it sounds). Pop the wider end of the eye gel wherever you need the most TLC.

Pop your eye gels in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before applying them. The cooling sensation will not only wake up groggy eyes, but it adds an extra layer of de-puffing.

Brighten Skin with Serums

rationale
Rationale Immunologist Serum $174
Shop

Applying makeup without foundation means tackling pigmentation issues head-on (versus covering them up). Henney recommends pressing this brightening serum from Rationale into your skin to reap its tone-evening benefits.

rationale super antioxidant
Rationale Super Antioxidant Serum $166
Shop

Next up is this reenergizing serum from Rationale that, over time, makes your skin no-makeup makeup clear. Henney says that if you continue using these serums consistently, you can get away with skincare and a dash of mascara—no foundation needed.

Add Glow with a Cream

Augustinus Bader The Cream
Augustinus Bader The Cream $265
Shop

When you're going makeup-free, you need a face cream that not only makes your skin look its best, but one that nourishes at the same time, like this one from Augustinus Bader that encourages your stem cells to renew your skin. "I am just mad about this product," raves Henndy. "I just love the texture, and I love that you can travel with it⁠—it's got a great pump system. It just makes your skin so glowy." We concur.

Condition Lips

Caudalie Lip Conditioner
Caudalie Lip Conditioner $12
Shop

If your lips are dry from winter (or the activities that come with it, like holiday traveling), Henney recommends this lip conditioner from Caudalie—it features an antioxidant-rich formula that banishes flakiness, offers long-lasting hydration, and protects.

Illuminate Eyes with Eye Cream

Olehenriksen Banana Bright Eye Creme
Olehenriksen Banana Bright Eye Creme $39
Shop

Once you're done with your skin prep, remove the eye gels and go in with eye cream. "When I use eye cream I like to tap it lightly under the skin. This part of the eye is super tender and the skin is so thin, so it's really important that you're very gentle with that area with both skincare and makeup," says Henney. "I really like to use this [creme] on my clients before really important red carpet events." Best part? It works beautifully for those "concealer without foundation" looks.

Boost Radiance with a Face Mask

Sisley Paris Radiant Glow Express Mask
Sisley Paris Radiant Glow Express Mask $130
Shop

If the day calls for a foundation-free face, Henney suggests using an illuminating face mask like this one from Sisley Paris, which only needs five minutes to work its magic. "It makes your skin so much brighter and more glowy," she says. "Just pop it on then you can tissue it off or use a damp towel [to remove]. You'll see the instant difference in your skin."

Related Stories