At the zenith of summer, when temperatures are hot, days are long, and our schedules are full, the last thing we want to do is apply heavy or fussy makeup (and then inevitably reapply as it melts off our face due to heat and sweat). Instead, we crave minimal makeup looks—those that require just a few standout products to keep us looking fresh and put-together. But don't think that just because a makeup look is minimal that it's boring. We have the evidence to prove otherwise. You see, we went back in the archives, searching for our favorite looks from past Byrdie features, and boy did we find them.
From Shanina Shaik's standout coral lip to Sonia Ben Ammar's glossy gold shadow and Cleo Wade's rust-colored eyes, these 10 minimal makeup looks are sure to inspire you all summer long.
1. Hint of Pink
Take it from model Sonia Ben Ammar, pink makeup can be minimal. In a Byrdie exclusive shoot, she wore Burberry Light Glow Blush in No. 3 Rose ($42) on her eyelids, with the same product in the shade No. 9 Coral Pink ($42) on her cheeks. The trick is to keep everything soft and diffused, veering away from strong black liner, bright bubblegum pink shades, or heavy contour. Instead, think feathery brows, curled lashes, and flushed cheeks.
This blush is a soft mauve-pink shade that suits a variety of skin tones. We like it for its incredibly lightweight and silky texture. The chic silver compact with the attached mirror and brush makes it easy to touch up while out and about on a busy summer day.
2. Wine-Stained Lips
Here's another minimal makeup look from the same shoot. Keep a bold lip looking minimal by keeping the rest of your makeup light. By the way, the exact lip product shown here is a drugstore product, if you can believe it. It's actually Neutrogena Moisture Smooth Color Stick in Wine Berry ($8). Please excuse us while we head out to buy the budget-friendly lip shade along with a long black ribbon to wrap around the length of our ponytails.
This ultra-hydrating lip crayon is made with fruit extracts, mango, and shea butter to apply smoothly and wear comfortably all day long. It's basically like the color of a lipstick and the hydration of a balm were combined into one. It's lipstick for people who don't like lipstick.
3. Glossy Gold Eye
This is the last one from this particular shoot, we swear. It's just that these makeup looks are so good. The star of this one is the glossy gold eye, which came courtesy of Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow in Gold Goddess ($24). These Stila shadows can be applied lightly and blended out for a subtle look or layered for a heavy glitter finish. The versatility and gorgeous finish explain why these shadows are one of our favorite makeup products.
This true gold shade is a must-have, but we also like the other 16 other shades that the brand offers. They range from a blue holographic shade to a rich merlot and bright pink. And while we're on the topic, be sure to check out the 11 other cream eye shadows we love best.
4. Minimalist Smoky Eye
Next, we're drawing inspiration from our exclusive shoot with Sudanese vlogger Shahd Batal. This look is proof that a smoky eye can be minimal, if only you use the right technique. Instead of covering the whole eyelid in color, trace just the shape with MAC Pro Longwear Eye Liner in Deep Green ($21), before being blended out with the brand's Eyeshadow in Teal Appeal ($17). Then, pair that with nude lips and feathery brows. Volià!
MAC's cult-favorite pressed powder shadow in Teal Appeal is the perfect summer pick thanks to the oceanic teal shade and the finely milled shimmer. Use it to trace out a graphic smoky eye (as shown above) or apply it all over the upper eyelid for a monochrome look.
5. Rosy-Brown Monochrome
Or go for an even subtler route by wearing a soft shimmery shadow and a rosy-brown lip color like Batal does here. As for the latter, the exact product is Tom Ford Lipstick in Temptation Waits ($54). With glowy skin and soft lashes, the result is sun-kissed and radiant, making it perfect for any and all of your summer adventures.
This lip color looks darker in the bullet than it does after it's actually applied. What first reads as brick red actually applies as a rosy-brown. What's more is that it can be blotted out onto the lips to appear subtler. Otherwise, layer it on thick for an extra-bold effect.
6. Diffused Green Shadow
Actress Adria Arjona shows us how a bold eye can prove minimal if the rest of the makeup is kept neutral. In an exclusive Byrdie interview, she wears a smoky monochrome green eye, created with Marc Jacobs Highliner Matte Gel Eyeliner in Over(night) ($25) and Odysea ($31), along with Surratt Beauty Artistique Eyeshadow ($20) in Minuit, Dow, and Envier.
Surratt Beauty's Envier is a gorgeous emerald green pressed powder with finely milled pieces of shimmer (it just so happens to be our favorite out of all the shades used). We like the fact that each shadow is enclosed in packaging made from recycled material.
7. French-Girl Beauty
Here, she demonstrates signature French-girl beauty with a bold lip and fresh eyes and skin. This is a look we'll re-create for late-night summertime dinner dates… or for anything really. (By the way, the lip color is Pinkie Swear Clip Paint in About Last Night, $18, with a little bit of Make Face Gloss, $25, layered over the top for that extra shiny glint.)
These lip glosses are super pigmented and never drying. Thanks to the moisturizing formula, your lips won't feel like the Sahara after you wear them for a couple of hours. With that being said, they are pretty thick, so if you're averse to the feel of a traditional gloss, you might want to look elsewhere for lip color. Personally, though, we love them.
8. Graphic Eyeliner
In an exclusive Byrdie shoot, model Shanina Shaik proves that wearing minimal makeup doesn't mean that you can't achieve striking results. And what's more striking than graphic eyeliner? Replicate this look by tracing an inky black eyeliner across the upper eyelid.
If we're going to be applying a lot of eyeliner at once, we reach for something budget-friendly, like this L'Oréal pick. After all, when some of our other favorite liquid liners cost upward of $75, we want to make them last. This one is great because it's waterproof, so it actually stays put throughout a summer day in spite of sweat and water.
9. Bold Coral Lips
A bold lip with a bold brow is a winning beauty combination. The best part is that it really only takes two different products to replicate. The first is a coral-orange lip product, and the second is your favorite brow-defining pencil.
This K-beauty lip color is almost the exact shade that Shaik wears. We love it since it deposits soft, rich pigment with a true matte finish. It's unique because it starts out as a liquid but dries down to a long-wearing powder. (PS: Lip powder is the new matte lipstick.)
10. Rust-Colored Eyes
Our final inspo comes from Cleo Wade, who wore glossy rust-colored eyelids as a part of her self-directed beauty shoot (we're obsessed). She wears Chanel Illusion d'Ombre Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadow in New Moon ($36) with Make Up For Ever Flash Color Pot in Rusty Brown ($19). The Finishing touch was MAC Mixing Medium Shine ($23).
Chanel's eye shadow pots require no brushes or tools as far as we're concerned. Our favorite way to apply them is by dipping our ring finger into the pot and gently smudging it onto the upper eyelid. They're already shimmery, but adding a clear gloss really makes them pop.