A British Model Reveals Her No-Makeup Makeup Routine

Updated 05/28/19

Meet Charli Howard—model, eyebrow envy–inducer, and beauty junkie. The wide-eyed South East London–born model has graced the pages of Harper’s Bazaar and recently became an unintentional viral sensation for penning this open letter to her former modeling agency, calling out for its unrealistic body size standards. Since then, Howard has become an outspoken advocate on healthy body image for all women—not just models—and writes about beauty, food, and life musings on her website, CharlieHoward.com. Given that Howard possesses one of the most striking faces we’ve ever seen, and that it’s not often we meet a model who’s as happy to rant and rave about tinted moisturizer as we are, we asked her to share her no-makeup makeup beauty routine from start to finish. After all—who better to learn the art of model-off-duty beauty from than an actual model?

Keep scrolling to find out her favorite products for a natural makeup look!

@charlihoward

Before I began modeling, I would wear heavy makeup every day and take great pleasure in doing so. I’d painstakingly apply contour, eye shadow, and lip liner, carefully creating the features that I deemed beautiful. But as much as it boosted my confidence, wearing so much makeup was my equivalent of a security blanket: It took attention away from the features I wasn’t confident in.

When I first started modeling, it felt slightly alien having to strip my makeup kit to a bare minimum. As a model, the client always wants to see you as fresh as possible at castings. Foundation was replaced with BB cream; lip liner with lip balm.

Soon, though, I began appreciating the features I’d been so quick to cover up. I liked my button nose, and my lips were full enough without needing to emphasize them with liner. Most of all, I now have an appreciation for makeup—more than I did before. Applying red lipstick or cat-eye liner feels like a treat rather than a routine.

If modeling has taught me anything, it’s how to embrace the face I have, and to step away from the hyper-sculpted look. I’ve since learned to love and feel confident in little-to-no makeup—and guess what: You can, too! So whether you’re a model or not, here are my tips for achieving a fresh-faced beauty look that will trick people into thinking you’re not wearing makeup.

Charli Howard

Skin

Prep the skin with a plumping moisturizer, like Rodial’s Bee Venom Day Cream With SPF 30 ($155). I love this because it primes the skin and adds luminosity for a healthy-looking glow.

Foundation

The goal here is to provide minimal coverage without masking any natural marks (like freckles). A skin tint with a glow (note: not shimmer!) will help make you look awake and fresh without looking too made-up.

My go-to products are Rodial’s Skin Tint With SPF 20 ($45) and Glossier’s Perfecting Skin Tint ($26), which both come in a variety of shades and provide buildable coverage that lasts all day. 

Charli Howard

Using a Beautyblender ($20), blend the foundation seamlessly onto your face and neck. (Bonus: Beautyblenders also make your makeup last a lot longer).

@CharliHoward

Concealer

For a natural look, the idea is to not cover all the blemishes or dark circles—at least not excessively. It’s natural to have a few marks on your skin. (Hey, we all have them!)

Using your ring finger, pat a liquid concealer lighter than your foundation shade on the top of your cheekbones, slowly patting it outward and upward under your eyes. I use MAC Pro Longwear Concealer ($21) in NC15.

@CharliHoward

Cheeks

A tiny bit of bronzer will make you look sun-kissed and healthy. I use the “striping” technique, where you brush a minimal amount of matte bronzer from cheekbone to cheekbone across the nose. Be careful not to go overboard with this, or you’ll go from looking sun-kissed to sunburned!

@CharliHoward

Brows + Lips

Slightly feral eyebrows look youthful and natural. I brush them up slightly using Illamasqua’s Clear Brow & Lash Gel ($18), which makes them stay in place all day.

Dab a small amount of plumping lip balm onto the lips. My inexpensive drugstore favorite is Carmex ($2).

To finish, spray a small amount of Avéne Thermal Spray ($14) over your finished makeup. Don’t be put off by the water aspect—this helps your makeup set and stay in place all day, making you look even more beautifully fresh-faced!

You can see more of Howard’s beauty, food, and life musings on her blog, CharliHoward.com, or on Instagram at @charlihoward. 

Were you surprised by her routine? Click here to see a French model’s beauty routine.

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