Full disclosure: going makeup-free is a rare, rare occasion for us. But we also prefer not to look like we spent hours in front of the mirror. And therein lies one of life’s greatest (beauty) dilemmas. How do you look like you’re not wearing a ton of makeup, but still look awake and well, alive? In a word: strategy. With a few key products and the right technique, it is doable.
Keep reading for the 7 best no-makeup makeup tricks!
If heavily mascara-ed lashes aren’t really your speed, and going au naturel isn’t your top choice either, turn to invisible eyeliner. Yes, eyeliner can make your lashes look fuller and darker. And no, it’s not the product that makes it invisible—it’s the technique. Using a small angled eyeliner brush, smudge dark gel eyeliner into your upper waterline. When all is said and done, the eyeliner is hardly noticeable, but your eyes will look more defined and your lashes will benefit too. Try the technique with navy blue eyeliner to get the whites of your eyes to look even whiter.
A little eyebrow grooming can make all the difference. First and foremost, brush your brows into submission with a spoolie brush or toothbrush. And keep those hairs in place with clear brow gel or a tinted one for slightly more color. Finally, give them a lift, by applying concealer just above the arch. This highlights the highest point of your brows but looks beyond natural.
Mix a couple of drops of luminizer or liquid bronzer (or a bit of both) in with your daily moisturizer to give your complexion a natural, lit-from-within glow. And for no-fuss dewiness, plus a subtle highlight of your bone structure, take a multi-purpose balm (even lip balm will do, in a pinch) and lightly pat it along your brow bones and cheekbones.
Rodial Glam Balm Multi ($44)
Enhance the shape of your lips with some strategically placed highlighter and concealer. Blend a dot of highlighter—anything shimmery and light-colored will do—onto the center of your bottom, and press your lips together to transfer to your top lip. The result? A plumped pout (sans meticulously drawn on lip liner and sticky lip gloss). Now give those full lips a hint of undetectable definition and your smile a little lift, by concealing around the corners of your mouth.
When the full eye-opening makeup routine isn’t on the agenda, you just need one product to look like you’ve actually gotten all eight hours of beauty sleep: a nude eye pencil. Lining the inner rim with a flesh-toned eye pencil (skip the chalky white pencils, they don’t do much to help the no-makeup cause) will make your eyes look bigger and brighter.
Nars Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner ($24) in Rue Bonaparte
When obvious lip color just won’t do, you can create a stain using any bold lipstick you already own and love. Simply apply the lipstick, wait a few minutes, and gently wipe it off. Top it off with a swipe of lip balm for a just-bitten effect.
Counteract the shadows on your face with a softer version of your standard highlighter by reaching for eye shadow—shimmery off-white eye shadow, to be exact—Instead use your finger to apply and blend the shadow to the spots on your face that could use a little light, like the center crease of your chin, your Cupid’s bow, and the inner corners of your eyes. Just brightening those shady spots will give your whole complexion a more luminous appearance.
Urban Decay Eyeshadow ($18) in Zephyr
Have you mastered the no-makeup look? Tell us what tricks you swear by!