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How to Nail the No-Makeup Makeup Look

The no-makeup makeup look: It’s the flawless, lit-from-within glow that everyone wants, but few know how to achieve. It’s the “you look incredible” versus “your makeup looks incredible” differentiator. It’s the art of applying makeup in such a natural way that it actually enhances your features and it makes you the star, rather than your cosmetics.

Not to be mistaken with wearing no makeup at all, the no-makeup makeup look is all about using the right formulation for your skin tone and type. “It's attention to details that gets your makeup to morph with your own features—it’s not necessarily the fastest or the easiest makeup technique either, as it requires you to truly understand your features, your skin, and certain knowledge about makeup/color theory,” explains Sébastien Tardif, celebrity makeup artist and co-founder of Veil Cosmetics.

This particular look involves multiple factors, according to Tardif. “You want groomed-looking eyebrows (but not excessively filled in, Instagram-style), lip color that looks exactly like your lips, only “bitten” (not glossy, juicy, or super matte), cheeks that look flushed like oxygen running through them, and skin that looks even without using a full face of foundation,” he says. “It’s all about finding the right colors that are found naturally in your skin.”

Fail-proof formulations

When it comes to perfecting the no-makeup makeup look, you want to opt for creamier formulations over matte, as they look more natural and luminous. “Cream or gel-like formulas are fantastic because they will melt with the skin and not leave any sort of heavy trace of makeup,” explains Tardif.

The Veil Cosmetics Lip & Cheek Palette is ideal for the no-makeup makeup look. “I call them risk-free colors as the pigment is buildable, has a soft and smooth finish, and are all inter-mixable,” explains Tardif. “The palette looks amazing on all skin tones and all skin types.”

Makeup formulas matter to achieve this look because if there's too much moisture, too much oil, or too much wax, it creates a makeup meltdown, requiring makeup to be set with powder (and powder doesn’t look like you have no makeup on), according to Tardif. “And if your makeup is too dry, then it will enhance fine lines, wrinkles, and add years to your face, which is certainly not the aim of the no-makeup makeup look,” says Tardif. “No-makeup makeup is about you looking your best with utmost ease and a laissez-faire impression.”

Skin prep is key

Prepping the skin is always super important when it comes to this look, so make sure that the skincare products you’re using are right for your skin type. “It's really about getting the perfect balance of skincare and hydration so that the makeup just blends and disappears onto the skin,” says Tardif. “A hydrating primer, like the Sunset Light Primer Serum, on top of that is key to getting the makeup to stay in place but also holding the hydration within.”

No-makeup makeup no-no’s

Avoid heavy formulas and definitely don’t use any full-coverage makeup. “Do not use very colorful colors like a red lip, and there’s really no need for lip gloss,” explains Tardif.

Additionally, don’t use powder foundation and anything that is oil-based because it will create a makeup meltdown. “I often hear women say ‘makeup disappears on me’ when using oil-based products,” says Tardif. “Glittery and sparkly formulas are also not compatible with this look. You want a lit-from-within glow, not glittery shimmer that’s obvious.”

Tips, tricks, and tools

The first step you want to nail down when it comes to the no-makeup makeup look is your skincare. “You want to use skincare products that make your skin look hydrated and feel in harmony with itself—smooth to the touch, no dry patches, no shininess or oiliness,” says Tardif.

Next, you’ll need a primer to help makeup stay in place and add extra moisture, without any oiliness. Then, you’ll need to use a concealer with a color that matches your skin tone as close as possible—not brighter, not darker. With 15 different shades, you’ll be sure to find your perfect match in our Complexion Fix Concealer. “By using a concealer, you can even out skin tone where needed—spot conceal any redness, fatigue around the eyes, or blemishes with the click of a pen,” suggests Tardif.

According to Tardif, you want to avoid using a heavy foundation, as it’ll look too obvious, rather than effortless. “My favorite approach is spot concealing with a liquid concealer just to touch up here and there where needed, as opposed to covering the entire skin with foundation,” says Tardif. “You don't want to overdo it, but rather trick the eye into believing that there's nothing that's been used.”

To keep skin looking fresh throughout the day, you’ll want to use Automatte Mattifying Balm—it diminishes any oiliness without leaving a powdery film. Next, add some lip balm and top it off with a natural-looking lip and cheek color from the Velvet palette. “The palette is really fantastic to mix and match the color together to obtain the true tone that's found naturally in your skin,” says Tardif.

In terms of tools, there are no rules when it comes to creating this look because it’s really about the final result at the end of the day, explains Tardif.

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