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How to Master the No-Makeup Makeup Look

A little bit of product can go a very long way.

By: Isabella Sarlija

In a perfect world, your mornings would look like this: You wake up on the first alarm, make coffee or tea, and meditate. You’ve had a full eight hours of beauty sleep the night before, and your skin has been behaving extra well lately, so all you really need to do is wipe your face with micellar water and apply a few lotions and potions. You get dressed and go about your day makeup-free because you deserve to show off all your hard work and dedication to your skin-care routine.

Unfortunately, that type of day is as elusive as sun showers in the middle of summer—they’re astonishing when they present themselves, but they very seldom occur. In reality, we typically wake up red and puffy, sometimes with last night’s negronis written all over our dehydrated face. Moments like these are when we just want to have healthy-looking skin that looks vaguely airbrushed. We’re not looking for any bright pops of color on our lips or a chiseled contour around our cheekbones; we’re just longing for a healthy, natural glow that can translate during our daily Zoom meetings. It’s possible with a few key products, we promise. Here are some of our favorites to achieve that well-rested, well-hydrated, no-makeup makeup look.

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Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Cream, $48

Dewy, even skin starts with a really good moisturizer. This cult-classic cream applies slightly green while blending into your natural skin tone. It minimizes redness, meaning you won’t have to worry about foundation to look flawless.

Supergoop! Glowscreen SPF 40, $36

This is the perfect product to ensure that your skin looks healthy and glowing, while also protecting it from the sun. Just swipe on a thin layer and watch the pearlescent sheen light up your face and neck like your own personal ring light.

Ere Perez Arnica Concealer, $28

This hydrating concealer is great for covering up any shadows or bumps you may want to erase. The coverage is buildable, but never really gets to the point of looking cakey. Just spot-treat where you need it, and blend out with either a damp sponge, your fingers, or a beloved concealer brush.

Lanolips The Original 101 Ointment Multipurpose Super Balm, $17

A great balm for dehydrated lips, cuticles, and everything in between. A little trick we like to do is to apply this to the high points of the face; it creates a beautiful glow without the need for a chunky, glittery highlighter.

Tata Harper Anti-Aging Neuropeptide Blush in Very Popular, $39

Who says no-makeup makeup means no color? This cream blush by Tata Harper is perfect for mimicking a natural flush in skin that may look a bit sullen. Pro tip: Apply this blush across the top of the forehead and over the bridge of the nose to create a sun-kissed complexion.

Benefit Gimme Brow+ Volumizing Eyebrow Gel, $24

How could we forget brows? This gel deposits the perfect amount of color while brushing brows into that feathery shape we all crave. The hold on this baby lasts all day, meaning that even you might forget that there's a product in there.

ILIA Limitless Lash Mascara, $28

Nothing screams “I’m wearing makeup” like a thick, spidery coat of mascara. The ILIA Limitless Lash Mascara is the opposite of that; this mascara is great for defining and sculpting lashes without making them look unnaturally chunky or elongated.

Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder, $39

When you’re trying to avoid the look of wearing makeup, under-eye creasing is certainly going to be a dead giveaway. To solve this, gently set the under-eye concealer with this setting powder. While you’re at it, brush some around the nose, under the cheekbones, and anywhere else you may want to deepen your features or avoid shine.

Sponsored by Laura Mercier

La Mer The Mist, $80

People do not mist as often as they should. It’s truly one of the easiest ways to keep your skin hydrated, even in the driest environments. For a refreshed glow, use this mist right after powder application and throughout the day. People will be asking you who your aesthetician is in no time.

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