Expert tips for fresh, flawless makeup that looks, well, like you’re not wearing makeup.
Start by Perfecting Your Skin
So that makeup blends in easily‚ first wash with cleanser and a cloth to gently exfoliate your face, says Tom Pecheux‚ creative makeup director for Estée Lauder.
1. Moisturize and Even Out Skin Tone
The fastest, most natural way to do this is with a tinted lotion, like La Mer The SPF 18 Fluid Tint, which also contains sun protection ($70, saks.com). Because it’s sheer, you don’t have to match it to your skin exactly, as you have to do with foundation. You can even go slightly deeper to warm up your complexion, says New York City makeup artist Polly Osmond. Apply it like a basic moisturizer.
2. Conceal Any Flaws
For visible breakouts or deep undereye circles, use a pigment-rich concealer, like Chanel Long Lasting Corrective Concealer ($40, chanel.com). Its small applicator deposits just the right amount of makeup, which is key. “The trick is not to use too much concealer,” says Osmond. “That just accentuates problem areas.” For blemishes, dab, blend, and build up coverage in thin layers. For dark circles, swipe the wand under your eyes, then pat with a finger to blend.
3. Use Powder If Needed
If your skin gets shiny, follow with an oil-absorbing powder. (Note: If your skin is very oily, skip the tinted moisturizer and use only concealer and powder.) Swirl on Bare Escentuals Bare-Minerals Matte SPF 15 Foundation, using a brush and a circular motion; this will leave an undetectable veil of cover-up (not a powdery look).
4. Pick a Warm Cheek Color
Cream blushes in warm peaches or pinks “give skin a natural, subtle flush,” says Pat McGrath, the global creative design director for P & G Beauty. Cool pinks, on the other hand, look more made-up. (Unfortunately, the blush shown is no longer available.)
Now Define Your Eyes and Lips
To make sure you’re using the lightest touch, do your makeup in daylight, if possible. Prop up your mirror near a window.
1. Shade Eyelids
A soft, brownish tint enhances your eyes’ natural contours without showing up as shadow. “Choose a shade slightly darker than your skin,” says McGrath. “Brush it into the creases and along the lower lashes, making sure there are no hard edges.” For extra eye brightening, she applies CoverGirl Eye Enhancers in Champagne ($4) to the centers of the lids, the brow bones, and the inner corners of the eyes
2. Dot on Eye Pencil (Optional)
If your eyes need a little extra definition (or you want a slightly less bare look for evening), lightly dot a soft gray or brown pencil between the top lashes. Try Shiseido Makeup Smoothing Eyeliner Pencil in Brown.
3. Subtly Amp Up Lips
To get a pretty tint (that also lasts), pick a shade that matches your lips exactly and press the color into your lips with your fingertip rather than applying it directly from the tube. Concentrate it in the center and blend out. Try Aveda Lip Tint SPF 15 in Verbena (unfortunately, this product is no longer available. Try Aveda Uruku Color Gloss in Verbena instead, $16, aveda.com), a sheer, universally flattering berry.
4. Enhance Lashes
Defined lashes are essential, even for a no-makeup look. “You can forfeit shadow and liner but never mascara,” says Osmond. Apply two coats to the top lashes (if they’re blond, use brown mascara; if darker, brownish black). Try Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara. For a boost, use a flat eyeliner brush to grab a bit of mascara from the wand and apply to just the roots of the bottom lashes. “Coating the lashes entirely creates a spidery effect,” cautions Pecheux.