With so many strong makeup looks dominating magazines and red carpets, it can be easy to forget that the point of makeup is to enhance your natural beauty, not to paint on a new face entirely. This is why I was so excited by the return of the no-makeup look on the Spring 2012 runways. Almost every collection–Narciso Rodriguez, BCBG, Proenza Schouler, Vera Wang, Diane von Furstenberg, and on and on–was complemented by a beautiful bare face.
This look is designed to play up your finest features in the subtlest way, leaving it completely unclear as to whether or not you’re actually wearing makeup. Going bare an obvious choice for everyday and learning how to master the technique can also help you create a better foundation for more precise and sensuous evening looks.
Read on for easy steps to get the look and let your true beauty shine!
1. Moisturize: No matter what beauty look you’re going for, always, always start with a good moisturizer (preferably one with SPF). Moisturized skin looks brighter and younger.
My Pick: Lancome BientFait Multi-Vital SPF 30 Sunscreen, $45. I’ve been using moisturizers from Lancome since my teenage years and have become a bit spoiled by the incredible results I consistently experience.
2. Create a Clean Canvas. A clear, even complexion is the most essential prerequisite for any beauty look. Make sure you get a foundation in the exact right shade and apply enough to even things out without blanketing your entire face.
My Pick: Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Ultra Light Skin Perfecting Makeup, $45. While very airy and lightweight, this foundation really gets the job done and effectively balances out my complexion, making it instantly vibrant and flawless.
3. Conceal: For those who need some extra coverage (like yours truly), choose a top notch concealer to finish the job.
My Picks: Miracle Skin Transformer Treat & Conceal, $36. No exaggerating, this concealer is the most miraculous thing I have ever experienced. A tiny dab is all it takes for blemishes, under-eye circles, scars and even blood vessels to disappear. (See my full product review here.)
4. Set with Powder: This step is only for those with oily skin (or for the summertime when everyone’s skin goes moist). A loose powder is ideal for setting your makeup and erasing an oily sheen, just make sure you apply sparingly so you don’t look chalky.
My Pick: Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Loose Talc-free Powder, $10.99. This airy powder blends right into the skin for a natural, matte finish that looks completely fresh and natural.
A Healthy Flush: Flushed cheeks are the ultimate sign of youth and beauty. The goal here is to create a natural-looking flush that radiates health and flirty femininity.
My Pick: Make Up For Ever Uplight Face Luminizer Gel – Pearly Pink Flesh, $29. This gel is a miracle worker when it comes to creates a gorgeous, dewy complexion. I usually apply it all over my cheeks for an all-over healthy glow but you can concentrate just on the cheekbones for a more sculpted look.
Keep it Clean and Simple: While it might be hard for some, this look really works best without eyeliner (or very little of it in a softer shade, like brown or gray). All you really need here is a base, mascara and just a touch of white shadow.
1. Clean Lids. Those with darker eyelids such as myself should start with a primer that’s a shade or two lighter than your skin tone to brighten things up. (You can also achieve this with concealer but I find that it tends to smudge and clump in the eyelid creases so a primer designed to stay put may be a better option).
My Pick: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, $19. This primer is designed to keep your shadow in place throughout the day but it also looks great worn on its own to even out the eyelid area.
2. Natural Lashes: While it might be hard for some, this look really works best without eyeliner (or very little of it in a softer shade, like brown or gray). Instead, enhance your peepers with mascara by working the wand into the roots.
My Pick: CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Mascara, $6.23. This mascara delivers long, luscious lashes without the clumps or flakes.
3. Brighten the Corners: Apply a tiny dab of white shadow on the inner corners of your eyes for an instantly bright-eyed, fresh-faced appearance (this is my favorite trick for looking awake when I’m lacking in sleep). Only apply a little bit, it should be subtle and barely noticeable.
My Pick: Origins Eye Shadow – White Gold, $15. This shadow has only a slight shimmer and is the perfect way to add just a little sparkle to your eyes.
A Natural Pop of Color: A lip color about a shade or two brighter or darker than your natural shade is all you need to make the look complete.
My Pick: Stila Long Wear Lip Color in Flushed, $20. This lip color goes on super smooth and adds the perfect dose of color to play up your pout without being too obvious.
What is your favorite makeup look? Tell us in comments!
– SABRINA ALEXIS