A Makeup Artist’s Guide to Finally Nailing No-Makeup Makeup


The irony of no-makeup makeup is that looking like you have nothing on, in fact, requires a lot of skill. Perfect for daytime or going casual, the right “nude” makeup look will feel like you’ve got the Instagram “pretty” filter on your face at all times. As New York-based makeup artist Amanda Wilson puts it, wearing nude makeup “means you look like you had the best most refreshing vacation of your life—like you took no time getting ready.” Easy, right? Not quite. Read on for expert tips for nailing the woke-up-like-this face beat once and for all.

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Complexion is key.

Wilson emphasizes that before putting any makeup on, you should prioritize a solid skincare routine for a smooth canvas. Then, your approach with application should be less is more. “Only put [makeup] where you need it and blend it out. Use what you already have to your advantage,” she says, “If you already have red in your cheeks, boom, you don’t need blush so don’t cover that. It’s beautiful.”

The whole point of the look, Wilson explains, is to make it look like your actual skin. Product placement is key—focus on specific areas over opting for a full-face, full-coverage application. She adds, “Using your fingers to apply the makeup will be very helpful.” For reference, see the no-makeup makeup she recently did on To All the Boys I Loved Before‘s Lana Condor below. Goals.

Don’t necessarily use less products.

Wilson’s arsenal for a no-makeup makeup look includes seven products. It’s less about the quantity and more about going for lightweight formulas. This includes concealer, a little highlighter, brow product, mascara, translucent powder for the T-Zone and blotting papers for touching up.

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If you use foundation at all, opt for a lightweight one.

The makeup artist was particularly excited about Kosas Cosmetics Tinted Face Oil which, in her words, is a “GAME CHANGER foundation” because it has more coverage than a tinted moisturizer, but gives the glow of skincare. “I have not seen anything like it as of yet,” she says. She’s also a fan of Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Sticks for those with oily skin, but adds “very little goes a long way” and you have to “blend, blend, blend!”

Opt for a barely-there lip shade.

Wilson says the ever elusive “nude” lip is achievable by following your natural lip color. “Be careful of ‘nude’ lipstick as a lot will make you look chalky,” she explains, “Nude doesn’t mean brown for everyone. There’s always a little berry or peach in everyone’s natural lip color—that’s the blood flowing under which makes us look alive. Don’t hide that for this kind of look.” Pro tip: Use the blush color you used on your cheeks just in the center of the lip and blend it out.


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