How to Perfect the Quarantine No-Makeup Look, According to Makeup Artists
The no-makeup look has been popular among celebrities for years — but for some reason, I-woke-up-like-this flawlessness has always seemed hard to achieve without an arsenal of products and a ton of time, ironically enough.
When the COVID-19 outbreak hit and society entered quarantine, everyone's routines swiftly transformed to rolling out of bed and applying, uh, nothing. If your ~au naturel~ skin is looking a little more real than you expected, I'm going to let you in on a secret: celebrities draw on the power of no-makeup makeup. Even stars like Gabrielle Union have given fans a peek behind the curtain, revealing the products behind their glowing, no-makeup look. (Related: Billie is Challenging You to Stop Apologizing for How You Look During Zoom Calls.)
To be clear, there's nothing wrong with embracing your truly bare face. Period. However, if you want to step it up a notch for a video call first date or cover a maskne situation for a Zoom meeting, then a few products and pro tips can help you to look and feel your best. And while you might be thinking that you're not quite ready to attempt a full face of makeup just yet, don't worry: the goal for this low-key makeup style is glowing skin, soft color, and wide-awake eyes.
Ahead, makeup artists share their favorite products for a no-makeup look, so that you can get the illusion of clear, poreless skin the easy way. (Related: Mask Acne is a Very Real Thing—Here's How to Beat Face Mask Breakouts.)
A Step-by-Step Guide to the 5-Minute No-Makeup Look
1. Skin Prep is Key
Before going in with makeup, your skin-care routine will largely depend on its current state. Dry? Go for hydrating serums and oils to bring back radiance. Breaking out? Do an anti-acne treatment, like Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion (Buy It, $19, amazon.com), a favorite of celebrity makeup Vincent Oquendo. Then continue with your usual skin-care steps — and don't forget to apply SPF, even if you're staying inside. (Related: The 11 Best Sunscreens for Your Face, According to Customer Reviews)
For a no-makeup look, liquid and cream formulas work best because they tend to melt into the skin and leave behind a sheen that mimics your skin's natural glow, explains makeup artist Renée Loiz. She recommends a applying a layer of SkinGlass by Noorface all over your face for a lit-from-within look without appearing too shiny. The first ingredient in her pick is ultra-moisturizing grapeseed oil, which you can also pick up in a bottle on its own for just $13 on Amazon to use on skin and hair.
2. Cover Imperfections
Less is always more when covering up skin imperfections. "One of my kit staples is Maybelline New York Super Stay Full Coverage Under-Eye Concealer (Buy It, $10, amazon.com) because it doesn't budge and it looks really natural," says Oquendo. Use a light hand to spot check blemishes, discoloration, and dark under eyes. A majority of makeup artists like using their fingers to warm and press in the product, he says. If that's enough coverage for you, stop here.
Otherwise, a very light BB cream or foundation is the next step. "Products that have a built-in primer help even out the skin tone and diffuse the texture simultaneously," notes celebrity makeup artist, Lisa Aharon. You can also mix a bit of your current foundation with a dab of highlighter to get a glowy effect. "Doing this blurs the skin as if it's been retouched, I swear. In real life, it can a bit much for daytime, but Zoom is more forgiving so you can definitely get away with the extra shine," adds Aharon.
3. Amp Up the Blush
When doing makeup for video calls, it's best to add a little warmth to your skin, says Loiz. She suggests Tower28 Bronzino Illuminating Bronzer (Buy It, $20, credobeauty.com) for a light contour to accentuate your features. Or, opt for Union's must-have: Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Sun Stalk'r Instant Warmth Bronzer in Caramel Cutie (Buy It, $40, sephora.com), which the A-lister swears brings her skin to life even when used alone.
While you may have retired your blush during quarantine, whip it out and apply a wash of color on your cheeks for the illusion of a healthy, post-workout glow. If your skin is dry, opt for a cream, like Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush (Buy It, $26, sephora.com); if you're oilier, choose a powder, like Lawless Make Me Blush Talc-Free Velvet Blush (Buy It, $41, sephora.com). And pro tip: Don't be afraid to go a little heavy-handed. "You can definitely get away with applying a little more since Zoom can really wash you out and the picture is never super clear," says Aharon. Oquendo recommends applying it a little further back than the apple — between the hollow of your cheek and your cheek contour. "On camera, this always looks so natural," points out Oquendo.
4. Easy on the Eyes
A dab of shimmer on the lids can make eyes look more awake, and a cream formula can be applied with fingers for a natural finish. Aharon's go-to: Jillian Dempsey Lid Tint in Glimmer (Buy It, $28, credobeauty.com), a golden-peachy tone that looks good on practically everyone. Afterward, define lashes with a swipe of Loiz's favorite mascara, Pat McGrath Labs FetishEyes Lengthening Mascara (Buy It, $40, sephora.com). The final touch for eyes is showing your brows some love by quickly brushing through the fine hairs with a tinted brow gel, like Ilia Essential Brow Natural Volumizing Brow Gel (Buy It, $26, credobeauty.com), says Aharon.
FYI, you can also add one drop of Lumify Redness Reliever Eye Drops (Buy It, $20, amazon.com) in each eye prior to applying makeup, to help reduce redness, recommends Oquendo. (Just don't get hooked on using it all the time.)
5. Finish with lips
When it comes to video calls, the more color you have in your face the better, especially because the camera can really wash you out. The most important part of achieving an effortless, natural look is that you appear fresh and healthy and have a little oomph of color on your cheeks and lips.
A nude lip is professional enough for online meetings — plus, it isn't try-too-hard for virtual dates — and is insanely easy to apply. CTZN Nudiversal Lip Duo (Buy It, $25, ctzncosmetics.com) comes in a plethora of nude shades, which makes it a cinch to match any skin tone, says Loiz. Or, opt for this set of six liquid lipsticks (Buy It, $13, amazon.com) to experiment with different shades at a fraction of the price. Keep your lippies at your home desk to swipe on while your video is connecting.