This No-Makeup Makeup Look Only Uses Skin Care — Here's What You Need
If you tend to shy away from a full glam or just need a simple go-to beat for your day-to-day, the cult-favorite "no-makeup makeup look" is right up your alley. This traditionally consists of light coverage face products, natural- and fluffy-looking brows, cream blush, minimal mascara…you get the point.
However, a different kind of no-makeup makeup look has recently taken beauty TikTok by storm. The real kicker? It actually uses no makeup at all, only skin care products. I thought this sounded way too good to be true at first, but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense—a whole lot of A+ products can dial down redness and deliver a lit-from-within glow.
Start with a calming serum.
On a clean face, Skyler applies the Tower 28 SOS Serum. This serum (and the sister SOS Spray) contains hypochlorous acid, which works wonders to calm irritated skin. It's anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, and it helps to ease redness even on the most sensitive skin.
If you're hoping for light coverage, opting for soothing, hydrating products is a must. Stay away from intense chemical exfoliation or harsh scrubs, as they may irritate the skin and make it appear more red and inflamed.
Next up, a thick cream.
After the calming serum comes a thick face cream. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you may opt for a gel-cream formula if you find traditional creams way too heavy. However, for those with drier skin, a thicker consistency will help lock moisture into the skin, thus making your complexion appear plush and dewy.
A glowy serum as primer.
Once you let the moisturizer sit, go in with a glowy serum—Skyler specifically uses the Glow Recipe Dew Drops. Packed with niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and moringa seed oil, this step will surely measure up to its name and add a beautiful, glowy layer to the skin.
Traditionally, serums go under moisturizers to ensure they hit the skin first and deliver those skin-loving actives; then the occlusive ingredients in the cream lock in said ingredients. However, in this routine, the Dew Drops serve as a primer (and later on, a highlighter).
All that to say, if you're doing your classic skin care routine, it's best to layer serums under moisturizer. When you're using them in place of makeup, however, do whatever you please!
Tinted SPF as a base.
"In place of a foundation, I like to go in with a tinted sunscreen," Skyler says, namely the EltaMD Tinted UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46—another beauty TikTok favorite. Skyler notes that the tinted SPF will help cover redness and even out skin tone.
As many who use tinted SPF know, this step won't provide too much coverage, especially if you're dealing with blemishes. (However, stay tuned! A product coming up will do just that.) Here's a list of our favorite tinted sunscreens for each skin type if you're on the hunt.
Faux blush and bronzer.
Rather than using a cream or powder bronzer, Skyler opts for the Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Bronzing Drops. This formula is packed with antioxidants and ultra-hydrating ingredients, like peptides, yet somehow still mimics the look of a creamy bronzer.
Dab these drops on anywhere you would normally apply bronzer, like right under your cheekbones and the top of your forehead. If you want a touch of blush, the Drunk Elephant O-Bloos Rosi Glow Drops will do just the trick.
Color corrector for the under-eyes.
In place of concealer, Skyler uses the Hero Cosmetics Rescue Balm + Red Correct. This tinted green balm can help eliminate the appearance of dark circles and redness, depending on your skin tone. On Skyler, the rescue balm truly eliminates discoloration and blends so well that zero green hue or tint is left behind.
Tinted spot treatment for blemishes.
For any active breakouts, use a tinted spot treatment. Yes, you heard that right: Some formulas can help heal breakouts while covering them up—a genius product, to say the least. Skyler uses the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo tinted spot treatment but notes it can be hard to find in stores in the U.S. If you're looking for another option, try this calming acne treatment with an all-natural twist: Carter + Jane's ZitFix. Simply let the product sit for a few minutes before blending to encourage better coverage.
Highlight with a glowy sunscreen.
For highlighter, Skyler opts for another cult classic: The Supergoop Glowscreen SPF 40. Any dewy product will do—even the serum drops I mentioned previously. But who can say no to extra SPF?
Boost your lips & lashes.
Finally, Skyler finishes the look with curled lashes and an ultra-dewy lip balm. It's a classic makeup artist tip: Even if you don't wear a stitch of mascara, curling your lashes can help your eyes look brighter and wide-awake. If you want to fluff up your brows with a functional brow gel too, that's certainly a worthy final step.
Never forget about skin care from the inside out.
Try this routine for a fun and skin-loving take on the classic no-makeup makeup look. We're all for tending to your skin's health while also creating a look that makes you feel your best. Whether you're going for a natural-looking beat or something more involved, it all starts with skin care from the inside out.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends, holistic skincare approaches, must-have makeup products, and inclusivity in the beauty industry. She currently lives in New York City.