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The “No-Makeup-Makeup” Must Haves

You know those girls that roll out of bed in the morning with effortlessly tousled hair, glowy, even skin tone, bushy long lashes, and perfectly pink pouty lips… and you’re just like…

“Why do you exist?  And why do I look like a before picture for a plastic surgery commercial in the morning?”

Well, those girls are the blessed few, and we’ll just have to live with the fact that they do exist and be happy for them (ugh).

For the rest of us, we have to put in a tad more effort to look naturally beautiful.  But it really is an easy feat to get that “I’m not wearing any makeup, I’m just a stunning beautiful specimen of nature” look.
Here are a few of my tried and true must haves…

 No Makeup Must Haves


1)  Tinted Moisturizer – I love to wear a TM in lieu of foundation whenever I can.  It gives a softer finish and doesn’t completely mask your skin (remember, we’re trying to look like we were born this way).  I’ve tried upwards of 20 different tinted moisturizers and this one by Shiseido is by far the absolute best.

  • It gives a tad bit better coverage than most others and it dries to a soft velvety texture, yet it also has a very subtle dewiness to it.  It’s the perfect finish.
  • SPF 20 to protect from sun (this doesn’t flash-back in photos, despite it’s SPF.  Yay.)
  • I use my regular moisturizer, let it dry and then apply this with my fingers.  It moves about the skin easily and a small pea-sized drop is all it takes for a beautiful, natural, glowy face.
  • Remember that this is a moisturizer, not a foundation – it has a sheer coverage and a more emollient feel than foundation does.
  • Shiseido The Skincare Tinted Moisture Protection SPF 20
  • Laura Mercier is a close second and she just came out with a Tinted Moisturizer Compact that I’m dying to try.

2) Bronzer – Even when you’re going for a natural look, you can emphasis your beautiful bone structure and add a little warmth to your face with a bit of bronzer.  This one by Benefit is amaze.

  • It’s completely matte so you’re not going to look like Edward Cullen when you step into the sunlight (there’s nothing natural about glitter on your face, ladies).
  • It’s got a neutral base, so no orangey oompa-loompa happening here.
  • I apply a very (I mean very) light dusting over my entire face with a big poofy brush, then using a firmer brush I very subtley add more to my hairline, brow bone, cheek hollow, tip of nose and chin, and then blend from jawline down my neck a bit.  Again, this is very lightly – we’re not contouring like we would for a full makeup look.  We’re just looking for a bit of warmth to liven up the skin.
  • Tip:  I don’t suggest using the brush it comes with, it’s a very firm brush and it holds a lot of pigment so it’s easy to get streaks.  The only way to avoid this is to tap off the excess which I find wasteful.  So just use a medium weight blush brush.
  • Benefit Hoola Bronzer

3)  Blush – I don’t have a lot to say about using blush other than if I could only choose one makeup product, blush might be it.  This one by Rimmel is a gem.

  • Super affordable
  • Looks great on almost all skin tones
  • Has just a smidgen of shimmer to add a little highlight to the cheek
  • When applying blush for daily wear, less is more!  Don’t overdo it.  Big pink streaks does not say “natural rosy glow”, it says “Hi, I work in the Circus”.  The only time you should be able to really see your blush is when you’re on stage or in a photo shoot (even then, it’s sometimes not necessary).  For photography, you have to apply more makeup or the camera won’t pick it up.
  • Quick Info:  The human eye sees, let’s say, 25 shades of pink for example, whereas a camera can only see 6 shades of pink and lumps them all into the color category it best matches.  This is why your makeup sometimes gets lost on camera and also why when you’re applying makeup for photography specifically you should apply more.
  • Rimmel Blush in Autumn Catwalk

4) Powder – Not everyone needs to use powder the same way.  If you’re skin is oily, it will help keep any shine at bay for awhile.  But if your skin is dry, it can accentuate that and draw attention to lines or flakiness.  Either way, I recommend using it, it’s just all in the application.  I love loose powders and they have their purpose, but I also love the convenience and ease of use with a pressed powder compact.  Maybelline Dream Matte is amazing!

  • Matte finish, but not overly drying
  • Versatile color options for easy skin matching
  • Photographs wonderfully
  • Keeps skin shine free without eliminating dewiness. (Dewy = good, Shiny = bad)
  • If you’re oily, use the puff that it comes with – pat puff on powder (don’t get a lot at a time) and then press and rock the puff into skin (like you’re taking a fingerprint), focusing on the places you’re most oily (typically the t-zone) and the places your makeup tends to fade the fastest (around nose and forehead).
  • If you’re dry, use a powder brush to gently dust around face.  Don’t “rub” the brush into the skin or you will accentuate any flakes and stir up the dryness.  Just lightly pat or dust the brush around the skin focusing on only the areas that might become shiny over time.  This will be enough to set the makeup without drying out skin.
  • Maybelline Dream Matte Powder

5) Sheer Eyeshadow – I know, I know, no one wakes up with shimmery gold eyelids.  Not the point.  The point is, this will brighten the eye area helping you look more rested and youthful without looking like you’ve really tried.  The best for this is something super sheer in a very nude or neutral tone with a fine shimmer.  I love Bobbi Brown products and this shadow is no exception.

  • Sheer, pale gold suits any skin tone
  • Great texture, easy to apply
  • Stays put despite it’s ‘barely there’ appearance
  • I apply this to my entire lid, concentrating on the inner corner and fading upward and outward.  I just use my pinky finger for this (mostly because it’s just the easiest thing to ‘grab’).  Sometimes I put some on the outer lower lash line as well.
  • Bobbie Brown Beige Shimmer Wash Shadow

6) Mascara – I know I said blush would be my makeup of choice if I only had one.  Well, I lied.  I can’t just have one!  I need mascara.  NEED.  Even if I’m wearing zero makeup, I can swipe some mascara on and I feel at least 5 times prettier.  Dior Show and L’Oreal Voluminous are hands down the best mascaras there are.  I don’t care what anyone says!

  • Never clumps
  • Huge, bushy, ‘grab-every-last-little-lash’ brush (every mascara should have this brush)
  • One coat wonder
  • Tip:  This mascara is really pigmented and thick, but it still glides on easily.  It can sometimes wind up with a lot on the tip when you pull it out of the tube, so just make sure you look at the wand before applying and remove any excess with a tissue if needed.
  • Dior Show Mascara
  • L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara

7 + 8) Sheer Pinky Lipstick – Look at babies – they always have the sweetest, pinkest, soft and dewy little lips.  That’s the look we’re going for here. You can go from pale and drab to youthful and fab with just one little swipe of a pink lippy.  MAC makes my favorite lipsticks.

  • Both pictured are the MAC Lustre formula
  • Sheer, but long lasting.  Even after you wipe it off it can leave a soft “stained” look to the lips, which I sometimes do intentionally.
  • Gives a moist finish – not dry, not glossy… kinda like you just licked your lips
  • #7 is “Plumful” a pink with purpley undertones.  Better for olive and darker skin tones, but I am really fair and use this and it looks great.
  • #8 is “Sweetie” a truer baby pink and I think it looks great on everyone
  • For the “no-makeup” look, I take my ring finger and rub directly onto the lipstick to get a decent amount.  I then take that finger and blot it onto my lips and then rub lips together to blend around.  This will give a sheer, natural finish.  I rarely apply lipstick directly from the tube unless I’m going for a really bold lip.
  • Both look a lot darker and more pigmented in the tube than what they look like on the lip, so don’t judge a lipstick by it’s cover, lovely.
  • MAC Lustre Lipsticks

9) Lip Gloss – If you’re a glossy girl, so be it!  You can still have a great natural look with a punchy glossy lip.  This one by Benefit is my absolute fav!

  • Super softening and slick, smooth texture (I hate a sticky gloss!)
  • The peachy coral tint looks amazing on everyone
  • Sheer, long wearing and not shimmery
  • Smells and tastes sorta fruity, but not over the top
  • Benefit Coralista Lip Gloss

Ok, now you have all the ammo needed to to say “Oh, makeup?  No, I just always look like this….”

And as the fabulous Calvin Klein so truthfully said:

“The best thing is to look natural, but it takes makeup to look natural.”



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