Without a doubt, 2020 has been the year of the most minimal of makeup looks. Of course, you're plenty welcome to wear whatever makeup aesthetic floats your boat any time, but for us, our goal is to achieve the ultimate no-makeup makeup look à la It girls like Kendall Jenner, Emily Ratajkowski, Chrissy Teigen, Hailey Bieber, the Hadid sisters.
That said, even though achieving a minimal makeup look sounds simple enough (and looks barely detectable on IG), any artist behind said looks will tell you they require heftier strategy, work, and products than you might think. Thus, we tapped one of the best makeup celebrity makeup artists in the business, Mary Phillips, to give us the 411 on the signature no-makeup makeup look she personally gifts all the gorgeous peeps listed above with. And yes, there are some tips and misconceptions about no-makeup makeup she wants you to know. For starters, skincare is important, but it's not everything.
"I think a big misconception about achieving a minimal makeup look is that people just do their skin and nothing else," she tells us right off the bat. "Makeup is required, and it's important to include eyes, lips, and cheeks so the look is still balanced."
According to Phillips, less is still definitely more when it comes to the products you're piling (or not piling) on, but strategically adding pops of color all over the face is key in order to give your face dimension and to achieve that covetable "sculpted" makeup MO models like Jenner and Bieber have made their trademark. (Oh, and using multipurpose products is an easy way to achieve a monochromatic, minimal look with the least amount of formulas.)
"Take time to experiment with products and see what makes you feel the most confident," Phillips adds. "Using quality products that you are comfortable with will help you achieve a no-makeup makeup look with ease." Want more? Here, Phillips shares her six best tips for nailing a perfect no-makeup makeup look along with her simple, 10-step process below. Keep scrolling!
Her Top 6 Tips for No-Makeup Makeup
1. Hydration, Hydration, Hydration!
"Healthy, hydrated skin is the best place to start for any makeup look, especially a minimal, no-makeup makeup look," Phillips explains first and foremost. "I'm a firm believer in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and drinking plenty of water along with following a skincare regimen to keep skin looking and feeling its best. If your skin is in good shape, you'll need less coverage and your products will go on so much more smoothly."
For those who experience redness or are easily prone to sensitivity and irritation, Phillips recommends applying La Mer's The Concentrate ($390) before following it up with a light layer of the brand's cult-loved Crème de La Mer ($190) for optimal nourishment and moisture.
2. Choose a Buildable Foundation Formula
"Use a foundation with buildable coverage so you can apply to areas that need more coverage without overdoing the whole face," warns Phillips.
She personally swears by La Mer's Luminous Lifting Cushion Foundation ($125) since you can easily buff it into the skin for a lightweight, natural, and radiant finish.
3. Prioritize Cream-Based Makeup Products
"For a seamless no-makeup makeup look, I always recommend using cream-based products that will adhere and blend more naturally into the skin," explains Phillips.
"The Nudestix Nudies formula has a great texture for adding natural dimension to the face, and layering both matte and sheen finishes is a great way to achieve a fresh, dimensional glow. Nudestix Nudies Matte Blush & Bronze in Sunkissed ($32) and Nudies Allover Face Color Bronze + Glow in Hey, Honey ($32) is one of my favorite combinations."
4. Go for Earthy, Natural Colors
When you're choosing your makeup and color palette, Phillips recommends choosing natural colors that will complement your skin tone to slightly enhance and define your features. She prefers a "soft and smudgy" application technique, which looks subtler and more believable than hard, more obviously defined lines.
5. Use Powder sparingly
Powder—you either love it or hate it, but if you're the former and insist on using it within your makeup routine, Phillips recommends using it sparingly and only on the specific areas you get oily or want more matte. This way, she says, your natural skin can shine through, which is a key fixture of the perfect no-makeup makeup moment. She loves La Mer's Sheer Pressed Powder for effortlessly blurring away imperfections and unwanted shine.
6. Mist for No-Makeup Makeup Maintenance
"To keep your makeup looking fresh, lightly touch up throughout the day and refresh with a hydrating mist to keep skin dewy and rejuvenated."
Her Exact Step-by-Step Process
"I always start a no-makeup makeup application by warming up Crème de La Mer in my hands and applying it to both the face and décolletage."
"For extra coverage, I next apply concealer under the eyes, around the nostrils, and on top of any blemishes that may need extra coverage."
"To create a soft contour, I like to apply a cream-based blush-and-bronzing stick with a brush underneath the cheekbones, along the jawline, and around the temples and forehead for warmth and dimension."
"Followed by applying this stick with my fingers to highlight areas for a golden, dewy glow!"
"Then, I lightly dust sheer pressed powder to any place I don't want shine."
"For brows, I'll add definition and fill in any sparse areas with this brow pencil from Senna Cosmetics."
"Next, I love to use this long-wearing eye shadow pencil from Nudestix along the lash line to define the eyes. The Taupe shade is my go-to for an effortless, no-makeup makeup look."
"Followed with a light coat of Armani's Eyes to Kill Mascara."
"Last but not least, I like to use a tinted balm formula on lips for sheer color and hydration. This one is always in my purse!"
This article was published at an earlier date and has since been updated.