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Low-Maintenance Natural Makeup

By Elena Donovan Mauer
Posted On Sep 01, 2020
Low-Maintenance Natural Makeup

How to apply makeup to give you an “I woke up like this” look.

By Elena Donovan Mauer

The heat is on, and we are willing to bet you’d rather not look like you caked on thick layers of makeup. Summer is all about low-maintenance, natural beauty, and that spirit has never been more on-trend than now.

The natural makeup look is a big departure from the elaborate contouring and heavy cosmetics we regularly see from celebrities like Kim Kardashian. The goal here is to play up your features, not cover up or change them. And it’s everywhere. Fashion models are strutting down runways with little visible makeup, and boldfaced stars such as Reese Witherspoon, Julianne Moore, and Jennifer Aniston are paring down the war paint. As a result, they’re all looking effortlessly, refreshingly gorgeous.

Natural makeup is easy to pull off and calls for less product than heavy styles. That said, you do need a bit of know-how, says Jamie Harper, a celebrity makeup artist who specializes in creating a natural look. (Harper has worked with Paulina Rubio and Gabrielle Union.) Here, she tells us how to achieve it ourselves.

Moisturize First

Begin with moisturized skin. Harper recommends Murad Essential-C Day Moisture SPF 30 to help block the sun’s rays as it smoothes skin. It’s fortified with vitamin C for extra nourishment.

Forget Foundation

Skip thick foundation, which can look cakey and unnatural. Instead, apply moisturizer, then use concealer on discolorations or pimples you’d like to diminish. Harper likes Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, because it’s comes in two tones. Use a lighter shade under your eyes and one that more closely matches your skin tone on other parts of your face.

Follow Up With Powder

With a brush, apply a great powder such as MAC Skinfinish Natural Powder all over your face. Mineral powders could make sensitive skin break out, says Harper, so experiment to find the one that works with your skin type.

If you’re feeling ambitious, add a little highlighter in the center of your face to brighten it up, but don’t if you’re not comfortable with it. It’s easy to mess, according to Harper. She likes Lorac TANtalizer Highlighter & Matte Bronzer Duo.

Bolden Eyes

Who doesn’t want to make their eyes the highlight of their face? Even though it might seem more natural to use brown mascara, black works on everyone, says Harper, even blondes. “I carry brown mascara in case a client asks for it,” she says. “I think I use it only once every two years!”

Mascara is the perfect place to save money. L’Oréal Voluminous Original Mascara is a drugstore mascara that’s really popular and totally fine to use, she says. If you want to splurge, go for Dior, Givenchy, or Lorac. Use non-waterproof, since waterproof formulas tend to be harsher and harder to remove. Only use waterproof for, say, a wedding where you know you’ll cry.

Reserve Liner for Nighttime

Throw a little eyeliner, such as MAC Eye Pencil in Coffee or Taupe, in your bag to take your look from day to night with a simple lining or subtle cat-eye. Don’t forget Q-tips, which can easily correct any liner mistakes you might make and blend your lines to make them look straighter and more natural.

Skip the shadow during the day. At night, if you want to emphasize your eyes, but keep a natural look, use a little shimmer the same color as your lid.

Don’t Neglect Brows

Achieving the perfect brow keeps your “no-makeup look” from looking sloppy. Harper loves Anastasia Beverly Hills Bold Brow Kit, as well as the Senna Sketch-a-Brow Kit, which comes with a precision-tip pen to easily fill in sparse areas and streamline shape. A common mistake is to go too dark, so err on the lighter side when choosing an eyebrow pencil shade.

Get Glowing

Some people naturally blush and others don’t. If you do, replicate that color when you choose your shade. If you don’t, head to the makeup counter and try out a variety of shades to discover which one looks the most natural on you.

Use powder blush, such as La Femme Blush-On Rouge, and lightly layer it on. Apply it with a round brush, starting out with just a little bit and building layers until you achieve a natural-looking, blended color.

Perfect Your Pout

For lips, you can’t go wrong with a little gloss. Smith’s Rosebud Salve is an old standby that moisturizes, adds subtle shine, and provides a little tint. Lip-gloss choice tends to be personal, since some people prefer different consistencies. Harper likes Lorac Lip Lustre Gloss in peach. Nudes, light pinks, and peaches are particularly hot right now, according to Harper.

And with that, we say go ahead and post a selfie. Tell everyone #iwokeuplikethis.