How to nail no-makeup makeup


It’s that time of year when thoughts turn to languid beach days, convivial lunches and rowdy barbecues that flow into evening drinks. In beauty terms, summer is when the no-makeup makeup look comes into its own, delivering #wokeuplikethis dewy skin, flushed cheeks and sparkling eyes for every occasion under the sun. Crucially, it’s about looking fresh and flawless without appearing to have made any effort at all. But it can be trickier to pull off than you’d imagine, and there are some important new takes this year. We tapped three of Australia’s top makeup artists for their guidance on achieving a naturally radiant guise.

Skin prep

Ensure a glowing canvas by exfoliating and moisturising before applying any product. “I like using an enzyme exfoliator because it’s a mess-free way of literally sweeping away the dead skin cells on the surface,” says Gillian Campbell. “Now you’re ready for a toner or a serum.”

Rita Ora’s makeup artist of choice then applies moisturiser and allows it to soak in for several minutes before applying an SPF. “I like the Mecca SPF 30 because the texture is fairly matte, so it looks like skin rather than looking too greasy, and the Dermalogica SPF 50 skin booster if you want a more glowy texture.”

Masking regularly also keeps skin smooth and supple (try Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask to combat dullness and dryness), as does the application of products containing vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps soften existing lines while preventing new ones from forming. If you don’t like a heavy moisturiser, opt for Ren Radiance Perfecting Serum, a lightweight and light-giving wonder.

High-tech help

They call it the five-minute face lift for a reason, which is why Campbell swears by NuFACE, the hand-held device that uses microcurrent technology to firm the skin. “I bought one recently and it’s like taking your skin to the gym,” she says. “It’s an incredible device that takes five to 10 years off and you look so much more alert and fresh.”

Makeup maestro Linda Jefferyes is a fan of Dr. Dennis Gross SpectraLite EyeCare Pro LED Device. “My big thing at the moment is red light therapy and I’m obsessed with the Dr. Gross device for your eyes because it is incredibly effective,” says the artist who preps the faces of Margot Robbie, Miranda Kerr and Milly Bobbie Brown. “If you can invest in it, red light therapy is the one thing that is going to get your skin looking great.”

Foundation alternatives

When it comes to flaunting natural beauty in summer, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar makeup artist Peter Beard gravitates towards gossamer light tinted moisturisers. “Then just go in with a concealer for any areas of redness, like the nose and the forehead, and to even out discolouration around the chin and mouth and eyes,” he says.

This season, an even lighter option is the Kosas Tinted Face Oil. Part oil and part foundation, it suspends mineral pigments in a base of six botanical oils for sheer coverage that evens skin tone, minimises pores and erases imperfections. It goes on like a serum and leaves behind a perfecting layer of self-adjusting colour.

“You can build whatever coverage you desire,” says Kosas founder Sheena Yaitanes. “For medium coverage, massage two to four drops into skin using your fingertips. For fuller coverage, use four to six drops. For lighter coverage, use one drop and apply directly where desired.”

Beard’s secret weapon for a flawless face is Tatcha’s The Silk Canvas Protective Primer, a velvety balm that evens out the complexion and preps it for makeup. “It adds a soft-focus blur, so you need to use a lot less foundation or concealer,” he says. “Use it through the centre of the face and on the sides of the nose and on the forehead and it eliminates the need for a powder product and just gives a beautifully soft and fresh result.” Finish up with a hydrating setting spray such as Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist.

Exquisitely shaped arches

Brush up brows with a slick of Hourglass Arch Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel or Mecca Max Brow Guru Tinted Gel and channel Brooke Shields in a thoroughly modern way. “Use a coloured or clear brow gel and just heavy-up your brow a little bit to add a little definition to your face,” says Jefferyes.

Campbell uses a brow powder to add colour and shape—“I hate to see harsh lines, so the powder is a softer option”—then goes back in with a Kevyn Aucoin brow pencil to fill in any gaps.

Your lips but better

Complete your look with a tinted balm to add a wash of colour to your lips. Flaunt a popsicle pout with sheer lip colours such as Mecca Cosmetica Lip De-Luscious Glide, NARS Orgasm Lip Balm and Clinique Chubby Stick.

“The Clinique chubby pencils are my favourite for a sheer lip tint because they are really hydrating and create a just-bitten effect with a balmy texture,” says Campbell. “That’s the key for summer: leaning towards the balmier textures that are not super glossy or metallic. You want to look like you’ve been relaxing in a bath for hours and have just stepped out.”

As an alternative to lip tints, Beard suggests applying a regular lipstick with a lighter touch. “I like to use a matte lipstick that is a little deeper and richer in tone and just lightly apply it with my ring finger for a pretty stain. It’s a lighter layer but you’ve still got the depth of the colour.”

Fabulously flushed cheeks

Jefferyes suggests reaching for a cream blush instead of powder to get a natural glow, citing RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek, Stila Convertible Colour and Kosas Colour & Light Creme Palette. “The RMS products are so compact and easy have to in your bag, and they’re also incredibly simple to use,” adds Campbell.

When it comes to application, Beard advises layering a cream cheek colour under rather than over foundation for the illusion of flushed, healthy cheeks. “I would use something like the Stila Convertible Colour in a slightly deeper rosy tone, so it mimics the effect of blood under the skin,” he says. “Apply it after your moisturiser and sunscreen and then apply the tinted moisturiser around the blush just to diffuse the edges, so you’ve got the effect of fresh skin with a little bit of warmth that instantly makes you look more alive.”

Hold the mascara

“No mascara is a modern take on the no-makeup look,” says Jefferyes. “When you put mascara on it’s really obvious that you’re wearing it, so get a heated eyelash curler and curl your lashes instead.”

Stay away from powder shadow or too much eyeliner—in the harsh summer light both are immediately apparent. If doing without mascara feels too confronting, Beard suggests tightlining your eyes with tiny dots of a gel liner, filling in the gaps between each lash, and applying a cream shadow in a natural tone.

Brighten up

“In the past the no-makeup look was very much about bronzer and contouring but now it’s more about brightening the face with illumination,” says Beard. RMS Beauty Living Luminizer, Mecca Cosmetica Enlightened Lit From Within Illuminating Balm and the Kosas blush and highlighter duos all offer subtle highlights, and should be deployed judiciously.

“Especially in summer, when it’s so hot and humid, I’d use them strategically, so it looks more like a glow than oiliness,” says Beard. “I’d dab them on the cheekbones, a tiny bit down the centre of the nose, one dab on each eyelid and a tiny bit on the cupid’s bow.”

Another brightening multitasker is the Hourglass Vanish Flash Highlighting Stick, which melts seamlessly into the skin for a cool-girl highlight.

Perfectly imperfect

“I really love imperfections in the skin,” adds Campbell. “So, once you’ve done all your makeup I think it’s really beautiful when people go back in and enhance a few little freckles or beauty spots or moles that make them who they are. Once I’ve finished with applying a base, I use an eyebrow pencil to make those imperfections that are your individuality stand out a little. Makeup should be about celebrating the individual that is you.”

Words by Georgina Safe
January 2019


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