How to Master “No Makeup” Makeup

By Tara Thompson Rasmus

As fun as it can be to take one’s time to apply a full face of makeup and get everything exactly right, let’s be real: most of us busy ladies rarely have more than ten or so minutes to prep our faces for the day. Whether we’re prepping for work, the gym, or just wanting to polish ourselves up a bit for a day around the house, it’s helpful to have a beauty kit of dedicated “non-makeup makeup” items, or a few key products that just barely enhance your natural features so that you feel like your prettiest self.

While I acknowledge that these bare-bones enhancers might be different for everyone (for example, your must-have product might be brow pencil or mattifying powder), I’ve found that my picks usually include sheer pigments and moisturizing formulas, as they create the most natural finish. Check out my must-haves in the slideshow, and let me know: what are your no-makeup makeup solutions?

featured image via taylor marie hill


Physicians Formula Organic Wear Moisturizer

My first pick is a serious drugstore gem: this super-sheer tinted moisturizer is made with organic ingredients (including fresh lavender!), and it feels so soothing and refreshing to apply.

Dreamlit Under Eye Brightener

I wouldn’t even call this product a concealer, but a brightening tint that ever-so-slightly illuminates the eye area.

Tata Harper Volumizing Lip & Cheek Tint

I’ve tried lots of cream blushes, but this natural pick from Tata Harper takes the cake: its sheer shades and moisturizing formula create the most natural flush you can imagine.

Honest Beauty Luminizing Powder

If I’m feeling a little pallid (but don’t have the time or energy to go for a serious bronzer or contour situation), I fluff a bit of this bronze-ish illuminating powder all over my face and neck. It doesn’t read as a “tan” at all, but it makes me look a bit healthier and alive.

Spirit Beauty Lounge Ilia Illuminator

As a finishing touch on my face, a little bit of illuminator can go a long way. A simple, not-too-shimmery stick like this one from Ilia is easy: just swipe a bit on cheekbones and blend.

Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara

Don’t get me wrong: I love a “power brow” and enjoy spending time filling in and shaping my brows for special occasions, but on an everyday basis, I reach for a lightly tinted gel like this one from Maybelline. In about two seconds, my brows go from unruly to shapely—a total no-brainer.

bareMinerals 5 in 1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow

Next, I love a neutral, creamy eyeshadow applied all over the lid for just a bit of depth and definition on the eyelid.

Perricone MD No Mascara Mascara

To keep lashes natural but still add some length and color, I reach for a lash tint like this one from Perricone MD, which mixes conditioning ingredients with inky pigments for fluttery, soft lashes.

Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil

To finish off your natural-yet-lovely look, try the new trend in tints: lip oil. Like a tinted lip balm, but even more shiny and nourishing. These bright babies from Clarins are already a cult classic!