At the time of writing this post, all the red carpet looks from the oscars are now taking over social media, and the first thing I noticed this year was how many women went for a barely there makeup look, gone were the false lashes, instead very minimal eye looks and your lips but better. I actually think barely there makeup can be tricky, especially if you suffer from redness or acne prone skin for (this video shows how to cover both), but there are certain techniques I rely on time and time again to create what I like to think of as barely there makeup, or ‘no makeup makeup’ if you like.
For me all the focus has to be on the skin, if you get the skin right, everything else just falls into place. You can opt for any kind of finish to the skin, matte or dewy, but it should look like skin. These beautiful images were from a recent campaign for the clothing brand Land Of Distraction, that I had the pleasure of doing the makeup for (which have the most beautiful lust worthy pieces btw). This campaign was all about the raw textures, the fabrics, the landscape and keeping the skin paired back and real. I absolutely love this aesthetic and it’s one I get asked about a lot so I thought this would be a great example to show you what I use to create a look that focuses on the skin and barely there makeup.
The first thing to consider is the prep. Perhaps the most essential part of creating this kind of makeup. You need to know the skin you are working with, ask yourself what products will make it look the best under makeup? So if you have an oily skin you want to mattify, and if you have very dry skin you are going to need to add a lot of moisture back into the skin, and remove any surface dryness that you can should it be visible. One of my go to tricks for dead skin thats sitting on the surface, is Skyn Iceland’s Nordic Peel Pads. These remove the dull skin, or any dryness that is sat on the surface, it exfoliates in a very gentle and effective way, before adding anything topical to the skin.
Next its about giving back to the skin, and this is where I’ll use a tightening serum, a sheet mask or some kind of quick treatment to penetrate the skin, helping it look better on the outside. I’m a huge fan of SK11 Facial Treatment Masks, as well as Kate Somerville Serums. I also really like under eye gels, Elemis and Skyn Iceland do great one, just to left any darkness or puffiness under the eyes.
To finish the prep I often use a hydrating spritz just to seal it in, and finish with a moisturiser that works with the skin type in question and one that doesn’t interfere with the makeup but adds to an overall healthy looking appearance. In my pro kit I’m a huge fan of Creme De La Mer Moisturising Matte Lotion, as well as Chanel Solution 10 and Caudalie’s Moisturisers are also a go to.
When it comes to base application I think theres two options, either opt for a higher coverage foundation and use the tinniest amounts only where you need it or opt for a very sheer base and then conceal only where needed. I tend to opt for the latter. For me the bases I really enjoy for this kind of look include Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturisers and Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint. Both have a lovely transparency that allow the freckles to show through and the skins natural texture while giving a more unified look to the skin.
With a barely there approach to makeup, things like the brows have more significance. Look at any gaps that very gently may need filling in, follow the natural direction of the brow hairs. This is about grooming, not perfecting. Brow Gels are my go to for this kind of look, both with pigment and without, and I’ve really been enjoying the new Arch Brow Shaping Gels from Hourglass as they come in a great variety of shades.
For colour, it should mimic the natural tones in the skin, look for rosy tones, and colours the skin turns when it naturally flushes. I love Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blush and Ellis Faas Blush pens as these become apart of the skin rather than sitting on top. Mascara is optional, for this look I just wiggled it into the roots of the lashes and used a clean spoolie to remove excess product to keep the lashes looking real and soft.
To see more examples of a barely there makeup look for every budget I made this video which shows some more tips and tricks for no makeup makeup. Hope this was helpful and let me know if you’ll be trying this trend.
Photos by Alessio Boni for Land Of Distraction
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