In theory, ‘no makeup’ makeup should not be a thing that exists.
Why spend time, energy and money buffing and blending expensive products into your skin to make it look like… well, your skin?
That’s the key though. You don’t want to look like you’re wearing a stack of makeup, right? You want to look like you, but on your very, very best day.
At least, I do. Hence, I spend hours scrolling Instagram for tips from beauty bloggers, when I really ought to be sleeping.
This week, British beauty influencer Elle McNamara shared her go-to ‘no makeup’ makeup routine on her Instagram account @bambidoesbeauty.
It was enlightening. Things were learned.
A quick look at her fresh, dewy face is proof enough the woman knows what she’s doing when it comes to makeup that looks like your skin, but better.
Here are four big takeaways from Elle’s ‘no makeup’ makeup routine to try immediately.
1. Skin first, makeup second.
Rather than forking out for wonder foundations and exxy setting powders, Elle reckons investing in your skin is the most effective way to nail the ‘no makeup’ look.
This means committing to a comprehensive, targeted skincare routine, and being consistent about it.
As a beauty influencer, Elle tests and uses hundreds of different products, but the key steps always stay the same:
Double cleanse, acid exfoliation, face serum/oil, moisturiser and sunscreen. If you’re feeling really luxe, a sheet mask drenched in serum like the Garnier Moisture Bombs Sheet Masks (three for $11.97) is also a great way to kick of your makeup routine.
Unfortunately, skincare is a long burn project. You won’t see results as quickly as you would by applying foundation, but in three to six months time, you’ll notice the difference.
2. Skip foundation
Ludicrous! you cry. And for some people, this is true.
Not everyone feels comfortable going without foundation, regardless of how their skin looks.
BUT if you do feel semi-good about your skin and want to try wearing less makeup on a day-to-day basis, Elle’s no foundation trick might be for you.
First, the blogger uses an instant tanning gel in place of foundation to add colour and glow, without the cakeiness of foundation. Her go-to product also happens to be really cheap, it’s the Rimmel Sun Shimmer Instant Tan Matte ($6.69), and she applies a tiny bit using a flat-topped foundation brush.
This method isn’t for everyone – try using a bronzing gel or primer, or mixing a liquid bronzer in with your primer or tinted moisturiser for a toned down alternative. Nude by Nature Body Glow Gel ($14.99), Benefit Sun Beam Complexion Highlighter ($29.99) and Mecca Cosmetica Sun Kissed bronzing Primer ($40) work well too.
Then, she covers up any blemishes (yes, people on Instagram get pimples too) with a hardworking concealer. You can apply either with your ring finger, or using a small brush directly over the spot for heavier coverage.
3. Soap brows
Now, this one’s a bit odd, but have you seen Elle’s brows? They’re pretty amazing. You might also be surprised to know all she puts on them most days is soap.
Yes, the stuff you wash your hands with.
Elle swears by Soap Brows, a UK product handmade from veggie and plant-based ingredients. Like a regular bar of soap, this particular product doesn’t contain any colour or pigment, but it makes brows look fuller and fluffier thanks to the formula’s waxy oils.
Before Soap Brows was created, styling brows with a bar of soap was reportedly an old Hollywood trick. To try this technique at home, grab either Soap Brows or a plain bar of soap and coat a mascara spoolie in the product. Brush through your brows, working the spoolie up and outwards. Elle also suggests tapping the product in with your finger to make sure the soap is fully pressed into your brows.
4. The anti-contour
Haven’t figured out how to master contouring yet? Don’t stress, because Elle has something better for you.
It’s called the anti-contour and it’s a quick and easy way to look like you’ve been holidaying in Europe, minus the Instagram stories.
Basically, this technique involves applying colour to the parts of your face you’d miss when contouring. Rather than chiselling under your cheekbones and down the sides of your nose, run a matte brozer over the high, fleshy points of your face with a big, fluffy brush for a healthy, flushed finish.
Think the tops of your cheeks, the bridge of your nose, over your eyes and the top of your forehead – everywhere that gets red when you forget to reapply sunscreen.
Apply your highlighter as usual and voila, you’re ready to brag about your summer holiday than never actually happened.
Want to watch Elle’s full no makeup makeup routine? Check it out on the @bambidoesbeauty saved Instagram stories.
Do you feel comfortable wearing little to no makeup? What are your favourite makeup tips?