How to Look Like You’re Not Wearing Makeup

We’ve all seen girls overdo it on their beauty routine, slathering on whatever they can find in their makeup bag. But there’s no need to pile on the products for your everyday look! When it comes to wearing makeup, sometimes less is more. If you’re trying to appear put-together without going over the top, follow HC’s tips for how to look au naturel.


The key to any great look starts with your skin. Instead of resorting to cakey powders and other thick cover-up options, bring out your natural glow instead. If you can’t fathom leaving home without putting on a dab of coverage, don’t worry! You can still look natural and wear a full face of makeup.


Lisa Owens, a Metro-Detroit-area makeup artist and licensed aesthetician, recommends using tinted moisturizer instead of other dense foundations to provide coverage without looking and feeling weighed down.

“It’s a two-for-one: you get your moisturizer and you get sheer coverage,” she says. “It can help reduce redness and smaller problem areas to give you a flawless finish.  You don’t have to cover [tinted moisturizer] with powder, and so it will leave a natural-looking finish to the skin. It looks very under-done, which is nice.”

Clinique’s Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer ($27) or Stila’s Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer ($32) are perfect products to try out.

For collegiettes with tricky, more pronounced problem areas, such as harsh redness, breakouts or scarring, Owens says using mineral makeup, including light powders, will help you to flawlessly cover problem areas up and achieve a more natural look.

Bare Escentuals is a big one that is recommended, “ she says. “Many drugstore brands carry [mineral-based makeups], too. They are naturally derived mineral pigments that you brush into the skin with a Kabuki brush. By brushing it on, you get a nice, airbrushed finish to the skin. It appears more matte-like compared to the tinted moisturizer, and so it offers more coverage.”

Kelsey Pomeroy, a sophomore at Ohio State University, says she achieves her natural, everyday look with a few key products. “For a really easy, everyday look, I use Garnier BB Cream as a light foundation and finish by brushing Revlon PhotoReady translucent finisher over top. It evens out my complexion, but still looks sheer and natural.”

Matching and application

It can be frustrating to go through beauty product after beauty product and still be left without the right color for your skin tone. But it will pay off when you find a match!  Remember when people used to tell you to dab makeup onto your hand in order to see what looks best? Owens says this trick is a thing of the past, and has new tips for matching foundations and concealers.

“If you are considering a color or two, definitely take a sample of the product before buying,” Owens says. “If it’s a liquid, put a little bit on your fingers and start on your jaw and drag it down onto your neck. You should see no difference [for a match].”

You should also test out the product in natural lighting to see if it’s the right shade for you (and to avoid looking orange once you step outside!). Once you’ve found a flattering, natural-looking color, the next step is the application process.

“If you want a natural look, you need to focus on more targeted applications,” Owens says. “You don’t want to blanket your face in the whole product! Usually, I will focus on correcting under-eye circles, covering blemishes, etc., and so I don’t necessarily put the foundation and concealer on the entire face… that can end up looking mask-y.”

Another quick tip: for liquid foundations and tinted moisturizers, stay away from sponge applicators because they make it harder to blend and your makeup will appear blotchy once finished. Large brushes work wonders to buff the color into your skin evenly.

For your natural look, don’t toss aside your favorite bronzers. You can still look like you’re wearing minimal makeup and have some glowing color.  

“As far as bronzing, you want to hit the areas on the face that sun would naturally hit, such as the bridge of your nose, right underneath your cheekbones, on the chin and the center of the forehead,” Owens says. “You don’t really want to go more than a shade and a half to two shades darker than your skin tone if you’re trying to be really natural about it. It’s a great way to get a healthy glow to the skin without looking overly done.”

According to Owens, the tool you use to apply blush and bronzer is just as important as finding the right face makeup color. “If you use a nice, fluffy, dense brush, and you really work the product in and blend it, it’s going to look a lot more natural than if you just swipe it on and skip blending."