Many of us are choosing to skip full-on makeup these days and opting for a minimal makeup look. Embracing a bronzed glow or a minimal makeup look gives off a more natural vibe that translates well, notes Meredith Baraf, a celebrity makeup artist in New York. The secret to pulling off this look requires a modest collection of products that expands well beyond cosmetics. It starts with focusing on the health of your skin. “If your skin looks rested, hydrated and happy, your makeup can simply accent your natural beauty,” says Baraf.

Ready to rock the minimal makeup look on your next Zoom call? Incorporate these expert tips into your day-to-day regimen.

1. Start With a Clean Canvas

One of the most essential elements to creating a flawless, low-key look is starting with freshly cleaned skin. Work in a hydrating cleanser that dissolves any existing makeup and impurities on the skin while simultaneously giving the skin a boost of antioxidants. IMAGE Skincare’s VITAL C Hydrating Facial Cleanser does just that thanks to ingredients like vitamin C and superoxide dismutase, which fight against free radicals lurking in the environment that cause oxidative stress in the skin. It also contains soapwort, a cleansing botanical extract that has soothing properties.

2. Add in Hydration

To combat dryness and keep skin as supple as possible so that your makeup goes on smoothly, it’s best to up your hydration game. Be sure to use a lightweight moisturizer that’s not too heavy but rich in texture, like Sunday Riley’s ICE Ceramide Moisturizing Cream. The formula is enriched with ceramides and vitamin F, which help protect the skin’s barrier and maintain proper hydration levels. It also contains coconut, which reduces moisture loss and red algae to lock in hydration.
For an even higher dose of hydration, use SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier—its key ingredient, hyaluronic acid, can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water! It also goes the extra mile by containing purple ride extract, which preserves the hyaluronic acid content in the skin.

3. Protect With SPF

If skin health is truly important to you, you shouldn’t leave the house without SPF. Tara Dowburd, a makeup artist and founder of Make-Up Therapy in Los Angeles, recommends applying a color-correcting cream that contains a high SPF, like Supergoop’s CC Screen 100% Mineral CC Cream SPF 50. In addition to containing SPF protection, it is made from a mineral-based antioxidant-rich formula that does more than just shield your skin from the sun—it also gives your skin a dewy glow, evens skin tone and leaves a non-greasy finish.

4. Set Your Base

To help create a smooth look upon which you can apply the rest of your makeup, you’ll want to use a skin-friendly foundation (i.e. one that won’t clog pores and make you break out). “This helps even out your skin tone and it helps to protect your skin from environmental pollution and toxins,” explains Dowburd. She recommends applying a powder foundation, like bareMinerals ORIGINAL Loose Mineral Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15, with a powder brush. The plus side to using a powder foundation is that it doesn’t clog pores or cause breakouts. This one by bareMinerals, in particular, is made from mineral, non-chemical ingredients that contain SPF to help protect your skin against the sun’s harmful rays.

5. Impart a Subtle Tint

If you are going for a glowing, radiant look, make sure not to forget a highlighter. “Highlighting helps the makeup look more dimensional and also adds a fresh feel when the light hits those highlighted points,” says Jessika Bekteshi, a makeup artist based in New York. She’s a big fan of RMS Beauty’s Master Radiance Base, because of its ability to luminize the skin and unveil a natural glow. “Use your finger and gently dab the highlighter to your cheekbones, inner corner of the eyes and your cupid’s bow, making sure to blend for a seamless, natural look,” she says.

6. Give Brows a Grooming

For a timeless minimal makeup look, you’ll definitely not want to forget your brows. “The brows frame the face and are equally as important as the rest of your makeup,” says Bekteshi. You can fill them in easily and provide shaping and smoothing with a product like Kevyn Aucoin’s The Precision Brow Pencil. “In addition to the wide range of colors, this pencil is super slim, which allows for a more precise and controlled application,” says Dowburd. “Plus it glides on and stays on beautifully.”

7. Accentuate Your Features

To give your skin that sunkissed glow and accentuate your natural features, add a pop of pigment to your cheekbones. A subtle dab of Kjaer Weis Cream Blush to the apples of your cheeks delivers a rosy flush. It comes in five different hues and is infused with skin-loving ingredients like jojoba oil for moisture, gardenia extract, which provides antioxidant benefits, and rsa rubiginosa seed oil to help fight signs of premature aging.

8. Add a Finishing Touch

Lastly, apply a thin coat of waterproof mascara to enhance your eyes. “There’s nothing more gorgeous than a woman wearing a soft application of mascara, that shows off her beautiful flirty lashes,” says Brandy Gomez-Duplessis, a makeup artist and co-founder of Entitled Beauty in Hawaii. For an optimal effect, use a mascara that offers both volumizing and lengthening benefits like Wander Beauty’s Mile High Club Volume and Length Mascara. It’s infused with castor seed oil, which coats the lashes with moisture, peach leaf extract to prevent breakage and trehalose to strengthen strands.

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How can I look good in minimal makeup?

Skin First. This look is all about glowing, natural skin. ... Prime your base. ... Go light on the coverage. ... Use a lightweight concealer for blemishes. ... Cream everything. ... Dew is your friend. ... Fake the flush. ... Brush Up Brows.


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