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Minimalist Makeup

Beauty trends come and go, but accentuating your authentic, natural features, aka looking like your best self, never goes out of style — which is precisely where minimalist makeup comes in. Minimalist makeup is a mix of skincare, no-makeup makeup, as well as using fewer products in a smarter way. Think skin-perfecting tinted moisturizers, foolproof brow gels, and multitasking color pigments to achieve a natural-like glow perfect for daily wear. The goal is low-key effort for high-impact results. Here’s a rundown of what products to include and steps to take for a minimalist makeup look.

The basics to be found in a minimalist makeup bag include a lightweight foundation, concealer, brow gel, mascara, blush/lip combo, highlighter, and powder. However, coverage is subjective; a full face of makeup to one person could be sheer to another. Minimal implies less product, so whatever is less than what you would normally wear, then that is minimal for you. I personally include bronzer and eyeliner in my minimalist makeup routine, while others may not need concealer or lip color.

Another way to think of minimalist makeup is your-skin-but-better makeup, so proper skin care is a must. Well-prepped skin, aka exfoliated and hydrated, gives you a beautiful glow, which helps you use fewer cosmetic products. I prefer to exfoliate after a shower the night before and then focus on hydration in the morning using mists, serums, eye cream, SPF, and an overall face moisturizer before applying any makeup. Wait, isn’t this about using fewer products? Yes, fewer cosmetics, but there’s no skimping when it comes to skincare with minimalist makeup.

Once your skin is prepped, next even out your complexion using a tinted moisturizer or light foundation. If you find you desire more coverage, you can build up and apply more product, but start with a light touch. If you’re just looking to spot correct or conceal any areas of concern, you may not need all-over application. Using concealer may do the trick without having to apply foundation first. And vice versa, if minimal full-face coverage evens everything out, no need for concealer.

The next step in the minimalist process is perfecting your brows. You can use a clear brow gel or mascara or opt for a tinted formula to shape and enhance eyebrows. I start with a clean mascara to prep my arches, then fill in sparse hairs with a brow pencil, and set with tinted brow mascara. There are powder-based brow shadows that, if you’re deft enough, can result in natural-looking fullness.

After brows come lashes, you can enhance your natural lashes with a clean mascara to separate each lash to lift and lengthen. Clumpier formula mascara or faux lashes are a bit too glamorous for a minimalist take on daily makeup.

While you could certainly call it a minimalist makeup day with an evened complexion, brows, and lashes, you can also amp up a no-makeup makeup look with a gentle sweep of color to the cheeks from a liquid or cream blush. Or, better yet, a multitasking lip and cheek balm for an additional pop of color on the mouth. You want a shade that gives you a healthy flush to the face, not anything too bold or vibrant. You can also add a bit of accent to your face with a subtle highlight. Just remember the goal is to make it look like it could be your skin, so nothing too shiny or glimmery.

Set your face with a light touch of finishing powder, which is a useful step for warmer months and for those with oily skin types. If you’re on the dryer side or loose powder isn’t to your liking, try a light-reflecting pressed setting powder. And if you haven’t before now worked in some SPF or sunblock, use a brush-on powder with a mineral-based sunblock to set and protect your skin.

Round out your look with a tinted lip balm or oil for a soft, pretty lip moment. And lastly, spritz on some scent. This is not a necessary step for minimalist makeup, but I always find it a nice way to end any beauty routine, whether you’re glamming up for a fancy event or just wanting to put your best face forward on a quick grocery run.