Skip to main content
MECCA Logo will take you to homepage on click

  • Book an appointment
How To

Is it makeup or just great skin?

January 1 | 4 minute read

No Makeup Makeup Look Hero 16x9

Words by Georgina Safe and Sherine Youseff

Originally published on | May 14

Trends come and go, but the ‘no-makeup makeup’ look is here to stay.

And it's not hard to understand why: it’s all about enhancing your natural features and celebrating what you already have.

Think: gorgeously flushed cheeks, sparkling eyes, just-bitten lips, beautiful brows and real skin – freckles, fine lines, texture, all of it! And, bonus: the ‘no-makeup makeup’ look also means less time spent getting ready in the morning (win!), less products to carry around in your handbag for touch-ups and simple techniques you won’t need a three-hour tutorial to master. It’s about looking fresh, effortless and natural. So whether you’re thinking about paring things back or just looking to change up your current style, our easy-to-follow ‘no-makeup makeup’ guide and edit of beauty essentials are the perfect place to start.

Skin prep is paramount

Before you pick up any makeup product, you have to get your canvas ready – and that means ensuring your skin is perfectly prepped and primed. As ‘no-makeup makeup’ puts the focus on your complexion, exfoliate and moisturise to ensure everything is as smooth and supple as possible. An enzyme or chemical – whether it’s a toner or mask – is a mess-free way of sweeping off anything that's making the surface of your skin look dull or feel uneven (like dead skin cells).

Follow with a serum and moisturiser that will plump and hydrate your skin (ingredients to look for include hyaluronic acid, ceramides and squalane. Now take a minute (or five) and let your skin drink everything up, before going in with your sun protection if you’re doing this look during the day. Choose SPF that's suited to your skin type or the skin finish you're after, whether that's a moisturising sunscreen if you tend to have dry skin, or a mattifying formula if you're prone to shine.

If you do have extra time, you might want to incorporate a hi-tech skin device, like a microcurrent tool or an LED face mask, to give your skin a spa-like glow.

Ace your base

For ‘no-makeup makeup’, you want everything to be light and layered, so only apply the products you think your skin needs. A hydrating primer will keep skin comfortable all day long, while an illuminating primer will add extra radiance if you prefer more sheen on your skin. Don’t be afraid to mix and match; you can opt for a mattifying primer on the T-zone where you’re prone to oiliness, and a hydrating or illuminating primer on the cheeks.

You might find that's enough, or maybe you feel like you need more coverage. Just remember, the ‘no-makeup makeup’ look is not about full coverage – so swap your foundation for a next-gen tinted moisturiser, tinted serum or tinted oil that delivers just enough to even out your skin tone and blur imperfections, while still letting all the good stuff (like your cute freckles!) shine through. If you feel like there are certain spots that need more coverage – such as a pesky pimple, discolouration around the eyes or redness around the nose – camouflage them with a touch of concealer, applied with a light hand.

Give your cheeks a glow-up

A cream blush is your best bet for a natural glow (save your powder blush for another time). Pat it onto cheeks and blend to diffuse the edges so it mimics a natural flush and becomes hard to tell where the flush starts and ends. A top makeup artist tip from our MECCA experts? Layer a cream cheek colour under, rather than over, your tinted moisturiser for the illusion of flushed, healthy cheeks! (You can also try this under a medium-coverage foundation.)

Now you're ready to highlight. Again, the goal is to brighten and lift in a subtle way – so proceed with caution. Take a creamy illuminator (this will melt in for a natural effect) and dab a tiny amount along the cheekbones, eyelids and Cupid's bow – and blend, blend, blend.

Make your arches golden

Brush up your brows with a slick of gel (tinted or clear) to keep hairs in place, and if you think you need more definition, skip the brow pencil and use a brow powder to add colour and shape while maintaining that soft, natural effect that we’re aiming for.

Hold the mascara

It’s a scary thought, we know, but no mascara is what makes this a ‘no-makeup makeup’ look! Instead, focus on creating length and definition by curling and combing your lashes with a clean mascara wand or spoolie.

Complete the rest of your eye look by applying a cream shadow in a neutral tone and blend out. The goal is to enhance the natural shape of your eyes with a subtle wash of colour – this is the opposite of full glam! Keep your eyeliner equally minimal; instead of a wing, try tightlining (also known as waterlining) with tiny dots of gel liner to fill in the gaps between each lash. This creates the illusion of slightly fuller lashes without going overboard.

Perfect your pout

Complete your look with a soft wash of colour on your lips, opting for either a tinted balm, stain, tint or sheer lipstick (pro tip: apply lipstick with your ring finger for a blotted finish that blends in beautifully with your natural lip tone). Another option is to pair a natural-looking lip liner with a subtle gloss or clear balm, which will make the lips appear slightly fuller.

More beauty news

Skip to content below carousel
Best Cream Makeup Hero 16x9

The only cream makeup you need for dreamy, dewy skin

June 1

Skip to content above carousel