So, what’s the deal with ‘No-makeup makeup’?!

*At the bottom of this post (scroll down if you wish) is my “no-makeup” makeup look, complete with products used.*


The phrase may sound like a total oxymoron, but what it refers to is actually a coveted and well-rehearsed beauty practice. If you google the term, you’re going to find countless articles, videos, and photos pertaining to this topic, with each one attempting to educate you on wearing makeup to appear as though you’re wearing none.

You may be asking yourself; “If you want to look like you’re wearing no makeup, why not simply wear none?.” Aha. Very good question. I think the answer would vary depending on who you ask, much like the tutorials on how to achieve this look range from more makeup than I would personally ever wear to the bare minimum of beautification.  Here’s my take.
Some women are totally comfortable to rock a completely bare face, and look beautiful doing it. To these Goddesses, I raise my glass. Makeup should never be viewed as a “have-to” thing, and if any given woman feels sexier, more confident and more herself without it, then I am in complete support of that.
However, there are many of us (and I say ‘us’ because I’m obviously included in this group), who are not so comfortable exposing our flaws to the general public. And it’s not just about hiding flaws, but also accentuating the features we love and giving them pops of colour. Makeup can do this. If you want to accomplish this, makeup is your friend, not your enemy.
Just like there’s nothing wrong with walking freshly scrubbed and bare faced into this crazy world of ours, there’s absolutely no harm in walking out there armed with a few little extras on your face to pull your look together. Depending on you, and depending on the day, this can mean a full face of makeup with each feature impeccably preened, or it can mean a touch of makeup here and there to conceal your flaws and bring out your perfection.
For me, “no-makeup” makeup is all about using the least amount of products possible, with the lightest touch possible. This is intended to create a look that is obviously you, just a little bit enhanced, with a little more colour and a few less red (or yellow, or purple, or whatever!) spots.
When I do  “no-makeup” makeup, I try to think of the minor things I would change about myself if I could, and attempt to accomplish those changes as best I can with as little as I can. This means: darker, longer lashes, permanently fresh, glowing cheeks, slightly darker lips and zero under eye circles. I tend to spot conceal and skip foundation most of the time, but for those of you who wouldn’t dream of a foundation-free face, I’d suggest either a lighter application, or even a tinted moisturizer, if it’s important to you that you really do look like you’re not wearing makeup.
If you’re totally set on wearing foundation, no worries. Just add the foundation and follow the rest of the routine.
The Elegant Rebel’s No-Makeup makeup routine:
1) Skin care, skin care, skin care!! The first step in looking beautiful and healthy is taking care of your precious skin. Cleanse, tone, moisturize and apply sunscreen (in that order), then finish with any treatments you like to use. For me, using natural, non-toxic and paraben-free products that are usually organic is very important and has done wonders for my skin. Last year I did a makeup and skin care purge after making an informed decision to pay closer attention to the ingredients in the products I was putting on my face. I disposed of hundreds of dollars worth of cosmetics and skin care, without guilt. I feel better and truly do look better and younger as a result.
2) Face: as I mentioned earlier, I just do a spot conceal. I first use a colour correcting yellow concealer (to minimize minor red spots and conceal under-eye circles), and go over those areas with a cream concealer that matches my skin tone, using a concealer brush to dab at the spots and blend the edges around them in feathery strokes. Sometimes I’ll do a very light application of mineral foundation, but I’ll typically just stick with the concealer and maybe a sheer wash of tinted moisturizer.
3) Cheeks: I only use one blush shade for  “no-makeup” makeup. I stay away from a cheekbone shade and a highlighter and stick to a blush for just the apples. To determine the most natural shade that would give me a healthy looking flush, I went for a run and studied my cheeks afterwards, then picked the blush that most closely resembled that rosy colour. Using that blush, I swirl my blush brush once around, tap off the excess and apply lightly to the apples.
4) Lips: I use either a lip stain, just a touch of well blended lipstick , or a coloured balm that closely resembles my natural lip colour, with a very natural looking liner if I want a bit more definition. Nobody’s lips are naturally glossy or glittery, (and if you’re the other-worldly exception to this, you MUST introduce yourself, because you’re amazing), so I keep it neutral and matte.
5) Eyes: The only eyeshadow I use when applying this type of look is a light coppery-brown in my crease and outer corners, applied very lightly to give just the tiniest bit of definition. Obviously I’m very fair, so the darker your skin tone, the darker your definition colour will be.
I curl my lashes to give them a lift and a bit of natural looking length and apply one coat of a deep brown mascara. I don’t use black because my lashes are naturally blonde, so deep brown looks more realistic. If your lashes are naturally dark, use black, but not a super intense one, and stick to a mascara that gives you a bit of a boost, but not a false fan of dramatic lashes.
Then I line my water line with a white liner and blend it with a smudging brush. This makes the eyes appear larger and brighter.
That’s it! It’s a lot simpler than most of the  “no-makeup”  looks I’ve seen, and it may not be what you’re after, but it really works for me.
It’s all about what makes you feel most beautiful and confident. If that means a four-toned eye, false lashes, foundation, blush and lipstick, all the power to you. If it means a swipe of clear lip balm and nothing else, run with it.
After all, it’s only makeup. The real beauty is on the inside. But when you look your best, you feel your best. And when you feel your best, you look your best. How to accomplish that is entirely up to you, and no matter how you do it, you are beautiful!
My “no-makeup” makeup look:

Products used:

Derma-e Glycolic facial cleanser, Avalon Organics COQ10 Wrinkle Defense Perfecting facial Toner, Derma-e DMAE-Alpha Lipoic C-Ester Creme. 100 Percent Pure Coffee Bean eye cream. Painted Earth Powder Mineral Camouflage concealer in Saffron(colour corrective) Painted Earth concealer from the pro concealer palette (second lightest shade). Painted Earth mineral shadow in Polished Copper, Revlon eyelash curler, Painted Earth High definition mascara in Espresso, Annabelle eyeliner in Glow. Key Botanicals blush in Rose petal, Annabelle lip liner in Spice, Key Botanicals berry creamy lip colour in Rose berry.

I washed and conditioned my hair with the new Giovanni 2Chich Ultra-moist collection (Avocado and olive oil=amazing!) and let it air dry.

Big, beautiful love,

The Elegant Rebel


12 thoughts on “So, what’s the deal with ‘No-makeup makeup’?!

  1. Would you mind giving a write up on the products you disposed of, and the ingredients to avoid? =) It would make a great post! And really educational, I still know next to nothing about skin care, haha. I really enjoyed reading this post. =)

    1. Hi beautiful! This link is a great reference for ingredients to avoid if possible.

      It can be very difficult to find cosmetics that eliminate every single one, but IS possible (brands like Painted Earth, Key Botanicals and 100 percent pure are great choices. Painted Earth is obviously my favourite). I’m guilty of using a product now and again that contains at least one, but even if you start by buying a few products that don’t contain them, and replacing a few that do, that’s a great place to begin. I’m not out to bad-mouth people who use cosmetics that do have these ingredients, nor the brands that use them. It’s a personal choice and once I educated myself, I felt very strongly about it! Unfortunately, it does cut out a lot of brands I loved that carry really great cosmetics (great except for the ingredients), but it’s totally worth it to me, especially now that I know you don’t have to sacrifice quality for healthy ingredients. It’s great that you’re interested in the subject. Xo

      1. None of those products are available in Singapore. D= I’ll just have to check up on ingredients lists, I think Body Shop would be a good alternative. Problem is, I do a lot of makeup for stage so I need brands like MAC for the high pigmentation otherwise it won’t show up under stage lights.

      2. Painted Earth is highly pigmented! That’s too bad that they’re not available in Singapore! They won’t ship there? Yeah I understand your dilemma! Actually the Body Shop does use parabens, which I found shocking!

  2. I love the “no makeup” makeup look! I sometimes wear it and my boyfriend says “ooh, you look so pretty without makeup” and I lie and pretend I actually don’t have any 😀

  3. Congrats! You really look like someone without makeup. I don’t usually wear makeup and when I do, I go for the bare look. 🙂

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