A closeup of three Glossier products held up in front of a door with the shadow from the blinds over it.

The Beauty of Less

By Paola Bakker
Web Content Contributor

It took me a while to understand the “no-makeup makeup” trend. I asked myself, “Why would I spend 30 minutes applying makeup to look like I’m not wearing any? What is the point of that?” If I was spending that much time applying makeup in the morning, I wanted people to know I had it on. As a huge fan of full coverage foundations and bold eyeshadow looks, I had a hard time changing my mind.

The makeup-less trend quickly gained traction when beauty influencers on YouTube and Instagram began posting their looks and tutorials, showing off what looked to be effortlessly glowing skin and naturally blushing cheeks. If you’re wondering what the heck I’m talking about, Jackie Aina made a tutorial showing her take on the trend.

This style of makeup gained a reputation on social media as “cool girl makeup.” It’s the kind of makeup that someone can throw on in a few minutes with just their fingertips and instantly look more put together. They don’t have time to do full glam makeup, they’re too busy being cool. The looks are reminiscent of model makeup, so very fresh, easy and focused on natural beauty.

Brands eventually started to pick up on this trend, and certain brands model their entire line after the idea of minimalist makeup, such as Glossier, Milk Makeup and Flesh Beauty. As each of these brands gained popularity, I thought, “Great, another makeup brand catered to naturally pretty girls with perfect skin.” At the time, I had severe hormonal acne and convinced myself the only way I could feel remotely attractive was by piling heavy makeup on. I thought there was no chance any product from these lines would work for me.

After a while, I started getting sick of the way my foundation would cling to my textured skin and look caked on. I thought I would give lighter makeup a try, and I had been sucked in by the countless Instagram ads I would see for these makeup brands, so I finally caved and placed a few fairly large online orders.

I was shocked that every product I tried on looked great on my skin and instantly made me feel more confident. The transformation of my skin from dull and textured to glowing and healthy amazed me. Instead of caking on foundation, I could use a full coverage concealer, like my Tarte Shape Tape, to hide my insecurities and pair it with these products, achieving a much fresher and skin-like appearance.

Like I said, this look is pretty quick and simple. Some of my favorite “no-makeup makeup” products for the skin and cheeks are the Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint, the Glossier Cloud Paint, the Flesh Beauty Fleshpot and the Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek Stick. For the brows I love Milk Makeup’s KUSH Fiber Brow Gel and for the lips I religiously use Glossier’s Generation G Lipsticks.

I realized these types of sheer products aren’t just for naturally pretty people, but they are to make people feel prettier in their own skin. It doesn’t require a high level of skill or a lot of time to use; just ten minutes and a pair of fingertips. While there is nothing wrong with the intense and full coverage makeup that many popular brands offer, these brands focus on beauty through minimalism.

Now, thanks to an endocrinologist and medication, the texture of my skin has drastically improved and my hormonal acne has calmed down. Foundation no longer clings to patches on my face, and despite this, I’ve still stuck to this exact makeup routine and have never looked back.

Sure, I like going heavier on the makeup for a night out, but nothing makes me feel better than a fresh and glowy face. If you’re looking to try some of these products but are worried about them simply not being enough, I recommend giving them a try and pairing them with heavier products to start out.

Featured image by Paola Bakker.

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