The ‘no makeup’ makeup look


Makeup is wonderful. It lifts confidence and allows us to be creative, but summer is on its way, and I can’t be the only one who hates the feeling of heavy foundation on a hot day.

In the words of 2019 PATY winner Brianne Shephard (channelling Beyoncé), “consumers are looking to achieve a more I woke up like this look with minimal time and investment”.

“Natural and ‘non-cakey’ makeup looks are becoming more and more popular due to the evolution of natural and organic skincare products.

“There are many simple ways to achieve this look, but it often starts with the correct skincare routine and selecting products that suit not only your skin tone but your skin type too.”

This feature explores tips and tricks for achieving the minimalist makeup look, the look that makes you feel glowing but not like you have a lot on your face.

More and more people are keen to achieve this effortless look, so we’ve researched the best advice as to how.

Step 1: Good skincare 

The first step to achieving the ‘no-makeup’ makeup look is to prioritise good skin.

Ms Shephard discusses her top tips for skincare, listing these “must-dos” for anyone’s skincare routine:

  • Cleansing day and night.“This is extremely important, and I don’t mean with face wipes. While face wipes are great at removing makeup and dirt, it’s always important to follow up with a full-face cleanse. I’m also a fan of the double cleanse after a night of wearing heavier makeup.”
  • Moisturising twice daily. “Using a cream that’s not only suited to your skin type but also contains SPF will help protect your skin for years to come.”
  • A smooth canvas. “The best way to achieve a flawless look is to start with a smooth canvas, so exfoliating once or twice a week with a non-abrasive exfoliator will help you achieve the best results.”

Pharmacies are home to many skincare products that will create a great skincare routine.

“You can take skincare to the next level with serums, face masks and treatments, but try to keep those to once a week, and again, always stick to products that suit your skin type,” Ms Shephard said.

“There are plenty of products available in the pharmacy, including a wide range of natural and organic skincare.”

Step 2: Prep before applying 

Preparing the skin before applying any makeup is one of the keys to achieving a minimalist look.

“A great primer can help reduce the appearance of pores and help your makeup stay on for longer, essentially eliminating the need to wear a heavier foundation,” Ms Shephard said.

According to a Vogue Australia article (This is why you should be using primer all over your face), 1 primer is a product that goes on after your moisturiser and before your tinted moisturiser or foundation, to prepare your skin for the makeup to come.

“Think of it like a painter’s canvas primer – they can start their masterpiece before using the product, but the colour won’t be as vibrant, stick as effectively or last as long,” the Vogue article stated.

Step 3: foundation  

“To have a natural makeup look, you must select a foundation that matches your skin tone and coverage goals,” Ms Shephard said.

Priceline’s Katie G, in ‘Your Foundation Guide Part 1’, cites the importance of knowing your skin’s undertone and the role it plays in selecting the right foundation.2

“Knowing your skin’s undertone is the key to finding your perfect shade of foundation – one that truly complements your complexion and blends in seamlessly,” she wrote.

“You’ve probably heard of cool, neutral and warm undertones, but how exactly do you work out where you sit on the spectrum?”2

According to the Foundation Guide, “your skin undertone is the shade that’s within your skin’s colour, [and is] affecting your overall complexion.”2

Step 4: Focus on your fab features 

“Work with what you have,” Ms Shephard said.

“Everyone has their own set of beautiful features they were born with, so learn how to [exploit] those rather than trying to cover up.”

For example, if you find your best feature is your eyes, focus solely on mascara and eyeliner.

If it’s your lips, simply adding lip gloss will add emphasis to your minimalist look. Big brows? Work on nailing the brushed and bold brow look.

We all have unique features that should be embraced and can be used as an advantage in achieving a minimalist look.

Step 5: Ready, set, go! 

“Set and forget,” Ms Shephard advised.

“This is one [step] I’ve learnt recently, and it helps to ensure you don’t need to top up or add more product throughout the day/night.”

“A fine translucent powder on top of your foundation will help, and prevent the skin’s natural oils from breaking down the pigment.”

Another option to finalise your look is setting spray. Using this at the end of your makeup routine will help your look stay put and stay fresh.

Maybelline New York instructs on its website that to use a setting spray, shake the bottle, hold it 15cm to 20cm from your face and spray on in an X formation, followed by a T formation, then let it dry.

It’s important for pharmacy assistants to keep in mind that they should “always determine a customer’s skin type and the coverage desired before recommending a product,” Ms Shephard said.

“Patch tests are a necessity when trying new skincare or makeup products, too.”

To read the feature in full is it appears in the October issue of Retail Pharmacy Assistants e-magazine, visit:


  1. ‘This is why you should be using primer all over your face’. Vogue Australia, 2017.
  2. Priceline Pharmacy, 2021. ‘Your Foundation Guide Part 1’.
  3. Maybelline New York. ‘How to use setting spray’.com/face-makeup/primer/how-to-use-setting-spray