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How to get the no-makeup look—without any makeup


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Photo: Stocksy/Jovo Jovanovic
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One of the best things that could ever have happened to your beauty routine? The no-makeup trend, which shows no signs of slowing down.

The idea—as seen on an increasing number of runways and worn by a growing number of celebs from Gwyneth Paltrow to Kim Kardashian—is that you’re literally not wearing cover-up of any sort. Even better: It saves you (valuable) time in the morning as you hustle to get ready, costs way less than maintaining a full cosmetics kit, and—the best part—it lets you work what your mama gave you.

“In this new wave of feminism, women are worried less about looking pretty to impress other people,” says Jenny Patinkin, beauty expert and author of the upcoming book, Lazy Perfection: The Art of Looking Great Without Really Trying. “Instead, they’re more dialed in on feeling confident in what they contribute to the world around them on a less superficial level.” In other words, daring to bare (your face) is the epitome of #girlpower.

“Self-confidence is the cornerstone of the no-makeup-makeup look.”

Ironically enough, however, plenty of people are rocking the look with makeup—even Alicia Keys, leader of the movement amongst the famous, purportedly still has a pretty extensive routine. So what’s the secret to streamlining your routine without losing that glow?

“Obviously, smooth, clear skin is the foundation of your appearance,” says Patinkin. “A pretty complexion in its au naturel state shows that you’re in good health and take care of yourself, which is just another expression of self-confidence. And self-confidence is the cornerstone of the no-makeup-makeup look.”

Here, Patinkin shares her 4-step plan to getting your glowiest skin ever—without needing to reach for your cosmetics bag.

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Photo: Stocksy/Kayla Snell
Photo: Stocksy/Kayla Snell

1. Drink lots of water

It’s a no brainer, but Patinkin counts staying hydrated as an essential step of your beauty routine. “Think of your skin like a sponge,” she says. “When it’s dry, it’s brittle and rough, but when it’s saturated, it expands, softens, and becomes much more pliable.”

Her trick? Adding a Stevia-sweetened electrolyte supplement to her first liter of the day so that she’s hydrating both her skin and her muscles—hello multitasking! “I also have a BKR water bottle with me at all times,” she adds. (No harm in reaching for an option that looks cute, right?)

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Photo: Thinkstock/Jacob Ammentorp Lund
Photo: Thinkstock/Jacob Ammentorp Lund

2. Befriend a good exfoliator

Skin looking dull? It might actually be totally healthy, but just covered up with layers of dead cells (gross but true). “Getting rid of those makes your skin smoother and look brighter,” promises Patinkin.

“You don’t have to be rough about the way you exfoliate, and there’s no reason to spend days looking like a phyllo pastry—using a gentle alpha hydroxy acid like glycolic or lactic will give a micro-exfoliation that leaves the skin looking luminous.” She recommends Juice Beauty’s Stem Cellular Resurfacing Micro-Exfoliant ($55) to get the job done.

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Photo: Stocksy/Lumina
Photo: Stocksy/Lumina

3. Do some prep before you leave the house

You don’t have to reach for foundation to get that dewy look. The key is getting a handle on any inflammation. “A vitamin C or other antioxidant serum is super important in the no-makeup look,” Patinkin explains. “It reduces the inflammation we get from free radical damage like pollution or other environmental stressors and can actually help to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and sun spots.”

And it goes without saying that you should definitely be applying sunscreen daily. “I particularly love the one from MD Solar Sciences,” says Patinkin. “It blurs and mattifies the skin, so you kind of look like you’re wearing makeup when you’re not.” Score!

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Photo: Stocksy/Milles Studio
Photo: Stocksy/Milles Studio

4. Create the illusion of a made-up face

Luckily enough, you can still get the highlighter effect without actually using one. Patinkin’s secret for this? Coconut oil. (What doesn’t it do?) “You can use a coconut oil or hydrating balm to give a subtle, non-greasy reflection on the tops of the cheeks, center of the eyelids, under the arch of the brow, in the brows, and on the lips,” she says. “Add in a good old-fashioned cheek pinch, and you’ve got an instantly radiant complexion.”

If you’re constantly reaching for concealer to hide dark under-eye circles, Patinkin says a chilled spoon pressed lightly below your eyes will help by shocking the blood vessels into contraction.

“I also like to use an eyelash curler to make sure the lashes are lifted off of the eyes so they don’t cast a shadow,” she says. “When the light can get to your whole eye, it makes them look bigger and brighter.” Talk about a bright idea.

To keep your complexion looking radiant, sip on these 9 smoothies for healthy, glowing skin. Or you could always try cutting dairy—it cleared one editor’s acne right up. 

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