textured skin is a bummer… people with smooth skin can walk out the door with nothing, a rub-a-dub of tinted moisturiser or more layers than a wedding cake and they always get away with it. then, there’s the rest of us mere mortals, with acne, dry patches, textured scarring, fine lines and full lived-in wrinkles. for those, like me, who deal with the temptation of piling on coverage in a vain attempt to cover up (and almost fill in) all those ridges and bumps, who end up looking cake-faced, patchy or just with nothing on after a few hours, I’m posting this tutorial on how we can also achieve the so coveted no-makeup makeup look. it just takes more time and patience… it figured, right?
being such a perfecting base routine, it’s not actually a no-makeup makeup, but the best-makeup makeup for any occasion, and you can use it with a bold eye or lip, or both. it is just heart-warming that one can wear it as is and look quite fresh-faced.
that being said, if you don’t feel like it or don’t have the time to spare, rock your perfect imperfections loud and proud. I love you all the same!
A good canvas makes it easier, and we can make it as good as it gets by removing all the dead skin layers that sometimes give more texture to the skin by using a good acid toner daily, resurfacing masks once a week and, if needed, giving it the old physical exfoliation be it with a state-of-the-art Clarisonic, a classic gentle exfoliator or a damp muslin cloth with a dollop of cleansing balm.
Before applying makeup, your skin needs to be moisturised so that it won’t either over-produce oils nor eat up half of the foundation 10 minutes after you’ve applied it, nor having the foundation sliding off of your face or balling up on that expensive face cream. The time-consuming part starts here: for the best outcome, if you use more than one product (say serum + moisturiser + SPF), you should wait for each product to be well absorbed by the skin before going over with another one. When you get to the SPF, because we have to apply such a huge amount (come on science, when are you giving us a breakthrough?), give it a good 5 to 10 minutes before starting your makeup. You can always answer some e-mails or make a hearty breakfast in the meantime.
Let the games begin:
First and foremost, blot. Assuming your skin has had enough time to absorb all the goodness of your skincare, you can blot away the excess that still lingers on the surface. This will also help your makeup glide on and stick to the skin better.
Second, prime. A mattifying primer on the hot spots if you’re oily, a moisturising one if you’re super duper dry and your skin still eats away your foundation or starts to crackle up despite high maintenance hydration, a generic one to make it just stay on longer, a silicone-based one for those who struggle with large pores and don’t have a problem with silicones… whatever tickles your fancy.
Third, pick your foundation wisely. I’d say something that makes your skin look creamy (in a good way), somewhere between a demi-matte and a satin finish, that doesn’t set too much (it would end up just piled on your dry patches and blemishes), but is also not too heavy or dewy, with good coverage. I’m really enjoying Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation. Bourjois Healthy Mix is a great affordable option. Just make sure it matches your skin really well, because the main goal is to leave your healthy areas of the face bare, or almost bare.
Now you have to work with extremely thin layers, and as slowly as possible, working the product on to the skin, patting it in place. If you’re using your fingers, start right on your areas of concern (blemishes, scars), and pat the product gently on the skin, blending the edges, trying to leave any healthy/good-looking sections makeup-free or barely so. It tricks the eye and makes the skin look a lot less heavy.
If you are working with a Beauty Blender, apply a little tiny bit of the foundation on the skin, and then pat and roll. Don’t rub, or you’ll undo your work of art. Don’t give in to the temptation of speeding up the process: we always end up applying more than we actually need and blend less than we should.
After this thin layer, you can go over with a bit extra of the foundation (or a high coverage creamy concealer like MAC Studio Finish or Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage) and pin-point conceal. I use my fingers because I have large sections of blemished skin (and tiny fingers), but you can use a very small brush.
Then, conceal under the eyes — again, no mega-triangles and highlightings, just a layer thin enough to even out that area, and maybe a more light-reflective thin concealer with a peachy undertone, like Clinique Airbrush Concealer, right on the darkest of the darkest areas.
Next step, if you’d like, is adding any colour creams: bronzer, highlighter, blusher, contour. (I used Soleil Tan de Chanel and Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid in Opal). I find creams, when used lightly and well blended, look the most natural on the skin…
Then comes setting. Again: no Instagram/YouTube tricks. You need this to last the whole day without it crackling and patching up. So use your beauty blender to press and roll a bit of loose powder (mine is Inglot Mattifying Loose Powder 3S) on those problem areas that are more oily or where you’ve concealed more heavily, and a brush to gently dust a bit of powder on the rest of the face, if needed. Under the eyes I only use what’s left on my Beauty Blender: it sets without caking, which happened a lot when I tried to bake.
This next step is, again, optional to this technique: it’s your face colour powders — bronzer, highlighter, blusher, contour (I used Kiko Desert Dunes Baked Bronzer and Urban Decay Afterglow Highlighter in Sin). I say less is more, but a bit of bronzer adds some sun-kissed hue to the face if you’re feeling a bit dull, and highlighter can bring back a bit of dewiness that may have been lost after powdering. You can use them also on the eyes.
Clean up the brows from any powder or foundation with a tinted brow gel like Benefit Gimme Brow, and add a light coat of mascara (loving Lash Power Mascara by Clinique), and finish off with your favourite lip.
Secure everything with a few spritzes of your favourite setting spray. Mine is Urban Decay All-Nighter.
You’re done. Let me know how it went!