How to get "le no makeup look" - une femme d'un certain âge

The “le no makeup look” makeup I’m loving now

I’ve been a fan of “le no makeup look” for several years now. That doesn’t mean wearing no makeup at all, but rather using it selectively to enhance features while achieving a healthy, natural look.

The makeup products I use for a natural, "le no makeup" look

This post was published at an earlier date and has since been updated.

“le no makeup look,” decoded

The phrase “le no makeup look” originated (of course) with the French. The ideal is healthy, glowing skin, maybe a little eye makeup (bonus points if you look like you woke up with whatever you applied the day before). As with French style, the goal is for it to look effortless, even it it’s not. 😉

I jumped on the minimal makeup train in my early 50’s and never looked back. In fact, the older I get, the less makeup I use. I do take care of my skin, use sunscreen, Retin-A, and get annual IPL laser treatments (for pigmented lesions, also known as “liver spots”). I’ve narrowed down my makeup routine to just a few “enhancements,” but don’t even use all of these every day.

I’ve also gradually replaced all of my skincare and makeup with cruelty-free products. And I’ve replaced any products containing chemical sunscreens with those containing 100% mineral, reef-safe ingredients.

Face

I’ve moved away from heavily pigmented, cake-y foundations which settle into my fine lines and pores. Now, I just want enough coverage to even out my skin tone a little, and provide a dewy-not-shiny finish.

(First, I always apply a mineral sunscreen and let it “set” for 20-30 minutes before applying makeup. I’ve been using this one for several months and am quite happy with it.)

It’s been tough finding a product that’s sheer, dewy, a good match for my skin, AND cruelty-free. I recently found this “slip tint” from Saie, and LOVE it! It goes on nicely either with a brush or fingers, doesn’t settle into my pores or lines, and stays looking dewy all day long. That it has mineral sunscreen for a little additional SPF is icing on the cake! (My color is Two.)

(Direct product links on Sephora don’t seem to be working at the moment, so I’ve linked a page showing all of the Saie products.)

My nose tends to still be a little oily at times, so I’ll sometimes add just a hit of the Jane Iredale pressed powder foundation to set the tint and minimize my pores. It’s also clean, cruelty free, and has a little SPF. The refillable compact is sold separately. This brush works really well for the powder.

Brows

Even if I do nothing else, I always fill in and shape my brows a bit. I find that adding that little bit of definition to my face makes me look more energized and present. But I’ve learned not to go too dark and heavy (no Audrey brows for me) as they can look harsh.

I now rely on two products that seem to match the color of my brows precisely. First, I use Charlotte Tilbury “Brow Lift” in Taupe to fill in on the “wings” a little, and add some definition. Then I go over with a quick coat of Kosas “Airbrow” tinted gel (also in Taupe) to set everything in place.

I’ve also been using the Revitalish RevitaBrow conditioner for a few months now, and found it really helped my brows fill in a bit on their own.

Eyes

I have to be honest; this is the step I most often skip. Because I wear glasses, I’ve often felt like whatever I do gets lost behind the lenses anyway. But I always curl my eyelashes, at it opens up my eyes and makes me look more awake.

When I’m feeling fancy, I’ll put something neutral (like Brian + MW “Almost Naked”) on my lids to even out the skin tone and follow up with Max-Defining Mascara in Black-Brown (a little softer than a straight up black mascara).

If I’m going out, I might opt for a bit of brown liner applied at the lash line (currently Charlotte Tilbury Classic Eye Powder Pencil) and maybe a little smear of Brian + MW “Fire Fall” shadow just on the lid.

Lips

Prep: to smooth lips and help color stay put, I use Brian + MW “Re-Creation Lip Treatment.” It really keeps my lips from flaking! I use a small amount 2-3 times daily, and apply a few minutes before makeup.

I sometimes break with “le no makeup look” when it comes to lipstick. I do enjoy wearing a little color, but usually prefer my lipstick on the sheer side. When I just want something subtle that’s more like a tinted balm, I use the Jane Iredale Just Kissed Lip & Cheek Stain in Forever Peach. This is a warmer shade that looks orange in the tube but turns coral on me. I’d also suggest Forever Red, which seems to look good on everyone.

For a more Lipstick lipstick, I love Chantecaille Lip Chic. My works-with-everything color is “Sunrise.”

Glow

Lately I’ve been skipping blush. I’ve never been one for bronzers, as they tend to go either orange or muddy on me. And I’m not about trying to look tan, anyway. But after I recommended the Saie Slip Tint to my friend Karen, she hot-footed it over to Sephora and texted me a couple hours later, “you HAVE to try the Glowy Super Gel!!!

It comes out of the pump looking like a really dark bronzer, but goes on* sheer, golden and well, glowy. Not orange or muddy. Adds just a bit of color and warmth that lasts all day. I apply it over the top of the cheeks and nose, where I’d normally pick up a little bit of sun.

*A little goes a LONG way.

Susan B. wearing "le no makeup look" makeup.

Here’s my finished “le no makeup look.”

Whew, this all sounds like a lot, but truthfully, my makeup routine takes 5 minutes or less. Do you wear makeup daily, or intermittently?

Stay in touch.

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37 Comments

  1. chris
    June 2, 2022 / 4:14 am

    I’m in my 50s and also SWEAR by saie slip tint and glowy super gel. Holy grail products for me. I’ve always been a “natural look” gal and this combo works really well for my 50something skin

  2. SuD
    June 2, 2022 / 4:20 am

    I’m a fan of the natural look, and you look great in these colors. It seems like the Saie Slip Tint links aren’t working, or it could be a problem on my end.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      June 2, 2022 / 7:11 am

      Hi SudD, if you’re not in the US, you may need to visit a different site to shop. They are available from Sephora.

  3. Janie
    June 2, 2022 / 4:22 am

    I love your “no makeup” look! You look fresh and gorgeous. I have been thinking of doing something to get rid of my “age” spots and was interested to read your comment on getting IPL laser treatments annually. I’m going to see if I can find a good place in my area (Columbus OH) to go for this type of treatment. Do you go to dermatology office for this?

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      June 2, 2022 / 7:10 am

      Thanks so much, Janie! Yes, I see a dermatologist for IPL treatments.

  4. Deb
    June 2, 2022 / 5:10 am

    Lovely photo, Susan and I enjoyed this post! I took a more minimalist approach to makeup during the COVID work-from-home period, and have decided I like it better. I agree, lip color is a must, and giving brows and lashes some definition makes a big difference.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      June 2, 2022 / 7:10 am

      Thanks, Deb!

  5. Melba Martin
    June 2, 2022 / 5:19 am

    I love your look. This is so fresh and natural yet making the most of your lovely features. Thank you for sharing this, I feel encouraged that I don’t need tons of face paint to look my best.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      June 2, 2022 / 7:09 am

      Hi Melba, thank you!

  6. Rukshana Afia
    June 2, 2022 / 5:21 am

    I’ve used less and less over the years and now that I swim 1st thing in the morning whenever the local pool is open I use moisturiser (LUSH Dream Cream) all over every day and prioritise that . I used to use lots of eye makeup and so felt I had to use foundation . Once I switched to regularly having my eyelashes and eyebrows dyed I gave up on the foundation and hardly use even lipgloss now . This has given me about 20mins extra every morning ! I also wear glasses and so wonder if I will change back to eye colour of some sort when my eyes are finally fixed so that I will only need reading glasses …..

  7. Georgia
    June 2, 2022 / 5:47 am

    I love this photo of you!

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      June 2, 2022 / 7:09 am

      Thanks!

  8. Deborah Lilly
    June 2, 2022 / 7:10 am

    Susan, I love your no makeup look! Since I retired three years ago and then COVID, I have pared down my routine. I use NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer (30 SPF) and in cooler weather (since it’s a bit heavier) Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream (also 30 SPF). I love Benefit’s Gimme Brow in Shade Gray. My hair is gray and although my brows are not but are light, it’s a good color for me. I do curl my eyelashes and have been using Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara and like the effect on my longish but sparse lashes. I too mostly like sheer color on my lips, so use Clinique Chubby Sticks often. Thank you for your always -inspiring posts.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      June 2, 2022 / 7:52 am

      Thanks, Deborah!

  9. Nancy
    June 2, 2022 / 7:54 am

    Hi Susan, The links for the Saie slip tint and glowy super gel are not working for me either, here in Arizona. I’ll go to the Sephora site myself, but I thought you would like to know.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      June 2, 2022 / 8:00 am

      Thanks for letting me know. It seems to be an issue with the Sephora site, let me see what I can do. In the meantime, try this one: https://bit.ly/3Nf1kvc

  10. Paula
    June 2, 2022 / 7:57 am

    I’m having a hard time determining how much makeup I really need. If I use too little then I looked washed out. So I’m using a little more but I still want that natural look.
    This is a look that is probably here to stay. I also have the Jane Iredale lip stain in the pink which is for cooler skin tones. It gives just the right amount of color.

  11. Lisa
    June 2, 2022 / 8:01 am

    You look great! And your skin always looks wonderful:)

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      June 2, 2022 / 8:08 am

      Thanks, Lisa!

    • Lisa
      June 2, 2022 / 8:18 am

      Oh, and can I ask which color of the Glowy Gel you use? Pretty sure it’s the Sunglow, but just checking.

      • Susan Blakey
        Author
        June 2, 2022 / 8:19 am

        Yes, the Sunglow.

  12. Kathy
    June 2, 2022 / 8:14 am

    I do wear make-up, but very muted…a tinted BB creme with sunscreen, mascara, brow wax, blush and lipstick. I am very pale so need the blush and lipstick.

  13. Ainsivalavie
    June 2, 2022 / 8:39 am

    French woman wear little makeup because they start caring for their skin at a very young age. All the money North Americans put into ‘make up’ they chanel into facials and excellent skin care. I never wear foundation but use sunscreen and have regular facials. A small amount of eye liner and eyebrow pencil and lipstick are all I need. As a 50year+ contact lens wearer I rarely use mascara. At sixty seven I have an enviable complexion and what wrinkles and lines are there tell the story of my life. Lots of water, fruit & vegetables a little wine and judicious use of sugar and salt as well as regular exercise ( and sex) as well as a positive attitude are the real keys to the ‘le no makeup’ look.

  14. une autre femme
    June 2, 2022 / 10:18 am

    Susan, you’ve done a great job finding the products that optimizes outcome while minimizing inputs. You look fabulous with this skincare and makeup routine!

  15. Jamilla007
    June 2, 2022 / 10:55 am

    Amazing look! Love your whole approach and use the Kosas Air Brow in Gray (I’m very gray). Your makeup passes the California sunshine test with flying colors-that’s my acid test for great makeup!

    I use Differin rather than Retin-A as I can better tolerate this retinoid. I’m using Hydroquinone from my dermatologist for hyperpigmentation but I’m ready for more IPL after the summer. Love ISDIN Eryfotona sunscreen and French sunscreens in general.

    More posts like this please! And combined with Color analysis

  16. Pink Azalea
    June 2, 2022 / 1:44 pm

    Good post with a few products I have bookmarked for the future. I agree that older women do look better with light makeup application. My routine is similar to yours. I spend more on skincare than makeup. I bought Carolyn Hirons first book and found it very helpful in prioritizing where to spend my money. As always, you look great – vibrant and fresh.

  17. Julia
    June 2, 2022 / 2:53 pm

    Susan you look fabulous in this post and I fully agree with your no makeup look! In fact,most people don’t realize that it takes quite a lot of skill to get the no makeup look just right!

  18. Alexandra Martella
    June 2, 2022 / 4:07 pm

    Beautiful!! I too am wearing less and less as I get older ~ focusing on good skincare and minimal makeup.

  19. Kathy August
    June 3, 2022 / 7:21 am

    Love your hair color d

  20. Susan
    June 3, 2022 / 9:23 am

    Love the Kosas Air Brow in gray. It has replaced my Gimme Brow because there is more quantity and is less prone to drying up. Super product!

  21. Rebecca
    June 4, 2022 / 3:08 pm

    Your skin is great—can I ask where you go for ipl? And if it’s very spendy? I live in LA and wish my pigmentation were more even.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      June 4, 2022 / 3:18 pm

      Hi Rebecca, thanks! I’m not sure about the cost for an initial round of IPL, but for my annual “maintenance” session, I pay around $900 for face only. (Haven’t needed to do my neck/décolleté in a few years.) I go to Ablon Skin Institute in Manhattan Beach.

      • Rebecca
        June 12, 2022 / 8:03 am

        Their site looks great—thank you!

  22. Jerilyne
    June 5, 2022 / 11:00 am

    Your skin has always looked remarkable. I’m going to look into Saie next time I’m near Sephora.
    Is your Retin A a prescription or in a product line? Thank you!

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      June 5, 2022 / 11:02 am

      Thanks! It’s prescription, from my dermatologist.

  23. Phoebe Cameron
    June 9, 2022 / 2:43 pm

    Thank you, Susan. I haven’t been using blush since the pandemic, and I haven’t used foundation for a while. I do take good care of my skin, but felt like I needed a little boost. The skin tint and glowy gel are lovely. Very understated. Still at 60 I have very oily skin, and I don’t like to wear a lot of product. These feel very nice. Brow pencil and mascara are a must for me with my glasses, otherwise I feel like my eyes just disappear! Thank you again!

  24. Patricia
    June 11, 2022 / 1:27 pm

    Love this post. You have motivated me to put together a quick routine! SoCal gal here as well and love the natural look. I have been following you forever, you are the best!

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