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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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?