I’ve always been a girl who doesn’t like a full coverage type of makeup. I like for it to look natural. When you have long days at school or work, it’s essential to have makeup that wears nicely throughout the day. The heavier the makeup, the messier it can get as the clock ticks on. Today, there’s a giant push in makeup and skincare telling us we NEED to have a routine with 10+ products. That’s CRAZY. I’m here to tell you, you don’t. There are exceptions depending on everyone’s needs, but for the most part, no need to use three primers, five concealers, two mascaras, two foundations, etc. A minimal makeup routine is the way to go.
Before you keep reading, be very aware that if you do like full coverage, this is not the post for you! The products I use provide minimum coverage, but they work together for a flawless finish. These are my minimal makeup essentials:
There’s a lot of skepticism surrounding primer and that’s totally fine! This is one of those products that I personally like using, but definitely don’t think it’s a necessity. In my case, I love a hydrating primer that makes my skin look soft and smooth. There are people with oily skin who find a lot of benefit in using mattifying primers to help them control oil production throughout the day. Unfortunately, there isn’t a universal primer for everyone. Get to know your skin and find the best one for you!
For dry skin: The Smashbox Photo Finish Primerizer has been my personal favorite for almost a year now. It makes my skin feel so hydrated and plump. Another option is the BECCA First Light Priming Filter.
For combo and oily skin: I can’t speak from experience here, but from reading reviews and watching a lot of YouTube, the TATCHA Silk Canvas Primer and Cane & Austin Mattifying primer are two great options.
Probably, the most important item of this minimal makeup essentials compilation. Lately, I haven’t felt the need to use foundation. Even before, I only ever used CC creams to even out my skin tone and have a clean canvas for the rest of my makeup. If you do want more coverage, two “foundations” I love are the Thrive Causemetics Buildable Blur CC Cream and the IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream. Since I have been skipping foundation, I went on a huge concealer hunt. I use it to cover my dark circles, any redness (usually on my chin), darkness on the side of my nose, and any area that I would like to even out.
With concealer, you also have to identify ones that work well for your needs. Since I prefer a more natural look, a heavy concealer like Tarte Cosmetic’s Shape Tape would look out of place. Concealers that have passed the test have been,
- First Aid Beauty Bendy Avocado Concealer
- Too Faced Born This Way Multi-Sculpting Concealer
- Glossier Stretch Concealer
- Milk Makeup Flex Concealer
- Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra Longwear Concealer
3. Setting Powder
Another product that I sometimes skip, but that a lot of people find necessary. I only use setting powder in the areas of my face where I have applied concealer. Using a Sigma brush, I take a tiny little bit, push the product into the brush by pressing it into the lid, and then very lightly press it in the areas I concealed. The industry has also come up with things like baking, but this isn’t for everyone. With my dry skin, baking would result in a cakey, dry mess.
Two settings powders that have proved to be one of a kind, the Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder and the Thrive Causemetics Filtered Effects Soft Focus HD Setting Powder.
This one is a MUST. I love warming up my skin and adding some color, no matter the time of the year. Some mistake bronzer and contouring for the same thing. Personally, I don’t find the need in contouring, but it can be something for you to explore if you’re interested in it! When I apply bronzer, I am a lot less precise than how would you be if you were contouring. The brush I use is fluffy. I started by applying it to my cheekbones, up to my forehead and down to my jawline in a 3-shaped motion.
There are a lot of products I can recommend in this category, but these are some of my favorites:
- Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer
- Thrive Causemetics Sun Chaser Blur + Sculpt Bronzing Powder
- Marc Beauty O!Mega Bronzer Coconut Perfect Tan
A totally skip-able step. Pinch your cheeks and out you go.
There are plenty of ways to do your eyebrows: eyebrow gel, pomade, pencil, etc. It’s personal preference. If you’re a beginner and don’t want to spend too much time on them, a clear eyebrow gel is the way to go. It will help define and set your brows in place. Personally, I find eyebrow gels a lot more easier to work with and quicker than other methods, and here we’re all about saving time. I recently tried the Thrive Causemetics Instant Brow Gel and it has become a quick favorite.
Again, totally skippable step. I’ve been skipping eyeshadow lately and tightlining with a brown eyeliner. Brown is a lot more subtle than black. If you’re in a rush but would still like to add a wash of color to your eyelids, use bronzer.
Another one of my favorites. I LOVE testing out mascara and the look of a full lash. What is nice about mascara is that you can build it up as much as you want, but also, as little as you want. If you have fair skin, light hair, and find that black mascara sometimes contrasts too much, use brown mascara for a minimal makeup look. It will have the same effect, just a lot more subtle. This applies even if you have dark hair. A lot of people don’t like the look of black mascara for the everyday. Brown mascara is a perfect alternative.
With these 8 steps, 6 if you decided to skip the blush, the eyeliner and the eyeshadow, you are ready to go out the door! Apply some lip balm and you will look flawless. I have included a couple of pictures of me where I followed these exact steps and used most of the products I recommended here. It has been my go-to look and I don’t see myself switching up anytime soon. As with everything, trial & error until you figure out what works best for you. I’ve tried A LOT, but these minimal makeup essentials have been my go-to.
What does your minimal makeup routine look like? Is blush a step you can’t skip?
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