6 Easy Steps To Achieve The Perfect Foundationless Look

By Simone Sydel
·  5 min read
shutterstock 1912770952 (1)

While full-coverage glam has its time and place, there's something so liberating about a skin-first makeup look.

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If you're unfamiliar, a "foundationless" look is about enhancing your natural skin texture rather than masking it. It's the perfect way to show off your summer glow, and it's super easy to achieve with just a few products. So, whether you’re in the mood for a minimalist makeup routine or just embracing a more low-key look, here are six easy steps to achieve the perfect "foundationless" look.

1. Exfoliate

Exfoliation is an essential step in a good skincare routine, and it's a process that involves using products such as scrubs or fruit-based acids to remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin and improve issues such as blemishes, uneven skin tone, and enlarged pores. This helps to create a smooth base for your makeup, particularly complexion products such as foundations, tinted moisturizers, and concealers.

Exfoliating your skin 2-3 times a week is a good place to start when you're aiming to get that perfectly smooth, "foundationless" look every time you apply your makeup.

Products To Try: Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator, $16 | Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore-Tight Toner, $34

2. Prep Your Skin with a Setting Spray

Primers are great for prepping the skin before applying makeup; however, more often than not, they leave a layer that changes the skin's texture. This is why prepping your skin with a setting spray that has a natural or glowy finish is a better option when you want your makeup to look just like skin. A setting spray will not only prep the skin by creating a smooth base, but it will also hold your makeup in place so that it lasts all day long without creasing or smudging.

Products To Try: Iconic London Mini Prep Set Glow Hydrating Spray, $15 | Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray, $35

3. Use a Tinted Moisturizer That Matches Your Skin Tone

No matter how natural looking they claim they are, full-coverage foundations will always look very obvious on the skin, and they mostly only look good in photos and specific types of lighting. So if you want something that will make your skin look good in person, then a tinted moisturizer or a very lightweight foundation is your best bet. 

A good tinted moisturizer will provide you with just enough coverage to even out your complexion without looking like you're wearing any makeup at all. Start by choosing a formula that matches your skin type and addresses your skin concerns, and apply just enough product to enhance your complexion without making your skin look cakey and suffocated.

Products To Try: L'Oréal True Match Nude Hyaluronic Tinted Serum, $20 | HERMES Plein Air Complexion Balm SPF30 $68

4. Apply Concealer in Targeted Areas of the Face

Concealer isn't essential for this look; however, it can help hide dark spots and brighten certain areas of the face, such as under the eyes, the inner corners of the eyes, and the center of the forehead. So if you want to add it as an extra step, try to keep a light hand, as this will make it look more natural. Dot a little bit of product on the areas you want to brighten or spots you want to conceal and dab it into the skin with your fingers.

Concealer can also be great for creating a face lift effect when applied on the outer corners of the eyes and lips, so this is another way to use it and enhance your makeup look.

Products To Try: NYX Professional Makeup Bare With Me Hydrating Concealer Serum, $11 | NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, $31

5. Blend with a Damp Beauty Blender

When it's time to blend your complexion products, always opt for a soft, damp beauty blender. This is important if you want to achieve a foundationless look because a damp beauty blender will absorb some of the product and leave you with even lighter coverage and a natural finish. A damp beauty blender will also soften and blur any imperfections, unlike a foundation brush that can sometimes leave streaks and an unevenly blended surface.

Products To Try: e.l.f. Cosmetics Total Face Sponge, $6

6. Set Your Look

Setting your makeup is always a good idea, especially if your skin is on the oilier side and you don't want your makeup to slide off by midday. But because we want to achieve a natural, foundationless look, opt for a radiance-boosting, light-coverage powder instead of a traditional setting powder that mattifies the skin and makes it look dull. Choose something that looks just like skin and has a soft-focus effect that will make your complexion look smooth and flawless, and go with a very light hand when applying it so that you don't end up looking cakey and overdone.

Products To Try: Dior BACKSTAGE Face & Body Powder-No-Powder, $40 | Hourglass Ambient® Lighting Powder, $50

Closing Thoughts

As you probably noticed, achieving the perfect foundationless look starts by creating a smooth base and using the right products. So, give these six steps a try if you're looking for a natural makeup look that requires minimal effort but looks great on any occasion, time of day, or lighting. You'll love the results!

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