In theory, natural makeup should be easy; it's minimal, which means minimal effort, right? I wish. If, like me, you find your foundation often gets cakey, or your attempts at contouring verge on clown-like, I get it. This is a safe space.
Thankfully (for our faces), there's one guy who knows how to do dreamy ~no makeup makeup~ better than anyone else. MAC Cosmetics' Senior Artist, Dominic Skinner, knows the art to applying foundation so that it looks like "your skin but better," and crafting the perfect "I woke up like this" eyelash look. Lucky for us, he shared all his tricks!
Customize your base.
"One way to get a more natural base is to mix a little moisturizer into your foundation." It'll dial down the coverage and give skin a dewier, fresher finish.
For a glowy look, Dominic recommends adding a smidge of liquid highlighter to any foundation. "Not only will it reduce the heaviness of any base, but it'll instantly increase your glow and leave skin looking fresh and natural." Think post-facial glow minus the downtime!
Dial back on the concealer.
It can be tempting to go crazy with your concealer, but this can lead to ashy undereyes and caking.
"A tip to ensure a more natural finish when using concealer is to look at yourself in the eye when applying. We have a tendency to zero in on all our imperfections, but no one else does. So when I use concealer, I look into the eyes and conceal only things that I notice within the peripheral vision," says Dominic. "Remember, people only look at each other in the eye, they don’t see all those other 'imperfections' that we see ourselves."
Ignore makeup labels.
Makeup can (and should) be multi-purpose. "We often don't see all the options we have right in front of us because we're paying too much attention to how makeup is labeled for us," says Dominic. "Some of the more beautiful and natural looks I've created have come from using a product in a way that it's not necessarily been designed for."
For example, "a great shadow for a soft natural eye is just a wash of bronzing powder. Sweep it over the whole lid and then add a little more into the socket. It's a soft look that adds natural definition."
Try a low-key lash look.
Uber natural boy brows were the talk of 2017, but for 2018 it's all about the low-key lash: "Mascara can be super heavy, which isn't always a bad thing, but if you're trying to achieve a softer look, big lashes can be too much," says Dominic. "A trick I often use, is to apply mascara as usual, but then use two cotton buds with a little makeup remover and pinch the lashes between them to remove some of the excess mascara."
Opt for definition, not drama.
"A great tip to define your eyes without a dramatic liner look is to apply a black or brown eye pencil to the top and bottom waterlines of your eye. After applying it, close your eyes really tight—this will push the pigment into the roots of your lashes, deepening the appearance of your natural lashline. Then, take a cotton bud and remove the majority of the pencil from the waterline, leaving just the pigment at the roots of your lashes. Your lashes will look naturally defined with zero harsh lines," explains Dominic.
Tone down your blush.
We're all for rosy-flushed cheeks, but if you're doing the no-makeup makeup look, less is more.
"Apply your blush as normal, but then go over it with your recently used foundation brush," tells Dominic. "This helps mute down a bold blush to a softer finish—perfect if you've gone a little OTT with the rosy glow."
Bronzer placement = everything.
"Most people use bronzing powder like a fake tan and apply it all over the face," relays Dominic. "But if you want to create a more natural finish, just apply the bronzer around the outside edge of your face and whip it lightly under the cheekbones. This technique warms the face naturally."
Be clever with your contour.
Intimidated by all those crazy-looking contour videos? You're not the only one! "Before contouring became a science for which a degree in math is essential, things were a lot more simple," says Dominic. "Take a matte bronzing powder and sweep it under the cheek, running from the top of the ear towards, but not touching, the corner of the lip. It works so well and I use this technique on the majority of red carpet looks. Celebs love it."
"Fluff" your lipstick.
"Matte lipstick is still a huge trend, but the bold pigmentation can be a little overwhelming if you want to achieve a natural makeup look. For a softer finish, grab your favorite matte lipstick, dampen a small fluffy makeup brush with a little setting spray, and use the brush to buff the color into your lips creating a diffused, long-lasting, matte lip stain." Pretty and practical.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.