7 Sneaky Ways to Look Good Without Makeup
Did you know that some people can go outside without makeup on and interact with other humans without wanting to cry?
It’s crazy, I know. If you are one of those people, congratulations and I hope you don’t look down on me, but I’m the exact opposite.
The idea of going outside without makeup on terrifies me. I’m not going to apologize for it, either — I like makeup. I have blonde lashes and eyebrows, so foregoing cosmetics makes me look tired and hungover and, paradoxically, not like myself.
But lately, it feels like #nomakeup selfies and makeup-free magazine covers are everywhere. We’re supposed to cheer for these women who cast aside capitalist beauty rules, right?
To me, the unspoken message is not one of self-acceptance, but of guilt. You’re only a strong, independent, confident woman if you are able to toss your makeup bag aside and approach the world with the bare face the good lord gave you. If you need makeup every day, the magazine covers seem to be taunting, you’re an insecure imposter.
Well, frankly, that’s bull shit. Makeup is not a morality issue. It doesn’t make you a good or bad person, it’s just gunk you can put on your face to make you look the way you wanna look. Wear makeup if you want to wear makeup. I know I will.
But if you’re a makeup junkie like me and you do want to cut down on your getting-ready time or even wean yourself off this expensive habit, there are actually a few sneaky things you can do to feel more comfortable with your appearance, without cosmetics. Nobody has to know — and what could be better than putting those smug “I’d much rather go natural” assholes in their place?
1. Eyebrow Microblading
It used to be that the only option for a brow-less woman such as myself was eyebrow tattooing, a scary-sounding procedure that seemed way too permanent to be a good idea.
Then came brow tinting, which was lower stakes, but lasted only two to four weeks.
But now, there’s microblading, a procedure that’s somewhere in between, in terms of both time and pain levels.
Microblading lasts about three years and it creates the look of individual hairs rather than the costumey effects of tattooing. The process is “a form of tattoo artistry where pigment is implanted under your skin with a manual handheld tool instead of a machine,” according to Elle.
Anyone with naturally bushy brows might think, “Why bother?” But if you have invisible brows like me, this procedure will be a godsend.
2. Eyelash Extensions
This is without a doubt the single most significant way to give your makeup-less self a confidence boost.
I got fake eyelashes back in the spring and not only did they save me a ton of time when getting ready in the morning, but they made me feel like a Disney princess. I looked so dainty and ladylike that dudes were tipping their hats at me in the elevator Mad Men-style and sprinting ahead to open doors for me like god damn gentlemen for once.
It got to be a bit tedious. Not to mention I kept thinking someone was creeping up next to me, only to realize it was actually just the eyelash extensions in my peripheral vision. Plus, having the fibers glued to my eyebrows left me with a weird feeling, like my face was never truly clean.
But I looked incredible without makeup on, so if that’s your goal, eyelash extensions are definitely for you. If you’re freaked out by gluing shit to the tiny area above your eyeballs, though, there’s always…
3. Eyelash and Brow Tinting
Tinting for your lashes and brows is a great way to switch up your no-makeup look for a comparatively small price commitment. The results will only last two to four weeks, but it’s the perfect amount of time if, for example, you’re just trying to last through a vacation or beach trip or big special occasion.
One tiny issue: this type of tinting isn’t ~*technically*~ FDA approved. But neither are a lot of beauty products, so it’s just a matter of whether you’re down with the risks (which you can read about here) or not.
4. Clay Masks
Now onto the skincare portion of our programming. If you want to look fly without makeup on, you need to pay extra attention to your skincare. Which you’ve already been doing anyway, right? RIGHT?!
Companies like L’Oreal have gotten hip to the purifying qualities of clay, which means, lucky for you and me, you can now get über-fancy clay masks on your weekly trip to Duane Reade or Tar-jhay for as cheap as $9.
L’Oreal’s red clay mask uses volcanic rock to exfoliate dead skin cells and smooth surface imperfections. The purifying and mattifying green mask includes eucalyptus to purify your skin once the imperfections have been wiped away. And the black mask has charcoal, which is like a dirt-magnet for your pores.
Your skin will only look gorg makeup-free if you’re paying attention to all your skincare (or if you’re annoyingly lucky), but these masks will take it up a notch.
But if you want to super-duper turbo-charged, you might want to whip out your wand and go for some…
Really all kinds of facials are a solid idea if you want your skin to look amazing without any makeup, but microdermabrasion is your best bet if you have to pick one.
Microdermabrasion is basically sanding your skin. A technician will use a little diamond or crystal-tipped wand to suck all the crud out of your pores. This should make your skin appear smoother and your pores appear smaller. You can do it every month or two for the best possible results.
It’s pricey, though, at up to $200 a pop. Only the hardcore need apply.
6. Lip Scrubs
A good lip scrub and mask duo will make you lips look lush, full, and most importantly smooth without any makeup.
You’ve probably noticed that using too many products on your lips can cause them to become super cracked. Then you use more products to cover up the unsightly chapping, only making your lips become more and more haggard.
Well, easing up on the lipstick will definitely help with this — and a lip scrub will really make your lip flaking a thing of the past. My favorite is Mizzi, an all-natural brand that Kylie Jenner loves. Just scrub it on as part of your regular skincare regimen, and swipe on the lip balm that comes with it. The essential oils will make your lips smooth and delish, plus they give them a little shine while still counting as ~*technically*~ makeup-free.
7. Retinol Creams
Retinol is just a fancy name for Vitamin A, but it’s one of the best things you can put on your skin. It’s a crucial part of any skincare regimen, especially if you’re starting to see any signs of aging whatsoever.
I know, I know, when you hear the words “aging” or “wrinkle cream,” your brain shuts off because you assume we’re talking about old ladies. But products with retinol will tighten your skin and improve your overall tone, even if you don’t have any wrinkles.
Neutrogena makes day and night retinol creams for about $15 each, so there’s really no excuse not to add this miracle compound to your regimen. You can also get a prescription Retin-A from your dermatologist which I’m told is worth it, but that takes about 100x as much effort as popping into CVS for a tube of the over-the-counter stuff.
So those are all my tips for looking okay without makeup on. Feel free to either utilize them or ignore them and keep wearing a full face every day. Or email me and tell me how offended you are by the idea that a woman should even worry about this stuff! I <3 feedback.