Skinimalism: Your ultimate guide to the no-makeup makeup look

You want that easy, breezy, woke-up-like-this vibe, but aren't all about going totally barefaced? Problem solved. 

We've all caught ourselves going through our feeds and stopping mid-scroll on someone with the *glowiest* look ever—radiant skin, the most naturally subtle blush and eyes framed by a set of striking, fanned-out lashes under amazing, full brows.

And, no, she's not wearing layers of concealer and smoky shadow, cheek contour or falsies. She looks like she woke up from the best sleep of her life, did some yoga, then drank a vat of hot water and lemon on a Saturday morning. She's basically a glossier model in the flesh—and you want to know how you can possibly replicate this effortless radiance.

Look closer and you'll realize it's not exactly a makeup-free photo, but a pretty good dupe for one. The trend is called skinimalism, and it's the perfect pairing of skincare and product. It's the no-makeup makeup for those of us who still love makeup—but not *too* much.

The skinimalist loves caring for her complexion (and knows it's the foundation of any good routine) but also enjoys enhancing her natural beauty. Dark spots or acne scars aren't totally covered up, but blurred to look almost unnoticeable, while each and every freckle still shines through.

Want that au naturel, no-filter-but-still-gorgeous effect? All it takes is a carefully curated skincare lineup and some key makeup products. You might want to take notes.

The Skincare

Skinimalists believe in good quality skincare—without a dozen steps and piles of products. Follow their lead by pairing down your routine (then basking in the afterglow).


Washing your face is the first step to clear skin. Rinse away makeup, dirt, sweat and any other grime that builds up throughout the day. The golden rule? Never (like, ever) go to bed with makeup on. Try: Acure Seriously Soothing Cleansing Cream ($10).


The newer your skin cells are, the dewier your skin will look. So incorporate a gentle toner with exfoliating lactic and salicylic acids to unclog pores and speed up cells turnover. Use it one to two times per week right after cleansing to get the fresh glow you want without overdoing it. Try: InnBeauty Project Down to Tone Resurfacing Acid Toner ($22).


Your skin deals with a lot during the day, from sun damage to environmental pollutants. Rev up the repair process with a vitamin C serum. The antioxidants in vitamin C not only help repair damage, but prevent it from happening in the first place (plus the antioxidants help to even out your skin tone). Try L'Oreal Paris Revitalift 10% Pure Vitamin C Serum ($24).


We will never stop reminding you: You need to wear sunscreen all year long, rain or shine. It doesn't just protect your skin and prevent sun spots—it also makes your complexion appear fresher and more reflective. Massage half a teaspoon into your face and neck every single morning. And don't forget to reapply! Try: Neogen Day-Light Protection Airy Sunscreen SPF 50 ($32).

Nighttime moisturizer

Your skin needs extra hydration at night because you tend to lose a lot of moisture in your sleep. Load up skin with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid to help you wake up looking refreshed and ready to take on the day. Try: Laneige Water Sleeping Mask ($25).

The Makeup

No matter how on point your skincare lineup is, no one's skin is perfect all the time. Give your glow an extra boost with makeup that's made to enhance your natural beauty, not cover it up.

Skin tint

A tinted moistruizer, BB cream or sheer foundation makes the perfect base for a skinimalist look. Apply it all over your face or just in the places you want a little extra coverage. Try: Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint ($48).

Cream blush

Blending a cream blush onto your cheeks gives you a subtle flush. Warm it up with your fingers, then let it melt into your skin. Try: Tower 28 BeachPlease Lip + Cheek Cream Blush ($20).

Clear highlighter

You don't need major shimmer to make your cheekbones pop. A clear, balmy highlighter will give your skin a sheen that reflects light and leaves a juicy finish. Try: Danessa Myricks Beauty Dew Wet Hydrating and Highlighting Balm in Clear ($22).


Mascaras add volume, length and curl but sometimes look a little too extra. Choose a subtle formula that defines your lashes, adding just a *little* color and lift. Try: Burt's Bees 100% Natural Nourishing Mascara ($13).

Brow gel

Well-groomed brows can take your look to the next level. Brush some clear gel through the hairs to give them a feathered effect. Try: Patrick Ta Major Brow Lamination Gel ($26).

Looking for more beauty advice? Check out these related posts:

*This* is the face serum your skin needs

Why you should add the Gua Sha into your skincare routine ASAP

How social media helped me accept my skin

Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that this story originally ran in our February/March 2022 issue. Want more? Read the print mag for free *today* when you click HERE.

Edited for digital by Allie Lijewski.


by Erin Reimel | 3/3/2022