How To Wear Makeup Without Looking Like It

As a makeup artist, you might think that I wear a ton of makeup. The answer is no. I love to wear my makeup so that it covers my flaws, but I still look like myself. The best way to describe it is, I like to look like the best version of myself. I think creating the perfect makeup look all starts with the skin. Use a good skincare routine and become diligent about taking good care of your skin and you’ll be on your way to your best makeup days ever. In order to achieve the, “I’m wearing makeup, but don’t look like it” look, you have to start with the basics of skincare. You can find out all about my skin routine here.

There are certain products you need to use to look like you have effortless, impeccable skin. If you’re wondering about the type of look I’m talking about, here it is:

I’m absolutely obsessed with Lauren Conrad’s makeup style. She is such a minimalist when it comes to her makeup. She looks casual, chic and cool. If you think for one second though that she just isn’t wearing makeup and is blessed with naturally radiant, flawless skin, you’re wrong. She is absolutely wearing makeup. She has just mastered how to apply it without looking like pancake face.

I’m going to show you the necessities to master this look. Even though it may look like Lauren just has a little lip gloss and eyeliner on, there is actually quite a bit more that goes into achieving this look. Here are the things you will need:

1. Foundation:

You have to achieve an even skin tone and hide your imperfections. Start with a foundation that gives you the amount of coverage you need. You don’t want to choose one too heavy, otherwise you risk losing the all-natural look we’re going for. Try a few samples from Sephora to see what works for you and what you feel comfortable with. Recently I’ve been on a foundation sampling frenzy and I’m currently loving this foundation from Lorac. It gives me the perfect amount of coverage for my skin.

Lorac Natural Performance Foundation, $36 at Ulta

2. Bronzer:

Lauren has a bronzed look to her skin, but it’s not too over the top. You need to create a little contour to your skin. Sweep some bronzer on your forehead, cheeks and jawline. I’m in love with this bronzer from NARS:

NARS Bronzer in Laguna, $34 at Sephora

3. Highlighter:

Highlighting is the key to giving your skin back the radiance it naturally emits. Dust a highlighter on top of your cheekbones to give your skin the radiance you see celebrities with in pictures. Everyone wants this look. I call it the J. Lo glow:

Who wouldn’t want to look like this?

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft & Gentle, $34 at MAC stores

4. Eyeliner:

Eyeliner is something I have mixed feelings about. Everyone always thinks it’s strange that I NEVER line my bottom lash line. This is actually my secret to looking like I’m not wearing a lot of makeup. I love the definition that lining my top lid gives me, but once I put it on the bottom I feel like the whole look of my makeup changes. It looks like voilà, I’m definitely wearing makeup. If I’m doing a smokey eye though, I’ll definitely line underneath. If you notice in the picture, Lauren only has liner on the top. They have applied a bronze shadow underneath to give it a glowy feel. I love powder eyeliners because they tend to look a little more natural and you can get them really close to the lash line. Here is one of my favorites from Bare Escentuals:

Bare Minerals Powder Liner Shadow in Onyx, $14

5. Groomed Brows:

Groomed brows help to make you look polished. Make sure you remove any stray hairs. You can do this in form of waxing, tweezing or threading. My absolute favorite brow gurus are Anastasia of Beverly Hills. They have this counter at your local Nordstrom. They shape your brows into the perfect shape for your face. They’re wonder women! Unless you are blessed with perfectly full, shapely brows, you may need to fill them in a bit. I prefer a powder, over a pencil,  to fill in my brows because I think it looks more natural.

Anastasia Brow Powder, $22 at Nordstrom

6. Lips:

Lips are the finishing touch for this look. Unless you put something on your lips, you don’t look completely finished. Apply a gloss, or a nude lipstick. Here is one of my favorite nude lipsticks. You can also find it featured in this post:

MAC Lipstick in Honeylove, $15 at MAC stores


What do you think about the minimal makeup look? What celebrity do you think wears this look the best?


  1. This is great, Rachel! I have always been a huge fan of the “no-makeup” makeup look. It really reminds me of the all-natural beauty in the ’70s. I think it’s a bit sad when women think they have to cake on foundation and smear color all over their face just to run to the store! The best thing about this “no makeup” makeup routine is that it’s quick and easy, and definitely doable most days.

    Like you, I hardly ever wear eyeliner on my lower lid, only on the top. I truly think it makes your eyes look bigger, and gives your whole face that dewey youthful vibe.

    1. Thanks so much, Jorie! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I completely agree with you, all-natural beauty is the most gorgeous. I think my eyes look so much smaller when I line underneath as well. Effortlessly chic is the way to go!!

  2. Awesome post! I love LC’s makeup look too. Always fresh and natural looking. I love love love Laguna bronzer and Soft & Gentle highlighter. Oh and of course HoneyLove!

  3. Touchè on the ‘non-madeup’ look! I myself streak a thin line of kohl on the lower eyelid, and use the eyeliner only on the upper one! I’ve seen that this makes my eyes pop in a subtle way!

    1. Im so glad you like it! I use the Bare Escentuals soft focus brush! Any powder brush will work though to lightly dust it over your cheekbones. Let me know how it goes! Thanks for checking out my blog!🙂

  4. I word about eyeliner…noticed that both you and Lauren have blue/green/grey eyes and in my experience that makes a big difference about bottom eyeliner! I have very dark brown eyes and I find that eyeliner on the bottom waterline greats a finished natural look that looks half-baked with only top eyeliner (its like dark eyes swallow the top liner!) . but that could just be me. Great tips!

    1. Don’t worry its not just you! I also have darkish eyes and you can still look natural if you use a brown under eye eyeliner and black on top. Dark eyes do seem to swallow the eyeliner!

  5. I learned a LONG time ago NOT to put any liner under your eyes- it makes you look MUCH older and makes your crowsfeet and undereye wrinkles WAY more noticeable.

  6. I have always done my makeup as simple and as little as possible. Not only because i don’t want people going into shock when they catch me with no make up on but because guys honestly don’t like over the top make up. Thanks for the tips as well! It’s funny because i feel the exact same way about bottom liner! Whenever i put it on my bottom lid i feel it’s too much, i only do it when i go all out with a look.

  7. Very helpful! I always have a hard time finding a good foundation that isn’t heavy or one that matches my skin tone! My current makeup makes me look older than I am. All I wear is a foundation, powder and mascara. I will be trying your tricks and can’t wait for the results! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  8. It would be nice if y’all would provide some cheaper alternatives, since I’m a single mom of 2 money is tight. So I cannot afford the high end stuff, or offer tips about why you chose the products you did and I can do a little hunting of my own to find the next best things. Thank you for the tips


    1. You should invest in good makeup- it lasts a long time, and it is actually cheaper than most makeup. Mac, Lorac, bare essentials is an average priced makeup. If you buy drug store brands (revlon, it is still about 15$, why not pay 15 dollars more for WAY better makeup. The revlon/maybe-line will not give you Lauren Conrads look.

      1. Hi Ashley! I’m right there with you. I’ve spent way too much money on some drugstore makeup, only to find out it didn’t work on my skin tone. I love being able to test the product & feel it on my skin at the makeup counter. And also the ability to take home a sample first!😉 I like to know what I’m getting, before I’m just stuck with something that won’t work on my skin.

    2. Hi Vanessa! I will definitely try to incorporate more budget-friendly alternatives. I have found in the past that I’ve spent too much money guessing what lip colors and foundations I’m going to like from the drugstore– only to find out that it looks different out of the package, or I don’t like the coverage, etc. The money that I’m wasting is better spent towards picking out something I can try on & feel at the makeup counter. Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to certain makeup items (mascara, makeup removers, certain eyeliners, etc.) I’m all for the drugstore. Through the years, I’ve just come to know my skin & decided what’s worth splurging on & what’s not. I definitely appreciate you expressing the need for some cheaper alternatives & I am going to take it to heart & incorporate more options for my readers. I truly appreciate your input! Thank you for reading, xo!

      1. I love these ideas, but I’m also on a very tight student budget and “drugstore” makeup brands are the only thing I can afford at this point in my life. One thing I’ve learned is that, at least in my part of the country, you can return makeup to Walgreens if the color or formula doesn’t work for you. I bring the receipt back and make it clear that I’ve only tested the makeup once or twice (I wouldn’t try to return a half-used bottle of foundation). I usually end up with store credit, and use that to test out a different brand. I’ve had better luck personally with Almay makeup, but it took me a couple tries to figure that out. You don’t have to bust your budget on makeup!

      2. You can definitely still achieve this look with drugstore foundation! I will have to try the Almay foundation. That’s one drugstore foundation I don’t think I’ve tried yet. I’m glad to hear the drugstores will issue a store credit when returning makeup! Thanks for checking out my blog!

  9. great post! Thank you for sharing,I’ve always been a fan of ” no make up look” It brings out the natural beauty in every face , instead of foundation I use a tinted moisturizer with spf ( my all time fave is by stila)🙂

  10. Hi Rachel! Well I actually found a link to your blog from pinterest and I’m sure glad I did! I am still a teenager but even at a young age I have spent a bundle on makeup, and still I can’t seem to find very good ones. I have Very dark brown eyes and hair. I have always worn black eyeliner and I usually do wear it on the bottom but I am definitely going to try only on top!

  11. I’m sorry I just remembered a few more things! My skin does get tan in the summer but I’m pretty pale in the winter. But with dark hair and eyes do you have any suggestions of good makeup tips to bring out my hair and eyes so I won’t look so pale? I am pretty willing to spend money on GOOD makeup but I live way out in the country and there are hardly any GOOD makeup stores around so I usually end up buying junk! What are a few good stores for me to keep an eye out for? And what are some good products to buy from the store to make my makeup routine easier? Lol sorry I know I’m full of questions🙂

  12. SO TRUE! I personally love the no makeup look, especially for teenagers! One of my secrets to a natural looking eye is to do light brown eyeliner on the bottom and dark brown on top. And yes , mineralize skinfish is the best!

  13. You are very nice, nice article! Thanks! P.S. My dad has been telling me for years putting it on the bottom lid makes me look older! But, I have really dark eyes so I can’t imagine going without it! Maybe I will try a brown next time, and see if that makes my dad stop giving me makeup advice, and if I like it too. I will be back to enjoy more of your writing.

    1. Gotta love when ‘ol Dad gives you makeup advice! Haha😉 You could always try using a shadow underneath your eyes too. Just apply it with a liner brush. A bronze, or a golden color would be great for warmer weather, all the while still giving you some color. Let me know what you think! Thank you for reading!

    1. Hi! You can do either way. Applying
      It wet will make it look more similar to liquid liner. Using it dry creates a softer look. If you use it dry, just be sure to tap off your brush really well before you apply!🙂

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