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How to Make Makeup Look Gorgeous Without Adding Mascara

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Some people may have seen this headline and gasped. Makeup WITHOUT mascara? Can there be such a crazy concept? As it turns out, mascara-free makeup is a thing, and, even more surprising, it can actually be gorgeous

So how do you make mascara-free makeup look good? We tapped celebrity makeup artist Nydia Figueroa, who has worked with celebs like Lele Pons and more, to find out how to make this trend look totally chic IRL. 


About the Expert:
Nydia Figueroa is a celebrity makeup artist based in New York and New Jersey.

Behind the Trend

According to Figueroa, this trend likely came out of the “clean girl aesthetic” that’s been all over our TikTok feeds for the past year. However, “I also believe it came from what’s trending at the moment, which is embracing your natural lashes instead of long lash extensions and strips,” says Figueroa. 

Although heavy, false lashes and sharp, intensely drawn eyebrows were trending just a few years ago, Figueroa says this trend is dying down, and people are opting to embrace their natural brows and lashes more and more.

Tips to Look Good Without Mascara

1. Apply Brow Gel

Figueroa says going mascara-free is all about weight balance on the rest of the face. That means playing up another feature on your face can replace the need for sky-high lashes. Using a brow gel can still help your face look put-together and polished without having to put in much effort. 

We love WE ARE FLUIDE’s Browzey Brow Gel in clear to achieve this look. It uses castor oil and cannabis seed oil to help hydrate and nourish the eyebrow hairs.

2. Apply Brown Eyeshadow as Eyeliner

Going for a soft and subtle eyeliner look “will give the illusion of a lash without packing on the mascara,” explains Figueroa. Opt for a shade that’s lighter than the shade you’d typically go for in a mascara or eyebrow pencil. We love SHADES BY SHAN Life of the Party Eyeshadow Palette for this, as it has a light brown shade that’s perfect to draw across the lash line. Just wet an eyeliner brush slightly, tap into the product, and run it across your lash line to achieve an instant eyeliner effect. 

3. Go for Clear Mascara

Does clear mascara still count as mascara? We think not. “I love the use of clear mascara to give a pop to your lashes without the color,” says Figueroa. “This way, if you do apply shadow or powder and it falls on the lashes, this will prevent the lashes from looking unpolished.”

4. Pink Cheeks

The clean girl aesthetic usually involves some sort of sun-kissed blush look. After you build up your brows, dust on a pinkish red blush for a “sunburn effect” that helps tie the makeup look together. We love the KISMET Blossom Blush in Mimosa for this.

Makeup Without Mascara Inspo

1. Blushing Bridal Makeup Without Mascara

Alex Cooper of Call Her Daddy podcast fame went subtle and chic to her own wedding. She ditched the dramatic eye look in favor of light foundation, brow gel, orange-pink cheeks, and a subtle pink/nude lip. For a glowing-all-over coverage, we love the IT COSMETICS CC Cream with SPF 50. It hydrates, has buildable coverage, and protects skin all day from UV damage.

2. Major Lip Look Without Mascara

Instead of playing up your lashes, opt to play up your lips. Go in with a darker lipstick, then use your fingers or a clean brush to gently buff out the edges, creating a French-inspired blurred lip look. To help this lip look last even longer, use a lip liner darker than the natural shade of your lips all over before you apply your lipstick. We love the BODYOGRAPHY Lip Pencil 3 Pack so you can mix and match custom shades. 

3. Gold Lids, Dewy Skin

In this makeup look highlighting her FENTY BEAUTY Soft‘Lit Naturally Luminous Foundation, Rihanna goes mascara-free and instead opts for a shimmery gold lid and foundation only. The dewy look of the foundation makes her look instantly put together without the need for mascara. The dusty gold lid is optional, but we love the way it gives Rihanna a subtle sparkle without needing to layer on mascara for a dramatic effect. To recreate this look at home, grab the Soft’Lit foundation and use a subtle, sheer, shimmery eyeshadow color like IBY BEAUTY Lush Eyeshadow in Dessert First.

4. Strong Brows

Barbie girl America Ferrera skips the need for mascara altogether by playing up her bold brows. Fluff out with a spoolie and then fill in any sparse areas using a pencil that matches your natural brow color. If you want a laminated look, go in after with a brow gel. A glowing CC cream or foundation can help smooth out any skin imperfections so the no-makeup makeup look can really shine. 

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About the author
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Brittany Leitner
Brittany is an award winning beauty, health, and lifestyle writer and author of the poetry book "23 Emotions." She has eight years of experience writing for brands like Elite Daily, The. Dr. Oz Show, Shape, Stylecaster, Bustle, and more.
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Article Last Updated June 3, 2024 12:00 AM