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The Prettiest Minimalist Makeup Routine to Try ASAP

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Photo by Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty Images

A full face beat is fun once in a while, especially for a special occasion, but to really feel confident in your makeup ability, it’s important to nail minimalist makeup. This can be as low key as no-makeup makeup or what you feel is a natural look. It’s your everyday makeup routine that makes you feel put together without a ton of work (some call it natural glam).

To find out exactly how to nail minimalism, we chatted with celebrity makeup artist and founder of Beauty Lounge, LA, Lisa Erin. She gave us the simple steps we need, as well as what items we should have in our minimalist makeup collection. Keep reading to find out how you can get the look in just 10 minutes.


About the Expert:

Lisa Erin is a makeup artist and the founder of Beauty Lounge, LA.

Here’s exactly how to nail the minimalist makeup trend:

1. Prep Your Skin.

Although we’re talking makeup here, we have to mention a good daytime skincare routine. When and if to cleanse in the morning and what type of moisturizer to use depends on your skin type. What matters most is always using a sunscreen no matter your plans. SPF is not optional!

2. Cover Tiny Imperfections.

Now it’s onto a simple makeup look. Erin likes to begin by applying your favorite concealer under your eyes and over lids with a makeup sponge. Dot a little on any blemishes or red spots.

3. Apply Foundation.

Next comes your choice of a complexion product. Foundation provides a little more coverage, or you can use a hydrating skin tint or tinted moisturizer.

4. Line Your Eyes.

Erin likes to apply eyeliner as part of the eye makeup next. “Apply a liner on your lower lid line, then move to your waterline to line underneath the eye,” she says. You can also use shades from your favorite eyeshadow palette, lightly lining your eyes with a matte or shimmer pigment. It depends on if you’re going for a softer makeup look or one slightly more glam.

5. Next Comes Lashes.

“Next, apply mascara from the base of your lashes to the ends in an upwards motion,” says Erin. Choose a natural-looking mascara to complete your no-makeup makeup look or a more volumizing one for a special occasion.

6. Add a Subtle Highlight.

“Once mascara is applied, then use a highlighter in your upper cheek area,” continues Erin. A cream highlighter can give a less blinding look that’s really pretty for everyday.

7. Bronze the Skin.

Bronzer is an optional step here to warm up your face and act as a low-key contour.

8. Warm the Cheeks.

Next comes blush, either a cream blush applied easily with your fingers or a powder blush used with a fluffy brush.

9. Define Your Brows.

You can’t forget about your brows. Instead of creating a heavy Insta-brow, use a little powder to fill in any sparse areas and finish with a brow gel.

10. Finish With Lips.

Finally, it’s time to choose a lip color. If you don’t want to go all-in with matte lipstick, feel free to just pop on some lip balm or lip gloss in a shade that makes you feel confident.

Minimalist makeup brands we love:

Now that you know how to apply a minimalist makeup look, you might need to add a product or two (or five) to your makeup bag. These 10 brands hawk some of our fave low-key products that are easy to use and always look great whether you have five minutes or an hour to get ready. Below, there’s something for everyone. You might want to bookmark this.

1. BURT'S BEES

BURT'S BEES Goodness Glows Tinted Moisturizer
Courtesy of BURT'S BEES

WhileBurt’s Bees is known for its everyday lip balm, did you know it also has a full makeup and skincare line? Plus, each product is cruelty-free and packaged in recycled containers. All the eye, lip and face makeup is basically the definition of minimal with sheer, hydrating lipsticks and glowy foundations. For an easy, five-minute routine, try the Goodness Glows Tinted Moisturizer, followed by a swipe of Nourishing Mascara and finish with a pop of color with the Squeezy Tinted Balm.

2. ESSENCE COSMETICS

ESSENCE COSMETICS Blush Lighter
Courtesy of ESSENCE COSMETICS

Fans of Essence swear by the affordable and ultra-volumizing mascara options. But the brand has a ton of natural-looking makeup too, for all skin types and tones. The Pretty Natural Hydrating Foundation is especially nice for a no-makeup makeup look that’s easily buildable for more glam. Add a pretty blush-highlighter combo with Blush Lighter on top and finish with Plumping Nudes Lipgloss.

3. INC.REDIBLE COSMETICS

INC.REDIBLE COSMETICS Peach and Love Lip, Cheek and Eye Tint Stick
Courtesy of INC.REDIBLE COSMETICS

Nails Inc. makes some stellar vegan nail polish but did you know it has a makeup brand? Inc.Redible Cosmetics doesn’t have a full makeup line but what is does have is everyday favorites you’ll want to add to your routine. Use the Glow Your Own Way Hydrating Rose Quartz Face Roller to prep your skin with a hydrating moisturizer and then add Peach and Love Lip, Cheek and Eye Tint Stick to the entire face for a laid-back, monochromatic vibe. Finish with When Life Gives You Fruit Lip Balm.

4. TONYMOLY

TONYMOLY ROTD Perfect Eyes Mood Eye Palette
Courtesy of TONYMOLY

Most know TonyMoly for its cruelty-free Korean skincare. But while you’re stocking up on skin essentials, you’ll also want to grab ultra-cute makeup products, such as the ROTD Perfect Eyes Mood Eye Palette for a warm-toned eye and Tropical Cereal Choco O's Ball Bronzer to give your face some natural-looking color. Add a fruit-scented lip stain, such as LipTone Get It Tint S, and prepare to get all the compliments.

5. UNDONE BEAUTY

UNDONE BEAUTY Flawlush Brow
Courtesy of UNDONE BEAUTY

The name pretty much says it all. This minimalist makeup brand makes multibenefit products for eyes, lips and cheeks with vegan and cruelty-free formulas made with skincare-like ingredients. We love the way the Flawlush Brow pen mimics hair and the Indielash Mascara lengthens without clumps. Go one step further with a light smoky eye using the Curator Wet to Dry Eye Palette.

6. BAREMINERALS

BAREMINERALS Strength and Length Serum-Infused Mascara
Courtesy of BAREMINERALS

We’ve been using BareMinerals complexion products forever but the brand has an entire line outside just mineral-based foundation. We especially skipping foundation all together and hiding any imperfections with the Original Liquid Mineral Concealer. Add a swipe or two of Strength and Length Serum-Infused Mascara for healthy—and long—lashes and Gen Nude Blush for a rosy glow.

7. CHARLOTTE TILBURY

CHARLOTTE TILBURY The Retoucher
Courtesy of CHARLOTTE TILBURY

Although Charlotte Tilbury’s products are known for more dramatic glam, there are a surprising amount of items that can work seamlessly into a minimalist makeup routine. Brighten up under your eyes with the ultra-hydrating The Retoucher, and lightly line your eyes with The Classic eyeliner in a pretty shimmery brown. Finish with a hyaluronic acid-infused lipstick with a hint of sheer color.

8. GLOSSIER

GLOSSIER Cloud Paint
Courtesy of GLOSSIER

Glossier pretty much launched its makeup line with the promise of minimalist makeup that for everyone that wants to look like themselves, just a little better. We’d say they nailed it. The super-popular Stretch Concealer covers dark circles and blemishes but moves with your skin so there’s never any cakey spots. Boy Brow gives your arches that brushed-up, fluffy brow look that’s so coveted and Cloud Paint gives cheeks a lit-from-within glow.

9. KOSAS

KOSAS Tinted Face Oil Foundation
Courtesy of KOSAS

Like Glossier, Kosas prides itself for being the type of makeup that makes your unique features stand out—not hide. That’s why we love the Tinted Face Oil Foundation for the way it lightly covers any imperfections but lets our real skin shine through. We like to add a little bronze glow with The Sun Show Bronzer and fluff up the brows with Air Brow- Tinted. It’s that easy.

10. LAURA MERCIER

LAURA MERCIER Lip Glacé
Courtesy of LAURA MERCIER

Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer Oil Free Natural Skin Perfector SPF 20 is a cult favorite but don’t stop there! The brand hawks color cosmetics too, with dozens of shades and finishes you’ll love. Take the Caviar Stick Eye Color for example. One swipe of the Plum or Bronze hues along the lash line and you’ve got a full eye look in 30 seconds. Finish with Lip Glacé for a pop of shiny color.

Want all the minimalist makeup you can get your hands on? Get the IPSY Glam Bag! Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
elizabeth-denton-headshot
Elizabeth Denton
Elizabeth is a freelance beauty writer. Previously, she was a beauty & fashion editor at Time Out New York, Seventeen, & Allure. She has more than a decade of experience in the beauty and fashion world, writing for Nylon, StyleCaster, Cosmopolitan & more.
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Article Last Updated May 20, 2021 12:00 AM