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How to Master Nude Makeup in 6 Easy Steps

Photo by Lara Callahan / Refinery29/ Getty Images

We’re all for bright, bold makeup looks—but as summer begins to heat up, neutral and nude makeup looks are also on our minds. After all, summer is the season for letting your gorgeous skin take the spotlight. But natural-looking makeup doesn't mean you have to re-learn your makeup skills. Mastering that coveted "no-makeup makeup" look is more achievable than you think. When creating a natural look, remember that you're using makeup to enhance your beautiful features—and swapping a few of your go-to products for summer-friendly options will help. Think BB creams over full-coverage foundations and hydrating lip balms over richly-textured lip colors. The final result is a glowier, dewier you (no Instagram filter needed.)

Below, we've put together an easy, step-by-step tutorial for how to create a nude makeup look for summer and beyond.

About the Expert:

Deborah Altizio is a New York-based celebrity and fashion makeup artist.

Nude makeup tutorial, step-by-step

1. Start with skincare.

Before you dive into your makeup routine, always start with skincare. A good moisturizer can help create a smooth, even canvas for makeup. A great under eye cream may (over time) minimize how much concealer you use under your eyes and immediately help your makeup go on smoother. A purifying cleanser may help clear your skin so you eventually feel comfortable wearing lighter foundations. Making sure your skin is prepped before makeup is the key to making sure your skin is protected, and that your makeup goes on smooth, easy, and lasts longer. 

2. Build your base with a brightening primer.

Sun, humidity, sweat—all of it can cause your makeup to fade—and just because you're going for a natural makeup look doesn't mean you don't want it to stay in place all day. The best way to ensure that your makeup stays put all day long is to use a great, skin-illuminating primer.

"If you tend to have a problem with makeup staying on your face, a primer is a great way to make it last longer," Altizio says. "If I'm doing makeup on a celebrity who has a long day ahead of them, I'll always use a primer." Primer also creates a physical barrier between your skin and makeup, and helps prevent sweat and oils from causing your makeup to fade and look splotchy over time.

DR. BRANDT SKINCARE Pores No More® Luminizer Primer

Looking for the perfect no-makeup makeup primer? We love the DR. BRANDT SKINCARE Pores No More® Luminizer Primer which reduces the appearance of pores and contains illuminating powders that reflect light for a luminous finish. Pair it with a BB cream or tinted moisturizer to give minimal makeup a radiant glow.

3. Try a BB cream or tinted moisturizer over foundation.

If you're going for that naturally glowy, lit-from-within look, choose a BB cream or a tinted moisturizer over your full-coverage foundation. While both of these will smooth and even out your skin tone, they offer more natural-looking coverage. They're also frequently infused with additional skincare benefits like extra hydration and SPF.

If you're confused about the difference between BB creams and tinted moisturizers you're not alone. "They are very similar," Altizio explains. "Basically, either is for someone who doesn’t want the full coverage of a foundation. I might choose a tinted moisturizer over a BB cream if it has glow-boosting benefits or hydrating hyaluronic acid in the formula."

4. Add dimension with highlighter and blush.

Once you're happy with your base makeup, it's time to give your natural makeup look a boost by building dimension. While you'll probably want to skip heavy contouring (totally up to you!), you can still have fun with highlighter and blush. Use blush on your cheekbones to add warmth and highlighter on the highest point of your cheekbones, along the bridge of your nose, on the center of your lids (for a 3D effect), and on the inner corners of the eyes for all over radiance.

SHAINA B MIAMI Mini Miami Blush and Highlight Palette

We suggest: Thus multitasking SHAINA B MIAMI Mini Miami Blush and Highlight Palette, which features both matte blushes and shimmer-packed highlighters to customize your glow.

LAURA GELLER Urban Garden Palette in Central Park

5. Define your eyes with a nude eyeshadow palette.

Don't feel like you can't still have fun with your eye makeup when applying natural makeup. You can swipe on a super bright eyeshadow shade for a pop of color, but neutral shadows are totally gorgeous for an all-over neutral look. We love playing with the shadow combinations in the LAURA GELLER Urban Garden Palette in Central Park, which comes with four neutral shadows (three mattes and one shimmer).

Alternatively, if you're going all-in on a super dewy, natural look, try applying an eye gloss like the MAKE Face Gloss instead of a shadow.

CIATÉ LONDON Wonderwand Mascara

6. Finish with mascara and a barely-there lip shade.

As always, finish off your look with a quick swipe of mascara. We're currently obsessed with: CIATÉ LONDON Wonderwand Mascara which lengthens, volumizes, curls, and defines lashes in just a few quick swipes.

Before you snap some selfies, polish off your look with a subtle lip gloss or a nude lipstick that matches your skin tone. "When creating a nude look, I usually like to use a matte nude lipstick," Altizio says. "Usually, lipstick in a nude tone will need to be reapplied, so I prefer to use a long-wear lipstick with a nude lip liner."

Love these nude makeup tips? Let us know @IPSY!

Want in on all the Glam Bag fun? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. And don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

About the author
Cortney Clift
Cortney is a New York-based freelance writer who has written about beauty and wellness for more than six years. She was previously the senior writer and special projects editor at Brit + Co where she covered a wide range of news and lifestyle topics.
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Article Last Updated July 20, 2020 12:00 AM