The following content includes referral links. Read my disclosure policy for more info.
The best way to get the most out of your simple and minimal makeup routine is making sure that your skin is well taken care of. Whether your skin is dry or oily, which is what my skin fluctuates between, hydrating it is an important step.
Truth is, if your skin is in a bad shape, your foundation will never look good, regardless of how much or little product you use. For dry skin, I love using IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness cream or Skin Rx’s Lab MadeCera cream. I reach for both also when my skin feels oily, with the difference being that I apply a thick layer and then gently blot the excess with a paper towel. Another trick is to apply a very thin layer of translucent powder on top of the moisturizer, once it absorbs.
Glossier is most definitely one of the first beauty brands that come to mind when I think simple and minimal makeup. Their BoyBrow gels, Bam Dotcom and Generation G sheer lipsticks are among my favorite simple beauty products. A lot of brow gels tend to leave a residue behind, but BoyBrow is not one of them. I use a tinted version when I don’t fill in my brows with a pencil or brow powder, and a clear one when I do. On days when wearing minimal makeup, I much prefer using powder products, like Anastasia’s Brow Powder Duo in Dark Brown. I always go for a natural look, only filling in my eyebrows using a very light hand, following their natural shape.
Generation G lipsticks in Cake and Zip are universally flattering, have a simple, hydrating and long-lasting formula. Cake is a sheer natural nude that doesn’t wash out the complexion, and Zip is a bright red that is easy to pull off, doesn’t intimidate or feather out.
L’Oreal’s True Match is one of those products that I always come back to. It’s also one of the very few base products where the shade is pretty much a 100% match to my skin. This is actually quite a big deal as fair skin with neutral undertones is tough to match (most light/fair shades have pink undertones that don’t always look natural). Another lightweight base product that looks and feels just like skin: Guerlain’s Meteorites Baby Glow Foundation. Both have a light, dewy formulas with a natural finish.
Maybelline’s Lash Sensational is another drugstore favorite that is perfect for creating a simple and minimal makeup. It’s perfect at separating the lashes, adding length and it never clumps or flakes.
While in the past, when struggling with an extremely oily skin I exclusively reached for very matte powder formulas, I now love finishing powders that add a bit of a natural glow. Hourglass powders are, without a doubt, powders with the most unique and beautiful formula. They’re absolutely worth the splurge. Diffused Light never leaves my makeup bag and I often refer to it as a “real life” Snapchat filter, as it softens and blurs the skin in the most beautiful way. A newer member of my simple + minimal makeup routine family is Laura Mercier’s Candleglow Sheer Reflecting Powder in #1. It doesn’t make the skin shiny or too glowy, just adds that perfect finish to my base, that doesn’t look flat.
With concealer, the best way to go simple + minimal is to go with light formulas that also give a nice coverage. There’s a lot of love in my heart for high-coverage concealers like this one from IT Cosmetics, but they often require a little work. NARS Soft Matte Concealer has a very impressive formula that doesn’t require using any tools. It also has a matte formula that works beautifully even when not set with powder, and because of how soft and creamy it is, you don’t have to worry about “warming” up the product before applying it.
The tools you use can make the biggest difference in the way your makeup looks. For concealers, foundations and cream products, it doesn’t get any better than a beauty blender. I have about 10 foundation brushes and the beauty blender is the best tool for creating a minimal makeup look.
Patchology’s LipService is perfect for a little pout pick-me-up. It’s a thick, creamy lip mask that transforms into a beautiful lip balm/lipgloss. A great product to use in the morning, if your lips feel dry and in need of something a bit more than just a lip balm.