No-makeup makeup has reigned supreme for seasons now, but like, what if you actually want to wear no makeup? It can be confronting to brave the world bare-faced, sure, but nothing feels quite like letting your skin breathe.
Life is full of occasions where a bare face is better-suited, anyway. Maybe you’re headed to the beach, out for a workout, or just want to give your skin a dose of delightful fresh air (and skip the hassle of your makeup routine) while still maintaining maximum confidence.
Let’s put it this way: you don’t need to ‘put your face on’ if you don’t want to – it’s already on, and we’ll bet it looks great. But if you want to work on taking it from ‘I hope I don’t run into anyone’ to ‘I feel better without makeup anyway’, we have some helpful hacks. Here’s our guide to getting the best bare skin of your life…
1: Exfoliate *efficiently*, not excessively
The big villain in a bare face’s superhero movie? Congestion. Not only does general dead skin cell build-up (caused by, well, existing) leave skin looking dull and lifeless, but product-caused congestion (triggered by things like leftover makeup) is usually the cheeky culprit behind breakouts.
Stop both congestion categories in their tracks by doing two things. First, make sure you’re double-cleansing super carefully on any days you do wear makeup. An oil cleanser/classic foam combo is our top ‘get rid of it all’ recommendation.
Secondly, station a quality chemical exfoliator on your to-try shelf (to be used either once or twice weekly, depending on your skin’s sensitivity levels). It’ll take care of eliminating dead cells and tricky-to-get impurities from your beautiful bare skin once it’s squeaky clean. Of course, don’t get overzealous - like we said, you want to be efficient, not excessive. Over-exfoliate (AKA with harsh physical formulas or more than twice per week) and you’ll be in a worse place than where you started.
2: Centre your entire routine around a superstar serum
So you’ve got your canvas clean. What’s the secret to gorgeously glossy skin sans glimmering illuminator?! You’ll basically want to get your hot little hands on an outrageously hydrating serum that nixes concerns both visibly (AKA immediately) and long-term (by getting to work beneath the surface).
Our pick? The Dr. LeWinn’s HYDRATE serum ($74.95 at Dr. LeWinn's) – it’s designed specifically for dry, dull and dehydrated skin, acting as a brightening, plumping and fine line-fighting all-star. Considering that means it addresses just about every concern we all have re: skipping complexion coverage, it’s pretty much the best possible player to have on your makeup-free team.
How did it secure said status, you ask? Through the unrivalled powers of hyaluronic acid, of course. It teams the inimitable ingredient with another clever hydrating component (waterin plus), amplifying skin’s hyaluronic acid levels by a whopping 78 per cent. Not only will your skin be plumped, brightened, and glossed up (it’s a thing, okay?) as soon as the product hits it, but the formula is also effective enough to reduce dullness, fine lines and dryness over time. Basically, it’ll leave your natural skin looking better with every gleamingly glossy wear. Sounds like a bare face’s best friend to us.
3: Game-ify your water drinking
Internal hydration matters, too – duh! Yes, drinking water is an obvious (and age-old) way to get your skin glowing from the inside out, but it can be tricky to remember to actually do it during the day. Getting up for the bathroom every four minutes is also pretty tricky, but hey, it’s part of the process.
Our tip? Try turning your water consumption into a game of sorts to incentivise your drinking habits and help you down your two litres before the day is done (without having to chug it at 11.55pm). Recruit a reusable water bottle with time-centric notches to break down your big goal into easy-to-hit checkpoints. For example, if you can see that you only need to take a few more sips to nail your ‘1 litre by midday’ goal, then we bet your brain will be down to do it. As for the prize? Looking stunning bare-faced, of course – you’re doing it for future you.
4: Team tanning drops with constant protection
The same way a spray tan lends you a whole new bill of confidence, a little bronze-y action on the face will work wonders for your bare-faced game. It almost acts like a super sheer veil of foundation, adding a tiny bit of (super natural-looking) coverage while also giving your skin the ‘healthy glow’ we’re all after. As a bonus, your teeth and eyes will look brighter against the tan – a definite win in the bare-faced department. Try mixing some tanning drops into your moisturiser every second night to nail the natural look.
Of course, a literal natural tan is at the top of the ‘no’ column – loading up on your SPF in the morning and (reapplying as needed) throughout the day is a must for keeping your face looking fresh. Keep both a winning vile of tanning drops and a stellar sunscreen in your rotation and you’ll reap all the benefits of a golden glow without any of the damage or dark spots.
5: Consume what your skin is craving
We know ‘you are what you eat’ can be an annoying saying, especially because ‘being’ a cheeseburger meal is, er, humbling, but the rumours are all true: everything you’re snacking on during the day can show on your face. Specifically for skin, a diet rich in vitamin C (oranges, blueberries, strawberries and sweet potatoes are all great for this) is ace for fast-tracking the healing process for any blemishes as well as promoting radiance and kick-starting collagen production.
Healthy fats are also an ally; avocados, oily fish, nuts and seeds are anti-inflammatory (and tasty) treats that actually help to form the building blocks of healthy skin. Team a diet rich in these bad boys with your new fave hydrating serum and you’re off to the races. The races being the land of radiant skin, of course.
6: Opt for the ice
Ever since the gua sha roller hit mainstream status, it’s been plagued with ‘does it really work?’ style queries. Well, everyone has a different opinion – they work cheekbone-carving miracles for some and act as nothing other than a placebo step for others. But there’s one ‘tool’ that’s benefits cannot be argued with, and that’s a block of ice. Whether you opt for a store-bought ice roller, chilled spoons or an actual cube of ice, a little chill applied directly onto skin can work absolute wonders.
The cold helps to constrict blood vessels, reducing redness and making dark circles less noticeable, leaving your bare skin considerably more even, brighter, and far fresher than before. Pesky puffiness will also be exiting through the back door. Good riddance.
7: Highlight with your hydrator
A deliciously dewy highlight is preferable to a gaudy glittery one in our book any day, and here’s the good news: you can actually still achieve just that without a lick of makeup. Highlighting is a sure-fire (and speedy) way to draw attention away from anything you don’t want people clocking while you’re showing off your bare skin (breakouts, redness, etc.), with the added benefit of leaving luminosity in its tracks.
Nothing beats glow whether you’re wearing makeup or not, so being able to master the glossy aesthetic while still letting skin breathe is a blessing. For the ultimate highlighter-hydrator hybrid, we advise dabbing an extra serving of the Dr. LeWinn’s HYDRATE serum onto high points of the face – think cheekbones, brow bone and the Cupid’s bow.
Delaney Loane is BEAUTYcrew's Beauty Editor (and resident winged liner lover). An expert in everything from sensitive skin solutions to superior lip gloss formulas, her words have also appeared across mastheads such as ELLE and marie claire.