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I Woke Up Like This

Get the “no-makeup” look naturally


I Woke Up Like This

If you want to look fresh and radiant without looking made up, the "no-makeup" look may be for you.

Lately, even the mainstream beauty industry has been tossing heavily pigmented makeup and cakey foundation in favour of a natural glow. This no-makeup trend is great news for those of us who prefer going au naturel !

Getting that “I woke up like this” effortless glow can actually take a lot of, well, effort if we’re not sure where to start. Here’s how it’s done.


Natural makes a comeback

Nav Uppal, a Vancouver-based makeup artist, agrees that the no-makeup look is on the rise. “Many of my clients love the ‘no makeup’ makeup look, and so do I,” she says. “Most makeup artists will tell you that it’s probably one of the most difficult looks to create due to the struggle of making the makeup look like skin.”


Start with skin care

“My advice to those wanting to create this look: great makeup starts with great skin care,” explains Uppal. “If you take proper care of your skin, doing your makeup will be a million times easier!”

A simple daily routine filled with products found at natural health retailers will help to create a flawless canvas.

Layering 101

In general, skin care products should be applied from lightest to heaviest, allowing each product to absorb into the skin. Follow the order in which products are listed in this article.



Lighter and more concentrated than a moisturizer and specifically targeted to individual skin concerns, facial serums are skin care superheroes. Hardworking ingredients to look for in natural products include licorice (used to even out skin tone and boost overall radiance), vitamin C (to help prevent signs of aging), and willow bark (to help combat acne). Serums go a long way, and only a bit needs to be applied at a time.



Whatever our skin type, it’s important to moisturize, and there’s a product for each of us. It’s all about the weight of the product: those with oily skin can benefit from a lightweight daily moisturizer, while those with very dry skin can benefit from a heavier cream. A good moisturizer may even make skin appear younger.

Eye creams (moisturizers specifically formulated for the needs of the thin skin under and around the eyes) are a great addition to a daily skin routine. Natural options feature ingredients such as soothing cucumber and free-radical-fighting green tea.

With this ring finger, I thee apply

Since the ring finger is the weakest finger, and therefore the most gentle on delicate under-eye skin, this is the finger best suited to applying eye cream.


Natural sunscreen

We’ve heard it before: sunscreen should be worn every day. It not only helps protect our skin from harmful rays that can cause skin cancer, but it can also help prevent premature skin aging. Don’t be fooled by high SPFs; generally, an SPF 30 reapplied throughout the day is more effective than a higher SPF applied once.

“Skin care is an investment, and your SPF is your insurance on that investment!” says Uppal. “I can’t tell you how many of my clients aren’t aware of reapplication—it’s crazy! You’re usually only protected for one and a half to two hours.”

Mineral sunscreens made from zinc oxide or titanium dioxide in a traditional liquid cream formulation are some of the safest and healthiest options on the market.



Those with oily skin know all too well that makeup can slide right off the face come midafternoon. Thankfully, primers help keep makeup safely in place all day. Look for a natural option infused with healthy antioxidants, plant extracts, and skin loving vitamins C and E, but free of artificial preservatives such as parabens which are possible hormone disruptors.


Build the perfect no-makeup kit

These minimalist makeup products put the finishing touches on the look.


Foundation alternatives

For a natural look, skip heavy foundation and opt instead for light tinted moisturizer, BB (beauty balm), or CC (colour correcting) cream. Finish with a light dusting of mineral powder. BB and CC creams look and feel like light foundations or tinted moisturizers but have extra benefits, such as smoothing and radiance-boosting properties.

For those with dry skin who may be afraid of using powder, Uppal recommends blending a mineral facial powder with an organic facial oil such as 100 percent argan oil.

“This trick can also work for someone with a normal to oily skin type to give them that glowy, ‘lit from within’ look,” Uppal adds.


Natural mascara

In contrast to the high intensity of a smoky eye, a brown or soft black mascara can give eyes a subtle enhancement. Look for a product that lengthens lashes rather than builds volume.

Time to move on?

Mascara’s shelf life is shorter than that of other makeup because of the possibility of eye infections, so toss it after approximately three months.


Tinted lip balm

Last step—lips! Natural tinted lip balms exist in dozens of shades and add a perfect, subtle boost of colour that complements, rather than distracts from, the natural shade of the lips. Natural options abound, with nourishing ingredients from beeswax to coconut oil offering something for everyone.



Should we actually go makeup-free?

While the no-makeup look does require makeup, some people are actually going without makeup in hopes of improving their complexions. Variations of the trend include the “5:2 skin diet” (in which makeup is worn five days out of the week, followed by a two-day makeup “fast”) and the extreme “caveman regimen” (in which absolutely nothing is done to the skin, not even routine cleansing).

What do dermatologists think about makeup? In general, they agree that it’s a good idea to take a break from makeup to let skin “breathe” at least once a week, especially for those who have acne breakouts, but also recommend regular cleansing and moisturizing.


Know thy skin type

Makeup artist Nav Uppal’s top tip for choosing new skin care or makeup products is to know your skin type (dry, normal, combination, or oily) and select products for that type.

She’s got a great trick to determine skin type: “Cleanse your skin and let it sit for about 10 to 15 minutes before putting any serums, moisturizer, et cetera on. However your skin feels or looks after that 10 minutes is what your skin type is.”

  • If skin feels tight, it’s a dry skin type.
  • If skin feels oily, it’s an oily skin type.
  • If it feels oily on the t-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) but dry everywhere else, it’s combination.
  • If it feels fine all over, it’s normal.


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