For that “woke up like this” glow, these clean skincare brands can help you nail the natural ‘no-makeup’ makeup look with minimal products and minimal effort.
Alicia Keys is the epitome of natural beauty. Whether she’s walking the red carpet or running errands, the “If I Ain’t Got You” singer prefers to go makeup-free.
Back in May 2016, the Grammy-winning musician penned a powerful essay, which was published in Lenny Letter—actor Lena Dunham’s weekly online feminist newsletter. In the moving piece, entitled “Time to Uncover,” she explained her decision to eschew makeup in order to better discover herself and break away from societal beauty norms. “I swear it is the strongest, most empowered, most free, and most honestly beautiful that I have ever felt,” she wrote.
“I hope to God it’s a revolution,” she added. “Cause I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.”
Embracing natural beauty with clean skincare
After years of going predominantly barefaced, the singer added a little pop of color to her face. She debuted her new range of color-skincare products from her clean skincare and wellness brand, Keys Soulcare, at the 2022 Met Gala.
In an interview with People, she explained that her decision to use color cosmetics again came about due to her ever-changing ideas about beauty. “[My view of makeup] has completely evolved,” she explained. “I get to determine what’s beauty to me. Nobody gets to tell me what that is, and I can’t tell anybody what that is either. That’s why my relationship with [makeup and beauty] has come to the place where it is.”
Founded in 2020 in partnership with cosmetics brand e.l.f. Beauty, the cruelty-free brand’s original collection featured a Sage + Oat Milk Candle, Skin Transformation Cream, and an Obsidian Facial Roller. The new Color Care collection, called Make You, includes a brow gel, tinted lip balm, cheek tint, and priming serum. (While Keys Soulcare does not test on animals, it does use beeswax and Manuka honey in select products.)
You can shop the Make You collection at keyssoulcare.com.
A minimalist approach to makeup
Although Keys’ new makeup collection includes vibrant colors, it still emphasizes natural beauty and embraces a minimalist approach to makeup. “Everything [within Keys Soulcare] is going to be helpful for your skin, and to me, that’s what makes it different from any other brands out there,” she told People.
The dermatologist-developed brand’s range of color cosmetics takes basic makeup staples, such as lipstick and blush, and gives people the ability to use as much or as little of them as they’d like. “Skincare with a pop of color, who doesn’t want that? The only beauty standard is the one you create,” she wrote on Instagram. “That’s why I called it Make You.”
For the ultimate beauty goals, you too can easily nail the natural look with minimal products—not to mention, minimal effort. From lightweight foundation to blush—read on to discover all of the best beauty tips and picks to help you achieve a fresh “no-makeup” makeup look in just minutes.
Mastering the ‘no-makeup’ makeup look
When it comes to perfecting a minimalist makeup look—less is more. Don’t get us wrong, nothing accompanies a sleek, little black dress quite like a pair of heels and a full face beat—winged eyeliner, full coverage foundation, bold brows, and a bold, smoky eye to top. But you can still enhance all of your gorgeous features without using a bunch of cosmetic products. Here are some of the best cruelty-free products to try for a subtle, everyday “no-makeup” makeup look.
1. Prep the skin
First, start with a priming serum. For a warm glow, use Keys Soulcare’s Let Me Glow Illuminating Priming Serum, which is suitable for all skin tones. Not only will it brighten your complexion over time, according to the brand, but it can also help to plump and revitalize your skin.
2. Go light on the foundation
The key to perfecting the “no-makeup” makeup look is to not go heavy on the foundation. Opt for a tinted moisturizer or a lightweight foundation. KVD Beauty’s Good Apple Skin-Perfecting Foundation Balm is a terrific option because it offers lightweight full coverage for a natural finish. (It’s not cakey!) Available in a variety of shades, from deep to tan and medium to light, the foundation balm is infused with apple extract and sodium hyaluronate to hydrate your skin. And the best part is—the compact case is fully recyclable.
3. Apply some color to your cheeks
For added radiance, add some color to your cheeks using INIKA Organic’s range of sustainable cosmetics, which are contained in sugarcane-based, recyclable containers. For a dewy finish, try the brand’s Cream Illuminisor, a liquid cream that features botanical extracts. For a sunkissed bronze, opt for the Baked Mineral Bronzer. Suitable for most skin tones, the lightweight bronzer adds a natural illuminating glow. You can also add subtle color to your cheeks with INIKA’s cheek cream, which can also be used on the lips and eyelids.
4. And for pout-worthy lips…
Don’t forget to add a touch of color to your lips, too! Eco-conscious makeup brand Elate Cosmetics’ Better Balm provides a natural tint to your lips all while rehydrating and regenerating them at the same time. Available in six shades—Clear, Shimmering Peach, Sheer Rose, Shimmering Terracotta, Shimmering Mauve, and Shimmering Cranberry—apply this balm for a sheer, moisturizing—and kissable—shine.
5. Add volume to your lashes
Next step: your lashes. Clean beauty brand Dime Beauty—well-known for its sustainable ingredients and biodegradable packaging—has you covered. Not only does its Super Eye Duo, which includes an eyelash boost serum and volume mascara, accentuate the look of your lashes—it helps to nourish them so that they can grow fuller and longer.
Learn about the Clean at Sephora guidelines and the brands to shop for more eco makeup looks.