When I first heard that Sephora would be offering free makeup classes to its Beauty Insiders, I couldn’t sign up fast enough. Even though I absolutely love applying makeup and I talk about it like it’s my job (it is), I’d never taken an actual class. Suffice to say, I couldn’t wait to dip my brushes in.
The first available class was a 90-minute session on no-makeup makeup. At first, I kind of chuckled a bit, considering the fact that a fresh-faced look shouldn’t take over an hour to learn, right? But I showed up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 10 a.m. on a Saturday and was escorted to a long table in the back of the Sephora store. Lined up along the table were mirrors, “hygiene stations” equipped with sponges, spoolies, makeup remover, etc., and a face chart explaining the look. Our lovely instructor, Annie, walked us through the steps on her model, Mia, and then we executed those steps on ourselves.
The class took about two hours in total, as the application process as a group and the time it took to find the right shades and products for each individual person were a bit lengthy. But Annie insisted that if you were to do the whole process at home, it would only take about 10 minutes. Below, check out the best tips and tricks I learned from Sephora’s no makeup class.
Hydrate the Skin
“Your skin should always be hydrated, plumped, and ready to accept the makeup,” Annie explained. We were given Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum, which is a great product; no greasiness, and my skin felt super supple and plump afterward. Annie told us to start from the center and work toward the outside using “minimum product for maximum hydration.”
Annie noted that she doesn’t love using SPF in skincare because it tends to be denser, so find a face makeup with SPF instead. If you prefer a mix, reach for a tinted moisturizer with SPF 30 or above.
Treat Under-Eyes with Care
Annie then told us to think of our under-eyes as similar to linen—”If you toss linen in a wad in the laundry basket, it gets wrinkly.” As a result, you need to be super gentle around the area when you wash and apply skincare. Her product of choice for under-eyes is Tatcha Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Eye Serum. She instructed us to tap it on with our ring finger since it’s the most gentle finger, instead of tugging the area with your index finger.
Get Comfortable with Cushion Makeup
Forget BB creams or tinted moisturizers; Annie’s must-have no-makeup makeup is cushion foundation. She loves AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compact for light coverage. Instead of using our fingers or the little puff that cushion compacts always come with, we were instructed to pat the product into our skin with a damp BeautyBlender ($20). Annie dipped the bottom of the rounded BeautyBlender into the compact and then bounced that off her skin, whereas I usually dip the side in toward the tip of the pink egg. I tried her method and found that it worked just about the same.
Apply Concealer Liberally
Annie also suggests dabbing a bit of concealer with the tip of your Beautyblender on your eyelids, between your eyebrows, underneath your nose, and in the corners of your mouth. This will conceal redness and brighten up your face in no time. I was given the Marc Jacobs Remedy Concealer Pen ($27) (the Marc Jacobs pen has been discontinued, but we also recommend the Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat All-Over Brightening Pen), which had really nice light coverage. Sure enough, my complexion mirrored her claims.
Reach for Cream Blush
Cream blush is the best thing to use for the no-makeup makeup look because it’s light and dewy and won’t leave a chalky look behind, according to Annie. It also replaces contour and bronzer in the NMM routine, as it contours the cheeks in and of itself. We tried the Milk Lip + Cheek Stain and were instructed to apply it using our BeautyBlenders because applying directly from the packaging can sometimes be too harsh. After blending out the bright pink hue, I immediately got a few oohs and ahhs from the other students.
Go Easy on Powder
The key to no-makeup makeup is being fresh-faced, so putting on any more powder than necessary will only take away from that. Annie told us to only use a bit of translucent powder on your “hot spots” (the areas that get greasy) if you have oily skin, but if you have normal skin, you can forego this step. She also told us that if your skin is dry, you can use a setting spray to bring your makeup to life and freshen up your skin.
Keep Your Eyes Open
Don’t close your lid while applying eye makeup! Annie says that you need to apply eye shadow and mascara so that it flatters the eye when it’s open, so closing the eyes can result in an off-kilter look. We used the UrbanDecay Naked2 Basics ($29) to create a neutral eye using the shimmery nude color on the lids and the darker taupe on the orbital bone. We then used a brown eyeliner (never black for no-makeup makeup) on our lash line, and followed with a light brush of Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara. “My one and only rule for makeup is that you must wear mascara if you wear eyeliner,” urges Annie.
Use Brow Gel
For no-makeup makeup, don’t spend the time filling in your brows with a pencil. Instead, beef them up with a brow gel, like Benefit Gimme Brow+ Volumizing Eyebrow Gel. It takes two seconds and makes a big impact.
Don’t Neglect Your Lips
Though no-makeup makeup may not seem like a place for a little rouge on your pout, the key is to find something that’s light, hydrating, and will amplify your natural lip color. We’re partial to Milk Makeup’s KUSH Lip Balms, which have just a hint of color, but are super hydrating.