How To Do Makeup Without Foundation

how to do makeup without foundation

It feels like a generous layer of foundation is the best way to get a flawless complexion. But what happens when your skin doesn’t agree with you? What do you do when your foundation makes your skin look worse as opposed to better and smoother? Well, that’s when you do your makeup without foundation.

We all have different reasons for wanting to do makeup without using a liquid or powder foundation. Sometimes your skin goes through a phase and needs to breathe, so you skip foundation. There’s also the fact that foundation doesn’t help with mask acne.

Plus, some of us are into minimalism and trying to reduce the number of makeup products we use daily. And let’s not forget that no-makeup makeup has its own appeal and is great for natural, everyday wear.

My particular reason, however, is none of the above. I have this seemingly normal skin that looks heavily done if I wear foundation, and my foundation looks flaky and patchy even when I use it a little.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m in no shortage of a good foundation. I’ve got a lot of good stuff lying around waiting to be expired. From full coverage stuff to natural coverage and from brushes to sponges, nothing’s working.

So instead of forcing it, I’ve tried foundation-free makeup. And I’m loving it! Here’s how you can do your makeup without foundation.

How To Do Makeup Without Foundation

Step #1. Start with Your Skin

First of all, your bare skin is going to be pretty much your base. So don’t shy away from binge-masking or Jade rolling or whatever it is that freshens your skin. Make sure you do your full skincare routine.

Start with a clean face and apply your products in an orderly fashion. Start with your serums and follow up with your moisturizer and SPF.

If you need an extra boost to look more awake or fresh, you can try under-eye patches to plump the eye area and exfoliating pads to smooth out the skin and brighten your complexion.

Step #2. Prime Your Skin

If you want to go completely foundation-free and don’t even want to try foundation substitutes, be resourceful and try smart products that do several things.

For example, you can try a blurring primer and just apply it on the pores to smooth your skin texture. You can try moisturizers with a dewy finish or illuminating primers to achieve a dewy base without a base product.

For this step, I can swear by Erborian CC Water Gel or Shiseido Shikulime Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer to get healthy-looking, luminous skin.

Step #3. Grab the Concealer

A good concealer is essential for doing your makeup without foundation. This is the most important step. First of all, apply the concealer under the eye area like you normally do.

Once you’re done, any discolorations or imperfections on the rest of the face will become more visible. So you’ll know which areas need more attention.

There’s no need to overdo your under-eye coverage. Also, you don’t need to set your concealer if you want more natural-looking makeup.

I can recommend Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer and Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Wear All Over Concealer as these two are high-coverage options that blend well under the eyes and on the skin.

Step #4. Spot Conceal

Use the same concealer to cover those red spots, brown spots, and any other marks. The important thing here is to use tiny amounts and press the concealer in. No swiping across.

Aside from those dots, you may see redness around the nose as well. Do the same thing and apply a tiny amount around the nose to cancel out any redness.

You can even apply tiny dots on enlarged pores to reduce their visibility. The best thing about this method is that you decide how much coverage you want.

You can choose to spot conceal for a natural-looking face. If you want more coverage, slowly add tiny amounts all over the face in a very localized manner.

Step #5. Mimic Your Natural Shadows

The good thing about doing makeup without foundation is that you don’t have a flat face to work with now. Because when you wear a full coverage foundation, you get a completely neutral base.

And that requires you to bring out shadows and colors you’ve completely covered up. And that’s why it’s difficult to know where to apply bronzer and blush, especially if you’re a beginner.

But when you use concealer instead of foundation and apply it only where necessary, you still have your natural colors and shadows showing through.

This makes it incredibly easy to see where your bronzer or blush needs to be applied. You’re just reinforcing the colors present on your skin.

So grab your bronzer and apply it on the areas where you naturally have shadows such as below the cheekbones and across the jawline. No need to contour, just emphasize what’s already there.

Step #6. Layer Creamy Products

A well-moisturized skin and a little bit of concealer make your skin look like skin. It also allows you to layer dewy finish, cream-based makeup products.

So even though this is optional, you can try a few things here to jazz up your complexion, add some glimmer, and achieve a more youthful-looking glowy base as opposed to a fully matte base.

So grab a cream bronzer or a cream blush and apply it on the high points of your cheeks. This will give you color and make your skin look dewy.

You can also try a cream stick highlighter such as Baume Essentiel by Chanel in the translucent shade and just swipe it on the high points of your cheeks, highlight the inner corners of the eyes, and even add some light on the upper eyelid.

Step #7. Move on To the Eyes

Depending on your personal preference, do your eye makeup in the most dramatic or natural way. Use an eyeshadow palette to create different, vibrant looks.

If you’re like me and over the age of 30 and find eyeshadow palettes to be too much work, use a bronzer or a blush to simply color up the eyelids for a natural look.

The fact that you’re not wearing foundation has nothing to do with your eye makeup. Also, you can try both cream and powder formulas. There’s no better option.

An eye makeup look you can try without using foundation is neutral eyeshadow color with black eyeliner and lots of mascara.

Step #8. Layer Your Mascara

You have a beautiful base you’ve created using only skincare and concealer. And you’ve applied your eye makeup. Now, it’s time to do mascara. The only thing to remember here is to match your eye makeup with your lip makeup.

If you’re going for a bold lip, go easier on the eyelashes and only do a few coats. If you’re going for nude lips or glossy lips, layer your mascara to get lengthy voluminous lashes.

This is to create a more consistent look and have one part of your makeup pop as opposed to creating a noisy look where everything pops up.

Step #9. Color Up Your Lips

From here on, move on to the rest of your makeup however you like. Go for a bold lip or a nude lip. If you have gone easy on the blush, make your lips pop with red lips.

If you’re going for glistening glowy makeup without foundation, gloss up your lips with nude lip gloss. Or simply go for a lip balm just to plump up and define your lips. And you’re done.

If you’ve followed through the steps properly, you now have a very even-looking base that’s equally natural. You just reduce the visibility of imperfections without covering everything up and canceling out your own skin color.

You can always try foundation alternatives like skin tints, tinted moisturizers, and CC creams. But if you want the best coverage, using concealer is the best way to do your makeup without foundation.


Read Next: The Best Foundation Alternatives

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