The 14 best products for spring's 'no makeup' beauty trend

By Megan Kirkwood

This season puts the focus on naturally glowing skin and clean, flawless makeup. Hard to pull off? Not at all! Read on for our expert tips on how to put your best face forward.

The secret to mastering a flawless face is starting with a well-maintained canvas. “Makeup looks best on great skin, so taking care of your complexion is more than half the battle,” says New York City-based makeup artist Beau Nelson, who has worked with Kristen Stewart and Nicole Richie. Skin-boosting ingredients allow the latest foundations and concealers to showcase healthy, well-hydrated skin – so you can finally miss the dreaded feeling of wearing a makeup mask. Here’s how to prep, prime and layer your way to your best complexion yet.

Nicole Richie layers skin-care formulas for a flawless complexion, while Kristen Stewart gets a natural glow with an illuminating foundation.

TREATMENT

Prep your face, including your under-eye area, with a brightening and tone-correcting face oil or serum. Look for formulas with mega-hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, which will ensure your complexion looks fresh, youthful and “plumped.” To really enhance your moisturizer’s benefits, take a few minutes to give yourself a mini facial massage, always working in an upward motion for a lifting effect. Massaging your skin also increases blood flow, minimizes puffiness and helps formulas absorb completely. “I find that the gentle vibrations of an automated facial brush, such as a Clarisonic, brings the blood to the surface of your skin, making it appear healthier immediately,” says Beau. If you have oily or combination skin, look to gel-like moisturizers to avoid an overly shiny appearance. “Some skin types aren’t able to absorb as much oil, which results in foundation not being able to adhere properly,” Beau explains. To avoid shine, first apply your moisturizer and let it set for a few minutes, then gently press a tissue onto your face to absorb any excess oils.

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PRIME TIME

Next, choose a primer based on your biggest skin concern. “Overall, a good primer will improve the spreadability, coverage and longevity of your foundation,” says Toronto-based makeup artist Diana Carreiro. If you’re after a smoother appearance or smaller-looking pores, look to a lightweight formula that will create a velvety surface while filling in fine lines. If your skin feels tight or your makeup looks cakey, apply a hydrating primer that will soothe skin with ingredients such as shea butter, aloe vera or glycerin. Finally, if you’d like to combat overall dullness, look for a rosy or coral-tinted base which will help boost your skin’s radiance. “Apply the primer with your fingers so you can really work the formula into your skin,” says Diana. For the quickest fix, spritz on an electrolyte-packed, water-based primer, which will keep your skin looking fresh and hydrated while creating a smooth and oil-free canvas for makeup.

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MAGIC MAKEUP

To perfect the season’s “no makeup” makeup, be sure to use a light hand and concentrate foundation in the centre of your face. “Start by using a brush or a slightly damp makeup sponge to apply a sheer foundation to your T-zone and blend it outwards, only applying product exactly where needed,” says Beau. Next, spot treat any lingering red spots, blemishes or veins using a small brush and a highly concentrated concealer. To target shadows in your eye area, use a brightening formula one shade lighter than your foundation and apply it under your eyes and in the inner eye socket. “Apply concealor in a V-shape under your eyes and buff into your skin with a fluffy brush,” says Diana. To ensure you maintain a glow – not an overdose of shine – dust a translucent powder across your forehead, nose and around your mouth but not on your cheeks or jawline. Use a spritz of cosmetic-setting spray to help the makeup pigments “gel” onto your skin for a long-lasting look.

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