Ever since our phones stopped auto-deleting the extra "makeup" from "no-makeup makeup," many of us accepted the phrase as not only a much-discussed trend, but also a lifestyle choice. And it's one that most of us fully embrace — if only on rushed mornings.
It makes sense: Skin is always in, but when dealing with the skin on your face, your options for showing your best barefaced look tend to rely on some amount of foundation or concealer, which, as you know, can feel heavy to some and require time to apply. So what are you to do if you hate foundation, or just don't have the time, but still want some coverage?
Lucky for all of us, there is
plenty of face makeup out there made by like-minded brands that understand our mutual hatred and frustration with heavy foundation. But the best part of our favorite lightweight face products? They're all able to be applied with your (clean) fingers.
Culled from both the drugstore and luxury beauty counters alike, all in varying degrees of coverage, the options ahead will become staples in your makeup bag. We promise there are no complex techniques to confuse you here, just foolproof makeup that looks like anything but. After all, a truly solid no-makeup makeup routine begins (and basically ends) with the complexion.
Intensity Level: 2 Finish: Velvet We love a good BB cream, but what we love even more is a BB cream that helps heal pimples. The hero ingredient, ginseng, helps soothe redness, but also aids in plumping your overall complexion so you look hydrated and fresh — never dried out or inflamed. Erborian BB Crème, $39, available at Sephora.
Intensity Level: 3 Finish: Dewy Sheer makeup is great, but multi-purpose products are even better. The It Cosmetics CC Cream combines your SPF, moisturizer, and base all in one, so your makeup routine is quick and simple with zero fuss. It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream SPF 50+, $38, available at Ulta Beauty.
Intensity Level: 2 Finish: Satin Most tinted sunscreens are incredibly sheer, but this one provides a touch more coverage. Plus, that high SPF is #skingoals.
Complexion Correcting Shield SPF 50+,
Intensity Level: 2 Finish: Dewy This tinted moisturizer has got to be the glossiest finish for a daily hydrator we've ever tried. The tint is just enough to cover spots, blemishes, and undereye bags. But the best part is that your complexion is left looking healthy and radiant ( Martha Stewart even loves it).
Moisture Bound Tinted Treatment Moisturizer SPF 15-102,
Intensity Level: 3 Finish: Dewy If you love Charlotte Tilbury's Wonder Glow, then you'll absolutely flip for the brand's Light Wonder Foundation. It packs the same radiance, with just enough coverage for every day. In reality, the finish is more like a tinted moisturizer than a foundation, but it's simple to build up when you want more coverage. Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation, $45, available at Charlotte Tilbury.
Intensity Level: 1 Finish: Dewy This sheer, tinted sunscreen offers just enough coverage to tone down redness and discoloration while letting your natural skin show through. SkinMedica Total Defense + Repair SPF 34 Tinted, $68, available at SkinMedica.
Intensity Level: 3 Finish: Semi-matte If you’re going for the no-makeup makeup look, why not pick one cleverly named after the trend? Dr. Perricone’s line of skin care masquerading as makeup offers the ideal product for the skin care obsessed. This serum/makeup hybrid incorporates the brand's go-to anti-aging ingredients, like neuropeptides, alpha lipoic acid, and vitamin C, to help minimize fine lines, correct uneven pigmentation, and nourish your skin with antioxidants, all while cleverly and naturally disguising any uneven tone or dullness as soon as you smear it on. With UV protection, to boot, this easily makes our trapped-on-a-desert-island list.
No Foundation Foundation Serum SPF 30,
Intensity Level: 3 Finish: Matte Sheer and matte don't often go hand-in-hand — until now. Nars' Radiant Tinted Moisturizer and Radiant Concealer are already cult favorites, but now the brand has released a velvet matte skin tint — in a similar spirit as its popular velvet matte lip crayons. The suede-like texture offers medium-to-full coverage, depending on how much you layer it. Oil-free with blurring powders, this skin tint helps control shine all day and gives your skin a pillowy, soft appearance. You’ll rejoice at how it doesn’t feel greasy or cakey like many skin tints with heavier coverage — and you don't even need powder.
Velvet Matte Skin Tint SPF 30,
Intensity Level: 3 Finish: Velvet/Dewy You may be asking yourself how one product can have eight benefits, but Maybelline's Skin Perfector actually tops our list of multitasking face products. Why? Smooth it on to blur imperfections, brighten, even skin tone, and hydrate. Consider it makeup for a flawless face on a budget. It offers light coverage that most noticeably serves as a tinted moisturizer, giving your skin a natural fresh finish that reads more velvet than dewy. You can liken it to Maybelline’s Baby Lips, but in the form of a BB cream — which means you can expect hydration and suppleness with just the right amount of dew. We're on board.
Dream Fresh BB 8-in-1 Skin Perfector SPF 30,
Intensity Level: 2 Finish: Radiant For the highlighter-obsessed, this illuminating tinted moisturizer brings a natural glow into the day. How? This sheer, buildable tint has micro-particles of shimmer for a luminous, blurred effect that diffuses light to make your skin look like something out of a magazine spread, but still natural in bright light. Let us explain: When we say micro particles, we mean micro — barely visible in the formula, but when applied, you can see the reflective properties that are inexplicably like liquid light, giving you a literal lit-from-within appearance. On first smear, don’t be surprised if you involuntarily utter a “whoa.” We did, too.
Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20,
Intensity Level: 2 Finish: Slight radiance A drugstore favorite for sensitive skin, Aveeno’s tinted moisturizer offers SPF 30 in a sheer, brightening formula specked with barely visible light-reflecting minerals that offer a subtle blurring effect. This means your skin still looks like your skin, which is kind of the point, isn’t it? The lightweight coverage is noncomedogenic and hypoallergenic, so you won’t have to fuss in case you’re worried about exacerbating any redness. The best part? Since it’s oil-free, you’re spared the midday shine potentially made doubly blinged-out from its already “light-reflecting” nature.
Positively Radiant CC Cream Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30,
Intensity Level: 3 Finish: Natural This formula is brand-new to the market, but it’s already amassed a huge fan base thanks to its weightless, medium-coverage finish, serum-like feel, and impressive shade range. The silky texture blends like a dream and leaves skin looking totally natural — just… better. The Ordinary Colours Serum Foundation, $6.70, available at The Ordinary.
Intensity Level: 4 Finish: Natural A favorite in the BB cushion world, Laneige’s BB Cushion Compact offers a much wider range of shades than many Korean beauty brands, plus it’s easier to find stateside — just go to your local Target, its exclusive U.S. distributor. The light-to-medium coverage is buildable, depending on how much you pat on with the cushion. Like most BB creams, this compact contains skin-care elements to help combat pigmentation, so you can cover up and treat simultaneously. The cushion makes this idiot-proof to apply and reapply throughout the day to control shine or dullness. And with SPF 50, this one offers the most protection of the bunch. Laneige BB Cushion, $34, available at Target.
Intensity Level: 1 Finish: Dewy Barely-there makeup isn’t exactly the type of thing we’ve come to expect from MAC (their usual offerings are more along the lines of outrageously bright lipsticks and gloss for your eyelids), but this recent addition is the Platonic ideal of a lightweight, complexion-perfecting foundation that feels more like skin care than makeup. MAC Next To Nothing Face Colour, $31, available at Nordstrom.
Intensity Level: 1 Finish: Natural This hydrating tint feels barely-there weightless, but you'll definitely know you're wearing it once you look in the mirror — your skin will have a lit-from-within glow. Since the formula is so sheer, it just kind of evens out skin tone for everyday wear. Sometimes, that's all you need... and SPF 15, of course.
Nude Finish Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15,
Intensity Level: 1 Finish: Dewy Touted as being even lighter than a tinted moisturizer, this bottle of magic is ideal for those who want sheer, breathable coverage to even out minor tonal variations.
Perfecting Skin Tint,
Intensity Level: 2 Finish: Natural Semi-matte A primer and BB cream in one, this skin tint takes to task the responsibility of evening out your skin tone, protecting your skin from harmful UV rays, and setting your canvas for whatever comes next (blush, concealer, or foundation). The fluid-like formula is quite sheer. but its primer-like performance means it masks pores, fills in fine lines, and primes blemishes to be dabbed with concealer. But the best part is you can wear this alone for a light tint, or layer on proper foundation, concealer, and makeup, just in case you ever decide to hate foundation a little less. Since it’s a primer, the way it appears upon application is the way it’ll appear right before you wash your face at night. Translation: It lasts all day.
Prime Time BB Primer-Cream SPF 30,
Intensity Level: 3 Finish: Natural This sheer foundation from natural beauty heavyweight SheaMoisture offers an impressive range of shades in a buildable formula, despite the "sheer" moniker. It’s formulated with shea butter (naturally), vitamin E, and aloe to pamper those with dry skin and take care of some anti-aging concerns while it’s at it. It’s a workhorse of a foundation, but still good for everyday use, offering light-to-full coverage without getting cakey or greasy looking.
Intensity Level: 3 Finish: Natural Tinted moisturizers that adjust to your natural skin tone are perfect for days you can't be bothered with makeup brushes. This new formula from Origins does just that, and leaves behind a sheer wash of color that looks healthy and fresh. Origins SPF 40 Energy-Boosting Tinted Moisturizer, $37, available at Origins.
Intensity Level: 1 Finish: Dewy There's a reason Sephora stores can't keep this CC cream stocked: It's the one-shade-fits-all solution for anyone with a lackluster complexion. The formula feels like nothing on skin, but you'll definitely notice that you’re wearing it, since it leaves behind a subtle, filtered glow. Translation: Just what you need for summer. Erborian CC Crème, $44, available at Sephora.
Intensity Level: 2 Finish: Dewy From one of our favorite more-natural brands, this under-the-radar formula offers up a feast of complexion-perfecting ingredients wrapped up in one CC cream. The coconut water will keep your skin soft all day long, the SPF will protect, and the light tint provides a wash of skin-evening color. Pacifica Ultra CC Cream Radiant Foundation, $18, available at Ulta Beauty.
Intensity Level: 3 Finish: Natural If you want your tinted moisturizer to actually moisturize, then Inglot's got the solution. The brand's creams are packed with three vitamins and saffron extract to give you soft skin (and an impressive finish). Inglot Beautifier Tinted Cream, $20, available at Camera Ready Cosmetics.
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