The Minimalist's Guide To Makeup

When navigating the online beauty universe, you tend to stumble across two types of enthusiasts. On one end of the spectrum, you have people who adore makeup, and will spend an hour applying their foundation, contour, and false lashes. On the other end, you have people who stay away from cosmetics and focus solely on skin care. But there are plenty of folks who are somewhere in the middle. I like to call them makeup minimalists.

The makeup minimalist is someone who enjoys makeup and the way it makes her or him feel. But they never wear "too much." (Which is obviously an objective term.) These are the people you see popping on face oil, concealer, mascara, and lipstick — and they tend to do it all in 10 minutes. They're the girls who will sketch on a cat-eye, but leave the rest of their face fairly bare. They're the middle ground of makeup consumers.

And now, more than ever, it seems that brands are starting to listen to their needs. Companies such as Glossier and Milk Makeup have reported for duty to give these makeup-wearers what they've been asking for — gorgeous, high-impact makeup and skin care with absolutely zero fuss. "I think the word that permeates everything right now is authenticity," says Georgie Greville, cofounder and creative director of Milk Makeup. "Even if you do wear makeup, it comes down to what your skin looks like and who you are."

What sets brands like Milk and Glossier apart is their seamless meshing of skin care and makeup. In fact, Glossier started out with just skin care, eventually expanding its line with a brow product, concealer, and lipstick. Its tagline — "Skin first. Makeup second. Smile always." — speaks directly to this idea.

Milk's ethos is similar. "People are more health-conscious these days, and those decisions show up in your skin," says Dianna Ruth, cofounder and product developer at the company. "Some women don't want to hide that skin under a lot of makeup, but they still want to play around with color. I love makeup, and I love that it can elevate your mood and be a quick add-on to brighten up an outfit." These minimalist brands either offer skin care, or offer ingredients in their makeup that are skin-healthy. We definitely approve.

"We've put the work into the products, so that they can be added on in a nonchalant way that simplifies your life," Greville says. We love that easygoing factor. Ahead, find our favorite brands that are making basic beauty look anything but.