Finding the right products to wear when you’re going for natural-looking makeup can be more complex than you think. You don’t want anything too cakey, too bright, or too dark. And as we all know, the “natural” look does indeed require SOME makeup application—and some skill, too. For starters, we always recommend wearing colors close to your natural skin tone, or ones that enhance it.

Below are more beginner-friendly tips and tricks along with some of our favorite beauty products for getting your “I won’t up like this” (but not really) look just right.

cerave facial moisturizing lotion


Buy: CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion $13.47

Moisturize First

Creating a clean base for your makeup is very important. After washing your face, moisturizer benefits your skin by hydrating and promoting anti-aging benefits. By bathing your skin in nutrients before applying coverage, you’re creating a smoother palette that your foundation or concealer can seamlessly blend into.

Benefit Boi-ing Cakeless Concealer

Benefit Cosmetics.

Keep Your Coverage Minimal

Hide away any dark circles, fine lines, or blemishes with a concealer. This will disguise imperfections and leave your skin looking flawless, or in other words—like you found a secretly amazing Instagram filter for your selfie.

Covergirl Clean Fresh Skin Milk


Buy: Covergirl Clean Fresh Skin Milk $3.41

Stick to powder or light foundation

When your goal is a barely-there finish, we recommend using a powder or an airy liquid foundation. Thick, cakey makeup doesn’t exactly support the illusion we’re going for. Be sure to apply evenly with a brush or sponge for an even, non-streaky, finish.

Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush

Fenty Beauty.

Keep your blush subtle

Cream blushes work well because you can build and blend as much as you like for dramatic or subtle color payoff. Depending on your skin color, blush colors will vary, but peaches tend to look great on everyone. Apply to the natural cheekbone line where pink undertones normally show. For most of us, that’s just under the outside of the eye and going toward the temple.

NYX Ultimate Shadow Palette

NYX Cosmetics.

Buy: NYX Ultimate Shadow Palette $16.19

Opt for neutral shadows

Sweep a neutral color over your lids for a muted but beautiful eye moment. Choose a color that is just a shade or two darker than your skin tone; anything too dark will take you into dramatic territory.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Moisturizing Lip Gloss


Buy: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Moisturizing Lip Gloss $7.12

Find your favorite nude lip color

When choosing a lip color, go for the light pinks, peaches, and sand colors. You could also nix the lipstick and swipe on a little gloss for an even more pared-down pout.

L'Oreal Bambi Eye Mascara


Buy: L’Oreal Bambi Eye Mascara $9.97

Swipe on just a little mascara (if any).

A thin layer of mascara is all you need. You still want your eyes to stand out, so if you have light lashes, a layer of mascara may be a good idea. If you naturally have dark, full lashes you might want to skip altogether.

Step away from the liner

While eyeliner is great for a dramatic eye, it doesn’t fit with the natural makeup look. Don’t apply any eyeliner on the top or bottom. Not only will your face look naturally stunning but you’ll love how easy taking off your makeup is!

An original version of this story was published in May 2015.

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