How To Look Fresh-Faced When You Don't Have Makeup

To look our best every day we often turn to makeup to enhance what we consider our good features and hide the ones we feel insecure about. However, you can look fabulous without makeup, and if you're someone who wears full glam on a daily basis, you should consider giving your skin a break. "We all love to enhance our features and can add some radiance to the face with makeup. But sometimes, taking a break allows the skin to replenish its natural moisture level without having layers of makeup occluding it," dermatologist Dr. Geetika Mittal Gupta tells iDiva.


In fact, dermatologist Dr. Batul Patel suggests regularly detoxing from makeup. "It is important to take a break from makeup which allows the skin to repair the skin barrier. A complete makeup detox should be carried out once every three to four weeks, and no makeup should be applied for four full weeks to allow fresh renewal of skin cells" (via iDiva).

Once you remove makeup from your everyday routine, you will notice that your skin will start looking better. "There's more oxygen that'll be delivered to your face; your skin will have more time to repair itself and regenerate its elastin and collagen," cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green tells Better by Today.

But let's be real, going from a full beat to no makeup can be terrifying — which is why we gathered some tips and tricks that can help you look and feel incredible without any makeup products.


Contour your face with self-tanner

Apart from giving you a sun-kissed glow, self-tanner can also bring some dimension to your face when you aren't wearing makeup. "When contouring your face with self-tanner, it's always easier when you pick a product with a built-in bronzer," St. Tropez's brand ambassador Sophie Evans tells Allure. Since the product already has color, you will immediately know if you blended it well enough and if you applied it to all the right places. "I apply a number-three pattern to each side profile, starting from the temples, then going under the cheekbone and wrapping around under the jawline," Evans adds. To apply self-tanner to your face, it's best to use a contouring brush.


However, don't expect your self-tanner contour to last long. After a couple of days, it will fade. "Be prepared to reapply the product every three days on average and lightly exfoliate and cleanse in between," Evans says. 

There is a learning curve, but luckily, after a couple of tries, you will know exactly how much product you need to use and where to place it. We recommend that you go with less product the first time to ensure it doesn't end up too orange or streaky. You can always increase the amount of self-tanner the next time. And yes, you may have seen this technique on TikTok, where users call it "tantouring" (via Ipsy).

Pinch your cheeks for a natural blush

Another trick to add color to your face is to pinch your cheeks for a hint of blush. Of course, this will only temporarily add a flush of color to your face, which is why it's a great trick to use for photography. Per Hypebae, this is another makeup-free hack that has gone viral on TikTok, as there are numerous videos of users trying it out under the hashtag #naturalblush.


If you're wondering where to pinch your skin, any area you usually apply blush to will work. "Smiling is the best way to find the apples of your cheeks, which is where we all naturally blush," makeup artist Bobbi Brown tells The Scotsman. Those who like applying blush to their noses can also gently pinch it. However, keep in mind that this viral trend doesn't work for everyone. Those with more sensitive skin tend to get redder in the spots they pinched. Skin tone also plays a significant role, which is why those with more melanin might not see results that are as noticeable.

Curl your eyelashes with Vaseline

It's clear by now that TikTok has become a great source for beauty hacks, and the best part about it is that those that work usually blow up. If you spend plenty of time on the app, you may have come across the viral Vaseline eyelash hack. All you have to do to achieve the temporary lash lift is apply some vaseline to your lashes or an eyelash curler, and then curl your lashes like usual. The Vaseline will hold the curl, and your lashes will be much more visible, even without any mascara.


"Since Vaseline is an occlusive substance made from natural waxes and oils, it will create a film on top of skin and lashes and block moisture from leaving. This may help condition the lashes and prevent them from breaking off as easily," dermatologist Dr. Michele Green, M.D., tells BuzzFeed. "The lashes may also temporarily appear fuller and longer after use. In addition, Vaseline is non-comedogenic, which means that it will not clog or block pores. It can therefore be safely used sparingly on the eyelids, eyelashes, and elsewhere on the face and body."

Try out overnight curls

A way to look more put together on days when you don't want to wear makeup is to have a cute hairstyle. For this, a great option is an overnight styling technique which requires barely any work in the morning. "I've used socks, a bathrobe tie, and stockings; you can use different techniques for each form you use for a different outcome," celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan tells Allure. "If the form you are using is thin and flimsy, your curls will have less volume; if it is thick, you'll have bigger curls."


Apart from styling your hair from the night before, consider swapping out your pillowcase for a silk or satin one. Not only will this prevent any face lines from sleeping, but your hair will look shiny and healthy. "Silk doesn't pull moisture from your hair and skin the way that cotton does, leaving your hair silkier and more hydrated," Justine Marjan tells The Zoe Report.

If you haven't given overnight curls a chance, this is your sign to try them — trust us, you will look glam without even trying.

Lather on that lip balm

Cracked and dry lips don't only look bad but they can also be incredibly painful. To prevent this, make sure you wear lip balm regularly — and if you're not wearing any lip product, then reapply it throughout the day. This applies especially during colder months when lips are more prone to drying out. And no matter how dry they are, avoid licking them, even though it might feel natural to do so. "As your saliva evaporates, it pulls from the remaining moisture that's deep within your skin and causes your lips to become drier," board-certified dermatologist and dermatological surgeon Dr. Dennis Gross tells The Zoe Report. "Saliva also has digestive enzymes that can break down the lips' fragile barrier and cause cracking and peeling, and it quickly evaporates, leaving lips even drier, starting the menace cycle all over again."


While you can use any lip balm you like, making sure that it has a humectant (like hyaluronic acid or glycerin) and an occlusive (like beeswax, petrolatum, or shea butter) is important. "The humectant holds onto water, and the occlusive keeps it from evaporating," Dr. Gross adds. "If the formula doesn't contain occlusives to help lock in the moisture, it will evaporate."

Use Vaseline as a highlighter

Vaseline is definitely a staple for anyone who prefers looking fresh without any makeup. Apart from the fact that your lashes can look better with it, you can also use Vaseline to add a very natural glow to any parts of your face where you would usually apply a highlighter. In fact, this is even a trick that celebrity makeup artists are fond of. "When I want to create that inner glow — I call it the 'expensive glow' — I use lip balm or Vaseline, and I pat it right along the cheekbones, which gives you the most alluring, gorgeous glow. It's a cheap trick that creates expensive skin," Kim Kardashian's makeup artist, Mario Dedivanovic, tells Page Six Style.


The best part about using Vaseline as a highlighter is that it will also act as an occlusive, meaning that it will prevent the skin from drying out. After all, Vaseline is the most popular option for skin slugging, another beauty trend that has taken over social media.

Add an eyelash/eyebrow serum to your daily routine

Consider investing in an eyelash serum to get the most out of your natural lashes. While it won't necessarily do wonders, it can nourish your lashes, meaning they will grow to their full potential before falling out. "Lash serums are growth-enhancing formulas that stimulate lash growth," triple board-certified dermatopathologist, Gretchen Frieling, M.D., tells Byrdie. "When applied regularly, the lash serum extends the telogen phase of growth, lengthening the lash growth cycle. This will keep lashes thicker and stronger."


Apart from your lashes, you can also use lash serums on your eyebrows, even though some products are marketed as eyebrow serums as well. As with your hair, if you regularly nourish your lashes and brows, they will be stronger and longer and won't fall out as much. However, keep in mind that consistency is key, and don't expect to see any noticeable results quickly — most eyelash/eyebrow serums take around two to three months to work.

Soak up excess oil with blotting paper

Blotting paper is the best friend for those with oily skin. Seriously, if you tend to get greasy throughout the day, bring a pack of blotting paper with you everywhere — and you'll be surprised just how well it works. "It's a great thing to have that you can just press into your face [to] take off the excess oil... to give you a really nice clean, fresh look," celebrity makeup artist Jeannia Robinette tells Today. Of course, feel free to use them strategically — blot your forehead, nose, and chin, but leave some of that natural glow on your cheeks.


Using blotting paper is much healthier than putting on a mattifying translucent powder or washing your face excessively with cleansers. "Blotting papers are good for anyone because they absorb excess oil on the surface without affecting the water levels in your skin or adding harsh ingredients that can be found in some oil control cleansers or toners," celebrity makeup artist Andrew Sotomayor said (via Today).

Use a tinted SPF

If you're not using sunscreen every day, regardless of whether it's sunny outside or you're staying in, you absolutely need to start. "It's best to use an SPF 30 on a daily basis even if you are not going to be outside," board-certified dermatologist Azadeh Shirazi tells Allure. "After all, we all go outside to check the mail, walk the dog, sit next to a window. Over time, this accumulation of UV radiation takes a toll on the health and appearance of our skin."


Since sunscreen should be used daily, a nice trick to make your skin look more even-toned is to use a tinted one. "The benefits of tinted sunscreen are having a nice glow and potentially replacing your foundation or makeup base while protecting the skin," board-certified dermatologist Ellen Marmur, M.D., tells Byrdie. While tinted sunscreen has pigment, it is technically still a skincare product and not a makeup product.

Apply hyaluronic acid on wet skin

If you're dehydrated, your skin immediately looks duller, and you look tired. "Transepidermal water loss (TEWL) is the process whereby water moves from the dermis through the epidermis and then evaporates from the surface of the skin," dermatologist Dr. Justine Kluk tells Cosmopolitan. To combat this, adding hyaluronic acid to your skincare routine is crucial to ensure your skin always looks fresh and plump.


To get the greatest benefits out of using hyaluronic acid, you must always apply it to damp skin. "Hyaluronic acid is a moisture magnet," Allies of Skin founder Nicolas Travis tells Refinery29. "But if your skin is dry, it pulls any residual moisture from the deeper layers of skin to hydrate the surface. In that case, you need to apply it to moist skin — which is why you should mist it first and then apply a hyaluronic acid treatment afterward. Once hyaluronic acid comes into contact with water, it knows what it's doing, and your skin will end up supremely hydrated and plumped." 

Besides hydration, hyaluronic acid also makes your skin more flexible, which helps prevent fine lines and wrinkles in the long run (via Cleveland Clinic).


Brush your eyebrows up and consider tinting them

Eyebrows can do a lot to your face, and having them shaped the way you like can certainly change how you look. If you're going makeup-free, make sure to brush your brows in shape, and you can even use some Vaseline to keep them in place. "First, you should comb the eyebrows with an eyebrow brush or clean mascara wand, then pick up a small amount of Vaseline and take the brush upward," board-certified dermatologist Zain Husain, M.D., tells Byrdie.


Apart from brushing them, consider tinting your brows to make them more prominent, especially if you always use eyebrow products to fill them in. "Brow tinting is life-changing. It's helped me so much when growing out my brows because it bulks up all those baby-fine hairs," makeup artist and eyebrow specialist Maribeth Madron tells Allure. Since there's peach fuzz all around your eyebrows, tinting some of it to your desired shape can help elongate or thicken the appearance of your eyebrows.

Use redness-reducing eye drops

An easy way to look more awake is to ensure your eyes are as bright as possible. "Keep the whites of your eyes clear with redness-reducing drops," makeup artist Carmindy tells Harper's Bazaar. A couple of minutes after you use them, you will notice that your eyes look crisper, and you will seem to be well-rested, even if you're not.


Apart from using redness-reducing eyedrops on your eyes, you can also apply them under your eyes to reduce dark circles. "Broken or dilated blood vessels under your eyes often cause or contribute to dark circles, especially if your skin is very fair," dermatologist David Bank tells Allure. "Visine constricts blood vessels, so it'll make that less obvious." And yes, according to Dr. Bank, this trick also works on pimples. However, keep in mind that you should only use eyedrops if necessary. It is not recommended to apply them to acne daily.

Get enough sleep

While there are plenty of little tips and tricks you can explore to look better without makeup, if there's one piece of advice we want you to take away from this, it's to make sure you get enough sleep. If you're healthy and well-rested, you will immediately look fresh and dewy, and the skin on your face will look better. "While we're sleeping, our skin switches into recovery mode, and it's an important time of repair and regeneration," Dr. Sam Khani tells Glamour. "In fact, the regeneration process at night can be up to three times faster than during the day."


According to the CDC, an adult between the ages of 18–60 should get a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night, but ideally, you should aim for eight to ten. After all, they don't call it beauty sleep for nothing.

"Once you fall asleep, your body starts producing growth hormones. These growth hormones ensure that your skin is producing enough collagen, which helps your skin to remain tight and bouncy and also allows your skin to repair acne and scarring across your body," Dr. Khani says.

Exfoliate and moisturize your skin

The final tip to ensure you look your best when you have no makeup on is to exfoliate regularly and moisturize your skin. "A resurfacing or exfoliating mask treatment three to four times a week will ensure your skin is smooth and glowing. Nothing ruins a matte look like visible dry patches or buildup," natural skincare guru Tata Harper tells The Zoe Report.


If you are struggling with oily skin, in particular, chances are you may not be moisturizing it enough. "Make sure your skin is hydrated! It can be tempting to skimp on moisturizing products if you have oily skin, but you just produce more oil to make up for lack of hydration," according to Harper. "Switch to a mattifying version or a lighter liquid moisturizer in the summer for a less heavy feel and to avoid buildup."

Looking fabulous regardless of whether you wear makeup or not comes down to listening closely to what your skin is telling you. It's not enough to only follow viral skincare trends; spend time understanding your skin and its needs, too.