Is No-Makeup Makeup Kind of BS? An Exploration

By Sola Onitiri

Photo by Sola ONitiri

Photo by Sola ONitiri

When it comes to fashion, I would describe myself as a life-long critic of minimalism. In fact, being Extra, is kind of my brand. Blame it on my firey Aries nature - but I believe in showing up and showing out. My makeup routine takes its ques from this philosophy. It's rare that you'll see me without bold winged eye-line and a dark lip. And honey highlight? It should be able to direct traffic. So this recent trend of dewy, fresh faced, no-makeup "Boy Beat" (Scoff) is disconcerning. But for the sake of journalism, I abandoned my eye liner and dark matte lipstick to discover if no-makeup-makeup lives up to the hype.


 If we're being honest, the key to nailing this look lies within your skin care regimene. If you have Korean glass skin and Glossier model features, the no-makeup-makeup look can be achieved very easily. Right now, as a result of my newly found nomadic state, my skin is all over the place. I'm currently in Texas aka the surface of the sun. So I'm oily and the texture of my skin could be better. Not to mention, I have slight discoloration on my cheeks because my SPF moisturizer evaporates in this demonic humidity. So after a heavy dose of moisturizer, I worked on faking perfect skin. 

Conceal Don't feel

After putting on a good dollop of Elf Primer I dabbed a healthy amount of translucent powder on my T-zone and nose area (the oiliest part of my existence) this helps with texture and shine. I'm a habitual face sweater and Texas was reading me to filth. In cooler climates, I would skip this step altogether. If you have extremley dry skin, I wouldn't recommend this. 

Ok, concealer time. So in attempt to minimize my make up bag and put little to no products on my face, I skipped buying a summer foundation color. Instead, I'm using my winter color as a concealer. I pat that on under my eyes and cheek bones. My summer routine is pretty much just highlighting and contouring. Having a bronzed, sculpted look was the play so I used the KKW contour stick. This is by no means my favorite contour product but it's very travel and layer friendly. I made a point to use the Color Pop pressed powder in both Dark and Deep Dark to set. At this point of the process, my wrist hurt from buffing. 


Eyebrows on MEek

For the sake of keeping my eyebrows so fresh and so clean, I always fill them in during the middle of my routine. This was the step that I really felt required the most concentration. My typical brow is a natural/beat crossover event. This looked called for full on natural, I woke up like this brow. After I brushed my eye brow hairs up and out, I used very little product (Espresso eye shadow from Bobbi Brown) incredibly strategically. I opted for thick instead of full. I'm now more than half way through that one episode of The X-Files where Scully and Mulder are in the artic and there's that worm that makes them all homicidal.

side eye

I typically don't  highlight my brows but I felt that the occasion called for it. I put this beautiful terracotta shade on my lids and a little highlight above my crease - both of which are from Color Pop. I use that same highlight in my water line. Next up is mascara - I put more on than legally allowed in hopes that I can mimic falsies. It's not a success but my eyelashes still look passable. I'm starting to look more like a human and less like an oil slick as Hulu auto plays the next X Files episode.

I'm Blushing Over Here

I use that same terracotta eye shadow color as a blush. I place it close to my contour. I don't smile when I apply it because I read that somewhere once. I put a thumbprint amount of Fenty's Killawat highlighter on my cheek bones and get ASMR tingles. I don't feel as dewy and free as I'm supposed to so I spend the next 10 minutes debating on how much highlight is too much. All while stressing about what I was going to put on my lips. 

Wrap It Up 

I cheat and put a *little* burgundy lipstick under Gloss Bomb, also from Fenty. I only apply it in the center of my lips - a cool tip I learned from Monet X Change's Cosmo Beauty video. It looks alright but I'm itching to put on something as dark as my soul. 

I move close to the window and inspect my work. Worried that my lack of confidence in this look was going to snitch on me, I strike a selfie face in front of my hand mirror. I take a sigh of relief. It looks good! It looks like I have make up on though. I spray the tiniest amount of setting spray on because I know that the weather and my sweat glands would do the rest.

So Am I A Believer? 

In short, nope. But not for the reasons I originally thought I would be. Part of my fear of trying no-makeup-makeup was that I wasn't going to look good. Don't get me wrong, I routinely leave the house with no make up. But the thought of standing on the other side of the camera without my safety blanket make up routine was nerve racking. So trying a "Me but better" look without my usual trimmings was strangely liberating. However, for the time it took for me to do it, I wish I had more to show for it. When it comes to makeup, looking "natural" is not something I go for. If anything I want to look other worldly or intimidating.

I do believe that the trend as a whole is well applied for work/professional settings. Also if flashy makeup isn't your cup of tea, this is defiently the trend for you. 

Don't @ Me. But if you do it's @nowletsgetgoing 

Is No Makeup - Makeup Kind of BS - An Exploration