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.
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Sheer makeup is great, but multi-purpose products are even better. This cult-favorite formula, which offers a surprising amount of coverage, 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.
Most tinted sunscreens are incredibly sheer, but this one provides a touch more coverage. Plus, that high SPF is #skingoals.
Avène, $36, available at Avène
It's our personal belief that this perfector has, well,
perfected the entire concept of a brightening, tone-evening, blemish-concealing, skin-smoothing base that never looks like makeup. With sheer-to-medium coverage, the natural finish seems to blur away all the bad stuff and leave every complexion looking refreshed — and with the addition of SPF 25, it's officially an all-around winner. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Perfector Blurring Skin Tint SPF 25, $36, available at Sephora.
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). Amorepacific, $70, available at Amorepacific
Don't call it a foundation — no, really, don't. This low-maintenance tinted stick has very little in common with the face-base staple; rather, it provides incredibly sheer color that leaves skin looking naturally even, with a finish that's somehow both matte and glow-y. It won't cover your worst breakouts or darkest under-eye circles, but it provides a smooth, soft-focus canvas for whatever comes next (i.e. concealer).
NUDESTIX Nudies Tinted Blur Stick, $30, available at Sephora.
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, $46, available at Nordstrom.
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 Dermstore.
Sheer and matte don't often go hand-in-hand — until now. This suede-like formula 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.
NARS, $44, available at NARS
The name of this light foundation ays it all. Its sheer formula is buildable, so you can use a tap, or a dollop, to give yourself a wash of color that evens out your skin tone with a natural finish that delivers what it promises: radiant skin. You’re left looking softly glowing, served up by a silky texture rather than shimmer bits that purport dewiness, but often end up portraying YA fictional vampires in sunlight.
Eve Lom Sheer Radiance Oil-Free Foundation, $50, available at Nordstrom.
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.
Laura Mercier, $45, available at Laura Mercier
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.
Aveeno, $16.99, available at Drugstore.com
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.
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.
Bobbi Brown, $46, available at Bobbi Brown
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.
Glossier, $26, available at Glossier
Tinted moisturizers that adjust to your natural skin tone are perfect for days you can't be bothered with makeup brushes. This formula from Origins does just that, and leaves behind a sheer wash of color that looks healthy and fresh.
Origins Ginzing SPF 40 Energy-Boosting Tinted Moisturizer, $38, available at Origins. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here? I Tried $271 Worth Of Foundation Drops — & This Is My Honest Opinion I Wore A Full Face Of Makeup To The Beach — Here's What Actually Lasted This $40 Lip Balm Is Selling Out — Here's What To Get Instead