It’s one of the beauty expert’s favourite makeup techniques - and the one she gets asked about most by both women and men. Here, Alison shares her easy 3-point plan for achieving the pared-down look
‘I just woke up like this’ makeup that’s low on effort, but big on results - it’s the stuff of beauty dreams for when your face is showing the signs of a bad night’s sleep. We’re all in want of ways to look fresher, healthier and brighter in the face of more hours spent at work and fewer in bed, but don’t necessarily have the time to spend finding them. However, beauty expert Alison Young seems to have discovered the magic formula, courtesy of her hugely popular ‘No Makeup Makeup’ tutorial .
Proving a hit with a wide range of viewers, it's for anyone who doesn’t want to look like they’re wearing makeup, but wants an anti-fatigued look. “Lots of men, also doctors, nurses, people who have job interviews or those who don’t like the look or feeling of wearing makeup," Alison tells us. "Even those that love wearing makeup everyday choose this pared down look for holidays, at the gym, or whenever they may not feel comfortable being bare-faced.”
And, unlike a lot of ‘no makeup makeup’ videos, it doesn’t take 26 steps to achieve - just three. Alison breaks it down for us and shares her top tips and product picks.
“I always refer to self-tan as semi-permanent makeup as you can’t sweat it off, it doesn’t streak off and it doesn’t sit on top of the skin like makeup,” says Alison. It’s perhaps one of the best long-lasting bases out there for disguising dark circles and angry red spots.
Formulations have come leaps and bounds over the years (thick-textured biscuit-scented lotions are thankfully no longer the norm), providing an option for every skin type and tone. Which one you choose depends on your personal preference, but to achieve the type of natural look you’re looking for here, Alison recommends a gradual tan - particularly one that works while you sleep. “ James Read Overnight Tan Mask , £25, is a great option as it’s gel-based and contains hyaluronic acid,” says Alison. It suits a range of skin types. “If you have oilier or tougher skin, like most men, you can use it on its own at night time, or if you have dryer, more ageing skin, you can use it in place of your serum at night and then layer your moisturiser on top for extra hydration.”
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different textures - for example, tanning drops, a new innovation that helps you to achieve a summer glow through your skincare. “I’m a big fan of the Illuminating Self-Tan Drops from Tan Luxe , £35,” Alison tells us. “You can add a few drops into your aftershave balm or daily moisturiser and create your own gradual tan from your existing products.”
Although tanning tech has significantly improved, ensure to follow the same rules as before regarding application to keep your handiwork streak, stress and stain-free. “Rub and blend the product through hair lines, eyebrows and stubble,” advises Alison. “If you’re female, you can use cotton wool pads but men should opt for a flannel or a towel as cotton wool will get stuck on their faces. Also, don’t forget to really wash your hands and use a nail brush on the palms if you can to make sure you don’t end up with an orange stain.”
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2. A plumping lip balm
Another product that appeals to men and women alike in Alison’s experience, is lip balm - but not just your run-of-the-mill tin of Vaseline, ones that boast high tech formulas and hard-working ingredients to provide improvements in both the short and long-term. “ Gale Hayman Lip-Lift, £18, is one of my favourites,” says Alison. “It contains vitamin E, aloe, collagen and an ingredient called Maxi-Lip, which works to moisturise and plump the lips.” It also has a lovely minty flavour too.
For a day-to-day option for keeping dryness as bay, Alison loves keeping it natural with a Burt’s Bees balm , £3.60, but if you’ve got particularly raw lips, Alison recommends upgrading to a formula better suited to your needs: “When lips go beyond just dry and are sore and red, swap to Blistex Intensive Cream , £2.69, which contains pharmaceutical ingredients to treat cracked, dehydrated lips. It’s a good idea if you regularly exercise to keep one of these in your gym bag too.”
3. A barely-there base
Much like self-tans and lip balms, strides in tech mean that bases are now more imperceptible than ever - weightless ‘undercovers’ that provide a smooth, seamless finish. A particular favourite of Alison’s is Perricone MD’s No Foundation Foundation Serum , £45. “This came out before the BB/CC cream revolution and it’s a brilliant product,” says Alison. “My husband uses it and it’s practically undetectable.”
If you’re looking for a little more coverage, try tints, gel-textured bases, luminisers and light reflectors - makeup/skincare hybrids that provide light veils of colour to subtly smooth out skin tone and the look of blemishes. Alison’s personal favourite is Bobbi Brown Extra SPF Tinted Moisturizing Balm , £36, (which also smells amazing). If you’re looking for more colour though, try a BB or CC instead. “ IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream , £30, and Bobbi Brown’s BB Cream, £26.55 , are great for this,” says Alison. “They’re some of the only ones that give significant coverage for days when your skin isn’t looking its best but you don’t want to use a foundation.”
Alison also recommends just popping a primer on top of your moisturiser to give your skin a boost. Her top pick? Benefit Porefessional Primer , £26. “It creates a ‘blurring’ layer that perfects skin without any colour coverage.” Sounds like the perfect ‘no makeup makeup’ alternative to a heavy base.
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