It Takes 10 Different Products To Look Like I'm Wearing No Makeup

Featuring a $70.00 tube of concealer used by MADONNA!
Publish date:
August 21, 2013
shoppables, makeup, lazy beauty

I don’t wear makeup very often for one simple reason: I am hella lazy. I guess I also lack basic makeup application skills? I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup in high school, so I was forced to learn everything I know about eye shadow application through these terrible mid 80s Aziza brand palettes that only came in horrific blues, purples and greens.

This was probably a great look in the 80s. The only problem was that I was wearing it in the 90s! I’d steal it from my mom's stash of 10-year-old makeup she meant to trash and slather it on with my fingers in the girl's bathroom before class. I was not very proficient at it, to say the least.

This led to a lifelong inferiority complex about makeup. Coupled with my inherent laziness, it’s added up to being what I thought was a pretty simple lipstick and mascara only type of girl.

But then I realized that I actually use 10 different products to look like I don’t, so I decided to do a breakdown of what I use on this "no-makeup" made-up face.

Here's my plain, unvarnished visage:

I can't believe I actually use so much slap to look, well, basically not any different at all.

I guess I look a little better? But 10 products better? I'm not so sure. Here's what I use daily to look like nothing -- just in case you have a blonde blow up doll lying around that you'd like to casually style in my graven image. They are all incredibly forgiving and easy to use. The whole process takes me under 7 minutes. If I can make them work, so can you. Zero makeup skills needed!

The Goods:


My skin is the main reason I even wear any makeup at all. It's pale, weird and really sensitive. It randomly breaks out all the time and makes me incredibly self-conscious. It also tends toward redness and splotchy-ness. So I've got spot covering down cold.

I start with Cle De Peau's insane concealer. (I wear the ocher shade.) I'll come right out and admit that it's ridiculous that it costs $70.00 a tube. Except for the fact that it WORKS like whoa and one tube lasts me over a year. I once watched Madonna's makeup artist use it all over Her Madgesty's face just like it was regular ol' cheapie foundation from the drugstore. I was sold.

This concealer is kind of the best thing to ever happen to me. I'm practically evangelical about it. It's the creamiest, dreamiest formula you can imagine -- and I have terrible problems with the zits I'm trying to hide getting all dry and flaky. Regular concealer always cakes itself into the dry skin around the spot and manages to just slide right off the zit itself. SO NOT HELPING.

I paint it all over my face in stripes and slap on a bit of Neutrogena's brightening eye perfector under my eyes. I'm embarrassed by how long it took me to realize that you should use a slightly lighter shade of concealer under your eyes. Better late than never!

Most days, I don't really need proper foundation -- so I swear by this It Cosmetics "Bye Bye Redness" tinted cream. It's like a cross between a BB cream and a real foundation. It evens out the unevenness that is the main reason I'm wearing makeup in the first place. On days when I'm in a super rush, I whip it on lieu of anything else (even moisturizer!) and hit the road.

If I'm going somewhere extra fancy, I bust out the Giorgio Armani "Luminous Silk" foundation (shade 5.5) that I currently only have a sample of. It's got a great consistency and doesn't ever streak or cake like most foundations do. I've realized recently that my skin is actually sort of dry -- so I need the products I use to be as emollient as possible.

I apply my foundation and concealer with the clever Beautyblender, a latex free, egg-shaped makeup sponge a makeup artist told me about years ago.

There's something about the way it "bounces" that provides a superb stippling effect -- which is the only way my spots really get great coverage. The pointy end of the egg gets into crevices that regular makeup sponges can't -- and the Beautyblender spreads your foundation evenly, stopping makeup streaks from ever occurring. I wash mine every other day using their special cleanser -- so far it's been almost 8 months and it's still holding up.

I finish my face with a dusting of It Cosmetics "Bye Bye Pores" microfine HD finishing powder. It really does make your skin appear flawless by giving you a light veil of coverage instead of a heavy, thick coating.

It's got a slight yellow tinge to it, which doubly helps counteract redness. But a word of warning: it really is microfine, so tap the excess powder off your brush one, two, three times before you hit your face with it, unless this is your favorite look:

If I feel like my face is a little too matte and dull after all that, I give it a light swipe of this Physician's Formula mineral glow powder that Cat wrote about last year. I use it on my cheekbones and the bridge of my nose. A little bit goes a loooooong way towards giving you a little "je ne sais quoi" air.

Throughout the day, I touch up anywhere there happens to be too much shine with this brilliant Peter Thomas Roth SPF mineral powder. Shine coverage + SPF in a handy purse sized tube is pretty much the holy grail of makeup for me.

I just realized that SEVEN of the 10 products I use on my face are just to even out my skin! I think I might actually be doing it all wrong.


I've come a long way since the blue eyeshadow days. I don't attempt any 3 color contouring nonsense -- I go straight for something lightly golden or copper-y that I can lazily smear all over my eyelids without concern for placement. Preferably while drinking a beer in front of the TV. My favorite "eyeshadow" is really this discontinued highlighting/bronzer from Sephora that I BROKE while photographing it for this story.

Bobbi Brown's shimmer brick is a pretty good dupe, so as soon as I find a spare $42.00 in my couch cushions, I'll get one. You absolutely cannot mess this stuff up. I randomly smudge a bit on my eyelids to brighten up my eyes. I think it might be working? I feel like I look more alive somehow when I use it.

The only other eye makeup I wear is mascara, and only one rules them all: Benefit's “They’re Real!” It somehow never smears even though I rub my eyes nonstop. It also comes off easily with soap and water. I don't bother with anything else, ever. If they stop making it, I will go straight HAM on the nearest Benefit counter. Benefit Cosmetics: You've been warned.


I used to make fun of my mom endlessly for wearing 100 different shades of mauve lipstick. Then I got a little older and now I have 100 different shades of mauve lipstick too! I see why people rock the mauve -- it’s not too pink and it’s not too brown. It somehow magically goes with whatever you happen to be wearing. It doesn't ask a lot out of you.

I love Revlon's "Just Bitten" balm stain in Honey, a perfect neutral mauve. It's like a lip balm, only better. Best of all, it can be reapplied without even looking at a mirror!

Now that I've written 1100 some-odd words about it, I can't believe it takes all that just for this:

I feel a little bit like a fraud -- I say all the time that I wear "practically no makeup" and always believed it to be true! Sadly, I'm nothing more than a painted faced liar. How many products does it take YOU to look like you aren't wearing any makeup at all? Please say 10 or more. Thank you.

I'm on Twitter: @IveyAlison.