How to Look Great Without Makeup, According to a Celebrity Makeup Artist

Going without makeup doesn’t have to be scary. Just check out the stars who pull off the look seamlessly, like Alicia Keys, Busy Philipps, and Jennifer Garner.

Even as beauty vloggers and reality stars seem to be embracing an ever-more-artifical look, more and more celebrities are going makeup-free (or what looks like it). Alicia Keys has been proudly going bare-faced even to awards shows; Jennifer Garner walked the red carpet at the Telluride Film Festival seemingly sans makeup; Gwyneth Paltrow posted a no-makeup selfie on her 44th birthday; even contouring queen Kim Kardashian attended the Balenciaga fashion show in nothing but a spray tan.

“I love the pendulum swing that’s happening with celebrities going out without makeup,” says Leslie Munsell, celebrity makeup artist in Miami and founder of the cosmetic line Beauty For Real. “It’s a breath of fresh air and must feel incredibly liberating for them.”

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Of course, looking camera-ready without makeup requires a little effort, Munsell points out. Her advice for achieving the no-makeup look yourself: “You need to strategically focus on hydrating your skin, grooming your brows, and styling your hair,” she says. For a complexion that glows no matter how much or how little foundation you slap on, bump up your skincare routine. A good vitamin C serum will help skin look younger and brighter, and a radiance-boosting oil and hydrating moisturizer will leave it dewy.

“Many high-level editorial makeup artists I’ve known over the years look as if they are wearing little to no makeup at all, but their skin looks terrific, lips are hydrated, brows are perfectly groomed, and their hair is on point,” she explains.

Pro tip: Make sure to exfoliate once a week to gently slough away dead skin, allowing your skincare products to penetrate deeper and work more effectively.

When it comes to her own skincare routine, Munsell relies on her trusty Clarisonic brush ($130; to keep skin polished; splurge-worthy creams like Natura Bisse The Cure Sheer Cream ($185; and The Cure Sheer Eye Cream ($120; to hydrate; and Caudalie Beauty Vinperfect Radiance Serum ($47; to brighten.

Another important must-have: SPF. Munsell’s favorite is Kiehls Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50 ($38; “It’s oil-free and long-wear,” she says.

The bottom line? “Good, clean, healthy living will also be reflected in the way your skin looks,” Munsell says. “Lots of sleep, water, and a good diet is essential. And then confidence is key.”


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