This is exactly how a professional make-up artist would do minimal make-up

portrait of a young woman
4 tips to making minimal make-up look professionalDora Lazarevic / EyeEm - Getty Images

Minimal make-up: file it under things that are infinitely more difficult than they seem.

Repopularised by the clean-girl aesthetic and slicked-back bun crew, minimal make-up has raced to the fore once more. Pared-back and minimal (as the name suggests), this style of make-up prioritises fresh-looking skin that's rich with dew, a healthy flush and natural-looking eyes and eyebrows. Simple, right?

Oddly, trying to create natural, second-skin-like make-up is not as easy as finding the right shade and going to town with a beauty blender. A little more technique is needed.

What is minimal make-up?

"Best described as “undone”, minimal make-up gives someone a chic, healthy and dewy glow," explains make-up expert and founder of eponymous brand Laura Kay.

"Don’t be fooled though, minimal makeup gives the appearance of looking natural and flawless but there are many elements involved in the progress of achieving the desired 'no effort’ look."

Keep reading for the best advice on creating celeb-worthy minimal make-up looks, as well as an edit of curated products to answer the question of "what do I need for minimal make-up?" Scroll on.

4 tips to make minimal make-up look natural and polished

Unlike celebrities who have the talents and time of some of the world's best make-up artists on hand, trying to make minimal make-up look seamless isn't as easy as, say, Hailey Bieber makes it look. Fortunately, we have some expert tips to share, straight from the people who would know, about how to make your minimal make-up look chic, polished and natural.

1. Prioritise cream formulations

"Skin is kept fresh ideally with a BB (beauty balm) cream that gives soft, sheer coverage but is genius at concealing minor blemishes. This is my go-to trick for a minimal foundation look," says Kay.

"Many people make the mistake of using a heavier foundation to achieve overall coverage but it can have the opposite effect and exaggerate blemishes or fine lines. A BB or CC (colour corrector) cream is a much better lightweight product that also works to prime the skin. Cream blush and contour, to suit your skin tone, is also a great choice to give the wearer crisp cheekbones and a fresh glow."

2. A light hand with eye products

Most make-up artists, when asked for their best advice, have shared that a light hand is worth its weight in gold. It allows you to build products up in a gradual, natural-looking way but also encourages greater buffing and blending – both keys to making makeup look flawless. This goes double for minimal make-up looks, especially when working on your eyes and eyebrows.

"I either fill brows in or brush them up for extra hair stroke definition – I do this using a brow tool. Then, I use an eyebrow pencil, mainly in the outer corners of the eye, and smudge it slightly to create an outward flick that opens up the eyes."

3. Follow the golden rule when it comes to your eyebrows

"One of the other biggest mistakes I see people make is not following the ‘golden rule’ for their eyebrows," says Kay. "The eyebrows are key to defining your entire face and the average distance between the brows should be 3cm and 4.5cm from the midpoint line – the eyebrow from end to end should be approximately 5cm," advises Kay.

"Not all faces are symmetrical so it is important to correct the shape of your brow to help balance out the face. Building make-up around brows that do not follow the golden rule can look unnatural and unflattering and work against the desired minimal makeup look."

4. Create a consistent skincare routine

Skin preparation is of vital importance, no matter what make-up look you're going for. If you watch celebrity make-up artists like Hung Vanngo or Rae Morris, you'll notice that they spend a sizeable portion of their time prepping clients' skin before putting a single speck of make-up on. With that in mind, here's some advice on nailing your routine from an expert.

"I would always suggest investing in a good skincare routine that you can be consistent with. My preference is to use a mixture of over-the-counter and medical-grade products. With the right combination of ingredients such as exfoliating acids (such as glycolic or lactobionic acids), vitamin C serums and retinol, you can minimise the appearance of congestion and puffiness and wake up with fresh, youthful skin," says aesthetic doctor Dr Deepa Panch.

"I also like to keep a jade roller in the fridge which I sometimes use at night – not only does it feel nice and cooling on the skin, it can stimulate blood flow to the area and also helps with lymphatic drainage if used correctly. This is particularly helpful for those who find they get puffy around the eyes."

How to do minimal make-up for beginners?

For beginners, a light touch really is invaluable when it comes to applying minimal make-up: go slowly, with a light hand and avoid gripping the brush or sponge with too much pressure.

Besides that, identify the areas you'd like to highlight and the ones you'd like to conceal. For example, I like to brush up my eyebrows with eyebrow gel and create a natural-looking flush with cream blusher – those are my biggest priorities and really wake up my face. For you, it might be different. Whatever 'minimal' means to you, work on the parts that you love or enjoy first. Then, as you build up your skill, perhaps progress to more difficult techniques like creating hair-like strokes in the eyebrows or subtly overlining the lips.

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