How to do Makeup without Foundation (Tips + Tutorial)

no foundation makeup tutorial

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How to apply Makeup without Foundation with a simple no-foundation makeup routine that you will love! 

There are some days during the week that I honestly prefer not to wear foundation or rock a minimal makeup without foundation or concealer.

And this is because I love to leave my skin alone some days and feel more lightweight and fresh while still getting some color on my face. Also, fewer makeup steps are exactly what I want when I only have 5 minutes to do my makeup.

Foundation is meant to be to even the skin, but there’s a way to make your skin and makeup look flawless without foundation.

If you are looking for easy tips to apply makeup without foundation or even do eye makeup without foundation you are in the right place.

Check the full face no-foundation makeup tutorial below with both ways, a minimal no foundation makeup routine, and a more dramatic eyeshadow makeup without foundation. 

women wearing makeup without foundation

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Can you wear Makeup without Foundation? 

young women wearing natural minimal makeup without foundation

Wearing makeup without foundation is possible. And the best way to do it is by preparing the skin properly to make your skin look even and flawless, then you will need to choose between concealing problem areas or continuing with adding some color with blush and eyeshadows to finish the look.

First, we need to identify what is the purpose of foundation so we can try to get the same results with other products.

Foundation makes your skin look more even, cover marks, problematic areas, even the skin tone, and makes your skin look more matte or dewy depending on the foundation finish.

Also, foundation creates like a clean canvas on the face where we can work from there and create dimension with contouring, bronzer, blush, and highlighter.

Foundation is also important when we want to apply eyeshadows. Getting a full glam eyeshadow makeup tends to look better if we are also wearing a full coverage foundation on the rest of the face. 

So, below I’ll show you the tips and tricks I use to rock a full face of makeup without foundation. So we can either choose a minimal makeup look or a full glam eyeshadow makeup, both without foundation and without looking weird.

Let’s start! 

No-foundation Makeup Step #1: Prep your Skin

prepping the skin for a no foundation makeup

The skin is the protagonist for this makeup, and we want to make our skin look as even, flawless, and fresh as possible and we want to do this without foundation. So prepping the skin is MUST-DO.

And the way I do it is with my favorite skin-prep routine to do before makeup. And I love to do this routine whether I use foundation or not.

And consists of the following steps:

  • Cleanse your face. I use and recommend this soap-free cleanser.
  • Exfoliate your face. 
  • Apply a Serum. Vitamin C with hyalurinc acid serum.
  • Apply your moisturizer. For dry skin, I recommend this amazing mouisturizer! And this one for oily skin.
  • Apply face oil. I use Rosehip Oil. If you have dry skin apply up to 5 drops and only 1-2 drops for oily skin. Even if you have oily skin, suing a face oil like this one is ESSENTIAL to set everything that we do before. It won’t make you more oily, trust me.

I have a full guide on how to prep your skin before makeup where I go more in-depth with each of the steps above.

No-foundation Makeup Step #2: Use face primer

Yes! Even if we are not wearing foundation, applying a face primer or foundation primer is a must. And let me tell you why.

Primer blurs the pores, makes you more matte, and control excess oiliness or leaves a radiant dewy finish depending on the primer you are using and your skin type.

And that’s exactly what we want to achieve on our skin for this makeup.

if you have oily skin, try a mattifying primer like this one here.
If you have dry skin, try a hydrating primer like this one.

And if you have problems with large pores, this one here is definitively the best option!

No-foundation Makeup Step #3: Apply Concealer the smart way 

how to apply concealer without foundation

I already have a full concealer tutorial with tips to find the best concealer for you, and another great guide on how to prevent your concealer from creasing under eyes.

Concealer will be our best friend if we don’t want to wear foundation but still get some coverage on some areas.

if you have blemishes, dark under eyes, redness around the nose or cheeks, or any other area that you want some coverage or even if you are not wearing foundation here’s a way to do it:

Use a concealer that is similar to your skin tone.

We don’t want to use a so much lighter shade than our skin like we would do normally to highlight the under eyes. Try a concealer that is similar to your foundation shade. OR only 1 shade lighter.

Opt for a cream concealer or hydrating liquid concealer.

Seek for a concealer with a hydrating formula and avoid matte concealers that can dry the skin and ruin our fresh skin look.

how to apply concealer without foundation

My top 3 hydrating/creamy concealer recommendations are:

Use a concealer with light to medium coverage.

You can also wear a concealer with full coverage but apply only a super small amount of product and blend it well with a sponge or your fingers.

In my case, the areas that I want to have some extra coverage are around my nose, my under eyes, and around my mouth.

No-foundation Makeup Step #4: Use creams instead of powders

Opt for creams for the rest of the face. Cream blush, cream bronzer, and cream highlighter are the best when we want to seek a no foundation makeup look!

Powders can work as well but creams will melt into the skin more naturally!

The right way to wear blush without foundation is by using a cream or liquid blush, apply the blush on the areas where you naturally blush and start by applying a small amount of product and build the coverage that you want from there.

I’m using this cream blush from Maybelline. It’s a good one.

Seek a natural coverage for this no foundation makeup, and blend it with your fingers preferably.

Same with bronzer, be careful with bronzer because it tends to have medium to full coverage.

You can do a natural bronzer application by applying the bronzer only right below your cheeks or do a full bronze/contouring look by applying it also on the forehead, chin, and nose.

Both ways work well.

A great cream bronzer is this one by Anastasia Beverly hills!

Related Makeup post: The Best 7 Drugstore Cream Bronzers

And for highlighter, try a highlighter that is homogeneous and doesn’t leave a chunky glittery finish. Most of the cream or jelly highlighters will work and leave the finish we want.

Powder highlighters on the other side, tend to leave a shimmery/glittery finish that while it looks amazing for some full glam makeup looks, it’s not what we want in a no-foundation minimal makeup.

Check this list of the best cream highlighters and pro tips to find the best one for you.

Related Foundation Post: Powder vs Liquid Foundation: Complete Guide

No-foundation Makeup Step #5: Opt for natural eyebrows makeup

natural eyebrows makeup

The next step is eyebrows. Eyebrows are important and only if you have been blessed with beautiful natural full eyebrows that don’t need any makeup you can skip this step.

But in my case (thin not so beautiful eyebrows haha) I always do my eyebrows even when I’m not wearing foundation.

The best eyebrows makeup for minimal makeup without foundation is also natural eyebrows.

And by saying natural, I don’t mean leaving them how they naturally are. I mean doing your eyebrows with the stroke by stroke technique.

Check the complete step-by-step tutorial on how to do your eyebrows look more fuller so naturally that it won’t look like you did any makeup on them.

No-foundation Makeup Step #6: Curl your lashes

Women curling her lashes using the ELF lashes curler

Another great no makeup or minimal makeup step is to curl your lashes! This will make your eyes look more awake and bigger without adding more makeup layers.

Be careful with the curler you use! For a long time, I really thought that selecting the right eyelashes curler wasn’t a big deal, and this was because I never had a bad curler, until I had it!

Just to make sure you don’t go through having your eyelashes cut every time you curl your lashes, make sure to avoid the cheap curlers, the SHEGLAM eyelashes curler specifically. and also avoid the ones that cost $1 or so, it’s most likely they will cut your lashes like it happened to me.

NOTE: I DO recommend sheglam makeup, I even have a full face makeup using only sheglam review, but the curler is not something I recommend from this brand.

So, a good one that is also affordable is the ELF eyelashes curler. This is literally the one that I use every day and leaves my lashes looking beautifully curled without being afraid of losing half of my lashes every time I curl them.

At this point, you can either leave your lashes as is or apply your favorite mascara. my all-time favorite mascara from the drugstore is this one here.

Related Makeup post: The Ultimate Makeup 101 Guide: (FREE download available!)

No-foundation Makeup Step #7: Apply lipstick 

The last step (if you are not doing your eyeshadows) is applying your favorite lipstick!
Lipstick looks just fabulous even if we are not wearing foundation. So go for whatever you want here. You can either try a natural nude lip or a bold red lip.

What I personally love to do is wear lipstick that matches with my blush (either peachy or pink) that way I have a monochromatic look that makes the illusion that I naturally have my cheeks blushed and my lips colored.

And you are finished! IF you are also seeking a full eyeshadow look without foundation, check the next section below.

minimal makeup without foundation

How to wear Eyeshadow without Foundation

Eyeshadow makeup without foundation? Yes! It’s totally possible. We want to seek everything that looks more youthful to combine it with the no foundation makeup. 

eyeshadow makeup without foundation

Here are some tips you can try:

Use the one-shade eyeshadow technique.

Take a warm color or even your bronzer shade and apply it to your eyelids to add more dimension and color.

The best way to do this is by using a fluffy medium eyeshadow brush and applying only the right amount of shadow so it looks still natural. We don’t want the color to leave full coverage. 

So forget about using a full coverage eyeshadow primer or concealer as the base of your eyeshadows for this. 

Rock some shimmer eyeshadow.

Cream shimmer eyeshadows or even some glittery powder eyeshadow is your best friend here. 
Those tend to have light coverage and still add color and dimension to the makeup look.

Add the shimmer to your mobile eyelid and highlight the inner corner of the eyes.

Apply Color Eyeliner

Do your regular winged eyeliner but this time combine it with a color eyeliner. This adds a cute and beautiful look without spending time blending eyeshadows.

You can either apply it on top of your regular black eyeliner to add another line on the eyelid but with color.


You can use it to add a pop of color to your crease.

if you haven’t got into this “color eyeliner” thing, I highly recommend buying a set of various colors like this set here, and playing with them! These are perfect to create minimal but modern eye makeup looks just in minutes.

Foundation Alternatives: No foundation Makeup look

There are several more ways to wear makeup without foundation. Here are some of them:


This is a color-correcting cream that it’s a serum and a cream with SPF that also has coverage to even your skin tone just like a foundation does. This one here is actually a full-coverage CC cream that is perfect for lightweight makeup with still getting that coverage that you need.


I love to wear tinted sunscreen in summer. It’s a lightweight sunscreen that has some color to even your skin tone while you protect your skin from the sun. This one by Cerave is a 30 SPF sunscreen with a sheer tint that doesn’t feel greasy on the skin.


A powder foundation is indeed a type of foundation, but it is better non by just “powder”. Different from translucent powders, this type of powder sets your makeup but also adds coverage. And it can be used on its own without a liquid foundation.

So feel free to skip your regular foundation and jump to the powder foundation after your primer. this one by L’oreal is a great one.

Final tips on How to do Makeup without Foundation

before and after minimal makeup without foundation
Final Result – Makeup routine without Foundation

The final step is to set your makeup with setting spray. And I can’t recommend enough this amazing setting spray here that really does an amazing job of making the makeup last all day long!

It’s super convenient to skip the foundation for some days when you just don’t have the mood to do it or you want to rock your beautiful skin as is without a ton of makeup. I hope you find these easy tips and tricks to do your makeup without foundation.

If I’m missing a good tip that you know, please feel free to comment below so we can learn from each other.

Don’t forget to share this post with others and pin it for later.

Valeria H.

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