TikTok has rapidly become the go-to place for new makeup trends, hacks, tips, and tricks. While a lot of the beauty trends that surface on the video sharing platform aren’t new, they’re often packaged in a way that seems innovative, albeit sometimes obvious. For example, I was scrolling through the app a few months ago when I found that my ‘For You Page” was filled with makeup content creators heralding a new era of makeup where foundation is not the star — rather, a hydrating concealer serves as the main complexion product.
Seasoned beauty aficionados will recognize this as just minimalist, no-makeup-makeup beauty, but TikTok’s younger crowd has dubbed this “the clean look” and “no foundation, just concealer” look. As someone with textured skin and hyperpigmentation, I was very skeptical to give this trend a try, (my makeup routine of primer, foundation, concealer, powder, contour, blush, and highlighter has been the same for years), but it seemed like the right moment for a new routine.
I’m notorious for spending far too much time doing my makeup (and constantly being unhappy with the results), so I was excited to try out this less-is-more approach to see if it could yield that effortless, done-up glow that looks easy in theory, but is actually difficult to achieve — not to mention skipping a step would undoubtedly save me time and work wonders for my punctuality.
After watching a slew of makeup videos on TikTok, I pared the routine down to four steps (a slight cut from my previous seven steps) to just brows, concealer, cream blush, and a lip liner/gloss combo.
I opted to stick with cream products with hydrating qualities for that glowy “your skin but better” look. As tempted as I was to start with at least a skin tint or low coverage foundation, I soldiered on and immediately went in with a hydrating concealer — and much to my surprise I ended up with one of my favorite makeup looks I’ve done to date, and all in less than 20 minutes. I reserve this routine for quick and easy weekday glam and really good skin days, and definitely go for a more lengthy process (that always includes foundation) for nights out.
Nonetheless, if you need a new minimalist makeup routine or just a look you can do while on the go, keep reading for my newly mastered four-step makeup routine that’s easy to customize for whatever products you have on hand and however much time you have to spare.
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Step 1: Brows
I always say I’ve been cursed with thin brows, so doing my makeup always involves filling them in. My brow tool of choice at the moment is the Benefit tinted brow gel. I’ve long been a fan of Benefit for its brow pencil which takes my brows from barely there to full and luscious — this gel is a happy medium and take less time to use, making it perfect for this quick and easy routine.
Step 2: Hydrating Concealer
After brushing my brows into place, it’s time for the main attraction. The whole point of this makeup look is that a quality hydrating concealer in the right shade can be so effective it’ll cancel out your need for foundation. I love the lightweight feel of the Hide Cosmetics Concealer but sometimes it doesn’t feel full coverage enough for my more intense makeup looks. I figured it would be perfect for this routine, and I was right.
I begin by taking the shade Espresso (which is a near perfect match to my skin tone) and apply that with a brush underneath my eyes (dark circles be gone!) as well as any dark spots and hyperpigmentation around my face. After this step alone I was shocked at how my skin tone looked smooth and even with the minimal amount of product I used. You could just stop there with the concealer but I love a good bright under eye so I go in with a slightly lighter shade (Umber) to brighten the area, applying it right around my tear duct where I have a slight crease and at the corners of my eyes for a lifting effect. I’ve found in doing this routine a few times that the e.l.f Camo Concealer is also great for this type of look — it had a hydrating feel but is still thick enough in consistency to cover any marks you need hidden.
Step 3: Blush
I didn’t use to be a blush fan but that definitely changed in 2021 for no particular reason other than: I discovered how beautiful cream blushes can look. My go-to cream blushes at the moment include Rare Beauty’s liquid blush in the shade Matte Terracotta and the Nars Air Matte Sheer Cream Blush in the shade Torch — but the cream blush that’s really had me in a chokehold is actually a lip product. I was well aware that this Rouje Paris palette was for lips when I first got it, but upon opening it, the colors (especially the vibrant deep red) were too stunning to not try out as blush, and I’m forever grateful to myself that I did.
I apply a small amount using a brush (sometimes my fingers if i’m really in a rush) to the high points of my cheeks before smiling wide to apply a bit more to the fullest point of my cheeks. The result is a perfectly rosy finish.
Step 4: Lips
I wouldn’t be me unless I left the house with brown-lined lips and a pinky nude gloss, so I always finish every makeup look (natural or glam) with this lip combo. Recently, it’s been the Bossy Cosmetics liner in Lush paired with Dior’s Diorific lipstick in the shade Taupe Isaphan and topped off with just a little bit of the Merit tinted lip oil in the shade Cara Cara.
And after 10-20 minutes and in just four steps I’m ready to walk out the door, but not without admiring my handiwork and taking a few selfies — which is now the new reason I’m late to everything.