The No-Makeup Look

Recently, I enrolled in After taking a class on writing, I scanned the remaining course titles, coming across The Bobbi Brown Makeup Class. Good grief, no, thank you, I thought. Makeup was not on my list of things to learn. At the moment, I was reading a most delightful book, The Book of Belongings by Sue Monk Kidd. It begins with the main character revealing herself, “I am Anna, wife of Jesus.” That’s the kind of stuff I like. But, I recalled writing a blog post making the case that instead of sticking with what we know, we should learn something new. Shouldn’t I take my own advice? Learn something I don’t know anything about. Besides, I’m in quarantine with lots of time to explore and experiment. 

Bobbi Brown is a makeup artist who started her makeup line with ten lipsticks and a slogan, “Be who you are.” After building (and selling) a multi-billion dollar brand, she continues her vision to make women feel prettier and more content with their faces. Bobbi is about “less is more,” the Marie Kondo of the makeup world, suggesting we go through our makeup and throw out anything that’s broken, smells bad, or has expired. Then, instead of asking whether our mascara brings us joy, she gives us a process to follow. In the end, we have only those tools and products that please us.

Bobbi tells a story of doing Jerry Hall’s makeup. The session included dozens of products and as many brushes, sponges, and other paraphernalia. When done, Jerry told her it was beautiful, then proceeded to remove and redo it in a fraction of the time it had taken to put it on. “She looked more natural and far better,” Bobbi tells her online students.

Bobbi’s philosophy evolved to embracing our imperfections and simplifying the makeup process. She helps us learn about our own skin and features, and work with it to make a better version of ourselves. What follows are  Bobbi’s makeup tips for the mature woman. 

Before deciding what works best for us, we need a mirror and a good light to see the color and tone of our face. Our skin undertones help in selecting the best color for our skin. Identifying our undertone is a bit like knowing our dress size before buying a dress. Whether we have exceptionally pale skin, deep brown, or anything in-between, our undertones fall into three categories: cool, neutral, and warm. Cool undertones are bluish, red, or pink. Warm undertones are golden, peachy, or yellow. Neutral is a mixture of the two. Staring at my face, I concluded that my undertone is cool pinkish. It’s probably why pink lipsticks look the best on me, which begs the question of why I keep buying peach color. 

Throughout the class, Bobbi uses models of different colors and ages to explain and demonstrate. The mature woman in the group was Anna. Below are photos from the presentation, step-by-step, foundation, bronzer, eyes, eyebrows, etc.

A clean face is a prerequisite for the best results. The start of the no-makeup look is a moisturizer for your skin type. Dry skin requires a nourishing cream, and if it’s really parched, add a drop or two of face oil to your skin. Hydration plumps up fine lines, making them slightly less visible. For oily skin, opt for an oil-free moisturizer. Oily forehead and dry cheeks are treated accordingly. Yes, double the work. The goal is to hydrate our skin enough to make it look and feel refreshed.  

For the mature woman, a tinted moisturizer takes the place of the more traditional foundation. Skin should look like skin, not like a mask. When a tinted moisturizer or concealer blends into our skin seamlessly, we’ve optimized our look while remaining authentic. We look natural, almost as if we are not wearing any skin-enhancing product. 

Concealers should be a shade lighter and worn in problematic areas. Tap it lightly with your fingers. Add additional coats to hide blemishes. For oily skin, use a light dusting of face powder to keep the makeup from sliding around.

Blush is for rosy cheeks. “Smile, and find the apple of your cheek. Apply there and then blend up toward the temples and brush down to blend.” Bronzer gives a healthy glow, evens out skin tone, and warms up the neck and chest. Apply the bronzer where the sun naturally hits your face, top of cheeks, bridge of nose, and a tiny bit on the neck and top of the forehead.

Eye makeup, Bobbi says, is about mastering basic techniques and not overdoing it. For mature skin with lines around the eyes, make sure the powder shadow isn’t too dry and cakey. Her method involves threes eye shadows (light, medium, and dark neutral in matte or flat finish) in color geared toward your skin tone. For light skin, choose ivory, taupe, and chestnut brown. Medium-to-tan skin select taupe, chestnut brown, and espresso brown. Dark to deep would be dark brown, a deep brown, and black. 

Cover the lid with the lightest tone and under the brow bone. The mid-tone shadow is applied below the crease for depth and blended three-fourths of the way up the lid. To define your eyes more, apply it along the lash line. The darkest shadow is used for extra definition and placed along the lash line. Your best tools for tapping and blending shadows are your fingers.

If you are in my age group, you already know how uncooperative eyeliners are, often making the lines look wobbly. Bobbi’s answer is to use a smudgy pencil or gel liner to create a softer and more natural look. 

One stroke of the mascara is enough. After applying it, gently lift your lashes with your fingers or use a spoolie brush to help set them into a curl. To keep the mascara from running, use a small amount of powder before applying prevents smudging. 

Brow bone can hide deep-set eyes. Adjust your eye shadow placement or create a thicker line with eyeliner, so it’s visible when you look at yourself straight on in the mirror. Fill in your brows with an eye shadow that’s the same tone as your brows. You work from inner brow toward the end, brushing upward and outward in the direction of your natural hair growth, then use a brow comb to blend. 

Lipsticks come in all kinds of formulas and shades. For a natural look, pick a color slightly deeper than the color of your lips. Sheer, tinted, and creamy lipstick is easy to wear and comfortable for long periods. Matte lipstick is drier and uncomfortable, but makes a bigger statement. Wearing a lip balm underneath helps. For dry lips, applying a moisturizing lip balm and blotting helps lips stay moisturized. 

For our daily beauty routine, we need good lighting as in daylight or a lighted makeup mirror. Designate an area for the products and tools that is not in direct sunlight. Although not a must, cotton pads and swabs, rubbing alcohol, and makeup removers to remove and disinfect are handy.

The following photos are from Bobbi’s makeup session of Anna.

Face clean and moisturized
Bronzer Powder and Blush Powder and Eyebrows
Eye Shadows and Eye Liner

2 thoughts on “The No-Makeup Look

  1. Dear Big Sister,

    We’re so frequently on the same page. 🤣🤣 During COVID, I’ve come to love my bare face after 50 years of makeup. So now, when I “put on my face,” it’s just a swipe of powder, eyebrow pencil, eyeliner and lipstick. FREEDOM!

    Thanks for demonstrating your open-minded curiosity as an author and opinion blogger. I loved the “change up” of this post as much as I enjoy and learn from all your posts.

    Miss you dear sister. Hope you are being revitalized in the mountain air. 😘

    Tell Tim we say “Hi.”

    Beth ❤️



  2. Not sure what to think of this one. 🤔💋 good for you for going outside your box.


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