The real reason your ‘No Makeup Makeup’ ain’t working

Hello! Gosh, it has been a long time since I blogged. Lots happening! Moving house, doing up a house(!), secret squirrel business with exciting companies. I am looking forward to being able to share some of the progress with you!
Today I want to share a video recently posted by makeup to the stars, Lisa Eldridge. I want to share it because it brilliantly demonstrates the nuance around the coveted ‘no makeup makeup’ look and why nailing this look takes more than five minutes.

In my line of work – i.e. working with real women, helping them to find the right makeup for them and teaching them professional techniques they can recreate at home – I am often asked “But, what can I do in five minutes?”.
Well, there is a lot you can do in five minutes. In five minutes it is possible to even out skin tone, add warmth, conceal tiredness, open up the eyes and add a pop of colour. But, and here’s the thing: the ultimate effectiveness of a five minute face inevitably comes down to two things: the products you use and your technique.
There are, of course, other factors when it comes to a five minute face or a ‘no makeup’ look. One is YOU, how YOU want to look and how perfected you want your makeup to be. For example, some women couldn’t care less if their liner is a bit skew whiff or their blush is not perfectly blended and that is A-OK sister! A healthy perspective to have. For others it is important that the makeup they apply, even if it is just five products, looks flawless and imperceptible. Again, whatever floats your boat. There is no right and wrong. It comes down to what you feel comfortable with and are capable of achieving in five minutes (or thereabouts).
More than just one look
Just as complex makeup looks incorporate varying levels of complexity, quantity of product and types of application technique, so too do ‘no makeup makeup’ looks. Compare, for example, Lisa Eldridge’s final ‘no makeup’ look with that of Bobbi Brown Pro Artist Hannah Martin (you can watch Hannah’s tutorial here).

Hannah Martin no makeup look

Both looks have their merits and will appeal to different people. Hannah is wearing an obvious layer of mascara (i.e. strong enough to create a defined line on the upper lash line) and her blush visibly draws the eye, whereas Lisa’s no makeup look is much more subtle, to the point where I am sure if someone saw only the ‘after’ photo, they might be forgiven for thinking she isn’t wearing a bean.
As a makeup artist I am naturally more predisposed to makeup where I can see artistic merit and I relish watching tutorials which break down the techniques and skilfulness which go into a particular look (when it is done well, it is such an art). But I am also a busy person, e.g. I am in a relationship, we have a dog, we are moving house and I have a business to run etc, so as it is for most people, time is of the essence and if I can do a quick face in five minutes well then all the better!
I have several ‘no makeup makeup’ looks and the main thing that differentiates them is time. I want to share two examples with you.
Natalie James @businessmakeup no makeup makeup
No Makeup Makeup: Look #1 
On days when I am just popping to the shops, going out on a dog walk in my wellies or catching up on emails in my local café I want two things: I want to look like I have slept and I want to look healthy. I can achieve this with just a handful of products and because the situations are low key (no offence Waitrose) I am not particularly bothered if it isn’t the best makeup I have ever done.
After a quick serum and moisturise (add to that SPF in summer, though we should arguably all be wearing SPF year round!), without fail I will reach for the following three products:
– a sheer tint release (fave for the past five years has been the one by Estée Lauder)
– an under eye and spot concealer (at the moment I am loving Glossier Stretch Concealer)
– a lip and cheek tint (e.g. Dr Perricone’s No Lipstick Lipstick, though strictly not for cheeks, gives a rosy glow)
Once these are on I will then consider adding one or two of the below and the products I choose will depend on how I am feeling:
– a light coat of mascara (e.g. Benefit’s Lash Primer. Often I don’t bother)
– a brow mascara
– a matte bronzer (more so in the winter months)
– a cream highlighter (in the summer, if my skin is behaving itself and I am able to forgo the sheer tint I will wear this on BARE skin. I know dear reader!!! *pauses to give thanks*)
Natalie James makeup artist no makeup makeup
No Makeup Makeup: Look #2
On days when I have more time and want more of a perfected look, for example if I am catching up with a friend for lunch, I will use the same combination of products (plus one or two others e.g. a touch of blot powder, a nude lip liner to make the lips appear fuller, ‘barely there’ taupe eye shadow along the lash line etc) but I will spend a good 30-40 minutes doing it. And it will look like this (above photo).
Take your time
If you are into the ‘no makeup makeup’ look but are currently feeling that what you end up doesn’t quite match your expectations, I would encourage you, as a first step, to simply spend more time on it. And I completely hear those of you out there with kids, husbands, jobs, second jobs, deadlines, elderly parents.. the list goes on and on. “I don’t HAVE time!”. But that’s the whole point. Good makeup takes time. Just as getting the body you want or the amazing meal you want to create takes time.
What Lisa’s video so beautifully conveys is that the thing that will change or improve your ‘no makeup makeup’ look more than anything, is time. Certainly, products come into play and the way you choose to apply products (for example, using your fingers to warm up products will contribute to the ‘no makeup makeup’ aesthetic).
I will leave you with a quote from one of my favourite movies:
“Don’t rush me sonny. You rush a miracle, you get rotten miracles” – The Princess Bride
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