Athena Tries It: No Foundation Makeup

I love a good natural makeup look, but less-than-perfect skin presents a challenge. Can I really skip foundation if I have problem skin?

Like half of all women in their 20s, I suffer from acne. Insecurity about my blemishes makes me pile on loads of concealing products to cover it up. On the other hand, caking on foundation doesn’t necessarily lead to healthy skin. It’s caught me in a vicious cycle that ultimately prolongs my breakouts & doesn’t make me feel any better about it.

Until now.

Recently I’ve experimented with wearing no foundation at all & the condition of my skin has vastly improved. I break out less often & my skin heals faster. Skipping foundation has freed up a lot of time  & space in my makeup routine, so I can focus on my eyes, lips, & high points of the face. While skipping foundation means that some of my blemishes will be visible, I’ve found that using other products can minimize redness & add a softening finish to the skin.

Here’s what I use on my face in order to protect my skin & make it healthy:

Step 1: Moisturize.

I always make sure to do my AM skincare routine before applying makeup, & the final step is applying a moisturizer. I’ve been using the H2O Skindrink Hydration Gel by Pixi, which is specially formulated for makeup to be applied on top of it.

Many moisturizers will pull products into the skin. Make sure to look for hydrating water-based formula that won’t grab onto makeup & clog your pores.

Step 2: Prime.

Even if I won’t be wearing foundation, I still like to use a primer to create a protective barrier between my skin & my makeup. My favorites are the Milk Makeup Blur Stick & the Rimmel Stay Matte Primer because they have gentle ingredients that don’t cause breakouts.

Step 3: Sunscreen.

It’s really important to use sunscreen to keep your skin healthy. Oddly enough, despite being a grown-ass person, I’m obsessed with the Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen Stick. Many sunscreens make my skin super greasy, but this powder stick product gives an almost matte finish. Its gentle formula makes it perfect for sensitive skin. So, in addition to providing strong protection against the sun, it also smooths my face without irritation.

Step 4: Spot Conceal.

Even if you’re not wearing foundation, you can use a small amount of concealer to cover blemishes & brighten under eyes. I like to use the tarte shape tape with a damp Pony Effect pebble blender.

It’s really important not to use too much product, especially if you’re using a full coverage concealer. Most doe foot applicators are way too big, so I like to dab the end of a small brush into the product & apply directly to the problem area.

Remember that you can always build up more coverage if you need to, but if you start with too much, it can throw off a whole makeup look.

Step 5: Contour & Highlight.

Adding a little color to my face helps to even out my skin tone, especially along my jawline (which is my most problematic area!). A subtle highlight on the cheeks & brow bone brightens the face & draws attention to the eyes.

I like to dust a little bronzer under my cheekbones & on my jawline, & then take the smallest amount of powder & use it on my nose & forehead. This also helps because one side of my face is tanner than the other, thanks to my decade of side bangs. Right now I’m obsessed with the Hoola Lite Matte Bronzer by Benefit, which is a subtle, cool-toned bronzer with mattifying properties.

Step 6: Lips & Eyes.

For a more natural look, I simply tightline my upper eyelids then pop on some mascara & lip gloss. But since not applying foundation frees up a lot of time in my routine, I usually take it one step further with a winged liner, glittery eye, or bold matte lip. I almost always apply a little glitter to my inner corners to further brighten up my dark circles.

In today’s look, I’m wearing Milk Makeup’s liquid eye pigment in Jam Room on my lids, Stila’s Shimmer & Glow in Kitten on my inner corners & Stay All Day Liquid Eye Liner, NYX’s tinted brow mascara in brunette on my eyebrows, & Fenty Beauty’s Cosmic Lip Glitter in Girl on the Moon.

Step 7: Set.

I always set my makeup with Urban Decay’s All Nighter Setting Spray. If you need a product that will keep makeup on your face, even if you live in a subtropical climate & sweat ten gallons a day, this one works for me. Because this is a mattifying primer, it minimizes the appearance of pores, making skin look even more perfect.

If you have problem skin, aiming for matte finishes will do you a world of good. Finding a setting spray that works well for your skin type is so worth it. It’s an invisible product that softens an entire look to get an almost air-brush finish.

Thanks for reading!

Have you tried a foundation free makeup routine? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments on this post. If you want more makeup related content from me & a say in what I write about next, follow me on Instagram 💕🔮🕶



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