13 In style

What’s your makeup minimum?


I recently shared this on Instagram and got a really awesome response from so many of you, so I thought it should be discussed further:

I’ve realized lately that while I don’t usually wear that much makeup, I’ve grown to rely too heavily on my daily makeup routine to make me feel beautiful. Namely, filling in my brows with my brow pencil! So today I pared it down for a coffee date with a friend—a little bronzer on the cheeks to look alive, a quick swipe of tinted brow gel, and lip balm (an essential FOREVER!!!). Feeling sort of naked, but I like it. Can anyone else relate to this makeup dependency, even if you don’t wear much?

I realize that I’m definitely not alone in this makeup dilemma. In fact, my husband reminded me that I gave up makeup completely for 3 years (starting before we met, and continuing through our dating season) just because I felt like mascara had such a hold over me. At some point, I welcomed makeup back in with a healthier mindset, but for the first time since then I’m feeling a bit unhealthily attached to my makeup.

There’s something so raw, so vulnerable, so trustworthy even about a bare face, don’t you think? I feel that way, and yet meticulously filling in my brows and putting on mascara have become compulsions for me the moment I wake up in the morning.

So the other day, when I snapped the photo above, I cut down my already minimal makeup routine to its absolute bare minimum (aside from no makeup, of course): bronzer/blush, tinted brow gel and lip balm. Just a teensy, tiny bit to make me look alive and awake—but nothing to really change my appearance.

As I shared on Instagram, I definitely felt naked. Mostly because I hadn’t filled in my brows and they just felt so bare! But by the time I left the house, I felt pretty amazing. Liberated. Beautiful even. There was something really refreshing about just having my real, un-made face out there for the world to see. And the liberation I felt from it was well worth the sacrifice of looking less “done.”

Aside from a totally makeup-free face, what would you say your makeup minimum is?

P.S. More on minimalist living.


  • Reply
    Katie Keyworth
    April 20, 2015 at 10:07 am

    Love this, Natalie!

    I’ve been going through the same thing, I swipe on a few essentials and while I do feel ‘bare’ in a sense, my face feels fresh and I think my attitude going into the day reflects that! As I’ve trekked into my late 20s, I’ve felt less need to cover my face despite my skin not being flawless!

    My 3 essentials are NARS radiant creamy concealer for under eye, clear brow gel and TARTE amazonian clay blush!

  • Reply
    April 20, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Working from home for the last 5 years has changed me in ways I didn’t initially expect. One of the ways was in my makeup routine. I remember back in high school where I would deliberately wake up in time to shower, do my hair and do my makeup every. single day. That shocks me now just thinking about it! Nowadays, I am completely makeup-free about 6 days of the week. Not a stitch! Not wearing makeup so often has made me more confident about going out in public without it. I never wear makeup for errands or grocery trips – only if my husband and I are going to church, on a date, to a party, etc. He’s always said that he much prefers me au natural :) so that definitely is a confidence booster. Sometimes I think I should put more effort into my look, even if I’m just going grocery shopping, but then I think… I just don’t care enough. Haha!! Maybe this will change in the future but for now, that’s where I’m at with it all. If I do need a minimal makeup look, I usually just brush on bare minerals powder foundation, blush and a little eyeliner underneath my eye.

  • Reply
    Victoria B
    April 20, 2015 at 10:48 am

    I remember this Instagram post. I had just taken a two week break from all makeup and was just wearing lip balm and moisturizer, even at work and on a date with my hubby. It was so refreshing and a confidence booster since I really didn’t need any of it.
    I have since gone back to my work routine, but it is nice to know that I don’t need it and weekends are definitely going to bare skin days! My work routine is very easy: Alima Pure mineral foundation, Alima Pure bronzer, sometimes a touch of blush, W3ll People mascara, and then a lip product (balm or lipstick). It literally takes me 2 minutes to put on. I think my ultimate minimum would probably be lip balm/lipstick. Depending on the day I might add bronzer or mascara.

  • Reply
    April 20, 2015 at 11:05 am

    love this post!
    As a mama to a babe who still gets up frequently in the night, I’d say under eye concealer is a must! It makes such a difference! I’ve been using the same MAC liquid concealer for years and years. I also love BB cream instead of foundation (just not a fan of how heavy foundation is), and since my eyelashes and eyebrows are super blonde, I always use eyebrow powder and mascara if going out. Those are my “must-haves”.

    Bonus – berry lip gloss and a teeny tiny amount of blush if time permits.

  • Reply
    Kira Culotta Semple
    April 20, 2015 at 11:11 am

    What a great topic to discuss, Natalie! I myself barely wear makeup. And hair wise, pulling it back is as crazy as I get. My minimum is a bb cream (with spf) and a few tools: a spooley to brush my brows and if I want to look more awake, a lash curler. I rarely bother with mascara. It is my hope that I look like myself when people meet me whether I’m at an event or the grocery store. It truly is liberating, to not be a slave to a flat iron, a contouring kit, lipstick, etc. Plus it’s nice to be able to get ready in less than 5 minutes AND feel comfortable in my own skin. Hope more women can embrace their natural beauty! Thanks for bringing it to light.

  • Reply
    April 20, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Looking gorgeous girl! Over the past year I have been paring down on my makeup. I, like some others, feel like maybe I “should” do more, but it has been so much better for my skin (and my morning routine) by doing something 2 minutes or less. Between a couple acne scars and lack of sleep due to a toddler, I use concealer, a little bronzer and an eye lash curler. When it’s date night, or church, or I have some event I feel I should get done up for I will throw on mascara, eye liner, and blush. My downfall was eyeliner and mascara, but I feel so much more clean without it (although it took awhile to be comfortable in my own skin after YEARS of wearing so much everyday) Great post! Thank you!

  • Reply
    April 20, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    you look great!!! this is also what i do on most low key weekends. however, i DO need concealer. there is no way around it. you are so lucky that you don’t need concealer at all!

  • Reply
    April 20, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    I have struggled with acne so this is a sensitive subject. Luckily the acne is under control, but there is scaring, so I truly can’t feel comfortable without makeup. I don’t hide behind it, it just provides me confidence and I think that’s ok. Also, having blonde lashes and brows does not meet today’s standard of beauty. I wish I had full dark brows and lashes, but I don’t and that’s ok… I fill in and add a coat of mascara.

    • Reply
      ali grace | cookies and grace
      April 22, 2015 at 7:03 pm

      I agree Emmary – if you are insecure about scarring or skintone, makeup can be a huge confidence booster!

  • Reply
    April 21, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    You have beautiful skin Natalie! Seriously, amazing. My make up routine involves a bit of Bare minerals foundation, bronzer, and mascara. Less then five minutes and I’m ready to go!
    Sometimes I think that if I had better skin, or a more even skin tone, I would be confident enough wearing even less make up to work.

  • Reply
    ali grace | cookies and grace
    April 22, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    I love this topic so much! Right now, I’m doing a teaching internship at a high school and I have noticed that SO many of the beautiful young girls are incredibly attached to their makeup. And lots of it! It’s sad, really, because they don’t realize how gorgeous they are without it. Makeup can be such a stronghold for women of all ages.
    I’ve really scaled back my makeup routine over the last few years, largely inspired by people like you, and I am loving it. I feel more like myself, and more appreciative of the little quirks in my face that I’m not correcting. Most days I brush on some mascara, swipe on some bronzer, and some kind of lip balm or gloss – and I feel great! I’ve gotten so used to it that now when I put on more makeup, I don’t really feel like myself. I’m all for makeup – and accentuating natural beauty – but I never want to feel like I’m hiding behind it.
    Thanks for starting this discussion!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2015 at 7:43 am

    you look stunning, Natalie. Such a natural beauty and I love love love those earrings!

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