Beauty Edit
How to Look Pretty and Feel Confident Without Makeup

How to Look Pretty and Feel Confident Without Makeup

Makeup can be a powerful tool to help us look our best and feel ready to take on the world. You can use it to craft your own persona to show others how you want to be seen. Full makeup can be a lot of work, though. Maybe you want to strip back your routine and simplify that morning rush to get out the door, or maybe you just want to give your skin a chance to detox.

Sometimes it can be tough, though, to feel confident and put-together without a dab of concealer or a swipe of eyeliner. The fact is you don’t have to wear makeup every day. You can look good without all of that time and money dedicated to heavy makeup.

By developing and growing more confident in your natural beauty, you can let the world see your real face. You can be fresh for every day and save your makeup for special occasions when you want a little extra glamour.

Here are a few tips for how to nourish your natural beauty.

Have a Healthier Lifestyle

Our face and skin can be one of the first things to alert us to an imbalance in our bodies. If you feel like your face looks bloated, dull, or more broken out than usual, you might have an issue with your diet or managing stress.

Here are a few lifestyle habits that are key to looking your best.

Avoid Bad Habits

There are certain habits that we know aren’t really good for our bodies in the long-run, but even in the short-term, they can affect your appearance. Smoking and excessive drinking are two of the most common culprits. Both of these are really hard on your skin.

Smoking can cause an increase in fine lines and wrinkles. The chemicals in cigarettes can reduce the amount of oxygen and blood flow to your skin, reduce its elasticity, and the smoke itself can damage your skin’s surface.

Similarly, excess drinking can change your skin. Having one shot too many a couple of times a year at an event isn’t likely to cause you much trouble (though hangovers are mostly caused by dehydration which can be murder on your skin); however, habitually over-indulging can cause some damage.

Inflammation, redness, and more fine lines are common signs that you’ve been partying a little too hard. Not to mention dark circles from poor sleep quality.


Most of us don’t drink enough water. If you get an afternoon headache, stomach cramps, or suddenly feel hungry even though you’ve eaten enough, these can all be signs that your body is craving more water (not coffee).

If your skin feels dry, dull, or has more lines than usual, before blowing hundreds of dollars on a miracle cream or an aesthetic treatment, try upping your water intake every day. Hydrated skin looks plumper, fresher, and younger, which can go a long way to making you look your best even bare-faced.

Aim for at least two liters of pure H2O every day, more if you work out. Caffeinated drinks, wine, and soft drinks don’t count as part of that two-liter minimum. They can be consumed in moderation on top of your daily water.

Get Your Blood Pumping

If you want a healthy glow or feel like you’re looking pale, work some exercise into your morning routine. The fifteen minutes you used to spend applying makeup can now be spent on a quick jog around the block, a morning Pilates session, or some kettlebell training.

Not only will this help get rid of any morning stiffness, but this will also help improve your circulation and give your face a brighter, healthier glow, bringing some color to your cheeks.

Even if your mornings are rushed, exercising a couple of times a week can give you long-term benefits for your skin (and the rest of your body). It doesn’t need to be super intense, but moving your body more, especially if you have a desk job, is great for your overall health.

Eat Well

Sometimes it’s hard to take the time to make nutritious meals for ourselves, especially if your schedule is packed. Snacking on fast food and processed foods frequently, though, can cause nutritional deficiencies, and the excess salt and oils can cause inflammation. This can keep you from looking and feeling your best.

A well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins is best for us. And if you’ve been trying to lose a bit of weight by going with a strict low-fat diet, you might be doing your skin a disservice. Some healthy fats, like the ones found in fish, nuts, and avocados, are good for you and can improve the look and texture of your skin. Besides, prepackaged low-fat foods can be a hiding place for extra sugar, salt, and flavor-enhancing chemicals.

Those with constant breakouts may need to make a bigger adjustment to their diet. A low-glycemic diet or a reduction in dairy can improve this condition in some people.

woman applying foaming cleanser

Take Care of Your Skin

If your skin is vibrant and clear, it will be a lot easier to skip heavy foundations and powders. Taking care of your skin is important for many reasons, and it goes beyond just washing it every day, but when it looks great, you’ll feel more confident going bare-faced.


You should use a gentle exfoliant regularly. Everyone is different, but some people like to exfoliate two to three times a week. If your skin’s more sensitive, though, you might want to only do it once a week to prevent irritation.

Exfoliating helps remove excess dead skin and encourages your body to produce new skin. It’s a great way to smooth things out and prevent dry skin from building up and looking flaky. When you encourage your skin to rejuvenate itself, your skin looks brighter and fresher. It can also improve the texture and elasticity of your skin, making it look younger.

Try a Serum

Serums are having a real moment in skincare right now. They are a great way to deliver concentrated nutrients to your skin every day. One of the most popular serums on the market is hyaluronic acid. This compound is naturally produced by our bodies but decreases as we age. By putting it back into our skin topically, it helps improve our moisture barrier, keeping skin plump and supple.

You can try a variety of different serums depending on your skin type. Brightening things up with a vitamin C serum, or balancing your skin with a green tea-infused option, might be right for you.

If you want to customize something for your exact skincare needs, you can even try out making your own DIY serum.


Even if you have oily or breakout-prone skin, you should give it a boost of moisture every day. Your skin can over-produce oil if it’s getting too dry, so sometimes oily skin is actually under-hydrated. By moisturizing it every day, you help maintain your skin’s barrier to protect it from pollution, free-radicals, and other damaging compounds you encounter in your daily life.

Choose a moisturizer that makes your skin feel soothed, but doesn’t leave an oily residue. You won’t need any powder to cover up excess shine if your moisturizer absorbs well. For more skin benefits, you might want to try an organic moisturizer that has natural ingredients. It also might be easier than you think to make your own moisturizer.

Sun damage can be a real concern for any skin tone, so choose a moisturizer with SPF to help protect your skin from the premature aging effects of excess UV exposure.


Once or twice a week, treat your skin to a mask. Chose a commercially prepared one with clean ingredients, or make your own. Masks are like a boost to your daily skincare routine. They can help tighten your pores, brighten your complexion, or give you an extra boost of moisture.

Clay is a natural detoxing ingredient that can help pull any impurities from your skin. This can help reduce the wear and tear you experience every day, and remove deeper dirt and grime.

You’ll get some bonus points if you massage your skin after removing your mask. A skin massage, like you might get during a facial, can help increase circulation, making everything look tighter and fresher.

Develop Your Natural Beauty

Besides just caring for your skin, you can enhance the beautiful natural structure of your face without heavy makeup or contouring.

Eyebrows and Lashes

The shape of your eyebrows can make a huge impact on your face– think of them as the main architectural structures on your face. Taking the time to shape them, either by tweezers or waxing, can enhance your bone structure.

If your brows are a little thin, you might bend your new no-makeup rule just a little. A little filler or pencil can help thicken your brows up a bit to give them more presence and draw attention to your eyes. You can also use some gel to help control them and comb them into place if they tend to grow a little wild.

If you want to enhance your eyelashes and draw attention to your eyes without heavy mascara, there are a few options. You can help your lashes grow fuller by regularly applying an eyelash serum if you’re afraid that yours are a little thin naturally. You can also curl your lashes to give them more presence and enhance what’s already there.


Not just your skin needs moisture; your lips are even more sensitive and prone to drying out than the rest of your face. By making sure your lips are lush and healthy, you will help them stand out on your face.

You should periodically exfoliate your lips to remove any dead skin, but don’t go too hard on them since the skin is more delicate. Applying lip balm before bed every night and whenever you’re feeling dried out during the day will help keep them in good condition.

Lip balm can help add a subtle sheen to your lips that can make them look fuller and enhance their natural color. You can use a gloss instead of a balm for a higher-impact shine, or even a tint to add a kiss of extra long-lasting color without the fuss of lipstick.

Control Your Shine

A dewy glow can be fresh and natural-looking, but sometimes, you can get too dewy. Especially if you live in a humid climate, you might need to find a way to control shine. Instead of layering on makeup that you’ll just end up sweating off, you can take care of the oil in another way.

Carrying oil blotting sheets with you can help with excess shine. Dab these papers on your skin to remove oil and mattify your skin. If you have oily skin, make sure the skincare products you use are non-comedogenic, so they don’t clog your pores with extra oil.

Be Confident in Your Own Skin

For some, learning makeup techniques and experimenting with colors and shading is a lot of fun, but for others, it can feel like a time-consuming hassle.

If you work in a professional environment, maybe with a public-facing role, though, you can feel pressure to be constantly made-up. But the idea that wearing makeup is the only way to look and feel your best is old-fashioned and puts unfair pressure on women.

By taking some steps to take better care of yourself, you can look glowing and healthy without foundation and bronzer. Instead of investing in makeup, invest in your skin– you’ll have that for a lot longer, after all. We hope this list has helped you feel ready to take the plunge into a makeup-free life, at least some of the time.

About the Author

Odessa Denby

Odessa Denby is a writer and editor born in the wilds of Pennsylvania. After studying abroad at Oxford University she caught the travel bug and ended up living in South Korea for 4 years. There, she learned about the wonders of skincare and started blogging. Now living in New York, she maintains a YouTube channel where she demonstrates how to create clothing and costumes by hand to have a more sustainable and personalized wardrobe. Encouraging more educated and conscientious consumption is one of her main passions. Her creative writing work has been published in a number of literary journals including Slipstream and Outside Culture. You can find more of her non-fiction work on Medium. When not writing, she fills her hours with tea snobbery, bubble baths, and period dramas.

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