Minimal Makeup Guide

Become a makeup minimalist with my magical guide to minimal makeup looks.

Darlings, minimal makeup looks are a magical way to let your natural features shine. Makeup is a tool to help you look and feel like the most beautiful version of yourself, and by taking a less-is-more approach when applying makeup, you can enhance and accentuate the look of your facial framework to look effortlessly radiant.

Discover my guide to minimal makeup featuring understated makeup looks for you to try, the best products for creating a minimal makeup look, and tips and tricks for becoming a makeup minimalist.

Minimal Makeup still life

What is Minimal Makeup?

Minimal makeup is the understated use of makeup to create a light, next-to-nothing makeup look that looks natural and soft. Subtlety is the secret to a successful minimal makeup look; when you use a light hand to apply makeup and focus on the specific areas that you want to look lifted, enhanced or balanced, you can unlock beauty confidence by using a minimal amount of makeup.

How Do I Start Wearing Minimal Makeup?

Whether you’re wanting to dip a toe into wearing makeup or you are looking to wear less makeup, I’ve gathered my top tips and tricks for how to get the minimal makeup look. Before you apply your new look, discover my 6 expert tips on how to keep your makeup look minimal but magical.

  1. Radiant makeup products including Beautiful Skin foundation, concealer, bronzer and SPF primer

    Magic Tip #1: Use minimal makeup products

    First thing’s first, darlings, to create your minimal makeup look you’ll need the right makeup products. The best way to get the minimal makeup look is to choose light-coverage options with skin-like, natural finishes. Reach for a BB cream, tinted moisturiser or lightweight foundation to add subtle coverage to your complexion, as well as understated lip tints, blushes and bronzers to give the complexion warmth and the perfect mascara to enhance the look of your eyes.

    Some of my favourite minimal makeup products include Hollywood Flawless Filter for a luminous complexion that looks flattering and filtered; Pillow Talk Lip & Cheek Glow for rosy, dewy-looking lips and cheeks; Beautiful Skin Sun-Kissed Glow Bronzer for bronzed, sunlit skin and Full Fat Lashes! mascara for defined-looking lashes.

  2. Airbrush Flawless Foundation, Hollywood Flawless Filter and Charlotte's Beautiful Skin Foundation lined up

    Magic Tip #2: Use your correct foundation shade

    Your base makeup will look the most seamless when you are using your correct foundation shade. Once you’ve decided on the perfect foundation finish for your minimal makeup look, be sure to select a shade that harmonises with your natural skin tone and undertone. Foundation mistakes such as using a shade that’s too light or too warm can cause makeup to look unnatural, so in order to perfect the minimalist makeup aesthetic, your foundation shade should create an even-looking complexion that looks as close to undetectable on your skin as possible.

    Tilbury Tip: Use my Pro Shade Match Tool to discover your perfect foundation shade.

    Discover how to fix foundation mistakes

    Discover my Pro Shade Match Tool*

     *To learn more about how Charlotte Tilbury Beauty collects and processes your personal information, including the images you provide in the Pro Shade Match Tool, please see our Biometric Processing Notice and Privacy Policy. Your results may be affected by the quality of the image submitted i.e., lighting, or camera quality.

  3. Collection of Charlotte's cream products including cream eyeshadow, blush and bronzer

    Magic Tip #3: Reach for creams instead of powders

    Cream products are gorgeous options for creating a minimal makeup look. Naturally, when using some powder makeup such as powder blushes, bronzers and setting powders, it can sometimes create a flat, powdery-looking finish. With creams on the other hand, you are able to work product into the skin for a more seamless, skin-like finish. Skin looks dewy and luminous when cream products are applied, creating a more natural look than mattifying powder products. By reaching for creamy, blendable formulas, you can apply a small amount of makeup and blend it effortlessly into the skin.

    Tilbury Tip: If you prefer a powder formula or have oily skin, don’t worry darling - you can still create a minimal makeup look using my Charlotte Tilbury powder makeup icons! While some powder formulas dull and mattify the skin, my cheek makeup powders like Cheek to Chic blush, Airbrush Bronzer and Airbrush Flawless Finish powder are formulated to glide on and reduce shine where needed, while still allowing your natural radiance to shine through!

  4. Model wearing Charlotte's Beautiful Skin Foundation for a minimal makeup look

    Magic Tip #4: Apply makeup with a light hand

    When applying makeup, it’s easy to be a little heavy-handed with your minimal makeup products. To get the minimal makeup look, always take a less-is-more approach to putting on your makeup, taking a small amount of product at a time and blending out bit by bit. Using less product will help to avoid makeup looking overdone and will carry through the minimal aesthetic. With minimal makeup, less is more, darlings! Try a single dot of blush on the cheeks, a couple of coats of mascara and spot concealing the areas you want to add coverage to create a flattering and understated minimal makeup look.

    Tilbury Tip: My formulas are beautifully buildable, allowing you to apply little by little to achieve your desired finish.

  5. Swatches of Beach Sticks, Charlotte's natural-looking cream blush sticks for a minimal makeup look

    Magic Tip #5: Choose natural, barely there shades

    Minimal makeup doesn’t mean you can’t apply your favourite eyeshadow formula or a kiss of lipstick, darlings. Instead of going without, reach for nudes and neutral shades that complement your skin tone and celebrate your natural beauty. This barely there makeup style is all about making a big difference with the smallest details; even the slightest amount of brown eyeshadow or eyeliner can make your eyes pop, and a nude lip liner can effortlessly define the look of your lips to make them appear fuller. Choose shades that closely match the tones in your complexion and lips to enhance the look of your gorgeous, natural features.

  6. Model without makeup before creating their minimal makeup look

    Magic Tip #6: Embrace your natural features

    Darlings, minimal makeup isn’t about covering up or contouring away, it’s a celebration of what makes you, you! The best way to stylise your minimal makeup look is by putting the focus on whatever features you have been naturally blessed with. Whether you have fabulous freckles, big and bushy brows, beauty marks, fair eyelashes or a pronounced jawline, embrace your individuality and let these features shine!

Minimal Makeup Routine

  1. Wonderglow is an illuminating primer that gives the skin a soft-focused, luminous finish

    Step 1: Apply a skin-enhancing primer

    Begin your minimal makeup routine with a skin-perfecting primer that helps to smooth, even and blur the look of your complexion. A face primer is a great way to lift the look of your skin without adding extra coverage – they can even be worn without foundation as a minimalist’s dream makeup base. For glow-getters that love to look luminous, I recommend my Wonderglow primer for giving the complexion a gorgeous, soft-focus effect, or if you prefer a hydrating formula that blurs the appearance of pores, reach for Invisible UV Flawless Primer SPF50 to both prime and protect.

    Shop primer

  2. A closed, luminous primer in a light cool-toned-beige shade in a glass bottle with a gold-coloured lid.

    Step 2: Choose a light-coverage foundation and concealer

    To create a flawless-looking base for your minimal makeup look, choose a light-coverage formula that softly diffuses the look of your skin and adds minimalist coverage. I love to use Hollywood Flawless Filter as an understated complexion perfector; it lights up the look of skin with Hollywood-inspired radiance while letting your natural skin tone peek through.

    If you want to conceal the look of dark circles or blemishes, I suggest choosing a buildable medium-coverage concealer to keep your makeup looking minimal and natural. With Charlotte’s Beautiful Skin Radiant Concealer, add small dots of concealer anywhere that you’d like to build coverage, then blend well for a second-skin effect.

    Tilbury Tip: The less foundation and concealer you apply, the more minimal your makeup look will be. If you’re looking to achieve a smoother, plumper-looking complexion with a lit-from-within glow, my award-winning face cream, Charlotte’s Magic Cream, might be the only thing you need to apply!

    Shop foundation

    Discover my Pro Shade Match Tool*

    *To learn more about how Charlotte Tilbury Beauty collects and processes your personal information, including the images you provide in the Pro Shade Match Tool, please see our Biometric Processing Notice and Privacy Policy. Your results may be affected by the quality of the image submitted i.e., lighting, or camera quality.

  3. Brow Fix is Charlotte's clear sculpting gel for fixing brow hairs in place

    Step 3: Lightly groom your brows

    Rather than sculpting the look of your brows with tinted brow gel and eyebrow pencil, try a more natural brow look by using clear brow gel to brush up your natural brow hairs. By fixing your brows into place with a clear brow gel like Brow Fix, you can define the natural shape of your brows and add structure to your minimal makeup look while giving them a softer, fluffier effect that doesn’t look overly groomed. This eyebrow look will give your makeup a relaxed and effortless feel, embracing your natural beauty while locking brow hairs into place.

    Shop Brow Fix

  4. Full Fat Lashes is a glossy black mascara for adding volume to the lashes

    Step 4: Add a hint of mascara

    Mascara is the secret to eyes that mesmerise! Even minimal makeup looks benefit from a couple of coats of lacquered mascara – it makes lashes look longer and the eyes look more open and awake. For an everyday makeup look, I usually apply lashings and lashings of Full Fat Lashes mascara for glossy, fanned-out lashes, however, for a more subtle eye look, one or two coats will do. If you’re looking to apply only a small amount of mascara, I suggest focusing on the outer portion of the lashline for a fanned-out effect that helps the eyes appear lifted. 

    Tilbury Tip: Instead of a super-black mascara, try applying brown mascara for a more understated look. Discover Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes! in my berry-brown shade, Dream Pop, for beautiful, brown lashes!

    Shop mascara

    Discover my mascara wand buying guide

  5. Airbrush Flawless Lip Blur hydrating liquid lipstick in cool, nude-toned pink shade, Pillow Talk

    Step 5: Softly tint the lips with lipstick

    You can use your favourite lip products to enhance your minimal makeup look, darlings! The most important thing is to keep your lips hydrated with a nourishing lip oil such as Charlotte’s Magic Lip Oil Crystal Elixir. The silky-smooth, roll-on formula gives your pout a glossy sheen, so once you’ve applied your lip oil to enrich your lips with magical moisture, you can leave your look as it is or reach for a lip liner, lipstick or lip gloss to create a minimal lipstick look.

    When choosing your lip products, remember to select a nearly natural shade of lipstick that resembles your own personal lip colour. My go-to lip combination for a minimal makeup look is my Lip Cheat and Airbrush Flawless Lip Blur in Pillow Talk. First, I use Lip Cheat to shape up the look of the lips, creating a soft outline that makes lips appear fuller and wider. Then, I blot my liquid lipstick into the centre of the lips and blend out the edges with my finger for beautiful, blur-effect cloud lips.

    Tilbury Tip: All of my Pillow Talk shades were created to give everyone, everywhere the dreamiest, nuanced, nude-pink lips that are universally flattering! Discover the perfect lip combination for your minimal makeup look in my Pillow Talk collection!

    Shop Pillow Talk collection

    Shop all lip makeup

  6. Charlotte's Beautiful Skin Sun-Kissed Glow Bronzer is a glowy cream bronzer infused with hyaluronic acid

    Step 6: Warm up the face with cream bronzer and blush

    Lifting the look of your complexion with bronzer and blush is the key to ensuring your minimal makeup doesn’t look flat. Reaching for cream formulas such as Beautiful Skin Sun-Kissed Glow Bronzer, Pillow Talk Lip & Cheek Glow and Beach Sticks will give your look a natural, healthy-looking glow. Applying a small amount of cream blush to the apples of the cheeks gives them a fresh, dewy look, and blending cream bronzer across the cheekbones, nose and forehead will mimic the natural beauty of a day in the sun. These cream products blend seamlessly into the skin for a minimalist-approved finish that gently warms the look of the face.

    Discover how to apply natural-looking blush

  7. Charlotte's Magic Hydrator Mist radiant skin rescue essence with lid off

    Step 7: Refresh with a hydrating face mist

    Finally, to refresh and revive your minimal makeup look, apply a hydrating face mist to give the complexion an instant, dewy-looking glow. Charlotte’s Magic Hydrator Mist is my oxygenating face mist that veils the skin with magical moisture. It douses the face with skincare benefits including pollution defence and hydrating hyaluronic acid, while leaving behind a gorgeous, radiant finish that illuminates the look of your complexion. For minimal makeup, your skin should look healthy and fresh-faced, and this magical mist delivers immediate moisture that works underneath and over the top of makeup.

    Shop Charlotte’s Magic Hydrator Mist

    Learn more about face mist