How To Nail The Anti-Foundation Makeup Look (Because Your Skin Deserves A Chance To Breathe)

If you've been around the #MakeUpTok block, you might have seen a slew of video tutorials talking about the #NoMakeUpMakeUp or #FoundationFreeSkin. It's hardly a new trend — "barely there" makeup looks have gone in and out of style countless times — but it is having a moment right now, and we are definitely here for it.

What sets this trend apart from previous iterations is that it's not no makeup, per se, it's just minimal makeup. The idea is that you can do away with priming your face with the standard foundation, concealer, and powder while still having a blast with eyeshadows and a bold lip. "Foundation-less makeup is so liberating," says TikTok makeup artist Maytahmi, who arguably has pioneered the trend on TikTok with more than a dozen viral videos.

The base-free approach is a perfect trend for the summer months, when skin deserves to breathe and when you're more likely to schlep or sweat off heavy foundation. Ahead, we've rounded up a couple of the best tips for how to achieve the glowing, semi-bare skin look while still giving total glam.

Ditch the foundation, but don't forget your face completely

The nice thing about the anti-foundation trend is that it's all about allowing your natural skin to show, and learning to embrace — yes, embrace — your pores and so-called imperfections. "If you have acne-prone skin, foundation free glam might sound absolutely terrifying, and I get it. I used to think the same thing," says TikToker, highlighting how the look can be beneficial towards those who are more susceptible to breakouts. "But there's something so liberating, beautiful, raw about allowing your imperfections to shine through." TikToker Maytahmi agrees, pointing out in a video how the overly glamorized makeup tutorials of the past didn't work for them. "[I] Hate that we feel like we have to look flawless. I love my lil spots and freckles." 

However, just because you're ditching the foundation doesn't necessarily mean you should skip out on priming your face completely! Ensuring your face is hydrated and properly moisturized is key for keeping your skin protected, while also making it look supple and fresh. After washing your face, apply your favorite moisturizing product, sunscreen, and let it sink in. If you want, you can add in an SPF or some skin care serums for a dewy glow, but avoid complexion covering products to let your true skin texture shine.

It's all about bold eyes and lips

Since you're opting out of complexion covering base, you have more room to play up other makeup for a more dramatic effect. In one tutorial video, TikToker Maytahmi demonstrates how this is done – leaving her cheeks completely bare, while still going full glam with a dramatic green eyeshadow and bold, glossy lip in a mocha color. TikTok makeup artist Darlene Lugo also offers a tutorial for #foundationfree makeup that achieves a bold red lip while prioritizing a natural glow. 

If you are still going to apply some face makeup, it's best to use creme formulas that will blend better with the natural oils in your skin -— especially if your skin is naturally on the dryer side. Apply a creme or liquid blush to the apple of your cheeks and blend in upward motions to accentuate your bone structure and lift your features. You can also use a creme or powder fill for your brows, if you like.

After you've added your own twist on the trend, with your own lip color and eye shadow, the final step is to set your look with setting spray. This is crucial, since the make-up depends heavily on creme products that can break with sweat. After that, you're good to go! Consider this a summer trend that you can rock year round, and one that thankfully won't irritate your skin.