The Makeup Products That Are Clear Winners In Your Routine (Trust Us, They're Basically All You Need)

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Let's get this out of the way first: As much as we feel tempted to try every trailblazing makeup product on the market, sometimes, less is more. In an era of makeup looks where simplicity is synonymous with sophistication, we're looking for those products that do the most, while doing less. We're talking, of course, about "clear" makeup products. 


From translucent powder to clear brow gel, clear makeup products are the pillars that support recent trending makeup looks and aesthetics. While in the case of the "wet look," for example, clear makeup products take center stage. Clear products can also play a distinctly supportive role in our routines, boosting the finish of our makeup as well as setting our makeup. Whether you want to simplify your routine or enhance it, we've put together the products that are basically all you need for a makeup routine that enhances your natural beauty. 

Clear makeup foundation

Clear foundation is a makeup minimalist's dream. Where traditional foundation covers your skin with pigment, clear foundation smooths your skin without using any color whatsoever. RCMA Makeup has a clear foundation that you can mix with other products, thus diluting their potency and giving you tons of possibilities for custom creations. But here's a secret: Wearing a foundation primer can offer you many of the same effects. Primers are specifically formulated to take on many skin concerns, from minimizing the appearance of pores to addressing redness, smoothing texture, moisturizing the skin, and more. So if you're looking to avoid foundation, but want a lasting barrier between your skin and the outside world, a primer can do the job. 


Depending on what you want out of your product, you might look for a silicone-based primer or a water-based primer. A silicone-based primer is best for smoothing the skin and trapping excess oils, while a water-based primer is a good option for dry skin as it gives you a boost of hydration. A silicone-based primer might do more by way of mimicking a foundation because it creates a cohesive layer over the skin. But water-based primers can transform your skin too. For example, this color-correcting primer from Make Up For Ever includes water as its first ingredient and blends into the skin for a completely clear look.

Translucent powder

Perhaps one of the most underrated aspects of our makeup routines, translucent powder can be used to ward off shine. For everyone over dewy and glossy makeup looks — matte is back, and translucent powder can help you get the matte look, even if you choose not to wear any other face makeup with it. This powder does not deposit any pigment or have any special, smoothing effects.


While many loose powders are translucent already, there are translucent pressed powders if that's your preference. Bare Minerals makes a popular translucent powder that originally came in a loose form but now also comes in a pressed powder. Laura Mercier Ultra Blur Translucent Powder is another fan favorite as well. While translucent powder is often used to set your foundation and blush, you do not need to wear makeup to use translucent powder; it can also be used sans makeup to assist in controlling excess oils on the skin. 

Clear brow gel

Another product that makeup lovers may know well is clear brow gel. Makeup trends have evolved from the bold brow looks of recent years past. When it comes to brow care now, less is more both in grooming and makeup application. This is perhaps one of the reasons why clear brow gel has become a staple in our makeup kits. 


While tinted brow gels are a popular option for adding subtle pigment and creating the appearance of thickness, a clear brow gel, like this popular one from Anastasia Beverly Hills can also be used to shape the natural brow without applying any color. And if you do go in with a brow product, for example, a gel brow pen or a brow pencil, clear brow gel can ensure that your meticulous work will stay in place throughout the day. No matter how your brows behave, clear brow gel can work for anybody — from those with the most delicate of brow hairs, to those with the densest.

Clear mascara

Picking up a black, brown, or even blue mascara might be what we've always done, but your mascara does not have to be pigmented. Clear mascara is a great way to hold the shape of your lashes, especially after you curl them, without having to deal with the nuisance of a clumpy formula, wet formula, or the mascara flaking onto your face or eyelids. When you want a no-makeup makeup look through and through, clear mascara is definitely a winning product. 


Digital creator Sarah's Super Spa (@sarahssuperspa) demonstrates what happens when she applies clear mascara to her lashes in a TikTok video. "It definitely did help move the hairs into places that I prefer them," she said. While the effect is not as impactful as a pigmented mascara, clear mascara gives the lashes a subtle lift and depending on the product, might even add some nourishment to your lashes. One clear mascara from Wet n Wild includes conditioning ingredients for just $3. 

Clear gloss

Clear gloss has always been a beauty must-have, but recent makeup trends have shown the true capabilities of this product. We know that clear gloss can be used on its own when swiped over the lips for just a touch of sheen, or when used over color on the lips to enhance the effect. But there are specially formulated clear glosses that can also be used on the face, including the eyes and the cheeks. Where the "wet look" has saturated makeup trends on TikTok, clear gloss is one product that cannot be skipped. 


Digital creator Steph Hui (@stxph.h) demonstrates how to create a wet makeup look using a clear gloss formulated specifically for all over the face, the Mac Clear Gloss Crème Brilliance. She notes that the formula does not feel sticky on her eyes, because it's not a good time for anybody when your lids keep getting stuck together. She then places the gloss on the high points of her cheekbones for a natural-looking highlight, as well as on the bridge of her nose, again to define and highlight. The overall effect of a clear gloss on the face is one that is slightly more understated than other shimmery highlighters on the market. For those who are paring back on their makeup collections, clear gloss is a multi-use product that does not require wearing any additional makeup to have an impact.