Once makeup and skincare were mutually exclusive – one did not encroach on the other’s patch. But things have changed. A lot.
Enter skinimalism: using fewer products in our beauty routines for better, less-irritated, glowing skin. The new movement saw us paring back our Korean-beauty inspired 14-step (or more) routines to a mere three or four. And the less-is-more train of thought caught on in makeup routines too.
Brands began coming up with innovative ways to boost the health of skin via cosmetics. In some cases, the new breed of foundation means we can even skip the moisturiser or serum steps if we want to really pare back. The new makeup ideal is foundation that not only makes skin look better right now but helps it to be better the more we wear it.
A-list makeup artist Gucci Westman is a frontrunner when it comes to skin that looks like skin. Her all-natural makeup brand, Westman Atelier, is a favourite among celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston (Westman’s BFF) and Gigi Hadid, who are keen to use makeup that is good for skin, pared back yet flawless. “There’s a nice shift in terms of what we ’re seeing now and what people want to exude,” says Westman.
“People are interested in living clean, especially after Covid. People are thinking about their routine on perhaps a deeper level than just plastering their faces [with products].” Westman says that the interest in healthy living has had a knock-on effect in what we want to see on the ingredients lists of cosmetics. “People are more aware of ingredients and more aware of their lifestyle,” she says. “It’s more holistic.” If you feel like less makeup is literally everywhere in this country, you’re not wrong. Westman points to Australia as a natural home for skinimalism.
“Everyone I see in Australia is like [healthy] and has beautiful skin,” she says. “They don’t look like they’re wearing a lot of makeup but they look like they are wearing a little something. There’s an awareness. That’s my kind of person.” Westman’s latest addition to her beautifully packaged range is a skin fluid called Vital Skincare Complexion Drops.
This all-natural foundation has been formulated without silicon e for a hybrid product that not only makes skin look better but helps improve skin the more you wear it. “It really is a true skincare product that happens to be a foundation too,” explains Westman. As someone with skin that is prone to rosacea, Westman was adamant that the product should have zero silicones (which according to cosmetic chemists is tricky with a liquid foundation). And she was happy to wait to get it right – four years in fact. “It really took such a long time to develop this,” she says.
Westman’s initial brief was for a product that acted like skincare but performed like foundation. “I wanted it to be light but rich,” she says. “I wanted it to feel radiant but not oily. And I wanted it to be true skincare.” Able to even out skin beautifully, Westman’s soothing and comfortable Complexion Drops are dosed with generous amounts of natural and skin-loving ingredients, such as a cold -pressed oil from the Japanese came llia (tsubaki), which “helps resurface skin, minimise the look of pores… and hydrate,” explains Westman.
There’s also ginseng and pomegranate to help boost the look of skin, as well as a unique blend that assists in protecting skin against blue light and pollution. Someone else who understands the importance of skincare in makeup is Terry de Gunzburg. Founder of the cult-followed French makeup and skincare line By Terry, de Gunzburg was an instigator in getting makeup to work harder by adding active skincare ingredients to formulations. “I have always had a skin-first approach to makeup,” she says. “So when I launched By Terry in 1998, I spent a lot of time in labs to look for a skin-loving ingredient that pairs well with premium cosmetics for a flawless base.”
Hyaluronic answered the brief. “It is a multi-use ingredient that delivers exceptional moisture, skin replenishment and rejuvenation… helps smooth [the look of] wrinkles, fine lines and more,” says Gunzburg. By Terry’s new Hyaluronic Global Serum contains 10 per cent hyaluronic acid, which is said to be the highest level in one serum on the market. The key to the less-is-more makeup application is seeking products that deliver skin smoothness. “[Look for] products that offer invisible textures to help create the optical illusion [of perfection] on the skin,” says de Gunzburg. In a nutshell, you know you’ve got skinimalism right if you can’t see your makeup at all. “Imperceptible foundation, impeccable lips and thick, separated lashes,” says de Gunzburg. “Women are looking for a more natural and simple makeup routine with versatile products that can be used in many ways.”
5 Tips For Minimalist Makeup
1. Go For Makeup That’s Mostly Skincare
Rule 101 of skinimalism is hybrid formulations. “Infusing a universal ingredient like hyaluronic acid into makeup means that the products will be good for the skin,” says Terry de Gunzburg, founder of By Terry. She also recommends looking for cosmetics that contain antioxidants and vitamin C.
2. Check Percentages
Some cosmetics will tout skincare ingredients but you need to look at the percentages to see if they are really going to help sort out any skin issues. “It takes a lot longer and costs a lot more money [for formulators] to include active ingredients at high levels,” says Westman. “[But higher levels mean] products will do what they’re saying they’re doing.”
3. Quality Over Quantity
Skinimalism is more than just covering and correcting visible issues, it’s about reducing the amount of skincare steps you need by choosing makeup that’s formulated like skincare. “I will never launch a product that doesn’t have some sort of significant skincare benefit,” says Westman. “Innovation, efficacy and performance – those things are always going to be paramount.”
4. Prep Is Still Key
Making sure you apply skincare first is still key. “It’s very important to look after your skin and prep it correctly before applying any makeup,” says de Gunzburg. “Well-prepared and hydrated skin is the cornerstone of a flawless complexion and makes makeup look even better.”
5. Layer Carefully
When layering products, look for formulations that work together. As a general rule, cream-based products work with other creamy products (although Westman has created a powder that blends seamlessly with her other products). “I love layering products and creating effects,” she says. “There’s no pilling or streakiness [with my line] because, as a makeup artist, that’s like the worst thing that can happen.”
Shop Our Favourite Skin Tints
One of the cornerstones of minimalist makeup is the skin tint. With the benefits of a serum and the coverage of a sheer-to medium weight foundation, this new breed of cover will give you glowing skin that looks at once flawless and all your own.
Westman Atelier Vital Skincare Complexion Drops, $113 at Mecca
By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Foundation SPF30, $99 at Mecca
Rose Inc Skin Enhance Luminous Tinted Serum, $81 at Mecca
Lük Beautifood Instant Glow Skin Tint, $45 at Lük Beautifood
Guerlain Terracotta Le Teint Healthy Glow Natural Perfection Foundation, $108 at David Jones
Nars Light Reflecting Foundation, $81 at Mecca
Rationale Beautiful Skin Superfluid, $102 at Rationale
Summer Fridays Sheer Skin Tint, $70 at Mecca
Shop Our Favourite Dewy Basics
Adding extra steps like a primer and a setting powder or spray doesn’t fly in the face of skinimalism. That’s because they can help keep things looking fresh rather than shiny and ensure all-day wear.
Tatcha The Silk Canvas Protective Primer, $90 at Mecca
Elizabeth Arden Flawless Start Instant Perfecting Primer, $55 at David Jones
Stila Blurring & Smoothing Primer, $60 at Mecca
Max Factor Miracle Pure Skin Improving Foundation, $42.95 at Priceline
Westman Atelier Vital Pressed Skincare Powder In Dune, $125 at Mecca
Anastasia Beverly Hills Magic Touch Concealer, $49 at Sephora
Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray, $49 at Mecca
Shop Our Favourite Glow Getters
To add sheen to skin, a sweep of illuminating powder on the cheekbones, a well-blended dab of blush high on the cheeks (a huge trend all on its own) and a sheeny lipgloss will give your minimal makeup look a healthy pop.
Rare Beauty Positive Light Silky Touch Highlighter in Enlighten, $44 at Sephora
Holme Beauty Lip Glosses in Devine, $36 at Holme Beauty
Guerlain Terracotta Luminizer, $90 at David Jones
Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wand in Pinkgasm, $55 at Mecca
Ciaté London Dewy Stix Luminous Vegan Highlighting Balm, $38 at Mecca
Rose Inc Solar Radiance Hydrating Cream Highlighter in Prismatic, $50 at Mecca