pretty simple

How to Get Radiant Skin Without Foundation

The right way to let your face shine.

Photo: Heather Hazzan
Photo: Heather Hazzan

Does this sound familiar? You want skin that looks bright, fresh, and lit from within — but you don’t want to slather on foundation. Luckily, celebrity makeup artist Romy Soleimani has some tricks for you.

Last week, Soleimani showed us how to get glowing skin without makeup, just by using some of her favorite skin-care products. But the effects of skin care — even really good skin care — don’t last forever. If you want dewiness and radiance that will last all day, but you don’t like the feeling of a lot of product on your face, she suggests using strategically applied highlighter and concealer. Below, Soleimani shows us her glowing-skin technique.

Photo: Heather Hazzan

Watch the Video

Step One: Add Some Inner-Corner Highlight

I bet you’ve never thought, “Hm, my tear ducts could look a little brighter.” But applying a little highlighter to the inner corner of your eyes is a classic makeup artist trick for making the eyes look more awake. Just Google any photo of Jennifer Lopez at a professional event. You’ll notice that her tear ducts gleam like most people’s cheekbones.

Soleimani likes Burberry Beauty Fresh Glow Highlighting Luminous Pen. She recommends dabbing just a bit at the crescent point of the eyes.

Step Two: Blot With a Tissue

You want your skin to look dewy but not oily. Blotting paper will help with that, but you can also separate a tissue into its thinnest layer and press it gently onto the T-zone. It soaks up oil without making your skin look too matte. (Soleimani avoids powder so that the look doesn’t get cakey.)

Step Three: Add Some More Highlighter

Now for the cheeks. Pat and blend some highlighter above the cheekbone. The sweet spot is between the apple of your cheek (the part that goes up when you smile) and the temple. In this case, Soleimani is using RMS Beauty Eye Polish in Solar, a shimmery highlighter that’s clearly visible, but not so strong that your cheekbones can be seen from space. You can use your brush or your hand to blend it out.

If you’re wondering, “Why can’t I just use the same highlighter all over my face?” well, you can. Soleimani just personally prefers using a variety of highlighter textures, mixing shimmer, pearl, and shine, to create a multi-faceted look. But you can absolutely use just one.

Step Four: Conceal Redness

Your inclination might be to cover up your skin with a full-coverage foundation to make it look as even as possible. But your skin will actually look more luminous if your whole face isn’t coated in a thin layer of product. Instead of foundation, Soleimani recommends using concealer and applying it only where needed, like around the edges of the nose or under the eyes to cover up any red or dark spots on the face.

Admittedly, this takes more time than slapping foundation all over your face. But taking a more minimal approach allows the skin to show through. She likes using Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer.

Step Five: Add a Bit of Bronzer and Blush

You’ve been adding shine to strategic places on the face and minimizing it in others. Define your bone structure a bit with some bronzer and blush so that the glow you’ve added really pops. She adds a bit of bronzer under the cheekbones and Clé de Peau Beauté Cream Blush on the apples of the cheeks.

Step Six: Add Shine to Your Eyelids

Now that your cheeks and the inner corners of your eye are shiny, your eyelids could benefit from a little shine, too. (After all, Rihanna does it.) Adding just a touch of shine on the eyelids gives your face a bit of that “I just got out of the shower” look without making you look drenched.

You can do a more subtle version by blending a bit of a non-sticky eye gloss (like Flesh Fleshpot) all over the eye. Soleimani then likes to take the fat part of the Beauty Blender (wet or misted with a face mist) and bump it a few times against the eyelid to blend.

If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

How to Get Radiant Skin Without Foundation