Trends in makeup come and go quite fast and sometimes by the time you’ve caught up with one, it’s already old news. This is why the classics will never die and a lot of people don’t want to spend their money chasing a fad that will only last a couple of months. But what constitutes a classic? Most of the time it’s makeup that has been around for a long time, is convenient and easy to wear.
Minimalist makeup can fall into the classic category as it doesn’t involve too many variants on colours or styles and can be worn by anybody. You may be thinking that your eyes deserve to be bold and beautiful and that you actually enjoy the maximum effect of geometric shapes, different tones of eyeshadow and lashings of mascara, but stick with me here, just because minimalist eye makeup is a classic, it doesn’t mean you can’t get adventurous with it. Especially when wearing a mask and your eyes are the only focal part of your face.
How do you prepare your skin for minimalist makeup?
This is simple – create a clean and clear base that isn’t distracting or too chaotic so that your minimalist makeup is the thing that stands out.
Wash and cleanse your face every single night – This is important for minimalist makeup as the face tends to collect all kinds of dirt and grime from makeup and even just being outside and any build up of this can cause breakouts and blemishes that just get in the way of your look. Remove eye makeup with a remover like micellar water and a cotton pad. Micellar water breaks down the particles in makeup to make even the most stubborn products disappear with ease.
Next, cleanse your skin with a water-based or foam cleanser to get deep into the skin and pores, keeping it clean and clear overnight.
Don’t use thick moisturisers – The aim is to hydrate your skin and to smooth it out, not to cake it with thick oily product that ends up sitting on your skin making it feel greasy and harder to apply makeup. Some night-time or intensive moisturisers can be great if you have problematic skin, just make sure you wash it off in the morning and carry on with your regular day moisturiser for that smooth appearance, ready for minimalist makeup.
Try not to coat your face in heavy concealers and foundations – Especially if you don’t really need it. It can be tempting to get caried away with foundation and almost becomes a habit in wearing so much of it, that the thought of only using a thin layer scares you. But remember if you want your eyes to stand out with minimalist makeup, you can’t make the thickness of your foundation the main focus.
Use a colour corrector to even out the skin tones under your eyes with the rest of your face – Some people are blessed with naturally even skin, but for a lot of us, there tend to be darker or bluer shades under and around the eyes where the skin is thinnest (and maybe from tiredness!). So, if this is you, find a colour corrector that works well for the shade that is darkest under your eyes. If it’s more purple, invest in a yellow toned colour corrector or CC cream and if its blue, invest in a more orange toned one. When you apply your foundation gently over the top, it creates a balance and an even palette ready for your minimalist eye makeup.
Finish with a light powder if needed, but don’t go overboard – If you have any fine lines or wrinkles, the powder tends to highlight them more and become cakey in the cracks. Powder is best used around the T-zone and best avoided around the eye area where the skin looks so much better dewy and smooth for eye makeup.
How do you prepare your eyes for minimalist makeup?
So, now that the skin is taken care of, it’s time to prepare the eyes. A blank slate is always needed for eye makeup, so as above, prepare the eyes by cleansing all makeup or build up first.
Start with your eyelashes – Minimalist makeup requires a bit of a ‘less is more’ approach to eyelashes, so before you go reaching for an extravagant set of false lashes, consider other options for bold but classic eyelashes, like an eyelash growth serum. When you use a serum formulated to help your eyelashes grow faster and longer, you start to realise that a big false set may not be necessary. It can take a few weeks to see results but in terms of making minimal makeup a classic and not just a trend that will pass by this is really fitting.
Give your eyebrows a quick tidy up – Don’t get too tweezer happy or you’ll regret it when they don’t grow back in so quick and you’re left with barely there, or worse, uneven eyebrows. But getting rid of a few strays from the edges and giving them a brush with your spooley can go a long way with minimalist makeup. An eyebrow serum will also help them look shinier, fuller and with deeper colour so this could be a great option for long-term use.
Use a primer for your eyelids – This helps the makeup glide on easily and stay put all day once it’s on there. There’s nothing worse than doing your makeup and it starting to gather in the creases or even start sliding off your eyes halfway through your day.
Invest in some new eyeliner – To carry off minimalistic eye makeup you need to have a great tools to make it look clean and crisp. If you use liquid eyeliner, check that your brush is still in good condition and not frayed at the ends for precise application and if you use pencil eyeliner, keep it sharp and clean for a great makeup look.
What minimalist makeup styles look great?
As I said before, minimalist makeup can be made to look quite graphic but with clean and simple lines that do all the talking. It doesn’t have to be all clinical and cold and can instantly be turned into a classic that will be your staple style for years to come.
The classic cat-eye – This one will always be around and can be a huge contributor to minimalist eye makeup when executed well. You don’t need to use a lot of eyeliner or worry about creating a bold shape, just take it down a step by following the direct upper eyelid line and drawing out into a simple but sharp wing with minimal curve. It can take practice to get it right if you haven’t done a cat-eye before but once it’s on point, you’ll never look back.
For hooded eyes, try the bat-wing method – It can give the perfect illusion of the cat-eye. This is becoming increasing popular as people are realising that you don’t have to have one type of eyelid to pull great makeup styles off. This involves drawing a line over the lid as normal, but for the wing creating a diamond shape that resembles an actual bat wing when the eye is closed, but when it’s open, it connects to the line on the upper lid for a smooth cat eye appearance. Team this with some simple mascara for a minimalist eye-makeup look.
Try the fox eye – This is extremely minimal but has maximum effect and is a welcome change to the standard cat-eye if you are looking for something a different but that packs a punch. The fox eye is similar to the cat-eye but is about elongating the eye with thin brush strokes of the eyeliner starting from the centre or outer corners of the eye and lifting the wing into a higher and straighter point. It can be finished off with a small, downturned stroke at the inner corners of the eye near the tear ducts to compliment and complete the look. This can change your whole face shape when executed well and only requires a small amount of colour eyeshadow to keep it minimalist.
Go for graphic lines – Eyeliner doesn’t just have to be used for wings and cat-eyes for minimalist makeup, and if you need a little bit more adventure, then graphic lines could work for you. You don’t want to go too heavy with your applications and you will need a steady hand to draw in sharp lines but think about lifting your cat-eye a few millimetres from the edge of your eye lid, so it almost looks like it’s floating. Or even draw the shape of your cat wing but don’t fill it in for a bold statement. To take it a step further but still in keeping with minimalist trends, switch up your normal black eyeliner for a bright red or green/blue for that extra pop of colour – no eyeshadow needed. This is where that primer will come in handy, making sure your lines don’t shift throughout the day.
Keep eyebrows sleek and shiny – So, in preparation for minimalist makeup you will have given them a little tidy up, but to start to bring the look together it calls for some sleek eyebrows that are bold enough to frame your face but not takeaway from your eyes. Eyebrows don’t have to be stuck to your face, but a light gel to keep the hairs brushed outward and some tint or pencil to create a light shape will do wonders for this minimalist makeup style.
Use one statement eye colour – Being bold with colour is still minimalist as long as its kept monochrome and matte to complete the look. A simple sweep of bright pinks, greens or blues will be enough to make a statement while not overpowering the face. Teamed with sleek cheeks and black eyeliner, minimal colour offers just enough for those who can’t bear to bare!
Keep mascara simple – Yes, we all love our lashes to look long and full, but sometimes it can be too much if you don’t know when to stop. Keep a few different mascaras in your makeup kit so on days where you want to go minimal you are prepared. A simple lengthening mascara will do the trick, in a black or deep brown to keep it looking natural. If you are all about the fox eye try a mascara hat feathers your lashes and with a thick wand to help you brush your eyelashes outward and upward to follow the same lines as your eyeliner. You can pull off plenty of trickery with mascara, just apply it layer by layer if you want to build it up a bit more, but make sure it isn’t an old product that will start to clump your lashes together or leave dry residue.
Nude lips will compliment a minimalist look – Ok, so this isn’t about eye makeup, but you can’t finish off the face until you are happy with every aspect. Lips that are smooth and shiny without too much gloss will work really well with minimalist eye makeup, so taking care of them with an intensive care moisturiser or repair balm will be enough to keep your face looking fresh, but for a pop of colour try a pink lip stain and lightly brush it on with special focus on the centre of the lips instead of lining them. Or keep colours nude if you want full coverage so this doesn’t take anything away from your eyes.
Minimalist makeup doesn’t have to be boring or too simple, it just takes a bit of practice to know what suits you and how to execute the look with ease. The key is in keeping the face fresh and clear, but this doesn’t mean that you should shy away from colour or a bit of contour to define your cheeks and eye area.
You could always skin on the eyeliner or the eyebrows if you really want to keep the look minimal and focus more on your eyeshadow colour and mascara to achieve the look. Instead of chasing the trends of full makeup, smoky eyes and glittery shadows, try and set your own by using these classic examples on a look that will always be modern and fresh.