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How to Achieve a Makeup-Free, Fresh Face Look This Summer

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If you’ve been noticing photos and cover stories featuring celebs rocking a “fresh face” for the summer and want to achieve that same kind of “no-makeup” look (which obviously still includes a little bit of makeup), you’re in luck! We sat down with a few makeup artists to get their take on how to achieve a fresh face with minimal effort, and the good news is, you don’t have to hire a professional!

Read on for tips on keeping your complexion smooth and glowing this summer and how to deal with blemishes — or cold sores — should they pop up!

Achieving That Fresh Face Look

Start With Skincare

“Makeup starts with skincare,” explains celebrity makeup artist Mary Irwin. “The better you treat your skin, the less coverage you need, so building a solid routine is important! It doesn’t have to be 18 steps, but consistency makes a big difference. A great cleanser and moisturizer, exfoliating a few times a week, a mask for any specific needs you might have, and sun protection are all you really need.”

Mix Up a Light Base

If you want to keep your skin looking flawless but don’t want your foundation to feel or look heavy, mix it up! “The key to achieving that ‘glowing from within’ look is to mix your favorite lightweight, hydrating, and pearly primer with your liquid foundation,” says Gabriel De Santino, founder and CEO of Gabriel Cosmetics, Inc. “Simply use a 60 to 40 ratio of primer to the foundation and apply it to your skin as you normally would. This will keep your makeup from looking too heavy, and will get you that Instagram-worthy dewy sheen.”

Address Blemishes

Dealing with pimples or cold sores can be a real drag, but you shouldn’t let it ruin your day (or night out). “One thing I know for sure is that we are much more aware of any blemish on ourselves than anyone else is,” says Rebecca Perkins, founder and creative director of SHESPOKE Makeup. “So remember that this too, with proper care, shall pass. But having a complexion product that exactly matches your skin and working with clean tools, hands, etc. when applying makeup is the number-one way to help effectively deal with downplaying blemishes.”

While you should never try to use primer or foundation to cover up an open cold sore (as this could cause infection), once it’s partially healed, it’s OK to try to conceal it the same way you would a pimple. However, it’s important to be mindful of your hands and tools when dealing with cold sores. “When putting makeup on a cold sore, be sure to use disposable products like a sponge so you don't later cross-contaminate,” advises De Santino. Because cold sores are contagious, being mindful of cross-contamination on makeup is especially important if you’re sharing products or tools with others.

Before applying any kind of makeup to your cold sore, make sure to use Abreva, a nonprescription cold sore medicine approved by the FDA that can get rid of your cold sore in two and a half days1 when used at the first sign.

Add Some Fun Flourishes

“To get a flush of color, enlist a buildable cream blush that’s close to your own skin tone,” says De Santino. “Softly blend it on your eyelids and the apples of your cheeks and dab it on your lips using your finger for a natural-looking pop of color. Finish by adding a touch of glow to your face with a cream highlighter — lightly tap it on your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, along your brow bones, and above your lips for a sheer look.”

Both De Santino and Irwin suggest playing up your eyes before heading out the door as well. Irwin recommends “a great curling mascara, and a tinted brow gel,” while De Santino claims “groomed eyebrows and lashes are crucial to winning the no-makeup makeup look.” Instead of clumping on heavy black mascara, he advocates for a clear kind. “Brush your arches up and away from your face using a clear mascara—the fuller they look, the better,” he says, adding that you can add volume to your eyelashes by applying “a few coats” of the clear mascara to them.

1 Median healing time 4.1 days. 25% of users healed in 2.5 days.

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