A cut-crease graphic liner, a flawlessly contoured complexion, a gradient eyeshadow that straight-up resembles a sunset — when makeup is expertly manipulated and wielded (for the particularly dexterous), it can serve as an incredible outlet for creative expression. And yet, there’s something so irresistibly appealing about a deliberate, pared-back look — a TikTok-pervasive low-maintenance aesthetic that can be achieved with a few (but mighty) products.
“My day-to-day look is minimalist — a lot of people don’t realize I’m a makeup artist because I wear the same makeup every single day,” says 26-year-old Toronto-based makeup artist Jasmin Winnie Stephen, who believes the trend was born from people adopting a skin care-forward beauty routine during the pandemic. “I think people realized they don’t necessarily need an abundance of makeup to get a look, and it’s so trendy on TikTok because it’s entertaining to watch — how fast people can apply their makeup — and it’s also an approachable style. It’s not as intense or daunting as a full face.”
Even so, less makeup can feel scary, especially for those with hyperpigmentation or dark circles and are used to covering up, to which Stephen says, “Start with skin care, because the basis of any minimalist makeup look begins with skin care as the most important step. There’s been a shift over the years, and now more brands are catering to women of color, like brown girl-friendly sunscreens that don’t leave a white cast. We want to be glowy, and we’re now, finally, a part of the conversation.”
For that glowy, minimalist look, Stephens took a “quality over quantity” approach and pinpointed 13 hero products from Target that can be mixed and matched, or slotted into your current makeup routine. “Minimalistic makeup is so personal, so not everyone has to do every single step,” she notes. “I picked products that are easy to use, so you don’t have to think too hard.”
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