How I Got Better Skin And Stopped Wearing Makeup

Going make-up free shouldn’t be something to fear, says beauty editor Liz Hambleton. Here’s how to turn #iwokeuplikethis into your daily reality...

Liz Hambleton

by Grazia |

A weird thing has happened – as I’ve got older, my skin has actually got better. At 38, I’ve lost the baby face I had in my twenties but my actual skin tone has improved tenfold. I put this down to two things: 1) an obsession with wearing as little make-up as possible; 2) getting into serious beauty treatments – we’re talking radiofrequency therapy, mesotherapy... (anything ending in therapy). By investing in my skin, rather than products that cover it up, and the treatments that boost my natural features, I now wear less make-up than I did 10 years ago. Here’s how you can do it too...

Forget Facials That Don’t Do anything

Going make-up-free demands a confidence in your own skin and for most (including me) that means a clear complexion. Copious facials will leave you feeling lovely, but only a few will have any lasting results. I swear by mesotherapy, which uses small needles to push active ingredients deep into the dermal layers for skin that feels as though it’s had a mini-facial for weeks after. Treatments start from £60 and are available at clinics nationwide. Thanks to facialist Chelsée Lewis (, I’m also a big believer in radiofrequency, which heats up the lower layers of the skin, stimulating all-important collagen production to plump and tighten. A course is best, but even after one treatment my face feels firmer and the results continue over the coming weeks.

Tip: Boost results with a dose of hydrating hyaluronic acid. Try Dr Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Ampoules, £132, or Paula’s Choice Resist Hyaluronic Acid Booster, £44.

Swap Foundation For A Skin Lift

Zo Skin Health Oclipse Smart Tone Broad Spectrum SPF50, £50, is the product at the heart of my no-make-up routine. Why? It takes the edge off a naked complexion without the need for actual make-up. Recommended to me by facialist Kate Kerr (, it goes on white and adapts to the pigment in your skin to perfect and blur. A little like your favourite Instagram filter, the effect is addictive and it protects your skin too. Alternatively, try Estée Lauder DayWear Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant Sheer Tint Release Moisturiser SPF 15, £42.

Do A Daily Peel

I’ve tried all sorts of exfoliation regimes in a bid to get a naturally fresh, radiant skin tone but it was only in my mid-thirties that I finally worked it out. A small, daily dose is the best way to keep skin energised and glowing, and most experts agree. ‘ The world thinks of peels and relates them to flaking but that’s not the case,’ says Dr Dennis Gross ( ‘Peels stimulate collagen and leave a fresh layer of skin that is so much more receptive to any skincare you apply on top.’ Try Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Peel, £73, or Neostrata Daily Smooth Surface Peel, £34.

Get to Grips With Invisible Contouring and Highlighting

While the world has been obsessed with sculpting and baking, I’ve been on a mission to find the glowiest way to cheat plump cheeks. A dab of a sheer, glossy, beauty balm applied to the apples is a trick most make-up artists use. As well as diffusing fine lines, it also makes the cheekbones look fuller and higher. The dewiest and most versatile of the bunch are Glossier Rose Balm Dotcom, £10, Lanolips 101 Ointment, £10.99, and Frank Body Lip Balm, £14.

Go Pro

In terms of delivering serious improvements to my skin, I have found that professional skincare ranges (those recommended by dermatologists or cosmetic doctors) have made the biggest difference. Dr Michael Prager ( suggested I use Skinceuticals (their Ferulic Acid Serum, £129, is a winner) ; facialist Joanne Evans ( introduced me to Environ (their AVST Moisturiser Level 1-5, from £41, transformed my skin), and London facialist Teresa Tarmey ( suggested I use Neostrata, which I love.

LVL Your Lashes...

And you won’t look back. LVL (length, volume and lift) gives your eyes the mascara-effect, without the actual mascara. It involves perming and tinting the lashes in a treatment that takes around 45 minutes and results last up to eight weeks. With the straightest, fairest lashes ever, I couldn’t believe how much untapped potential my natural lashes had. It means you can skip mascara. Go to for qualified LVL lash clinics.

Go Double Duty Before Bed

A little effort before bed can go a long way to making sure you look fresh and glowing first thing. 1) A two-minute facial massage at night will stop you looking puffy in the morning. I do it when wearing a mask such as Eisenberg Melt in Repairing Mask, £110, or Clarins SOS Comfort Face Mask, £30. 2) I swear by a glycolic-based cleanser three times a week. Try Zo Skin Health Offects Cleanser, £35, or Jan Marini Bioglycolic Face Cleanser, £25, to kick-start the skin’s regeneration process (skip the daily peel on these days). 3) The right faux glow will infuse your skin with radiance. Apply a tanning oil or gel overnight and you’ll have the confidence to wear less make-up the next day. St Tropez Self Tan Dry Luxury Tanning Oil, £23, is the most natural I’ve tried.

Believe The Microblading Hype

When a rather scary-sounding beauty treatment seemingly goes viral you can be forgiven for feeling sceptical. Fact is, when done right, microblading is one of the most transformational things you can do for your face. With fair brows, I was averaging a shape and tint per month but now it’s every six months for a tidy-up and I love waking up to a set of naturally defined arches. ‘It’s not about making your eyebrows look permanently pencilled,’ explains microblading queen Suman Jalef ( ‘Rather filling in and defining them to look naturally groomed 24/7 so you needn’t wear make-up.

The No Make-Up Make-Up Bag

Glossier Boy Brow, £14, allows you to ‘bushy up’ with no pigment or colour. I’m obsessed.

Kjaer Weis Radiance Highlighter, £41, for naked highlighting at its best.

Dior Addict Lip Glow, £25, reacts with your lips and infuses them with a hint of natural colour.

I have naturally dark under eyes but Bareminerals Bareskin Complete Coverage Serum Concealer, £23, is my go-to for invisible perfecting.

Swipe Charlotte Tilbury Rock ’N’ Kohl in Eye Cheat, £19, along your waterline to instantly brighten eyes.

La Mer Sheer Pressed Powder, £65, takes the edge off any unwanted shine.

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