Before the pandemic, my everyday makeup routine was extensive to say the least. Full coverage foundation, lots of powder and at least three different brow products were all employed to get my face looking fresh for long days in the office and outside at events.

But then COVID-19 arrived and we all started working from home. Having nowhere to go, I started wearing less makeup and before long, I got used to my face without it. I began to prefer a natural ‘no makeup’ finish, characterised by clear, glowing skin, full brows and subtle warmth where the sun hits my (SPF-laden) skin.

I still had areas of my face that needed concealing or smoothing – I’m acne-prone, after all – but I developed something of a formula for barely-there makeup that looked natural but still boosted my complexion.

It involved swapping a few of the old products I once relied on in favour of a few simple tricks…

Swap primer for translucent powder

This is a clever trick I picked up from TikTok that really works, especially if you’ve got an oily-combination complexion that tends to absorb base products that are lightweight. After SPF but before I apply my favourite tinted moisturiser – I love Chanel’s Les Beiges Tinted Moisturiser ($79) for imperceptible coverage – I use the cult favourite Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder to gently powder my t-zone. It might sound counter-productive, but this technique works to softly smooth and mattify my skin, giving my base staying power and disguising uneven texture without piling on more product.

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder, $59 SHOP NOW

Swap powder bronzer for cream

My oily skin means expert conjecture commonly dictates that I only use powder makeup products to counteract the excess moisture. But using all powder products is the quickest route to looking made up, so I use the powder to control my natural sheen before my base, then use cream products over the top. This NARS bronzer allows me to warm up my complexion whilst melting into the skin for a more natural finish.

NARS Sunkissed Bronzing Cream, $58 SHOP NOW

Swap brow pencil for gel

To make my brows look fuller, I use a strong hold brow soap – Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Freeze ($38) – to create a feathered, thick appearance. Then, rather than completely filling my brows in with a pencil, I use a tinted brow gel to delicately brush through the hair and address any gaps. This Kosas brow gel is the best I’ve tried in years, with a creamy formula that defines and adheres to every hair without looking obvious.

Kosas Air Brow Fluff & Hold Treatment Gel, $33 SHOP NOW