These products will give you the look of a beauty filter — no filters required

Beauty filters give you a gorgeous, flawless finish so you can present your best face on social media. But what if you decide you’d love to have this look in real life? Filter makeup can make it possible.

In addition to foundation, concealer and primers that are formulated with light-diffusing and line-blurring ingredients, other products to enhance the eyes, brows, lips and cheeks work together to create a look that’s ready for photos, videos, special occasions or just because. Flawless makeup begins with quality products and a few application techniques that will give you a filter-like look, even without the filters on your favorite social media platform.

What is filter makeup?

If you’ve ever used a beauty filter, chances are you love how it made your skin look smooth and clear, emphasized your eyes, enlarged your lips, made your brows look full and arched and added other effects. The idea of filter makeup is to create the look of a beauty filter with specific cosmetic products. Just like actual filters, certain makeup applied to define and enhance features will produce a dramatic effect.

How to apply filter makeup

When it comes to filter makeup, the techniques used to apply it are almost as important as the products. Following these steps will help you create a filter look.

  • Moisturize your face. This will soften the texture of your skin for a smooth look.
  • Apply a primer. A primer blurs lines and imperfections and gives other makeup better staying power. Be sure to rub it in thoroughly for a smooth texture.
  • Make up your eyes. Apply your favorite look using eyeliner and eyeshadow.
  • Smooth on foundation. Choose an oil-free, full-coverage option that matches your skin tone. Foundation formulated with filter technology reflects light and blurs blemishes, lines and more.
  • Dab on concealer. Use it on areas like under the eyes to cover dark circles.
  • Contour. Apply it along the temples and hairline, under the jawline and cheekbones and along the sides of the nose to define the shape of your face.
  • Blend. Use makeup brushes that are soft and easy to fit around the curves of your face.
  • Add a highlighter. A small amount placed on the brow bones, cheekbones, bridge of the nose, above the cupid’s bow of the top lip and in the corners of the eyes will produce a luminous glow.
  • Define your brows. Stroke on fine hair-like lines with a pencil and blend brows upward with brow gel for a fuller appearance.
  • Swipe on mascara. If your lashes are straight, curl them with a lash curler first. If you prefer, put false lashes on during this step for a full lash look.
  • Line your lips. Avoid the corners of the mouth, focusing on the cupid’s bow. Top it with gloss or matching lipstick.
  • Lock in your look. Spritz on setting spray for a long-lasting filter look.

Best filter makeup

Youth To The People Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream

Youth To The People Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream

Packed with nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants, this moisturizing cream preps the face for makeup application. The air-whipped formula is lightweight and feels nice on the skin. It’s also vegan and free of harsh chemicals.

Sold by Amazon, Sephora and Kohl’s

Best Urban Decay Ultra Glow All Nighter Primer

Urban Decay Ultra Glow All Nighter Primer

A primer will prepare your skin for foundation and other makeup. This top-seller hydrates skin while producing a smooth finish in preparation for your favorite cosmetics. It also provides up to eight hours of staying power for your favorite looks.

Sold by Sephora, Ulta, Kohl’s, Macy’s and Amazon

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Soft Matte Foundation

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Soft Matte Foundation

It’s the diffusing action of this foundation that makes pores, fine lines and other small imperfections appear blurred and less noticeable. Although lightweight, it provides medium to full coverage for a perfected look. It’s available in a choice of 50 shades.

Sold by Ulta, Sephora and Amazon

Best tarte Shape Tape Concealer

Tarte Shape Tape Concealer

Full coverage in a creamy consistency that’s easy to blend is what you’ll get with this fan-favorite concealer. It perfects flaws and blurs imperfects for a smooth, filter-like finish. It wears for up to 16 hours without creasing or caking.

Sold by Ulta and Amazon

Smashbox Step-by-Step Contour Kit

Smashbox Step-by-Step Contour Kit

Whether you are new to contouring your face or a pro, this kit has what you need to enhance and emphasize your features. Three versatile contour colors, a pro-level brush and contouring tips are included with your purchase.

Sold by Amazon, Macy’s, Sephora and Ulta

NARS Highlighting Powder

NARS Highlighting Powder

This highlighting powder makes your skin glow, which is the goal when using this type of product. It has a lightweight feel and soft texture that’s comfortable on the skin. Choose from several on-trend colors for your perfect match.

Sold by Kohl’s, Sephora, Macy’s and Ulta

Tweezerman Classic Eyelash Curler

Tweezerman Classic Eyelash Curler

Durable construction and a smooth curling mechanism make this eyelash curler up to the task of transforming straight lashes. It comes with three silicone lash pads.

Sold by Amazon and Ulta

Best Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

This waterproof liquid eyeliner offers impressive wear. The precision tip makes it ideal for creating winged and cat-eye looks that will get you noticed.

Sold by Amazon, Macy’s, Ulta, Kohl’s and Sephora

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel

Because it’s made with ingredients that reflect light, this gel does a great job enhancing and defining brows. It’s available in a nice selection of shades.

Sold by Amazon, Macy’s, Sephora, Ulta and Kohl’s

Maybelline New York Sensational Shaping Lip Liner

Maybelline New York Sensational Shaping Lip Liner

A lip liner will give your lips a definition that mimics what a filter can do. This pencil goes on smoothly and wears for hours. It’s mechanical and self-sharpening, so it’s always ready for use.

Sold by Amazon and Ulta

NYX Professional Makeup Matte Finish Setting Spray

NYX Professional Makeup Matte Finish Setting Spray

After you take the time to apply filter makeup, secure it with a setting spray. Although affordable, this one gives your makeup a matte finish that lasts for hours.

Sold by Macy’s, Amazon and Ulta 

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals. 

Jennifer Manfrin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.