Article dated June 20, 2019 and written by Kari Molvar
There is no shortage of suggestions on Instagram for achieving a radiant complexion: the hashtag #glowingskin alone has more than three million posts that recommend a multitude of shimmery products — from gold-flecked highlighters to glimmering bronzers to glitter-laced gelées — all of which, when layered on the skin, can create a lustrous effect. But the results don’t always look natural. For those who prefer a more low-key sheen — a subtle dewiness that suggests the afterglow of a hike or yoga session — a new batch of sheer water-based tints and light-reflecting creams, made with hydrating ingredients and only a hint of shimmer, offer a subtler way to illuminate the skin. “It’s a fresher finish,” says the New York-based Chanel makeup artist Cyndle Komarovski of the luminous bare-skin look she’s increasingly asked to create, adding that, with the right product, “it looks as if your skin drank a big glass of water.” Here, a guide to achieving a beautiful, minimal-makeup glow.
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1. Create a Smooth Surface
A good exfoliation routine eliminates dullness so that skin naturally reflects light. The Connecticut-based dermatologist Sarah Dolder, M.D., recommends a “very gentle chemical exfoliant for daily use,” such as Restorsea Pro’s Intensive Treatment 10xlotion ($195). Once a week, try Dermaflash($150), a manual microblading device that carefully removes dead skin with a sterile blade and sonic vibrations (it might sound scary, but the process is entirely painless; just hold your skin taunt and use short strokes). Finish with a plumping moisturizer, such as Tatcha’s Dewy Skin Cream ($68) with hyaluronic acid and calming algae.
2. Swap Foundation for Tinted Gels
As an alternative to heavy cover-up, Komarovski prefers the new generation of water-based tinted gels — such as Chanel’s Les Beiges Water-Fresh Tint ($65), which, she says, “evens out your tone but allows your natural skin to shine through.” Pump a bit on the back of your hand, buff with a brush and dab on, working from the center of the face outward to ensure you don’t miss a spot. Or, spike your foundation “with a drop of face oil if your skin is very dry,” recommends the Montreal-based facialist Jennifer Brodeur; you’ll slightly dilute the formula so it has a more transparent effect on the skin.
3. Spot Treat Where Necessary
To minimize puffiness without makeup, massage around the eyes with an ice cube — a cryotherapy-like method that brings down swelling and “also tightens the skin,” says Brodeur. From there, you can tap on a concealer sparingly: Sisley-Paris’s Stylo Lumière ($65) comes with a sponge tip applicator so you can target specific areas — the sides of the nose, under the eyes — quickly. A dab in the inner corners of the eyes also helps brighten the entire face, says Brodeur: “It’s a small area that offers a huge impact.”
4. Add a Healthy Flush
Well-applied makeup should enhance your normal complexion — “not get rid of your natural coloring by making your skin one tone,” says Komarovski. A multitasking balm can liven up your face in spots where the sun normally hits — the tops of the cheeks, under the brows, the bridge of your nose. Westman Atelier’s Super Loaded ($75) highlightercombines antioxidant-rich jojoba oil with a peachy-bronze tint while Chantecaille’s water-based Aqua Blush ($44) comes in a range of tones, from coral to berry, and melts in with a cooling sensation.
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