The numbers don’t lie: Blush is back. While makeup sales understandably dramatically dropped during the pandemic, they’re finally recovering and, in the case of blush, soaring. Marketing research firm NPD Group reported that blush sales increased 39% over the course of 2021, with sales of stick and cream blush specifically doubling from 2020, and growing even from prepandemic 2019.
According to all-in-one shopping app and payment service Klarna, purchases of blush overall increased by 17% from 2020 to 2022. However, purchases of cream blush increased a whopping 89% over the same time period, while powder sales jumped 37%. Sephora declined to share specific sales data with Glamour, but David Razzano, beauty director at Sephora, confirms the retailer has noticed a growing popularity in creams as well.
“We’ve seen more and more clients gravitate toward cream blush because its creamy texture creates a smooth, natural, and skinlike finish that blends seamlessly into your complexion,” Razzano tells Glamour. “Cream formulas also often have the added benefit of creating a dewy glow and flushed appearance, which is so covetable—and trending—right now.”
The trend has made its way off TikTok to real life as well. Anecdotally, most of my friends skip daily face makeup, but don’t leave the house without a swipe of cream blush (or lipstick as blush) on their cheeks—even if they’re still wearing a mask. Bright blush has popped up on the runways and red carpets, with celebs like Selena Gomez and Lily Rose Depp making a pink flush their trademark beauty look. Gomez even launched her brand Rare Beauty in 2020 with liquid blushes—a bold move that has paid off, considering the product is a staple of BlushTok, and one of Klarna’s most shopped blushes.
“Selena wanted to launch Rare Beauty with products that reflected her makeup philosophy,” Joyce Kim, Rare Beauty’s chief product officer, tells Glamour, “so it was important for her to create products that are easy to use, buildable in coverage, and can be used on the go—like liquid blush. Selena has always loved a healthy, natural flush of color that blush adds to your complexion, and Soft Pinch Liquid Blush has become a staple for her when she wants to add some dimension to her look.”
Mega-retailer Ulta Beauty confirms that its blush sales are booming as well. While the brand didn’t share specific sales data, a representative did reveal that blush sales have increased steadily over the past year. “Blush is certainly having a moment at Ulta Beauty,” Jordan Pious, senior director of merchandising, strategy, and insights at the company, says. “Excitement for the category has only been amplified as mask mandates loosen across the country. We’re encouraged by the incredible growth we’re seeing and are proud to have maintained increased blush sales year over year since 2019. This strong trajectory indicates blush will continue to be a meaningful part of our guests’ makeup routines and a significant driver within our cosmetics assortment.”
Interestingly enough, Pious says that powder formulas are still the retailer’s top sellers—including favorite’s like Nars Orgasm and Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Blush—but that sticks, creams, and tints are gaining popularity. Particularly, multitasking formulas that can be used on eyes and lips like Chanel’s new No.1 de Chanel Lip and Cheek Balm and Undone Beauty’s Lip to Cheek Palette are gaining steam.
Celebrity makeup artist Patrick Ta, who has made hyper-bright blush looks his calling card, says that these newer, sheerer formulas have directly led to blush’s jump in popularity. “For a long time, the application method around how to use blush has been too heavy-handed and outdated for the current beauty landscape,” he tells Glamour. “In recent years there has been a lot more education about what points on your face to emphasize, and how to use color to highlight natural beauty.” He says that he kept that in mind while formulating the cream and powder blush duos for his own line, Patrick Ta Beauty, which are other Klarna top sellers.
Ta also credits TikTok for educating women on how to wear blush in a more modern way—for example, high on their cheeks for a “snatched” look rather than on the apples, as our moms taught us. “People who are tapped into the makeup artist side of TikTok can see how these creators are moving through and reviewing product to find the very best of each and share with their networks,” he says. “In terms of the techniques and hacks, TikTok is a great resource for newer consumers that are looking to find the best makeup routine for them or people who are looking for inspiration.”
NPD’s data supports this theory, and Natallia Bambiza, NPD’s makeup category analyst for beauty, recently wrote a blog post directly linking the increase of blush sales to TikTok, in particular a technique called “underpainting,” whereby a heavy amount of blush is applied under your foundation for a more natural look.
Not only has TikTok educated younger women on how to use blush in a fresh way, but it’s home to subcultures and micro trends that have made blush part of their core looks. Back in early 2020, we saw the rise of “e-girl” beauty, which included two bleached streaks of hair and excessive blush across the bridge of the nose, accented with faux freckles. Now we’re in the era of the “clean girl” aesthetic—think Hailey Bieber and Kendall Jenner—the key pillars of which include fluffy brows, clean glowing skin, and a healthy but subtle flush. There’s also the coquette community, an update from Tumblr’s nymphette subculture, which prefers a rosy, doll-like blush.
It’s also important to note that rosy cheeks are a sign of health, and we’re still in a pandemic with no clear end in sight. But celebrity makeup artist Allan Avendaño has a much simpler (and more cheerful) explanation.
“I think people really missed some color in their lives,” he says. “With the pandemic, we were inside a lot. Now that we have much more freedom to go out, it adds color and brightness to the face. Also with a lot of people working from home, I think blush is a way of dressing up the face for zoom or virtual calls.”
Ta has to agree: “I think a lot of people during lockdown went natural because there wasn’t much to dress for, but now that life is getting back to normal, people seem to be loving blending the natural look with a glowy, dewy, highlighted chic It-girl beat. Embracing the blush is the way of the future—masks or not!”
What We Love: This eye cream is made with potent, medical-grade actives that work to provide long-lasting anti-aging benefits to skin around the eyes.
What We Don’t Love: This eye cream is not suited for dry skin.
Made with a powerful combination of medical-grade ingredients, this tinted eye cream works overtime to combat dark circles and puffiness on the spot, while also providing long-term benefits to the skin. Edelweiss flower is infused into the formula, which is clinically proven to help tighten aging skin around the eye. Additionally, fractionated hyaluronic acid protects the skin’s barrier, while a dynamic blend of peptides aid in healthy collagen production.
Aside from the product’s extended advantages, this cream also instantly brightens dark circles due to its blendable pigment that addresses hyperpigmentation. Its illuminating tint works well with all skin tones, giving under-eye areas an immediate pick-me-up. If you have dry skin under your eyes, we recommend priming the area with a hyaluronic acid serum before putting on this eye cream just because this product is not extremely hydrating.
Price at time of publish: $58
Benefits: Brightens, tightens, and depuffs| Active Ingredients: Edelweiss flower, Fractionated hyaluronic acid, Collagen-boosting peptides| Size: 0.29 fl oz.
The Inkey List Brighten-i Eye Cream
What We Love: This lightweight, cruelty-free formula is safe for all skin types.
What We Don’t Love: This cream can pill if too many products are applied on top of it.
If you’re looking for a hydrating eye cream that combats dark circles, The Inkey List Brighten-i Eye Cream is just the thing you need. For starters, this lightweight formula works well with all skin types including dry, aging, and oily. Plus, it performs well as a primer under makeup. (Just be sure to only layer makeup on top of this, as additional moisturizers or serums can cause this product to pill.) These benefits are just the tip of the iceberg, though, because the brightening capabilities are also extremely impressive.
“This very affordable formula includes an ingredient called Brightenyl — also known as diglucosyl gallic acid — which helps prevent skin discoloration while fading existing hyperpigmentation,” explains Geeta Yadav, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and founder of FACET Dermatology. . “This makes it an ideal formula for someone who has genetic discoloration rather than temporary dark circles caused by blood pooling under the eye. This cream also contains brightening pigments that cosmetically brighten the appearance of dark circles.”
Price at time of publish: $12
Benefits: Brightens, hydrates, and primes| Active Ingredients: Brightenyl, Mica mineral | Size: 0.5 fl oz.
Chanel Le Lift Flash Eye Revitalizer
What We Love: This two-in-one product comes with a roll-on serum and hydrating under-eye patches.
What We Don’t Love: Only 10 sets of under-eye patches are included, and they can’t be purchased separately.
Treat your eyes to some serious TLC with this luxe Chanel product. It comes with a hydrating, intensive roll-on serum that restores elasticity and radiance to aging skin, as well as 10 hydrating under-eye patches that smooth fine lines. Per the instructions, you can either use this product once a week for 10 weeks or once a day for 10 days in a row — sort of like an eye care boot camp. When used in the boot camp model, you’ll notice that after the entire course the skin under your eyes will be smooth, supple, and lifted. Alternatively, if you choose to use this for 10 weeks in a row, you will still notice the same results, they just won’t be as immediate. Pro tip: If you run out of under-eye masks, continue using the serum and top it off with a thick moisturizer.
Price at time of publish: $130
Benefits: Brightens, firms, hydrates, and depuffs| Active Ingredients: Ginseng root extract, Morning glory extract| Size: 0.17 fl oz.
L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Anti-Aging Eye Cream
What We Love: The formula is non-greasy, so it quickly absorbs into skin.
What We Don’t Love: Since this product contains pro-retinol, it might be too strong for those with sensitive skin.
L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Eye Cream is an awakening eye product that incorporates the cooling powers of the metal tip applicator to instantly decrease puffiness. The formula is packed with hyaluronic acid to plump and hydrate under-eye wrinkles, as well as vitamin C, which is an anti-aging skincare stalwart known for its ability to brighten skin. The non-greasy, paraben-free formula also quickly absorbs into skin, creating a smooth base for makeup application. Additionally, it contains pro-retinol, which reduces wrinkles over time.
After just one week of using this eye cream, you’ll notice the skin under your eyes is more supple and soft. For the best results, we suggest using it two to three times a week to start, so your skin can adequately build up a tolerance to the retinol. Once your skin is comfortable with it, you can use it up to five or six times a week.
Price at time of publish: $16
Benefits: Brightens, tightens, and depuffs | Active Ingredients: Pro-retinol, Vitamin C, Hyaluronic acid| Size: 0.5 fl oz.
Best for Dry Skin
Shani Darden Skin Care Intensive Eye Renewal Cream
What We Love: This hydrating eye cream is made with silk tree extract, which visibly fades dark circles.
What We Don’t Love: Some customers complain that the product’s pump can be faulty.
This effective eye cream – which was created by Shani Darden, one of Hollywood’s most notable estheticians – took two years to perfect. The vegan formula is infused with nine age-defying actives, including potent peptides, silk tree extract, squalene, and niacinamide. These powerhouse ingredients work together to firm, brighten, and hydrate skin at every level. The thick cream can be applied both in the morning and at night, and keeps skin moisturized under makeup.
What we especially love about this product is that it works well with all skin types. Even though the formula itself is rich, it doesn’t make the under-eye area feel greasy or oily. It’s also ideal for aging skin, since it can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and crow’s feet. We do wish it came in a different container, or a better pump as it tends to get jammed with continued use.
Price at time of publish: $68
Benefits: Brightens and firms| Active Ingredients: Silk tree extract, Squalane, Niacinamide, Ceramides | Size: 0.5 fl oz.
What We Love: This eye cream penetrates the deepest layer of the skin’s surface to provide maximum brightening benefits.
What We Don’t Love: This product has a mild, almost smoky scent that some people don’t like.
“This formula is not a cream, but a serum, giving it a very lightweight and fast-absorbing texture that is ideal for those with oily skin,” says Dr. Yadav. “It features three forms of vitamin C and ferulic acid — all potent antioxidants — to fight and fade multiple forms of discoloration under the eye caused by hyperpigmentation.” (These forms of discoloration can include black, blue, and red under-eye circles.) Additionally, this product is made with peptides, which work to combat the appearance of puffiness and bags. Not to mention, the addition of vitamin E minimizes discoloration and dark spots over time, meaning this product provides long-lasting results.
Price at time of publish: $40
Benefits: Brightens and smooths| Active Ingredients: Vitamin C ester, Vitamin E, Ferulic acid | Size: 0.5 fl oz.
Best for Sensitive Skin
CeraVe Eye Repair Cream
What We Love: This eye cream is fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and suitable for all skin types.
What We Don’t Love: If too much is applied, it can pill under makeup.
When looking for an eye cream that is suitable for sensitive skin, board-certified dermatologist Jenny Liu, M.D., recommends finding a product that is fragrance-free and made with nourishing ingredients like ceramides and niacinamide. This drugstore favorite is ideal for all skin types, including sensitive, aging, and dry skin. Formulated with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide, it hydrates and plumps the under-eye area, as well as helps maintain the skin’s protective barrier. The rich formula delivers long-lasting moisture to skin, smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles over time.
Price at time of publish: $13
Benefits: Brightens, plumps, and hydrates | Active Ingredients: Ceramides, Hyaluronic acid, Niacinamide| Size: 0.5 fl oz.
Best for Dark Circles
Dr. Koo Private Practice Replenishing Eye Serum
What We Love: This lightweight serum instantly absorbs into skin and smooths out fine lines.
What We Don’t Love: This product is made with retinol, which might be irritating for some skin types.
“This product is formulated with a fantastic blend of ingredients, including retinol, peptides, caffeine, and hyaluronic acid,” says Dr. Yadav. “Together, they help strengthen the delicate skin under the eye while helping to reduce fine lines and improve blood flow — combined, these benefits improve the appearance of dark circles for a more youthful and brighter eye.” It also helps to depuff bags and reduce the appearance of fine lines, making the skin under the eyes appear smoother and plumper. Just one dollop of this lightweight serum goes a long way, meaning you won’t have to worry about restocking it for months.
Price at time of publish: $200
Benefits: Brightens and tightens| Active Ingredients: Retinol, Caffeine, Aloe | Size: 0.5 fl oz.
Best for Puffiness
UpCircle Eye Cream with Cucumber, Hyaluronic Acid + Coffee
What We Love: This vegan eye cream is gentle on skin and made with 99% natural ingredients.
What We Don’t Love: This rich formula does not pair well with heavy concealer.
UpCircle’s entire ethos revolves around using leftover ingredients to create sustainably-sourced skincare products. Coffee grounds are one of the most common ingredients you’ll notice across the brand’s formulas – and it’s one of the main ingredients in this brightening eye cream. Here, caffeine is used to brighten skin, maple bark extract helps to provide anti-inflammatory benefits, and hyaluronic acid gives skin a boost of moisture. This product’s vegan and 99 percent natural formula is safe for all skin types, even as it works overtime targeting dark circles, fine lines, puffiness, and wrinkles.
Price at time of publish: $23
Benefits: Brightens, depuffs, and tightens| Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid and Coffeeoil | Size: 0.5 fl oz.
Best for Wrinkles
RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Under Eye Cream for Dark Circles & Puffiness
What We Love: This hypoallergenic formula simultaneously targets puffiness, dark circles, and fine lines.
What We Don’t Love: Since this product is made with retinol, it might make skin flake.
To find a good eye cream that will target wrinkles, Dr. Liu recommends looking for products that have ingredients like peptides and retinol. This RoC favorite is made with pure retinol, which addresses signs of aging like fine lines, dark circles, and puffiness. Despite containing retinol, which can cause sensitivity, the hypoallergenic formula is safe enough for all skin types — just be aware to only use the product three times a week when starting out, as this will help skin adjust to the retinol. After about a month, you’ll notice that eyes look and feel refreshed and revitalized.
Price at time of publish: $13
Benefits: Brightens, tightens, depuffs, and smooths | Active Ingredient: Retinol| Size: 0.25 fl oz.
Florence by Mills Look Alive Brightening Eye Cream
What We Love: This lightweight eye cream is made with shea butter, which helps to hydrate skin for hours.
What We Don’t Love: Since this product leaves a satiny finish, it’s not best suited for oily skin.
Made with a blend of good-for-your-skin ingredients like peptides (which visibly brighten dark circles), caffeine (which combats under-eye bags), apricot kernel oil (which softens and smooths skin), and shea butter (which adds a boost of hydration), this Florence by Mills eye cream will give your skin the pick me up it needs. It’s formulated with extremely smooth silver-white pigments that illuminate skin, giving it a natural glow and satiny finish. Since this eye cream is so light and nourishing, it works well under concealer and foundation because it provides a hydrating base for skin. For best results, let this eye cream absorb into the skin before applying makeup.
Price at time of publish: $18
Benefits: Brightens, depuffs, and hydrates| Active Ingredients: Caffeine, Green coffee oil, Apricot kernel oil| Size: 0.5 fl oz.
Best for Morning
Alastin Restorative Eye Treatment
What We Love: This eye cream smooths out wrinkles, making eyes look awake and refreshed.
What We Don’t Love: One pump of this product goes a long way, so be sure not to use too much.
According to Kristy Bailey, M.D. a double-board certified dermatologist, medical director, and founder of FCP Dermatology MD, Alastin Restorative Eye Treatment can increase your elastin content by 250 percent. “Dark under-eyes are generally due to thin under-eye skin, allowing you to see the structures under the eye,” she explains. “If there is a valley or hollow under the eye, then the best way to brighten the under-eye is to fill in that hollow. If the hollow is removed, then light shines off the under eye differently making it appear brighter. Picking an eye cream with caffeine and peptides can help give you a morning refresh.” Luckily, this dermatologist-approved product is made with both ingredients. The peptides in this eye cream help to reduce the appearance of puffiness and smooth out fine lines, while the caffeine works to minimize dark circles. To really make eyes look awake, use this cream on your upper eyelids, too.
Price at time of publish: $90
Benefits: Brightens, firms, and depuffs | Active Ingredients: Caffeine, Niacinamide, Shea butter | Size: 0.5 fl oz.
Best for Night
SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair
What We Love: This eye cream is infused with boron nitride, which helps to diffuse the look of skin discoloration.
What We Don’t Love: This rich formula takes time to fully sink into skin.
This thick eye cream has the ability to deeply hydrate and nourish skin, which helps to reduce the look of fine lines and dark circles. Made with a blend of powerhouse ingredients including hyaluronic acid to moisturize skin, peptides to smooth out wrinkles, and boron nitride to combat discoloration, this high-end product makes eyes look youthful and revived after just one week of use. Plus, it contains retinyl palmitate, a natural lipid-soluble form of retinol that works to keep wrinkles at bay. “Try to find an eye cream that contains a bit of very low-dose retinol,” says Dr. Bailey. “It will help produce collagen under the eye and adress fine lines.”
Price at time of publish: $95
Benefits: Brightens, firms, and hydrates| Active Ingredients: Boron nitride, Hyaluronic acid, Retinyl palmitate | Size: 0.5 fl oz.
Since eye cream is usually the first or second step in a skincare routine (after a light serum or toner, and followed by sunscreen or makeup), it’s important to be wary of what products do and do not mix well together. In terms of serums, lightweight serums (like hyaluronic acid) can be applied underneath eye cream if the skin needs an extra boost of hydration. If you are using an eye cream with retinol in it, it’s OK to use a hyaluronic acid serum before applying your eye cream. Although, if you like to use a vitamin C serum in your skincare routine, do not mix it with an eye cream that has retinol in it because layering these potent ingredients can cause irritation. (The same goes for vitamin C and niacinamide.)
Be sure to also always wear sunscreen on top of eye cream, as the under-eye skin is delicate and prone to wrinkles. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially if you’re using an eye cream with retinol.
It’s the ultimate 2018 American Dream success story: A New York City kid, raised by Albanian immigrant parents in the Bronx, becomes an entry-level Sephora employee and then works his way up, eventually turning pro, linking up with Kim Kardashian and becoming one of the most sought-after, world-famous makeup artists of a generation. That’s pretty much exactly how it went down for Mario Dedivanovic, aka @makeupbymario, the social media handle by which he’s immediately recognizable to his 4.2 million followers around the globe.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #99 series on my blog.
Tell me about your background. Did you know from a young age that you wanted to work in beauty?
Growing up, I never knew anything about makeup or even really thought about it. My sister wore makeup and there was always makeup in the house because my mother was a cleaning woman for the L’Oréal building in Manhattan. She’d come home [with makeup they’d give her].
You never had any kind of inkling that you’d want to pursue a career in beauty?
From the time I was a very young child, I was inspired by beauty — models, interior design, beautiful homes. I didn’t have much growing up, and we lived in a small basement apartment, so I wasn’t surrounded by that much beauty. I always looked outside to see beautiful things. I’d ask my dad to drive me to Westchester or wherever they had beautiful houses because I wanted to see the lawns and the homes. My mother would clean these beautiful apartments in Manhattan and I’d beg for her to take me with her, because I loved to go and see the homes, the design, the furniture, the artwork. I didn’t know at that time what that feeling was, but it was me being inspired. The feeling of being inspired was so powerful to me, and then when I discovered makeup later on that feeling came back, like I had found my calling.
How did you first come to that realization that beauty was your calling?
When I was 17, I graduated high school and went to look for a job in Manhattan with my mother and I walked into a Sephora, not knowing what it was at the time. It was the first Sephora in the United States; this was in 2000. I immediately felt overwhelmed by the feeling that I wanted to work there. It just looked so cool to me: Everyone had black suits and black gloves on; it smelled really good.
I eventually wound up getting hired as a ‘fragrance consultant.’ They put me by the door to say, ‘Welcome to Sephora!’ to every single person. Because I was near the door, there was like a lipstick gondola nearby, and women would ask questions. I just started giving them advice… even though I wasn’t supposed to [laughs]. I quickly became obsessed with makeup and began to research and study it after work.
When you first started experimenting with makeup did it come to you naturally, or was there a learning curve?
I had always liked to draw and paint — nothing serious — but I was always creative. In the beginning, it really came naturally to me. The first makeover I did when I was at Sephora took me three hours, but it came out really beautiful. I’m good at manipulating materials and things, so I think that just translated to the face.
Once you decided that you wanted to build this into a long-term career, what were your next steps?
I started doing research. I don’t think I even had a computer at that time; I went to the library and started researching makeup artists and the entire industry. I was so fascinated. I’d get all of the magazines and immerse myself in everything that I could — makeup artistry, hairstyling, photography — and then I started meeting photographers and building my book little by little.
I started booking gigs outside of Sephora even before they had hired me as a makeup artist; I was still working there as a fragrance consultant. I remember when I booked my first gig: It was for two singers who were doing a cabaret show. I think I charged them $25. I literally didn’t have a makeup kit — I had a Nike shoebox with some makeup in it and brushes that my manager at work had given me. We could all choose what kind of gratis we wanted [at Sephora]; I never took the fragrance, I always took any makeup I could get. That’s how I started building my kit.
I eventually left Sephora and went to work with Lorac Cosmetics, becoming their regional makeup artist, traveling around New York and New Jersey. At the same time, I was building my portfolio and I began assisting. I assisted makeup artists for several years — never full-time; it was always a few days a week here and there because I was also making money doing my own thing on the side.
How did you get into celebrity and editorial work?
I met a celebrity photographer, Fadil Berisha, who is Albanian like myself. A model I’d worked with called him and said, ‘I met this Albanian kid, you should meet with him, he’s talented.’ This was when I was 18 or 19, and I met with him and he gave me a chance. He had me come in one weekend to shoot with him, and I got really good images for my portfolio. I began assisting some of his makeup artists and then I went on to assist some of the greats in the industry.
But before that, I had assisted some makeup artists for smaller magazine shoots, commercial jobs and catalogs. Then I began assisting bigger makeup artists and was doing fashion magazine covers, cosmetic and fashion campaigns for brands like CoverGirl, Max Factor and Dolce & Gabbana. It was very different types of artists. Some were very glam artists who did celebrities, and then I assisted some high fashion artists, so I got a taste of all of it at a really young age.
Can you share any of the names of the people you worked with most back then?
I usually don’t, but Billy B. was one of the celebrity makeup artists that I assisted back in the day, and Kabuki. I worked with him for over a year. That’s where I really worked on all of these massive campaigns and shoots. We were on set with Steven Klein all the time.
At what point did you feel like you’d really established your career?
It’s tough to say. I had an agent from a pretty young age, about 20 or 21, but even with that, I still struggled. I always kept some kind of freelance position in retail. When I finally left retail it was because I’d gotten a job at Fox News, doing the anchors’ makeup. I did that one or two days a week, just to have a little bit of steady income. This was 2006 or 2007.
That job must have been such good training for perfecting the skill of on-camera makeup.
Oh, definitely, and the pressure — they would come in late and have to go on live. That’s where I really learned how to work together with a hairstylist and get it done. I’d be doing liquid liner while they’d be blowing their hair out, so I really learned a lot from that experience.
Was there ever a specific moment when you remember feeling like you’d gotten your big break?
I got my first magazine cover for a magazine called Philadelphia Style. They sent a car for me and I went to Pennsylvania and I thought it was such a big deal. I was on set and I called my manager at Lorac to quit over the phone. In my mind, I was like OK, this is it, I’m doing a magazine cover! [Laughs] Then reality set in once it was done.
I was brave in the sense that I never let myself become really comfortable. I remember when I got my first ad campaign, and I think it paid $5,000 a day. To a young, 20-something, that’s huge — $15,000 in three days. I just remember calling my mom and telling her what the rate was for the job. Nothing impressed her because she didn’t want me doing this kind of work. Throughout the early years, everything I did was to try to make my parents proud. Doing that campaign was one of those moments where I was like, OK, I can do this.
Through word of mouth, I started working regularly with celebrities like Natasha Bedingfield and some others. And then I met Kim. It was 2008.
Tell me more about meeting Kim — did you know it would be a turning point for your career?
Sebastian Smith, a photographer I worked with often, called me one night and said ‘Hey, I’m shooting this girl tomorrow for a magazine cover, her name is Kim Kardashian.’ I didn’t really know who she was. Season one of her show had just aired. I almost said no because I had to work at Fox News that day, but he convinced me. She just loved the makeup I did for that shoot so much. She kept asking what I was using throughout the entire process, and she was taking selfies nonstop. This was right around the time when her fame started to pick up nationally in the U.S.
After the shoot, she asked me if I would take her makeup shopping to buy everything I’d used so she could take it to LA for her makeup artist to use. I took her makeup shopping, we went to Henri Bendel and bought a few things that I’d used on her on the shoot that day. That was it.
How did your professional relationship with her evolve after that?
She started requesting me for whatever she had, and she started getting more and more famous. Kim was so busy. A typical celebrity will release a film or an album, so they work a lot for a few months doing promo. But with Kim, it was literally 365 days a year. There was something happening every single day, whether it was a shoot or red carpet or her show.
She also had a blog. This was a time when celebrities didn’t really credit their hair and makeup [teams]. There was no social media, so where were they going to credit them? But Kim had a blog and had me answer questions for her fans. Then one day she asked me to shoot a makeup tutorial for her blog. I almost didn’t do that, either, because I was really sick. I was going to cancel, but my friend who was shooting [the video] was like, ‘get up!’ We created a tutorial of her VegasMagazine cover shoot and that went on her blog and onto YouTube. That video and the reposts of it have since been seen hundreds of millions of times around the world.
I had all of these Facebook and MySpace messages from people all over the world, asking makeup questions. I’m talking about hundreds of messages. So it all started like that. Kim was incredibly loyal, and I was loyal to her and loved working with her. Her face was just kind of made for me, and when I started working with her I was able to establish my style of makeup. It just so happened that that style that worked really well on her and that was the style that she loved for herself.
How would you describe your aesthetic and approach to makeup?
That changes for me. My style back in the day was definitely different than it is now. I had a super glam aesthetic, where it was heavier with super light undereyes and really long lashes. It was extremely polished and glam. Now I still love a polished and glam aesthetic, but there has to be an element of softness to it and it has to be blown-out. I don’t like very harsh makeup. It’s hard for me to answer that question because it changes. I like all different types of makeup: soft makeup, dramatic makeup, I really do love all of it and I enjoy doing all of it.
How has social media has impacted your career, especially working with someone like Kim who is such a master and pioneer of using it?
Social media to me in the beginning was kind of a joke. I got onto Twitter because one of the anchors on Fox News put me on it. But I was always on Facebook and MySpace. And then when Instagram happened, and I was pretty late to join, I wasn’t serious about it — I didn’t post every single day, it wasn’t a big deal to me. It wasn’t until I reached about a million followers that I started to really see a change in everything, career-wise. Celebrities and clients really started looking at Instagram. Our portfolios as artists started to become obsolete. Celebrities and makeup brands would find me on Instagram.
When I hit a million followers and realized that it was growing really fast, I got serious about it. I set aside time every day to plan out posts and review my numbers. It became really a work thing, but something that I do genuinely enjoy as well. It’s been such an amazing tool for me in my career. It’s also a controversial one, I think, amongst my peers. Some people who have been doing makeup for 15-plus years like myself think it’s ruined the business. But I saw it as something that really could work to my advantage.
I’m sure you have so many brands approaching you and trying to work with you. How do you decide which ones to partner with?
I’ve got to give props to my management team, who really help me with it. I turn down way more than I take on. We get approached every day by several brands [who want to] work with me in some capacity. I’ve never done a coupon code, I refuse to do any of that kind of stuff. How it works is: An opportunity will come in from a brand; it has to be a brand that I like and respect. I have to bring [the product] home, I have to use it, my assistant has to use it and sometimes my sister tests it. I get the different opinions and if it’s something I believe in, I’ll agree to do it. In 2017, I did 18 brand contracts.
You also really pioneered the concept of the Master Class — how did that first come about?
It was around eight or nine years ago, and people would message me on Facebook and Twitter with so many questions. I started thinking it’s crazy that unless you’re in LA, New York, Paris or London you’re not going to have the opportunity or access to learning the tricks of the trade. So that’s when I came up with the idea of doing a class for artists from all over the world.
The first class was 20 students. These were aspiring makeup artists, and they were seeing [techniques like] contouring for the first time in person. To an aspiring makeup artist at the time, it was mind-blowing. The classes started getting larger and larger; after [I hit] one million followers on Instagram, the classes really took off. It went from 20 students in that first class to upwards of 1,200.
Tell me about “Glam Masters.” How did you decide to get involved and what was it like to shoot?
Kim told me that she was executive producing a show about makeup and that she wanted me to be on it — I don’t even think it had a name at the time. I was so scared. I never had an interest in being a celebrity or a reality TV star. I have all the respect for them, but it’s not for me. But when we started, I saw quickly what it was all about. It was an amazing, amazing experience and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Kim knew I was kind of scared, and she told me, “Mario, just be yourself, say what you want to say when you’re judging.” And that’s what I did.
I had an amazing chemistry with my fellow judges and with the host. We basically met for the first time on the first day of shooting, with mics on, under the lights. We’ve become really great friends. We laughed and cried together. It was quite an emotional experience because you’re dealing with artists who have dreams, just the way you did when you were younger. Everything resonated with me. I could see how badly these artists wanted it, and you’re breaking some of their hearts and making some of their dreams come true, so there’s a lot of emotion that goes into it.
I also wanted to ask you about the collaboration you’re working on with Kim for KKW Beauty. What are you able to tell me?
I can’t tell you that much. But my 10-year anniversary with Kim is approaching in a couple of months, and so even before her line started, she told me that she wanted her first collaboration to be with me for her line, so we began working on it months ago. We tried to have it be something that’s going to sum up our past decade of glam. She’s had such a massive influence globally in the world of beauty, and she’s had such a massive influence on my career as well. I just wanted the collaboration to reflect our 10 years of working together. We wanted to give the fans and followers something so that they’d be able to re-create any of the looks that we’ve done over the past decade.
What advice do you have for aspiring makeup artists who are just starting out?
I always say at the Master Classes I think the number one thing is to try and assist. You really learn so much about doing amazing makeup, and also set etiquette and professionalism and all of the things that go along with makeup artistry.
Secondly, I think for me it’s about working hard, not saying no and not giving up on opportunities that come your way. You have to sacrifice — I sacrificed so much in my career in my early days. While my friends were going out clubbing all night, I was waking up at 4:00 a.m. for a press junket. I think all of that stuff really pays off.
Then of course, my mother — although she doesn’t know much about this career — her advice was always, ‘Whatever you do, just be a good person.’ So that’s always in the back of my mind. Be a good person and good things will follow.
Wet n Wild Breakup Proof Retractable Gel Waterproof Eyeliner
This breakup-proof eyeliner is smudge-proof, quick-drying, long-lasting, and it’s retractable, so you don’t need to worry about having a sharpener.
It has 11,000+ 5-star Amazon reviews and it comes in seven colors. A shopper reviewed, “This eyeliner is the best it’s very inexpensive and it lasts threw heavy tears . And goes on with ease . I’m definitely ordering more. It was well worth the wait for how much money you save.“
NYX Professional Makeup Epic Ink Liner, Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
The Epic Ink Liner lives up to its name with superior staying power and a waterproof formula. You can get this top-seller in black or brown.
It has 56,400+ 5-star Amazon reviews, with a fan of the product reviewing, “Quite literally THE best liquid eyeliner pen i’ve EVER had. It is so pigmented and has so much ink inside of it. When I had first went to apply it, i thought it was going to be one of those where you have to keep applying…NOPE… so much color in a singular swipe. Iwas NOT expecting it to be that good lmao. 10000/10 would recommend.“
If you struggle to paint on two, identical wings, you need this eyeliner stamp in your life. It’s incredibly easy to use and it will save you some time and frustration. You can get this in black or white.
It has 3,000+ 5-star Amazon reviews, with one shopper raving, “Cat eye without the hassle!!! This item is a must have for someone like me who just can not do a cat eye on my own. This stamp makes it so easy and I absolutely love this item. It lasts all day long. I have even fell asleep without taking my makeup off and have woke the next morning with it still looking amazing. Highly recommend and will be purchasing again in the very near future.”
NYX Professional Makeup Jumbo Eye Pencil, Eyeshadow & Eyeliner Pencil
You can use this is an eyeliner and an eyeshadow. It comes in 17 colors and has 37,500+ 5-star Amazon reviews and 2,500+ 5-star Ulta reviews.
A fan of the product reviewed, “I love this pencil! The frosted mocha color is perfect for my skin tone and blue eyes. It goes on easy and stays all day for me. I have bought several in multiple colors.”
Revlon Pencil Eyeliner ColorStay Eye Makeup with Built-in Sharpener, Waterproof, Smudgeproof, Longwearing with Ultra-Fine Tip
Get intense, waterproof color with this Revlon eyeliner that has a smudger on the other end. It comes in 10 colors and has 16,800+ 5-star Amazon reviews, 1,700+ 5-star Ulta reviews, and 1,600+ 5-star Walmart reviews.
An Amazon shopper gushed, “This eyeliner is absolutely amazing, especially for its price. It’s so easy to use and it has such an amazing formula. I have used it for a competition makeup and nationals make up. I recommend 10/10!!“
Wet n Wild Mega Last Breakup-Proof Liquid Waterproof Eyeliner Black, Brush Tip Pen, Quick Drying, Smudge Resistant, Long Lasting 16 Hour Wear
If you’re looking for an eyeliner you can count on, this one is waterproof, lasts for up to 16 hours, and it has a smooth, silky, gel, formula. You’ll feel like an artist when you use this precision brush applicator.
It comes in seven colors and has 11,000+ 5-star Amazon reviews, with one shopper sharing, “I’m not into liquid eyeliners and been trying to find an eyeliner that would not fade or make me look like a raccoon after four hrs. and this wet n wild did it for me. Honestly I was hopeful but didn’t expect such great results after 13 hrs. Of wear! It was still bold and in place!“
e.l.f. No Budge Retractable Eyeliner, Creamy, Ultra-Pigmented & Waterproof
Create bold, defined lines with this retractable eyeliner that’s waterproof and delivers a super, long-lasting wear. It’s available in black, brown, and charcoal.
This eyeliner has 6,500+ 5-star Amazon reviews, with one shopper saying, “I wear this everyday and it is smudge proof and long lasting! Easy to apply!“
L’Oreal Paris Makeup Infallible Never Fail Original Mechanical Pencil Eyeliner with Built in Sharpener
The name of this product says it all: Infallible Never Fail Eyeliner. It has a built-in sharpener and it comes in six shades. It’s smudge-proof, highly-pigmented, and long-lasting with 16,300+ 5-star Amazon reviews.
“Easy to use eyeliner. I’m a swimmer, and it stays right where I put it,” a shopper reviewed. Another wrote, “I typically use a setting spray because I live in FL and sweat a lot, but I forgot one day, and the liner did not budge. Goes on smooth. Great color for me,” an Amazon shopper reviewed.
Rimmel Exaggerate Eye Definer
This eyeliner comes through with a major impact and a long-lasting, waterproof formula that comes in 8 colors. It has 11,200+ 5-star Amazon reviews.
A shopper gushed, “Absolutely love this eyeliner! Its hard to find near where I live so happy I can order it. The dark brown is beautiful, the built in smudge and sharpener are awesome. I like to do a wing usually and its so fast and easy to swipe some on, use the smudge to wing out and blend the lash line and be done.”
Almay Eyeliner Pencil, Vitamin E, Water Resistent and Long Wearing, Hypoallergenic, Oil Free, Fragrance Free
This retractable eyeliner delivers a matte finish and there are four colors to choose from. It gives you a smooth application and it’s smudge-proof, even when you’re stuck in the heat and humidity.
This eyeliner has 2,700+ 5-star Amazon reviews, with one shopper sharing, “This is the best eyeliner I’ve ever used! I have sensitive eyes due to a medical condition but this eyeliner is smooth going on and doesn’t come off until I take it off with my makeup remover, even when my eyes water No problems.”
The biggest skincare lesson worth learning this year? Good skin health is all about a robust skin barrier. Blame it on the red, itchy skin many of us have suffered from thanks to overzealous use of actives, or perhaps it’s the switch to a more intuitive approach to our skincare routines – whatever it is, skin barrier health is trending, with a casual 129.5 million views on the search term “skin barrier repair”on TikTok. And long may it continue.
“In dermatology, our skin barrier is known as the epidermis,” explains dermatologist Dr Mary Sommerlad. “It can be disrupted by intrinsic or extrinsic factors, and often a combination of both. Intrinsic factors include skin barrier diseases that have a genetic component, such as eczema and ichthyosis and high levels of stress and illness.”
Meanwhile, extrinsic factors include excessive exposure to harsh weather elements, such as too much sun or wind, or extremes of temperature (think going from a heated room to the biting cold outdoors – one reason why compromised barriers often show themselves at this time of year); exposure to potential chemical irritants, such as certain active skincare ingredients, like AHAs and retinoids; and soaps containing SLS or any physical irritants that can scrub the skin. Not to mention pollution, smoking, poor sleep and allergens.
Skin barrier aggressors are everywhere, but the most overwhelmingly common reason for impairment in consultant dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto’s clinic is “the overuse of actives and using too many products all at once”, she says. “The skin becomes overwhelmed, and, as a result, the barrier becomes compromised.”
How to know when your skin barrier is impaired
“If you struggle to keep moisture in and your skin feels dry and tight, you might be suffering from an impaired skin barrier,” says Dr Emma Craythorne, consultant dermatologist and chief medical officer at Klira. “It can be ashy or flaky, and can feel irritated (or sting) after any chemical formula is applied. You might also experience acne breakouts, rosacea and eczema.”
Skin might also appear redder or darker than its original colour, plus itchiness is a common symptom. “The texture is likely to change, and feel bumpier and rough,” says Dr Sommerlad. Those with sensitive skin are more predisposed to suffering from an impaired skin barrier, so need to be extra vigilant about keeping it strong and healthy.
Age is also a factor, says facialist Sarah Chapman. “As we get older, our skin slows down its own production of lipids, ceramides and hydrators, which are three key components that make up the skin barrier.”
So, how to repair your skin barrier when it’s kaput?
Simplify your skincare routine
The first thing you should do is identify and exclude any triggers that may be contributing to skin barrier damage. “Strip your skincare routine back and keep it simple,” recommends facialist Katharine Mackenzie Paterson. “Think cleanser, moisturiser and SPF – remove any retinoids or acids, in particular.” When it comes to your cleanser, she recommends opting for a nourishing, calming and fragrance-free cleansing milk or cream, like iS Clinical’s Cream Cleanser or La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser. Stick to your skincare routine and “try not to chop and change too much because it takes weeks to get things under control”, says Dr Craythorne. “It can actually get worse before it gets better.”
Restore and repair
Look for ceramide-rich moisturisers and incorporate hyaluronic acid into your routine to soothe and hydrate the skin, says Dr Sommerlad. “I recommend Vichy Mineral 89 as a good serum, followed by a comforting moisturiser,” she says. With an array of restorative moisturisers for every budget on the market, Dr Craythorne recommends La Roche-Posay’s Cicplast Baume B5, Cetaphil’s Rich Night Cream and SkinCeuticals’ Epidermal Repair – all will help restore the skin barrier to its former self.
As well as hyaluronic acid, “seek out barrier-building ingredients like ceramides, niacinamide and fatty acids,” recommends Dr Marco Nicoloso, aesthetic doctor at Ouronyx. “They will all help improve dryness and strengthen the barrier.” To take down inflammation and help instigate the reparative process, facialist Shane Cooper recommends trying red light therapy – you can use an at-home LED mask or visit a facialist. He combines it with lots of rich skincare formulas to help restore moisture.
Gently does it
It might sound obvious, but as well as paring back your skincare routine, it’s important to avoid anything that manually exfoliates the skin, like overly rough face cloths or scrubs. “You should also use lukewarm water to avoid further irritation,” says Dr Mahto, who adds that there’s no quick fix, but if you incorporate these tips, skin should heal as quickly as possible. “I would conservatively say that you can expect to see an improvement in the barrier in three to four weeks – for longer-term damage, it can take upwards of three months.”
Cut actives out…
Then reintroduce them slowly – but only when skin is healthy again. “Reintroduce one active at a time (for example, use retinoids for a few weeks before adding a vitamin C or liquid exfoliator back in), but if you have chronic skin barrier dysfunction, you should always opt for more gentle actives,” says Dr Sommerlad. For example, you might swap retinol for a retinaldehyde (Medik8’s Crystal Retinal is a great option) because it is gentler on the skin. In terms of acids, seek out PHAs rather than AHAs. “And use fluid-based sunscreens as they require less rubbing in than creams – I love Vichy’s Capital Soleil and Garnier’s Ambre Solaire Anti-Pollution because they also contain niacinamide,” adds Dr Sommerlad.
How to prevent further damage
“Like everything in life, a healthy skin barrier is all about moderation and balance,” says Mackenzie Paterson. “Try to avoid any triggers that have caused it in the past, and don’t chop and change the products you’re using every five minutes.” Take a holistic approach to your routine and listen to your skin, especially when adding a new active ingredient, advises Chapman, who says it’s all about starting slow and allowing the skin time to adjust.
Protection is key, so “use an antioxidant-rich serum or moisturiser and broad-spectrum SPF every morning to protect your barrier from UV, pollutants and other environmental aggressors” and prioritise sleep. That’s when the skin’s natural repairing and rebuilding processes peak, and, without it, skin can suffer.
Lead a balanced lifestyle
Balance is key in your skincare routine, but what goes on internally also manifests on our skin, so leading a healthy lifestyle is key to healing and preventing future problems making a comeback. “Ensure you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet, with lots of rich fatty foods, like nuts, fruit and fish,” recommends Cooper, while Chapman’s big advice is to start taking a high-quality omega oil supplement every day. “You will notice a huge difference in your skin’s resilience and overall health.”
TikTok’s buzziest beauty trend is all about creating a soft matte look, while still letting your skin shine. Get the lowdown on how to achieve the cloud skin finish.
Beauty lovers can finally have the best of both worlds.
There’s no denying TikTok is the gift that keeps on giving, especially when it comes to showcasing fun and functional techniques people can implement in their daily makeup routines. And now, TikTok’s buzzy cloud skin trend is a win-win for everyone, as it perfectly blends a dewy and matte finish.
So, what exactly does that mean? Well, the cloud skin craze consists of creating a soft and hazy matte look, while still letting your skin breathe allowing a natural glow.
MAC Cosmetics’ Global Senior Artist, Dominic Skinner—who originally coined the term cloud skin—explained why people were opting for the versatile look. Fun fact: The trend initially took off in 2020 during London Fashion Week, but it’s been picking up steam once again on TikTok.
“People are becoming fascinated with skincare and skin treatments but they also aren’t seeing foundation and powder as something they simply put on and run with,” Dominic told Refinery29 at the time. “It’s all about specifically placed powder, a touch of foundation and a facial oil to prime the skin.”
As for where you should dust your powder? The makeup artist suggested you mattify the inner corners of the eyes and around the nostrils, which will make your foundation last longer.
But if you tend to shine in other areas that you don’t want to be highlighted (no pun intended), he said, “I always powder the jawline so it makes the cheeks look slightly shiny and sheer. And when you powder your forehead, just powder the hairline because you control the placement of the shine, and the powder will slowly dissipate and graduate to nothing.”
All in all the cloud skin trend adds softness and radiance to the complexion, with Dominic adding, “It’s sort of lightness and a fluffiness.”
Products: – Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter – Make Up For Ever ULTRA HD foundation, concealer, & loose powder, single eyeshadows – Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit, and gel eyeliner – MAC Cosmetics blush in Melba, highlight in Double Gleam, lipstick in Laissez-Faire and Russian Red, Clear Lip Glass, & Give Me Sun bronzer – Benefit Precisely My Brow pencil & Gimme Brow setting gel – Sigma brushes.
(Disclaimer: I do haveShantel’s consent to post the images on designated websites including Facebook, Instagram, WordPress, and use in my digital portfolio.)
Let’s be honest: Sometimes powder foundations and tinted moisturizers just don’t cut it. When the goal is smooth, even, radiant-looking skin, liquid foundations are often the recommendation. However, with so many formulas on the market, it can be hard to know which product is actually worth weaving into your makeup routine. With that in mind, editors set out to find the best liquid foundations. To do so, they enlisted the help of a handful of reviewers to research the most popular formulas and test them out firsthand to see which actually live up to the hype.
After rigorously testing 27 top-rated liquid foundations—taking into account the formula’s coverage, finish, active ingredients, and overall wear—we uncovered the top six liquid foundations. In the end, the NARS Light Reflecting Advanced Skincare Foundation came out on top thanks to its extensive shade range and high scores in all of the aforementioned categories.
Ready to uncover the other five winners? Keep reading for the best liquid foundations, according to InStyle testers.
NARS Light Reflecting Advanced Skincare Foundation
What We Love: This lightweight liquid foundation has a glowy finish that doesn’t sink into creases at all.
What We Don’t Love: The formula is a bit watery, which makes it drip a bit when you pump it.
The NARS Light Reflecting Advanced Skincare Foundation boasts a lightweight liquid formula that offers buildable medium coverage. “I would say [the coverage claims are] true—it has a great coverage that builds very easily,” our reviewer reveals. The foundation is sold in 36 shades ranging from light to dark, with options for warm, cool, and neutral undertones alike.
This liquid foundation formula doesn’t only offer color coverage, though. It’s made with biomimetic oat to reduce the appearance of redness, Japanese lilyturf to help reinforce the skin’s moisture barrier, and cacao peptides and milk thistle to counteract the negative effects of environmental stressors like blue light. In that way, this foundation helps protect and nourish skin just as much as it perfects its color tones.
The best part is that, thanks to its lightweight nature, it dries quickly and leaves skin looking radiant in a flash. “It is dewy and very natural looking,” our reviewer notes. “It is glowy and doesn’t set into my creases at all.”
The one downfall is that, since the formula is so lightweight, it’s a bit watery. As such, when you pump it out, it tends to drip a bit, which can potentially waste precious product.
Even with that one shortcoming, our reviewer remains head over heels for this product. “I loved the formula. It melted into my skin and it looks great. I really don’t have any dislikes,” she shares.
Price at time of publish: $49
Coverage: Medium | Finish: Natural | Active Ingredients: Biomimetic Oat, Japanese Lilyturf, Cacao Peptides, Milk Thistle | Size: 30 mL | Cruelty-Free: No
L’Oréal Paris Infallible Fresh Wear Foundation
What We Love: It’s notably more affordable than other high-performing liquid foundations we tested.
What We Don’t Love: This foundation does include fragrance and the smell a con for some of our testers.
Newsflash: The way-too-thick, orange-tinged foundations of drugstores past are long gone. The L’Oréal Infallible Fresh Wear 24HR Foundation was one of the top performers of our tests thanks to its just-right consistency and its ability to dry down quickly while still being able to blend for seamless coverage. Plus, it doesn’t crease or cake with wear.
“This feels like the perfect combination of a thick and thin foundation,” our reviewer says. “It is not runny but still light and not overly thick.“
From a coverage stance, this drugstore staple delivers buildable coverage with a natural, semi-matte finish. “I love the finish of this product and the packaging,” our reviewer shares. “Upon first use, there is nothing I do not like about this product. It looks beautiful on the skin without being drying or cakey and it went on like a dream.”
In addition to evening out skin tone, the foundation, which is sold in 40 shades, also offers SPF 25 sun protection. (Though, considering dermatologists recommend at least SPF 30, don’t let that fool you into thinking it replaces the sunscreen in your skincare routine.)
Price at time of publish: $16
Coverage: Medium | Finish: Natural | Active Ingredients: Octinoxate, Titanium Dioxide | Size: 30 mL | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Light Coverage
ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint with SPF 40
What We Love: This serum-like formula has a dewy finish that never looks oily or greasy.
What We Don’t Love: It has a slightly tacky finish.
If your goal is radiant, natural-looking coverage, this lightweight liquid foundation is a must. The ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation is sold in 30 shades, all of which have skincare-meets-makeup benefits, and is Cindy Crawford-approved. This formula is lightweight and fairly thin—serum-like, as advertised.
In addition to creating natural-looking coverage, this serum-foundation hybrid revitalizes skin with a blend of hydrating squalane, smoothing niacinamide, and plumping hyaluronic acid. What’s more, it’s infused with zinc oxide to deliver SPF 40 protection, so it acts as a sun shield, too.
“This formula claims to provide dewy, lightweight coverage; I would say this is 100% true—it leaves my face with that ‘your skin but better’ look and blends really easily,” our reviewer notes. Part of what makes it so natural-looking, she adds, is the fact that it doesn’t sink into creases or fine lines—even over extended wear.
Two things to note: Despite the beautiful finish it delivers, from a physical feel stance, our reviewer found this serum foundation to be a bit tacky to the touch. Then, from an application standpoint, she says that the serum dropper is a bit more difficult to use than a classic one-handed pump. “It’s easier to dispense too much or too little product,” she admits.
Still, those two pitfalls weren’t enough to deter her from this popular liquid foundation. “Overall, I loved this formula,” she says. “Its coverage is definitely more sheer, but it imparts a dewy, natural-looking glow and blends incredibly easily. The added broad-spectrum SPF protection is also a bonus.“
Price at time of publish: $48
Coverage: Light | Finish: Radiant | Active Ingredients: Plant-Based Squalane, Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid | Size: 30 mL | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Medium Coverage
Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24H Long Wear Matte Foundation
What We Love: This liquid foundation has the perfect consistency—it’s not too watery and not too thick—and it feels weightless on the skin.
What We Don’t Love: It’s not quite full coverage—but it is buildable, so you can still achieve adequate coverage.
The Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24H Long Wear Matte Foundation claims to be a full coverage foundation but when our testers wore it from morning to night, they found that it’s actually a great option for medium coverage. That said, they admit that it is buildable, so it is possible to achieve fuller coverage if that’s your goal. And, even if you do opt for extra layers, they found that it remains lightweight and comfortable throughout wear—it never feels heavy on the skin.
Part of why it’s so comfortable is because it’s specifically formulated to be. “It contains eternalsoft polymers to provide an increased level of comfort for ultra-long wear,” our reviewer found.
Logistically speaking, the foundation, which is housed in a tall, frosted glass bottle, is sold in 43 shades ranging from light to dark. “It claims to have a natural-matte finish, which I agree with,” one of our reviewers says. “It is matte but still has a bit of a glow and does not look drying or cakey on the skin. It does not settle into fine lines or wrinkles. It has a very nice finish.”
Even though the coverage this foundation delivers doesn’t quite match up with its claims, our reviewers found that, overall, there’s nothing they don’t like about the product.
Price at time of publish: $52
Coverage: Full | Finish: Matte | Active Ingredients: Eternalsoft Polymers | Size: 30 mL | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Full Coverage
HOURGLASS Vanish Seamless Finish Liquid Foundation
What We Love: Although the finish is matte, it has a touch of dew to keep skin looking natural and healthy.
What We Don’t Love: It takes longer to dry down because it’s a thicker formula.
The HOURGLASS Vanish Seamless Finish Liquid Foundation is another liquid foundation that claims to offer full coverage, that our reviewers found to be closer to medium-to-full coverage in reality. Despite not fully living up to its claims, though, our reviewers concluded that this thick formula is truly something to behold.
“I love how full coverage this product is while still looking natural on the skin,” our reviewer says. “It claims to have a natural finish, which I agree with. The finish does not appear too matte and still has a bit of a glow. I do not feel that my skin looks heavy or cakey after applying. Overall, it looks very healthy and even on the skin.”
Like the Lancôme foundation, this Hourglass formula comes in a luxurious frosted glass bottle that feels heavy and expensive. “It also has a soft closure, which I love,” our reviewer says. “The foundation comes out in a pump and leaves no mess at all. I love the packaging.“
Although the HOURGLASS Vanish Seamless Finish Liquid Foundation is comfortable to wear, since its a notably thicker formula, our reviewer does note that she thinks it’s best for shorter wear. “It would be amazing for special events when I want to cover redness, acne, or other imperfections,” she says. “My skin still looks healthy and dewy without being overly heavy.”
Price at time of publish: $56
Coverage: Full | Finish: Natural | Active Ingredients: Sunflower Seed Wax, Jojoba Esters | Size: 25 mL | Cruelty-Free: Yes
N°1 DE CHANEL Red Camellia Revitalizing Foundation
What We Love: This medium-coverage foundation leaves skin looking even, smooth, and hydrated.
What We Don’t Love: It’s pricey and we wish it had a wider shade range.
Spending $70 for a bottle of liquid foundation may seem like overkill but our reviewers found that this medium-coverage makeup product is well worth the splurge.
“After applying the N°1 DE CHANEL Red Camellia Revitalizing Foundation, my skin looks so healthy and glowy in all the right places,” our reviewer marvels. “It does not look cakey or oily, just extremely fresh and healthy. I love the finish of this foundation. It doesn’t look too unnatural or like I’m wearing a lot of makeup and it doesn’t settle into fine lines.”
Speaking of a lot of makeup, this liquid foundation is buildable, so you can wear a single oat or layer it on for the tailored coverage you desire. “It is easy to layer this foundation,” our reviewers assure us. “It has a medium coverage, evens out skin tone, and leaves the skin looking super smooth and hydrated. It is not too heavy on the skin but still covers up imperfections.”
It doesn’t just make skin look smooth and hydrated during wear, though. Since it’s formulated with Chanel’s signature red camellia oil, it actually works to impart anti-aging benefits long after wear.
Given the high praise, you’ll be glad to know this luxury liquid foundation looks as expensive as the results it delivers. While the 20 shades span from light to dark, we do wish they had more skin tone offerings.
“I love the finish of this foundation and how my skin looks so healthy, dewy, and even,” our reviewer says. “I feel that I could wear this everyday or for special occasions. There is not much I do not like about this product, other than the high price tag.“
Price at time of publish: $70
Coverage: Medium | Finish: Luminous | Active Ingredients: Red Camellia Oil | Size: 30 mL | Cruelty-Free: No
What to Keep in Mind
Liquid foundations come in a variety of coverages, ranging from light to full. While many foundations fall in the medium to full category (with BB and CC creams offering lighter coverage), light coverage liquid foundations do exist. What type of coverage you choose, depends on your skin concerns as well as personal preferences.
Think about how you want your skin to look post-application. If you want to look dewy and glowing, consider a hydrating satin foundation (like our Best Overall pick, the NARS Light Reflecting Advanced Skincare Foundation); if you want a mattified end look, focus on matte foundations. Oilier skin types may prefer a matte finish to help combat that mid-morning sheen of grease, whereas as drier may want the extra hydration from a dewy product.
Do you want a liquid foundation that wears flawlessly all day long? Or are you looking for something that you plan to only wear for shorter-duration special occasions (like a wedding or night out)? If you’re leaning toward the former, you’ll want to buy a foundation that’s designed to last for up to at least 12 hours (the the Lancôme Teint Idole Matte Foundation has a staying power of up to 24 hours), and that’s specifically marketed not to cake or crease. When working with special occasion makeup goals, on the other hand, you can be a bit more flexible with the wear duration of your liquid foundation.
“Celebration” was the name of Off-White’s spring show, presented inside the Ateliers Berthier last night in Paris. X-Ray-print blazers, belly cut-outs, and arrowed cowboy boots filled the industrial space built by the architect Charles Garnier and used for storing Paris Opera sets. It was a fitting venue to honour Virgil Abloh, the late multi-hyphenate designer, who began workshopping this season’s spring 2023 collection before his passing last year.
As he examined and experimented with each piece that walked the “Impossible Blue” runway last night, Ibrahim Kamara, Off-White’s new image and art director, realised it’s a celebratory one. After all, Abloh was often drawn to the warm indigo shade, which carpeted the catwalk and punctuated model gazes, courtesy of blue pigments from the Paperwork beauty collection, for the show.
“I wanted to be quite playful, but glam rock,” said make-up artist Hiromi Ueda backstage as she held the Maze shade of Paperwork’s multi-use crayons in her hand. “It’s beautiful, sexy, and confident.” Ueda relied on just two of the beauty line’s colour sticks, Maze and Jet (an inky black), to complete every look. For sooty gazes, Jet was faded at the edges with a blending brush for a smoked-out effect — and, of course, finished with a pop of Maze on the lower waterline. The subtler version seen across models of all genders, and especially those wearing white (called the “pure” look), consisted of Maze traced along the lower waterline and wiped away for a “worn-in eyeliner” effect that was nearly imperceptible.
Visible from across the cavernous rooms, though, were the “bold blue” graphic wings that hairstylist Jawara called a “harder blue look.” He and Ueda discussed the glam rock direction ahead of the show, where words like “tough” and “playful” described the mood. Jawara ultimately gave models wispy mullet and pixie wigs alongside cornrows, slick backs, and one cerulean buzz cut. “I think they complement the hair really well,” said Jawara of the final make-up looks. “We came up with it together.” It reflects Off-White’s larger goal to uplift its coterie of artists and speaks to the collaborative spirit that continues to define Abloh’s legacy.