In the beauty world, not being able to withstand a retinol product is an Achilles heel. Touted as one of the strongest and most effective products to treat fine lines, uneven texture, discolouration, and even acne, retinol is basically the Holy Grail. It also happens to be the only ingredient the skin either absolutely can not stand, or it loves it. About an hour after putting on a retinol–even the gentlest ones on the market–some people’s skin begins to peel, develop bumps all over the face, and it’s a general mess. BUT…
“This texture is so smooth and hydrating, which is always a good sign, since retinol products are notoriously drying. After layering it with a moisturizer, I went to bed and prayed I woke up to a decent face. To my immense surprise, my skin felt silky smooth, I wasn’t having a bad reaction at all, and I even felt confident to try it again, two nights later.” – ELLE Beauty Editor
This product is a blend of retinol with fatty acids derived from sunflower seeds–which makes it less irritating–along with line-reducing stevia extract and hydrating mongo grass root extract.
If you’re a beauty junkie, you know that navigating the world of makeup can be a pretty overwhelming experience. Whether you’re in the market for a new concealer, translucent powder, or setting spray, there seems to be a million options for each—who has time to test them all and find the very best one? Luckily, that’s what beauty pros are for.
Vogue reached out to five noteworthy influencers and makeup artists who are all gaining large followings for their stellar makeup looks. This includes Neon MUA and Robert Welsh—both of whom create colorful eyeshadow looks like no other—and Wayne Goss, who has nearly 4 million followers on YouTube. If you’re a Lil Nas X fan, you may also recognize Anthony H. Nguyen’s work: He serves as the rapper’s makeup artist, and has created many of his memorable red carpet and video looks (like this graphic liner for the “Montero” video). Meanwhile, Shantanu Dhope—whose Instagram tagline is “Brown Boys wear makeup too”—also creates eye-catching beauty looks that incorporate his Desi culture.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #64 series on my blog.
Beyond simply creating enchanting looks, these pros are also proving makeup is truly for all—whether female, male, or nonbinary. Dhope, for instance, says he proudly wears makeup because, “I feel we do not have enough brown skin representation in the beauty industry, especially brown men wearing makeup. In India, a boy wearing makeup is still a very new concept, and a lot of people consider it to be a taboo.” Goss also specifically encourages men who are new to makeup to experiment and have fun with it. “When it comes to makeup, most men tend to want to enhance their looks without anyone knowing they’re wearing any,” says Goss. His tip to achieving the perfect beginner look? “Make sure you apply ‘little’ and avoid over-application. Less is more. And never be afraid of blush—healthy skin has some color to it.”
Below, read on for these five beauty artists’s top products for everyone to try.
Call me biased, but my collection of face palettes with Midas Cosmetics is something that everyone needs in their kit. These palettes are pigmented, buttery, and most importantly, they have the range. My focus with creating this collection was to make sure that everyone can have access to effective contours and bronzers, whether you are fair and need products that don’t run orange, or if you’re deeply rich and are tired of not having access to contours and bronzers that actually show up on your complexion.
This is a recent must-have for me. I love this powder because it is truly translucent. The All Nighter collection is known for being waterproof and locking in your makeup for hours, so being able to finally have a product that helps with sweat and shine that is also a true translucent powder is a gift from the makeup gods.
I will always love NARS foundations because they have such a wide range of shades and undertones, plus their formula is always top-tier. Out of all of the NARS foundations, this is the one that I always find myself reaching for, because it offers a nice amount of coverage without looking cakey, while also giving you the natural, healthy glow that everyone wants.
MannyMUA in my honest opinion has one of the most impressive influencer brands in beauty, because he’s not afraid to play with color and concepts. All of his palettes are truly impressive (especially his revamped Life’s A Drag Facelift palette), but if there’s one palette that I will also grab, it’s the Strawberry Dream palette. Reds and blues are some of the hardest colors to work with in terms of shadows, yet these shades are so pigmented and blend like a dream. Everyone needs this palette.
With the classic technique of soap brows becoming a more recent trend, and many brands releasing their version of brow grooming waxes, this is one of the only brow products I have found that draws smoothly and precisely over a waxy texture. After grooming brows into that fluffy look, this pen is also perfect to draw strokes of hair on the brows, without losing the overall look.
I find a lot of highlighters can look textured or obvious on the skin—either because they contain glitter, or because the shades are slightly off, with a metallic finish. This highlighter is the complete opposite. There are multiple different shades that complement skin tone, instead of the highlighter being just pink or gold for example. When applying this highlighter, you notice how it effortlessly blends, and almost becomes one with your skin. And because it’s buildable, you can start at a natural “glowing from within” to a more dramatic glow.
Beauty Bay has always been a go-to destination for me when looking to try new products and brands, as they offer everything from drugstore to high-end products. Their own brand’s eyeshadows, at drugstore prices, offer high-end quality. Every texture, matte, shimmer, and glitter are extremely pigmented and blend beautifully. They all have an almost creamy texture that is easy to build, and are a pleasure to use when creating a makeup look.
Patrick Ta Major Sculpt Crème Contour & Powder Bronzer Duo
One thing I get asked a lot is “what’s the difference between bronzer and contour?” These compacts are the perfect representation of what a bronzer and contour should be. The bronzing powder provides just the right amount of “sun-kissed” without being orange, and the cream contour shades create the perfect ‘bone structure-mimicking’ contour colour, which blends naturally into the skin. If you’ve had trouble finding your perfect contour shade before, or perhaps are intimidated by the idea of contouring, this product is the perfect place to start, and stick with.
I cannot leave my house without grooming my eyebrows. I just run this product quickly through my brows to give me a clean and fresh looking brow. It gives me the right amount of color without looking over done.
There was a time in the late ’90s and early noughties when blue eye make-up reigned supreme. In schools up and down the nation, eyes were ringed with the cool colour in every shade – inspired by Cameron Diaz, Christina Aguilera, and Christina Ricci in Buffalo 66. While the craze did eventually die down, now blue is back and trending again. In fact, sales of the frosty blue MAC Tilt Eyeshadow ballooned to two and a half times what they had been between March and May this year, according to sales statistics from John Lewis.
“There is definitely a desire in beauty to wear less make-up but with more interesting shade choices, hence why a wash of fresh colour is becoming more desirable than heavily structured neutrals,” says director of make-up artistry at Mac Cosmetics, Terry Barber. “Blue eyeshadow is one of the shades undergoing a renaissance, and it’s being reinvented as something flattering and chic, rather than the kitsch, clownish image it might have had in the past.”
Whether it’s a sheer veil of a matte blue shade or a full-on molten blue disco hue, the world of blue eyeshadow is yours for the taking. A stellar recent example of the trend could be seen recently on Nicola Coughlan, who wore a striking cobalt blue to the BAFTA TV Awards. The make-up artist behind the look, Neil Young, previously told Vogue that he loved the shade as “it’s the perfect antidote to black and yet it still defines the eye, makes every eye colour pop ,and works on every single skin tone”. He added that you can wear it graphic and bold, or in place of a traditional black eyeliner.
So how to make the look work? Barber believes it’s all about creating a painterly, low-maintenance appearance, rather than anything too “structured” or overly technical. “That leads to an immediately retro ’80s look when there is blue involved,” he says. “It’s also important when wearing blue on the eyes that you don’t use colour elsewhere, as it can make it look garish or dolly.” He recommends pairing with a bronzed cheek and a fresh nude lip or clear gloss, to create the ultimate low key ’70s look, as well as several coats of mascara.
When it comes to colour, seek out tinted eyeshadows with a soft, shimmery finish and those with a more delicate colour pay-off (these are more likely to suit all skin tones and eye colours). While strong shades like cobalt are great for statement red carpet looks, Barber is a fan of soft, glamorous shades like duck egg, bluebell, Wedgewood and teal for daytime eyes, or for those who like to keep things minimal.
Below, British Vogue’s edit of the blue eyeshadow shades to try now.
Kosas Color & Light: Crème Cream Blush & Highlighter Duo
Kosas gives you the best of both worlds by packaging a cream blush and highlighter in this compact case. And because it’s Kosas—a clean beauty brand—the duo is formulated with nourishing oils and pigment to give you the skin and makeup look of your dreams.
In Danessa Myricks’ world, the number one rule is to experiment. The makeup maven’s cult-favorite Colorfix is a creamy, multipurpose pigment that can be used as eyeshadow, lipstick or gloss, blush—anywhere.
LYS Beauty Higher Standard Clean Cream Blush with Vitamin E
There’s a reason this blush is flying off Sephora’s (online) shelves. Cream blushes normally don’t give an intense color payoff but LYS Beauty’s version is the exception. With six colors to choose from, the cream blush imparts a soft matte finish that can be dressed up to full glam or subtle for soft glam.
This blush is a dream thanks to its cream to powder formula. It’s smooth to the touch and melts into the skin. Plus, it’s whipped to perfection with vitamin E and argan oil to keep the skin moisturized.
Flushed, rosy cheeks have always been a constant in Patrick Ta’s artistry. Enter Double-Take: a blush palette with two options. One side of the palette is a cream blush, and the other side is a powder blush to complement each other.
Finding the right makeup products that won’t break you out is hard, but Honest Beauty is a start. Free of any harsh chemicals or ingredients, Honest Beauty’s Cheek Blush is a good-for-skin product packed with raspberry, blackberry, and grapefruit extract.
Cheek Gelee is basically a stain for your cheeks, without the stubborn stiffness that comes with stain-like products. This blends like a dream with the other makeup products on your skin for a seamless, symmetric makeup look.
When it comes to creating the ultimate feline flick, look no further than Hollywood legend Audrey Hepburn. “Her almond eyes were synonymous with the winged eyeliner that adorned them, and the perfectly defined lashes that fluttered as she gazed through the window of Tiffany & Co, eating a croissant,” says Vogue makeup artist, Celia Burton. “When Alberto de Rossi died, Hepburn’s make-up artist of 25 years, she was said to have declared she’d rather not work again. A perfect tribute to the enormous role that makeup — and the man applying it — had played in her career. Legend has it that de Rossi would apply mascara and then separate each individual eyelash with a safety pin to emphasise her doe eyes.”
Indeed, famed for her feminine brows and signature cat-eye, Hepburn’s was a beauty that surpassed all others. And one that will be under the spotlight once more thanks to a new documentary on the Breakfast at Tiffany’s star. Masterminded by the same BAFTA-nominated team behind 2018’s McQueen, a film about Alexander McQueen, Audrey takes an intimate look at one of cinema’s iconic actresses, featuring never-seen-before footage as well as interviews with her son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, Givenchy’s former artistic director Clare Waight Keller, and Tiffany & Co design director emeritus John Loring. Though the film promises to uncover the woman behind the red-carpet glitz and glamour, focusing on the psychological effects of her difficult upbringing, it will no doubt bring some of her iconic beauty looks back into focus, too.
To mark the occasion, Vogue makeup artist Celia Burton breaks down the steps to recreating Audrey Hepburn’s signature cat-eye flick.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #56 series on my blog.
Step 1: use liquid eyeliner to mark the position
Look straight into a mirror, with your chin lowered. Consider your eye shape, and use a liquid liner — my favourites are Glossier Pro Tip or Voyeur Waterproof Liquid Liner by Hourglass — to mark out with a dot or dash where you want the ‘flick’ to finish. For the Hepburn effect, I recommend a sharp, squat flick, angled upwards and outwards from the end of the lash line at 45 degrees.
Step 2: drag the eyeliner across the eye
Tip your head back, so now you’re looking down at the mirror, and drag the liner across the eye from the inner corner, staying as close to the lash line as possible. Always have a cotton bud and oil-free makeup remover to hand, to neaten as you go.
Step 3: connect the dots and thicken up
Stop when you reach the end of the lash line, return to looking straight into the mirror, and join the dots from the marked spot to the main event. You can leave this skinny, as a subtle flick, or thicken it out at the wing — just make sure to keep the 45-degree angle.
If there’s one makeup product that can inject life into your skin in seconds, it’s blusher. Finding the best blush for your skin tone and type is easier than you might think, and while it has taken a backseat in many of our makeup bags over the years, it’s actually one of the easiest ways to look radiant and healthy.
In fact, there is science to back that up. We naturally flush when we’re excited or aroused, and it was our friends in the Georgian period who first noticed that applying some faux “rouge” was a rather nifty way to suggest robust health. Studies have since shown that a little flush on the cheeks indeed indicates our wellbeing to others.
“Blush is like an accessory,” says makeup artist Gucci Westman, whose Baby Stick Blush is an excellent melt-into-skin formula. “My advice is to match it to your mood and the statement you want to make that day – how much colour do you want to see?”
There isn’t one single place to wear it. While many of us buff a cream or powder formula onto the apples of our cheeks, that’s just the classic method. Others prefer to wear higher on the cheeks for a lifting effect, and some even apply on the bridge of the nose to recreate a sun-kissed feel (especially good in the summer months). The modern way is to consider how your skin naturally flushes – whether around the temples or below your apples – and applying to those areas, buffing and blending in for a seamless, natural finish.
Be it a bold coral, soft pink or warm peach, a bit of colour can make you look healthier and brighter with minimal effort. Here, Vogue rounds up some of the very best blush products on the market, from classics like Glossier’s Cloud Paint to new and exciting formulas like the Nars Air Matte Blush. From powders to creams, shop the very best blushers below.
Best Blush For Olive Skin: Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Stick Blush – No21
A formula that quickly melts into skin, this Chanel blush stick is an excellent one to keep in your handbag at all times and creates a healthy, dewy finish.
A creamy, blendable cheek colour that instantly melts into the skin, Glossier’s Cloud Paint is inspired by New York sunsets. The Dusk shade is universally flattering and works particularly well on paler skins.
Best Blush Stick: Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Blush Stick
A swoosh-on-and-go cream stick, this blush works beautifully on all skin tones. Made by Gucci Westman, who has worked on countless supermodels’ faces over the years, it’s formulated with gentle ingredients and Ayurvedic oils to keep skin clear and healthy.
Best Blush For Medium Skin: Charlotte Tilbury Cheek To Chic Blusher
Charlotte Tilbury’s Cheek To Chic blush compact features two shades, with the outer one designed to be swirled over the cheeks and the core shade there to provide a pop of colour at the apples. Love is the Drug is a Vogue office favourite.
If you know influencer and make-up artist Jamie Genevieve, you’ll know of her ability to create the most flawless beauty looks around – and this blusher is just one of the products from her brand, Vieve, that she uses often. Imparting a soft, matte finish, it delivers brilliant colour that can be built up or blended in depending on your preference.
Best Blush For Holiday Skin: Tom Ford Sheer Cheek Duo
This blush duo is the perfect partnership. Both shades offer a light-reflective finish for a little shimmer and shine come nightfall – and are especially good set against healthy, holiday skin. Mix them together, wear alone or apply as eyeshadow.
If you want a healthy-looking glow without having to put on a full face of makeup, stocking up on one of the best tinted moisturizers available will go a long way to perfecting your routine. These multitasking products combine all of the hydrating benefits of a moisturizer with the sheer-to-medium coverage of an everyday foundation—making them the MVP to any beauty lover’s bag. They’re also an absolute summer beauty essential; tinted moisturizers have a lightweight texture, are easy to apply, and often include SPF to help protect your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays. Just try to name a more efficient beauty product—I’ll wait.
As you’d expect, there’s a whole slew of tinted moisturizers on the market right now—and across a range of finishes, skin concerns, and budgets. Which is why Glamour editors were asked about their all-time favorites. From Glossier’s Skin Tint to Fenty Beauty’s new Eaze Drops, scroll down to read their reviews and shop the best tinted moisturizers.
Best Overall: Tarte Cosmetics Maracuja Tinted Moisturizer
The perfect blend of moisturizer and medium coverage—I love the glow that Tarte’s tinted moisturizer gives my skin. It lasts all day and helps my makeup go on more smoothly and more evenly. Plus, it has good-for-your-skin ingredients like hydrating maracuja oil, hyaluronic acid, aloe, and turmeric. —Jessica Radloff, West Coast editor
Best for Evening Skin Tone: Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint
It would be impossible to talk about no-makeup makeup without mentioning Glossier. The quintessential millennial beauty brand (which is also a hit with Gen Z), basically cemented the less-is-more beauty mentality in the early aughts that’s all but mainstream now. When shopping for summer-friendly makeup essentials like a tinted moisturizer, the big G is an obvious brand to consider, thanks to its skin-care-first positioning that feels ideal for scorching summer days spent gallivanting and fully vaxxed. I love how Skin Tint evens out my tone and blurs pores without feeling cakey or like it’s adding to any skin congestion. I’ll definitely be keeping this in my makeup bag all season long. —Erin Parker, commerce writer
Best Drugstore: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Tinted Mineral Primer With SPF 50
Meet one of my all-time favorite drugstore finds. This pocket-size product is formulated with SPF 50, so I feel comfortable applying it without extra sunscreen. The tint also provides medium coverage, which is nice during the winter months when my face looks like a pale zombie’s. The formula is packed with hydrating vitamin E—and it’s gentle enough to not irritate my keratosis pilaris–prone skin. —Talia Abbas, commerce writer
Most Natural Finish: Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint
I’m shocked at how much I love Fenty’s Skin Tint. I typically would never go for a satiny finish since I have supremely dry skin and fine lines, but this somehow does not accentuate either. The color match is absolutely perfect (which is saying something because it’s usually hard for me to find a flawless fit for my medium skin), and the coverage is just my type: It easily evens out my skin tone but is light enough to actually look natural. (It really, truly looks like skin.) The only thing I wish this product had was more moisturizing properties to make it appropriate year-round. —Shanna Shipin, commerce managing editor
Best Clean Formula: Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40
I thought the perfect tinted moisturizer didn’t exist…until I tried Ilia’s Super Serum Skin Tint. Packed with plant-based squalene, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid, the formula is incredibly lightweight and hydrating—and the matte finish gives my skin this lit-from-within look that I’m obsessed with. The 30-shade range and addition of SPF 40 make it a full-package deal. —T.A.
Best for Moisturizing: Urban Decay Stay Naked Hydromaniac Tinted Glow Hydrator
I’m not usually a fan of tinted moisturizers, mostly because they rarely offer enough coverage and feel watered down. Urban Decay’s is different. Not only does it moisturize, but the tinted formula also provides such fantastic medium coverage that I don’t need foundation or powder. The tip is also super skinny, so I never have to worry about applying more than I need. It stays all day, doesn’t settle into my pores, and keeps my skin hydrated. Totally sold. —J.R.
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Milk Makeup Sunshine Skin Tint Clean SPF 30 Foundation
I’m a firm believer in full-coverage foundation thanks to my acne and hyperpigmentation, but the Sunshine Skin Tint is seriously making me reconsider my stance. Though it really only covers any slight redness, it makes my skin look so dewy and glowing, it’s worth a few pimples shining through (or some carefully placed concealer). Though I’m acne-prone, I’m also dry, so I appreciate the moisture from the oils in the formula, and it just makes my skin look so healthy and fresh. The roller applicator is really fun to use, and I appreciate the fact it has SPF 30. —Bella Cacciatore, beauty associate
More of a foundation than a tinted moisturizer, what makes Supergoop!’s CC screen so, well, super, is that it has SPF50 and offers fantastic protection, plus total coverage. It also comes in a ton of different shades, which I love since it’s typically hard to find something to match my super-pale skin. —J.R.
Best for Hyperpigmentation: It Cosmetics Bye Bye Foundation Full Coverage Moisturizer With SPF 50+
Pregnancy caused some dark spots to appear on my cheeks and around my mouth, so I’ve been on the hunt for a fuller-coverage formula to cover them up without having to slather a ton of product on my face. I found my holy grail with It Cosmetics. A single pump is all it takes to conceal and make me feel instantly put together. And though the product has a medium-to-thick texture, it doesn’t irritate my eczema-prone skin. —S.S.
I’ve probably used this tinted oil more than anything else throughout the entirety of quarantine. All you need is a few drops to instantly brighten and even your skin tone while adding a sun-kissed, dewy glow. Just be sure not to go overboard with application, otherwise it can turn out shiny. Sometimes I’ll go for something more matte, like the Fenty Eaze Drops, but this is one of my favorite skin-care/makeup hybrids ever. —E.P.
Best for Covering Redness: Erborian CC Red Correct
On hot summer days when I don’t want to wear foundation, this CC cream with SPF is all I need. It evens out my red complexion and doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin one bit. I’ve stocked up out of fear of not having it on hand. It’s that good. —Kat Thomas, assistant fashion editor
Best Luxury: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30
No tinted moisturizer list would be complete without this classic. There’s a reason it’s so beloved: It really hits the perfect balance between foundation and skin tint. It covers what you want it to, while still letting skin shine through. I also like that it has a more natural finish for days when I don’t want to be super dewy. I’ve also noticed the staying power is pretty unmatched for a moisturizer—I can wear it all day without the coverage fading away. —B.C.
Best for a Matte Finish: Origins GinZing SPF 40 Energy-Boosting Tinted Moisturizer
Origins’ tinted moisturizer is a great everyday workhorse thanks to the addition of SPF 40. It doesn’t come in a ton of shades, but it just kind of blurs into your natural color, giving you a smooth, matte finish without looking like you’re wearing makeup at all. —Emma Wartzman, producer
Best Budget: Garnier SkinActive Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream Anti-Aging
This was my go-to in high school, and I stand by it. It’s much thicker than other tinted moisturizers I’ve used, so it provides pretty decent coverage. It feels really nice and hydrating on my skin, and I definitely appreciate the anti-aging ingredients more now than I did 10 years ago. The only drawback is it has only one shade. —B.C.
Best for Soothing Irritated Skin: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30
This is my peak-summer and dead-of-winter must-have when my skin decides to flare up with all the eczema and flakiness it can possibly muster. It’s made with soothing colloidal oatmeal, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E—three ingredients my dry skin soaks right up and that I feel comfortable using while pregnant. Bonus points for also including SPF 30 protection. —S.S.
Best for a Sun-Kissed Glow: Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense SPF 30
What I love most about Drunk Elephant’s tinted moisturizer is the luminous glow it delivers. It makes my face look like some bronzed goddess who spent the first half of the year vacationing in the French Riviera (a girl can dream). The texture is not greasy at all and blends seamlessly into my dry skin if you want to build for more coverage. I personally just use two squeezes so I can let my natural freckles shine through. —T.A.
If there’s one beauty brand universally loved by editors, bloggers, and makeup artists alike, it’s Glossier. Founded in late 2014 by Emily Weiss, the brand singlehandedly ushered in a new era in beauty: One in which minimalism and no-makeup makeup is favored over chiseled cheekbones created by contouring palettes often seen all over Instagram. The brand became a fan favorite overnight and its millennial-pink packaging can be seen everywhere — including, but not limited to, the vanities of beauty editors and the bags hauled to red carpet events by top-billed makeup artists.
Arguably the product that put Emily Weiss’s beauty brand on the map, Boy Brow is everything we want in an eyebrow product: Tinted, but not overly so; long-lasting (because having your brows melt off midday is not a good look); and super easy to use. The 2016 Best of Beauty Award-winning pomade comes in three natural-looking shades (plus a clear version that keeps hairs in place sans any tint), and brushes on easily for brows that look full and groomed, but not bushy. Yes, please.
Full disclosure: If you have oily skin, chances are Glossier’s Futuredew isn’t going to be up your alley, as it’s a serum-oil hybrid that leaves skin super glowy — even when used sparingly. But if your complexion is on the drier side, it might just be your new best friend. Infused with squalane, which hydrates, as well as nourishing oils like jojoba, grapeseed, and evening primrose, it works to smooth, soften, and brighten skin in one fell swoop. Additionally, it can be used as a makeshift highlighter — just tap a dot or two on the high points of your face for a subtle glow.
If you’re looking for an everyday mascara that gives lashes a noticeable-but-natural-looking boost, then Lash Slick is the one for you. Similar to Boy Brow, it coats lash hairs in a glossy pomade that enhances the look of natural lashes and doesn’t get clumpy, gloopy, or flaky. It’s also an excellent option for anyone who can’t be bothered to remove waterproof mascara because it comes off easily and seamlessly with just a little warm water — despite being otherwise budge-proof.
I have to be honest: liquid cheek tints are sometimes, to put it bluntly, hard to use. They’re either too pigmented, not pigmented enough, or dry too fast and leave the face a blotchy, streaky mess. Not so with Cloud Paint, which provides a sheer wash of natural-looking color for a just-in-from-the-cold flush — aka what blush is supposed to look like. The lightweight formula melts into the skin, making blending ridiculously easy — and the four shimmer-free shades (Dusk, a tawny, rose pink; Puff, a brighter, candy pink; Beam, a pretty, golden coral; and Haze, a cool magenta) are makeup bag must-haves.
For those of us who don’t have the patience, energy, or drive to double-cleanse with an oil and then another cleanser. Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser is the answer to all of your post-Happy Hour makeup-removing struggles. The bouncy, lightweight cleanser easily melts off even the most stubborn waterproof makeup and cleanses the skin, without leaving any residue (or that weird, tight, hand-me-the-moisturizer-quick feeling). It also smells like rosewater, which is a nice change from the subtle chemical smell of many other skin-care products.
Myself — and, okay, the rest of the world — have been next-level obsessed with Balm Dotcom since it first hit the market a couple of years ago. Available in an array of skin-brightening shades, the hydrating, waxy balm (blended with beeswax, castor seed oil, and a variety of antioxidants) hydrates dry skin — we’re talking elbows, knees…everything. I like using the Original, untinted version on my body, but for a pretty wash of sheer, glossy color on the lips, the Cherry shade (a juicy, fruity red) cannot be beaten.
Slather the mint-colored, kaolin clay mask onto your face to look at least marginally more alive before work the next day. About 20 minutes later, you’ll be pleasantly surprised when your skin is brighter, smoother, and more awake.
For those who prefer their highlighter to deliver a glowy (rather than sparkly) finish, Glossier’s beloved Haloscope highlighter (a favorite of pretty much every Allure editor) can’t be beaten. The highlighting stick, infused with a core of solid, vitamin-rich oil, gives the skin a dewy, almost glossy highlight — with just a hint of shimmer (thanks to glimmering particles from actual crystals). It’s super easy to apply and blend, and the three luminous shades (sun-kissed Topaz; pearlescent Rose Quartz; and iridescent Moonstone) are versatile enough to be used on all skin tones.
Glossier’s best-selling Priming Moisturizer is one of those rare products that doesn’t seem particularly special, but delivers spectacular results. The featherlight hydrating cream features a blend of potent complexion-improving ingredients (including hyaluronic acid and redness-reducing botanicals) to keep the skin hydrated all day long. At the same time, it’s gentle enough to use every day and gives the skin a healthy, hydrated glow, making it a great pick for days when foundation just isn’t going to happen. Its only qualm? It doesn’t have SPF — so you have to apply your sun protection separately.
It also comes in a Balance version for oily skin, which one reviewer says is “formulated to prevent and heal blemishes with antibacterial, soothing bamboo extract and willow bark extract, which is a natural derivative of pore-clearing salicylic acid.”
After an easy way to pep up tired, pale winter skin? Look no further than a stealthily-applied cream blush. Ideal for those whose skin demands some colour each morning (the many, not the few), a hit of creamy pink, berry or red can overhaul the face, and make skin look healthier in less than 10 seconds.
Glossier knows its way around a fantastic cream blush, having launched its bestselling Cloud Paints in 2017. Inspired by New York sunsets, there is a shade for everyone, from Dusk to Storm. In the short time they’ve existed, the blushes have already become cult, adored by everyone from teenage beauty fans to pro makeup artists. And now the brand has expanded the shade range to include two more hues: Eve and Spark.
“Eve is a mulberry, deep burgundy red which is gorgeous on darker skin tones,” explains Celia Burton, European makeup artist for Glossier. “Used really lightly, it creates a wine-stain finish and looks beautiful on brunettes. Meanwhile, Spark is a vibrant, poppy-orange red which gives a warm glow.”
Both shades are your ticket to a warm, healthy flush this autumn, and can, Burton points out, be used all over the face. “They’re multi-faceted, rather genius, products. A little goes a long way, so after you’ve applied to your cheeks, you can use the leftovers on lips and eyes.” For the makeup equivalent of a winter warmer, pat excess product onto the bridge of the nose – it will make you look like you’ve spent a week in the sun. Or, Burton says, mix the new Spark or original shade Dawn into a cream or liquid bronzer, for a naturally bronzed flush.
She’s a fan of using the fingers, which helps to control how much product you get out of the Cloud Paint tube and offers an easy way to apply it on the go. However, “If you’ve got the luxury of time, use a brush – it’s a nice way to diffuse the colour and really blend the product out, creating that lovely puff of colour that Cloud Paint creates so well.”
Snail mucin. Bee venom. Glass skin. These are just some of the beauty trends to emerge from South Korea in the past five years. Whether you’ve dabbled in a bit of donkey milk (good for rejuvenating the skin with protein and fatty acids) or you’ve played it safe with a weekly face mask, K-beauty is everywhere. In fact, Allied Market Research says that by 2026, the K-beauty market will be worth an estimated $21 billion. According to Jenni Middleton, director of beauty at trend forecasting company WGSN, “During the coronavirus pandemic, consumers searched more for K-beauty, looking for innovative products to add to their lockdown beauty regimes.”
Like most cultural phenomena, K-beauty is ever-changing—what was big last year may not be as popular this year. As Middleton observes, we’re seeing the traditional 10-step routine give way to a more minimalist approach as conscious consumers react against fast fashion and excessive packaging. Elsewhere, playful gimmicks such as color-changing effects or jellylike substances are being passed over in favor of science-backed formulas.
1. Hanbang ingredients
Hanbang ingredients are traditional herbal ingredients used in Korean medicines and they’ve long been a staple in Korean life. For example, ginseng root, houttuynia cordata, sacred lotus, and rehmannia boast antiaging, anti-inflammation, and regenerative properties.
2. Acid layering
K-beauty has been incorporating more acid into its products, but with a gentle approach that focuses on striking the balance: Too much can irritate and aggravate your skin, too little will yield no results, so products with an optimal amount is key. Use the right balance of AHAs and BHAs (plant and animal-derived acids) to gently exfoliate dead skin cells and smooth skin texture.
3. Carrot seed oil
Carrot seed oil is an unsung hero at the moment, although it has been used in K-beauty for more than 10 years. It contains vitamin A and is a great antioxidant. It’s antiaging, antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory—so it’s ideal for anyone looking to brighten up their skin.
4. Gentle retinol
K-beauty’s ‘skin first’ approach will continue through 2021, especially given that self-care and skin care are so important right now. There’s no denying retinol’s powerful antiaging properties, but the K-beauty approach uses a lower percentage, so the skin stays healthier and less irritated. Retinol is highly efficacious without causing unnecessary damage.
5. Centella asiatica
[The year] 2021 is less about what’s ‘buzzy’ and more about what’s tried-and-true, with a focus on calming the skin. Centella asiatica [an herb grown in Asia, known for being anti-inflammatory]—or ‘cica’—is huge right now. With everyone dealing with the prolonged stress of the pandemic and dreaded ‘maskne,’ soothing irritated, angry skin seems to be at the forefront of people’s minds. Cica is the ingredient that everyone wants to add to their routine.
6. Clean beauty
More brands are developing products free of chemical additives, artificial ingredients, and fragrance. Products will be even more gentle with effective plant-based ingredients, and many brands are becoming vegan as well. Consumers are more aware of what they put on their skin.
7. Pre-, pro-, and postbiotics
This year, inner and outer wellness brands and products will gain more popularity. For example, brands that focus on pre-, pro-, and postbiotics; microbiome-friendly skin care; and consumable supplements, which benefit both the skin and the gut.
“K-beauty will shift more towards a holistic approach, linking skin care and internal health. I take probiotic supplements for my bouts of eczema and I love using K-beauty products with fermented ingredients. I regularly use 107—it uses aged [seven- and 10-year-old] vinegar [that promotes good gut health]. Their vinegar tastes delicious with honey!”
8. Flexible minimalism
A few years back, we were oversaturated with the ‘10-step Korean skin-care routine.’ The ‘skin-care diet’ [using fewer products and steps] that followed was a pushback against that, but it was too restrictive for those who wanted more results than could be attained with just the basics.
Flexible minimalism is a focus on clean and simple product lines, which makes customizing your routine easier. There will also be a push towards pared-back lists of ingredients. Single and minimal ingredients are appealing because of their simplicity and high concentration of the hero component.
9. At-home indulgences
Skin care has a functional element—it has to work and deliver results—but I expect products that provide meditative, soothing, and spa-like moments to take off in a big way. They can transport you mentally and emotionally to another headspace.
10. Hyphenate and hybrid skin care
We’ve started seeing ‘skipcare’ as a K-beauty trend, where the focus is on a pared-down, simple, and minimalist routine. We will be seeing more efficient and effective multitasking and versatile products—what we like to call ‘hyphenates’ or ‘hybrid’ skin care.
11. Skin detoxifying and barrier strengthening
“The belief that ‘skin is a reflection of your mental state’ comes from Korea, and growing up, my mother emphasized this to me many times. We’ll see more barrier-strengthening ingredients that boost immunity, such as mushrooms, plus detoxifying herbs including mugwort and ginger. Ceramides [which form a protective layer to help prevent moisture loss and visible skin damage] will make a comeback too.”
12. A boost in body care
In Korea, many body-care rituals originate from the bathhouse culture, where milk treatments are slathered on the face and body, and baths are steeped with skin-beneficial ingredients, such as green tea and probiotics. During a difficult year, personal self-care has taken on new importance for many, so we expect to see the definition to include all of the skin, from head to toe.