“Beautiful ravers” is how Hannah Murray, lead makeup artist for the Chloé show, described the silver strobes of paint sweeping the models’ eyelids in Paris. The brand was one of many that leaned into metallic eye details of all colors for Spring 2023: Batsheva went for blotchy blues, while Dries Van Noten played up chrome gold circling the eye.
FAUX FACIAL PIERCINGS
Suddenly, having more than one ear piercing is nothing to feel edgy about. The Spring 2023 runways were surprisingly in agreement about face piercings and modifications. At Rebecca Minkoff, models wore more common dermal, septum and bridge piercings, while drag-queen and special-effects makeup artist Alexis Stone left no facial skin untouched at Balenciaga, with spikes protruding from cheeks, studs lining eyebrows and even bulging forehead prosthetics.
’70S VOLUME AND CUTS
Hairstyles from the ’70s have once again infiltrated the runway. This season, however, the looks went beyond the Gen-Z revived shag and mullet trends of the last two years: We saw ultimate volume — from rounded natural hair at Susan Alexandra and harsh blunt bobs and bangs at Paul Costello, to sleek Cher-inspired length at Versace and feathered, brow-skimming bangs at Prabal Gurung.
There are few eye-makeup staples as storied as the winged cat-eye liner. For Spring 2023, that classic style was turned up to full volume, with thicker wings outstretching beyond the end tip of the brows, and some even reaching towards the hairline. Whether covered in glitter like at Halpern or smudged out for a smoke effect at Off-White, the fullness of the wing was the key.
If there’s one daring beauty look that pops in and out of vogue with regularity — on the runways and off — it’s bleached eyebrows. And while the full-on bleach look was surely popular across the Spring 2023 shows, we also saw the rise of a less drastic lightened brow, just a shade or two lighter than the model’s natural hair color. Think: less shock value, more your-face-but-better, allowing the brows to blend in with glossy, fresh skin.
What once seemed reserved for only the most tuned-in nail art enthusiasts is now proving to have a place on the hands of just about anyone who wants them. From molding gel bubbles to dangling chains, this season’s runways confirmed that 3-D nail adornments will only become more widespread — whether you’d like to ease in with entry-level designs or opt for the most extravagant.
Best Overall: NARS Cosmetics Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base
What We Love: It has nourishing, gentle ingredients that give it a smooth, balm-like quality.
What We Don’t Love: The applicator’s handle is a bit too long for our liking.
This NARS option is one of the most popular eyeshadow primers around, and it’s for good reason. It comes in four different shades, ranging from light to dark — so there’s an option for almost every skin tone. The best part is that it’s super blendable and easy to manipulate, so even if you don’t have a perfect match, a little elbow grease will help get you there. “It felt like a smooth balm, so it was so easy to blend in,” our tester says. “Ultimately, it’s a no-fuss primer that works well.”
One thing we wish we could change: The applicator’s handle. “I would make the handle shorter; it feels really long and too intense for how simple the product is,” she explains. “It feels like half of the packaging is an applicator, so I’d like more product in place of the larger handle.”
Price at time of publish: $45
Size: 0.26 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Number of Shades: 4
Best for Oily Eyelids: Ilia Natural Brightening Eye Primer
What We Love: This eyeshadow primer is derived from natural ingredients and won’t cause irritation for those with sensitive eyes.
What We Don’t Love: It disappears into skin right away.
If you have oily eyelids, you know just how frustrating it is for your eyeshadow to slip right off, minutes after application. This clean eyeshadow primer from ILIA, which uses natural ingredients, is weightless and won’t contribute to slippage. In fact, thanks to botanicals like rosehip oil, arnica, and jojoba, this primer actually soaks up excess oil and offers long-lasting hold. And, as you may have been able to guess, it serves as an illuminating base for makeup that can be worn on its own for a glowy boost or under shadow, but whichever you choose, you can trust that it’ll stay put.
One thing to note: It’s very serum-like, so it blends into the skin right away. While this is a great thing for some, our tester found it a little confusing. “It soaked right into my skin after I applied it, so I wasn’t totally sure if it was still there,” our tester explains. “But, I was surprised to find that it certainly was and it made my eyeshadow look more vibrant and smudge-proof.”
Price at time of publish: $24
Size: 0.14 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Number of Shades: 1
Best for Contact Lens-Wearers: SEPHORA COLLECTION Beauty Amplifier Eye Shadow Primer
What We Love: This eyeshadow primer has been ophthalmologist-tested and proven safe for those with sensitive eyes.
What We Don’t Love: The applicator isn’t very useful.
When you wear contact lenses, you avoid anything that weighs down your eyelids — it’s just plain uncomfortable. Allow us to offer you a solution: This lightweight primer from Sephora. The formula contains chamomile extract to reduce redness and irritation on the lid, so even if you get a little in your lenses, you won’t be in too much pain. Slipping and sliding likely won’t be an issue though, since it’s designed to dry down, stay put, and leave behind a flawless, translucent finish.
Although the applicator tip is easy to use and manipulate, the tester found that it’s better suited for dispensing product, rather than using it to apply the primer directly to the eye. “A little goes a long way, so to avoid using too much I’d recommend tapping a few dots onto a finger and then rubbing it onto your eyelid instead of applying it directly,” she explains.
Price at time of publish: $13
Size: 0.20 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Number of Shades: 1
Best Smoothing: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Amplifying Eye Primer
What We Love: The lightweight one-color-fits-all shade is designed to be used on all skin tones.
What We Don’t Love: It goes on very light, so you may need to layer it on to get more coverage.
Rihanna’s beauty line Fenty Beauty is all about inclusivity, and this eyeshadow primer is no different. The product has a light pink tone that dries down clear all skin tones. According to our tester, it has a creamy, off-white color when you first put it on, but then, over time, it blends into your natural skin tone. “I couldn’t even see it after a few minutes,” she explains. “I didn’t notice it underneath my eyeshadow either.”
The weightless formula offers light coverage, which means you might need to layer on some more to get your lids completely covered. “It took a little more product than I thought I’d need, but it went on smoothly, no matter how much I added,” our tester says. “Regardless, after applying a hefty amount of eyeshadow, I didn’t notice any creasing and barely felt like I had anything on my eyelids.”
Price at time of publish: $22
Size: 0.27 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Number of Shades: 1
Best Brightening: Rare Beauty Always An Optimist Weightless Eye Primer
What We Love: This no-fuss primer brightens eyelids and acts like a glue for eyeshadow.
What We Don’t Love: It only comes in one shade.
Using this eyeshadow primer is as effortless as it gets. A little goes a long way — just a dab is all you need to brighten and prep your eyelids. It goes on thick and creamy, but once you buff it out (your finger is the perfect tool), it turns velvety smooth and powdery, making it the perfect base for pigment to stick to. “It smoothed easily and provided consistent coverage across my entire eyelid,” our tester explains. “The tinted peachy color immediately brightened up my eye area, disguising the bluish veins I have on my lids.”
That’s not all, thanks to its unique tube shape, you won’t have to worry about it rolling around your bathroom sink countertop. “Tubes usually roll around my vanity if not propped up against something,” our tester says. “This tube’s flat edge ensures that it won’t roll onto the floor or potentially break.”
Price at time of publish: $18
Size: 0.10 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Number of Shades: 1
Best Hydrating: MILK MAKEUP Hydro Grip Eyeshadow and Concealer Primer
What We Love: The primer’s gel-like formula is loaded with skin-loving ingredients and goes on completely clear.
What We Don’t Love: The product is entirely made of plastic.
If you’re looking for a completely clear and totally clean eyeshadow primer, consider the Hydro Grip Eyeshadow and Concealer Primer from Milk Makeup your match. Despite being loaded with skin-loving ingredients like aloe water, niacinamide, hemp-derived cannabis seed extract, and hyaluronic acid, the formula is crystal clear — and dries down that way too. “It adds no color to the eyelid, that way you know the only color showing up will be the color of the eyeshadow and nothing else,” our tester explains. “Plus, the product is very light; it’s the perfect medium of creaminess and liquidity.”
Our tester loved the fact that the product was entirely cruelty-free, but if she could change anything, it would be to ensure that the packaging used less plastic. “This product itself is perfect, I just wish the bottle could be made of recycled plastic bottles to eliminate waste,” she adds.
Price at time of publish: $32
Size: 0.29 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Number of Shades: 1
Best Waterproof: Laura Mercier Eye Basics Primer
What We Love: The primer comes in several shades, including color-correcting hues like blue and orange.
What We Don’t Love: It can feel thick upon application.
Most other eyeshadow primers on this list are subtle, skin-colored shades. This one from Laura Mercier, on the other hand, has a few unexpected ones. It comes in a range of beiges, plus a color-correcting blue and orange. The pigmented options were designed to help reduce the appearance of dark circles, spots, and redness to create a more even base for eyeshadow. If the idea of a tint turns you off, don’t worry, our tester swears it’s undetectable underneath eyeshadow. “I was worried when the product left a tint behind, but once I applied a light shadow, it wasn’t visible at all,” she admits.
If there’s anything to keep in mind, it’s that a little goes a long way. If you apply too much, like our tester did, it can feel thick. But, after a little buffing and blending, she noted that it worked just fine.
Price at time of publish: $45
Size: 0.18 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Number of Shades: 6
Best Longwearing: Benefit Cosmetics Stay Don’t Stray Eyeshadow Primer
What We Love: This formula has anti-aging properties and even works on the undereye area.
What We Don’t Love: There is only one shade.
Noticing your under-eye concealer fading by the end of the day? Try using this long-lasting primer from Benefit. The dual-action formula can be applied both on the eyelids and the under-eye area, preventing eyeshadow color from fading and concealer from creasing. It melts into the skin with ease and dries down to a matte finish.
What’s more, it is also infused with sodium hyaluronate to help hydrate the skin, along with vitamins C and E to help diminish signs of aging — meaning it’s effective as both a makeup and a skincare product.
Aside from the impressive formula, it comes with a wand that makes blending a breeze. “The wand gives you options: I could either apply it with my finger, a brush, or straight onto my eye,” our tester, Senior Beauty Commerce Editor Shannon Bauer shares. “It has just enough pigment to cover dark spots and redness, but not so much that it looks cakey or requires a perfect color match.”
Price at time of publish: $43
Size: 0.33 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Number of Shades: 1
Best Clean Formula: bareMinerals Prime Time Eyelid Primer
What We Love: This eyeshadow primer combats greasy eyelids by soaking up excess oil.
What We Don’t Love: We wish it was bigger.
Excess oil is one of the main culprits behind eye makeup slippage. So, if you have oily eyelids, check out this primer from Bare Minerals — it’s formulated specifically to prevent oil from ruining your eye makeup. According to our tester, the primer goes on watery, but once it dries, it leaves behind a smooth, silky base for eyeshadow. “To my surprise, it covered all of my little eyelid creases,” she says. Besides preventing any creasing from occurring, the primer also helps eyeshadow pigment stay intense and true-to-color all day long. We especially love that it’s oil- and fragrance-free, as well as allergy- and dermatologist-tested, so you don’t have to worry about irritation.
Price at time of publish: $19
Size: 0.1 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Number of Shades: 1
What to Keep in Mind
The main purpose of using an eyeshadow primer is to make your eyeshadow last longer, so an effective primer shouldn’t budge for 12 to 24 hours. The consistency of the product can also play into its lasting power. If a primer is more tacky, it can provide a ton of grip for the eyeshadow and keep the shadow in place longer, acting like a glue. No matter what the occasion is, how long you intend on wearing eye makeup, or how dramatic your eye look is, the goal is to avoid needing touch ups and a long-lasting primer (like Benefit Stay Don’t Stray Eyeshadow Primer) will ensure this.
On top of keeping your eyeshadow in place and preventing creasing or smudging, a good eyeshadow primer will also maintain the color of your eyeshadow or make it pop even more. Look for a primer that will increase the vibrancy of your shadow, like Ruby Kisses 24 HR Eyeshadow Magic Primer.
According to cosmetic chemist Julie Pefferman, primers for eye makeup are pretty similar to concealers and other face makeup. “They’re usually water-resistant and offer long-wear capabilities all while ensuring safety and comfort for the eyes,” she explains. When it comes to specific ingredients, Pefferman says that in order to get a crease-less, smudge-proof canvas, silicones are the way to go. “Silicones help the eyeshadow adhere to the eyelid and offer a ton of spreadability without weighing anything down,” she says. “Many of my esthetician friends swear by the NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base, which makes sense given that the percentage of silicones makes it super spreadable and gives it that long-lasting film,” she shares. But, if you’re looking for a silicone-free option, she recommends the Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Eyeshadow and Concealer Primer, which works just as well, just without the added ingredients.
Products: – Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter – Make Up For Ever ULTRA HD foundation, concealer, & loose powder – Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit – MAC Cosmetics blush in Peachtwist, highlight in Double Gleam, BlackTrack liquid eyeliner, lipstick in Velvet Teddy, Clear Lip Glass, & Give Me Sun bronzer – Benefit Cosmetics Precisely My Brow pencil & Gimme Brow setting gel – ColourPop Blue Moon & California Love Eyeshadow Palettes – Sigma Beauty brushes.
(Disclaimer: I do have Teanna’s consent to post the images on designated websites including Facebook, Instagram, WordPress, and use in my digital portfolio.)
Naomi Campbell is in between rehearsals for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee pageant. She has just returned from Cannes Film Festival, recently celebrated her 52nd birthday, and is fresh from shooting the campaign for Pat McGrath Labs’s Divine Skin Rose 001 The Essence, with a noted photographer – and British Vogue favorite – Steven Meisel. She is on a very hectic schedule. Constantly traveling, at events, and in front of the camera, she is never anything less than dedicated when it comes to the subject of her skin.
“When I was younger and I started in the business as a model, I wore as much make-up as possible,” she says. “Almost like a mask. Now, I feel completely the opposite. I feel as though I’ve come to realize that it’s better to wear as little make-up as possible. So you can see you. I don’t want to be behind a mask. I want people to see me. And to feel me. And to see my expressions.”
Seen fresh-faced and make-up-free in the latest Pat McGrath Labs campaign, Campbell perfectly illustrates the mantra of British Vogue’s beauty editor at large and make-up maestro, Pat McGrath: “Divine make-up begins with divine skin.”
Campbell, who was photographed with her baby daughter for the March 2022 issue of British Vogue, is aware of how motherhood has heightened her perception of the importance of self-care. “Obviously I want to take care of myself because I want to be around for my daughter as much as I can, you know, but I was already on this track – I just think that being a mother has enhanced it.”
“It’s better to have skin that looks like it doesn’t need copious amounts of makeup,” she explains. “I think if you take care of and nourish your skin, you won’t need as much make-up.” The supermodel is not glowing, something she points out is intentional: “I love to shine. I love skin to look, hydrated, dewy, and oily… Some people don’t like that. But I think you look better that way. As you get older, less is best – and it’s better to have a hydrated face, as opposed to a matte base.”
McGrath stands as a witness to Campbell’s luminosity. “Naomi was glowing, inside and out, as she arrived to shoot Divine Skin: Rose 001 The Essence with the legendary Steven Meisel,” the make-up artist and mogul says. “Her beauty and joy filled the room, and her skin absolutely glowed on camera. She’s been using The Essence for more than a year, so it was truly breathtaking to see how divine she looked on film. Naomi’s beauty is without compare – what makes her special, and the ultimate McGrath muse, is her loyalty, unparalleled work ethic, and sublime soul,” McGrath goes on. “It is an understatement to say that I consider myself blessed to call her a friend. To be a part of her legacy as a trailblazer in the worlds of beauty and fashion is an honor.”
Campbell also uses the word family when she talks about working with McGrath. “It was a coming together for us [to do this campaign], and it was so special to get to work with family. I am so proud of what Pat has done and created. It’s not just about putting on make-up, it is the transformation of people’s lives that she has changed through her make-up and her brand.”
While bronzer has never abandoned its promise of a luster unencumbered by seasonal shifts, these real-world recommendations reveal a host of additional benefits, from mattifying effects to skin-nourishing ingredients. Nevertheless, a seamless glow is always the goal. “It doesn’t look like powder, there’s no texture left on the skin—yet you have this perfect color of a sun-kissed complexion,” says the makeup artist Violette,who founded her own brand of Parisian beauty staples in 2021 and later signed on as Guerlain’s creative director of makeup. With this lineup–including Violette’s classic Terracotta, new brands rooted in inclusivity, and some seriously chic packaging—there’s no shortage of radiance.
Haus Labs by Lady Gaga Power Sculpt Velvet Bronzer
This formula from the recently revamped Haus Labs gets a skin-friendly boost from plant-derived squalane as well as fermented arnica oil—an anti-inflammatory ingredient long favored by founder Lady Gaga. “I especially love that it’s talc-free, non comedogenic, cruelty-free, and vegan,” says Rokael Lizama, noting the formulation’s seamless blendability. He recommends “applying it first in the crease of the eye, then warming the sides of the forehead and the cheekbone area to create a monochromatic sun-kissed look.”
Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer
Designer Asia Hall, behind the fashion-tech brand Neon Cowboys, appreciates this formula’s sheer quality and broad shade range. “For our New York Fashion Week runway debut, our makeup lead Nick Lennon used the Fenty cream bronzer for all our models, which was quite impressive since we had a very diverse cast,” she says. The designer pairs her LED face jewelry with a bronzed flush to emphasize her high cheekbones.
Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sun-Kissed Powder
A master of soft glam and avant-garde makeup looks alike, makeup artist Tyron Machhausen understands how to dial it up with little effort. This powder bronzer, adorned with tiny double Cs in a classic compact, is one of his secret weapons. “The texture is so silky,” says the Chanel artist, explaining that he applies it “where the sun would naturally hit: forehead, cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, and the chin.” Praising the formula’s easy blendability, Machhausen leans into the oversize packaging, using a large Kabuki brush to quickly dust not just the face but the whole body.
Merit Bronze Balm Sheer Sculpting Bronzer
Makeup artist Jenna Menard, who has created looks for Kerry Washington and Kate Winslet, understands the importance of shade-matching when it comes to bronzer. She prefers this cream formula from Merit for its “neutral base, which means no orange tones—just a natural, warm, believable glow.” The vegan bronzer delivers fatty acids to keep skin moisturized while steering clear of ingredients that trigger acne. But the best part, for Menard, is its buildability. The sheer formula allows you to “take your time getting to the right hint of warmth for your look,” she says.
Westman Atelier Super Loaded Tinted Cream Highlighter
For Rebecca Zhou, co-founder and CEO of the body-care brand Soft Services, this ultra-moisturizing formula—infused with hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil, and caper extract—is an instant ticket to sun-kissed skin. It “goes on really nicely with a brush or with fingers when I’m on the go,” says Zhou, who pairs the shade Peau de Soleil with a flush of Peau de Pêche. Her secret: “Dab a bit on the bridge of your nose to give the effect of catching a bit too much sun.”
Dior Forever Natural Bronze Bronzing Powder
This formula, neatly packed in a chic quilted cushion case, is Dior beauty ambassador Sabrina Bedrani’s go-to for a few reasons. “First, I love that the formula is 95% mineral origin, but what I love most is the texture,” says Bedrani, behind Sofia Vergara’s radiant glam for the 2022 Emmys. Infused with wild pansy flower extract, “it blends easily onto the skin, warms up the face without looking too powdery, and gives a very natural sun-kissed look,” the makeup artist says. “It’s also a great product when doing men’s grooming, as they tend to not like the feeling of having makeup on their faces.”
Simihaze Beauty Sun Wash Bronzing Powder
Zizi Donohoe’s aesthetic sensibility led her to this formula from Simihaze. “The glossy red magnetic packaging is to die for,” says the designer who also moonlights as a model. This bronzing powder comes in two finishes—matte (infused with kokum seed butter) and pearlescent (with a flicker of diamond powder)—which Donohoe uses conjointly for an effect that’s “glowy without looking like a glazed donut.” She also applauds the lighter shade range for working wonderfully with her pale skin. “It’s a perfect, easy, everyday look,” she says, adding that a dusting on “eyelids and temples” amps things up for a night out.
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Glow Setting Powder
Carolina Gonzalez, the makeup artist behind Sabrina Carpenter’s nearly glass skin, has found a favorite in this formula. It’s technically a setting powder, she notes, but “it’s so multi-use, and the shade range is additionally perfect for bronzing.” The microfine pigment “buffs out flawlessly and can be layered, all the while adding a radiant and effortless glow,” adds Gonzalez, part of Armani’s international artist collective. The built-in brush and minimal compact make it an on-the-go companion for touch-ups throughout the day.
Prados Beauty The Matriarch Bronzer
“I love Prados Beauty because it’s an inclusive and uplifting brand that inspires people through the lens of Indigenous communities,” says Thirteen Lune cofounder Nyakio Grieco, behind the recently launched skin-care brand Relevant. She favors this formula because of its versatility. “Depending on the day and occasion, I like to wear this bronzer in different ways,” she says, opting for a light dusting anywhere the light hits for a daytime glow and focusing on dimension for a night out.
Clarins Bronzing Compact
“Whether I want to sculpt or just add a sun kiss, this bronzer works perfectly and always looks natural,” says makeup artist Adam Burrell, known for keeping California girls glowing (Winnie Harlow, Khloe Kardashian). “It features the Clarins Anti-Pollution Complex, which helps minimize damage from environmental pollution that leads to premature signs of aging,” he says, alluding to a trifecta of powerhouse botanicals that includes succory dock-cress, white horehound, and furcellaria. Another trio that makes this bronzer great: the compact’s three side-by-side shades, which allow for customizable color.
Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream
After a makeup artist introduced her to this Chanel formula, model Eniko Mihalik went home and immediately ordered one for herself. “I was impressed with how natural the color is—it is not an orangey shade,” Mihalik says. “Nobody is orange.” Using a large sponge, she likes to apply it to her face and body, giving her fair complexion a “healthy summer glow” by way of light-reflecting pigments. It’s a sentiment echoed by drag artist Violet Chachki, part of the Farfetch Beauty Global Collective. “It gives me that perfect, natural, sun-kissed look, and the formula is smooth, extremely blendable and buildable,” says Chachki, preferring this cream-gel hybrid for the way it works with other products in her arsenal.
Guerlain Terracotta Sunkissed Natural Bronzer
“In the winter, Guerlain’s Terracotta acts as my best friend,” says makeup artist Violette, explaining how this argan oil–infused bronzer perks up her olive skin. She prefers “nothing too technical” in terms of application, dusting it across the nose, forehead, and cheeks, along with a swirl of her own Bisou blush. “When I do this, I look fresh—like I napped and went on a vacation!”
Best Overall: Makeup By Mario Soft Pop Blush Stick
What We Love: There is a brush included on the other end of the stick.
What We Don’t Love: This is a popular item with shades going in and out of stock often.
After sculpting and shaping the beauty looks of Kim Kardashian — makeup artist, Mario Dedivanovic, finally launched his own line in 2020, called Makeup by Mario. The collection is impressive with a range of eyeshadows, contour products, brow pencils, and more. But it’s the blush sticks that really stood out above the rest and received high marks to earn the best overall spot.
All cream blushes could be described as creamy (duh), but this one in particular had a smooth, buttery texture that blended effortlessly. Plus, all the application methods worked with this formula. “It came with a blending brush, which was super helpful to get the product onto your skin evenly, then buff it out across your cheeks. You can also easily blend with your fingertips or a damp makeup sponge,” one tester said. Just a small swipe goes a long way as the product is deceptively pigmented and comes in five shades that would suit a range of skin tones, like deep plum, bright raspberry pink, and pale mauve.
Shades: 6 | Finish: Dewy | Size: 0.37 ounces
Best Value: MILANI Cheek Kiss Cream Blush
What We Love: This is incredibly pigmented — a dab goes a long way.
What We Don’t Love: The cream has a slick, almost tacky feeling, when first applied.
We all remember the horrors of drugstore blushes with chalky finishes sold in only two shades. Now, the aisles of your favorite impulse spot are filled with lots of hidden gems, like this Milani Cheek Kiss Cream Blush. The bright colors in clear packaging look like little cellophane wrapped candies — a sweet treat for your cheeks.
Now, your first thought upon seeing a blush compact might be, But a stick is easier to apply. And while that certainly can be true, this pick is still worth trying: The balmy texture glides across cheekbones with very little pressure. It can still be applied with fingers by tapping it onto cheeks or with a damp beauty sponge to blend. It shines as a minimal makeup product: “It’s very light and dries down quickly without leaving any feeling on your skin once it’s set,” one tester said. They did caution that it initially had a wet, bordering on slimy texture, but that faded quickly.
Best Splurge: Victoria Beckham Beauty Cheeky Posh Cream Blush Stick
What We Love: This blush applies like a cream but sets (and lasts) like a powder.
What We Don’t Love: The tube is fairly small for the price.
This fancy stick is on the pricier end, but what did you expect from the beauty brand creator, Posh herself? The unique tortoise shell tube would look oh-so-nice sitting on a vanity. But aside from appearance, the tip of the blusher is smaller than a typical cream blush, which allows for a targeted application as you decide where and how much to apply.
The consistency starts out velvety, then as you blend it has a powdery finish. It’s the best of both worlds: the dew of a cream, but the lasting power of a powder. It was also easy to layer on top of itself for more oomph without clinging or streaking. I love that it’s a buildable formula with a very natural flush on the first layer and more bang from the second.
Best Stick: Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Cream Blush
What We Love: Oily skin types may appreciate the more matte formula of this blush.
What We Don’t Love: The shades contain shimmer, which is not everyone’s jam.
Anastasia Beverly Hills is well-known as being the expert of brows, but if you haven’t tried their cream blush, it may be worth adding to your arsenal. There is a synthetic brush on the other end to buff out color after depositing onto cheeks. “It really melted into the skin and felt lightweight overall,” one tester noted. The chubby stick is available in five shades—light and deep peach, light and deep pink, and a rosy brown—all with a bit of sparkle. “The shimmer added a nice radiance to my cheeks, so the finish was very naturally glowy and beautiful.”
Shades: 5 | Finish: Radiant | Size: 0.28 ounces
Best Gel: Maybelline New York Cheek Heat Gel Cream Blush
What We Love: The gel texture looks fresh and dewy on your skin.
What We Don’t Love: This is a very sheer, watery texture that is best applied with your fingers. Brush enthusiasts may find it more difficult to work with.
Maybelline New York Cheek Heat Gel Cream Blush brings the heat with this launch. Well, not literally, but the water-based blush does give you that fireside flushed-effect. The product felt weightless on cheeks, one said, “This glides onto skin and is not sticky or heavy at all.”
While the lightweight texture was a point in the pro column, it is also very light in pigment. “It’s good for a dewy glow, but would be hard to do a brightly colored cheek. I needed to do a few swipes to really see the color and that means using up a lot of product, and opening yourself up to squeezing too much out of the tube.” However at less than $6 a pop, it’d be hard to beat this price point.
Shades: 6 | Finish: Dewy | Size: 0.27 ounces
Best Multipurpose: Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek Cream Blush Stick
What We Love: This handy little stick can be swiped over lips and cheeks.
What We Don’t Love: The oils in this hydrating product may cause it to slip off oily cheeks.
The versatility of this clean blush made it a fierce competitor for a winners list. The formula contains mango butter, avocado oil, and apricot oil for a hydrating boost and gives a reflective quality to your cheeks. And if careful selection of ingredients is a priority for you, this pick is vegan, paraben-free, and considered “Clean at Sephora.” The thick stick is also dual-purpose as it can be swiped across lips and cheeks, and the shades were developed to look great on both areas. One tester was “in love with how this one feels.” “The texture is lightweight and so comfortable, and I actually think it’ll stick to the skin to last all day. It looks and feels really natural,” she said.
This product also has the second largest shade range with eight options to choose from, including a lush berry tone and an uber pale baby pink. The end result: “I feel glowy and fresh. Pigment is just right and doesn’t need a lot of building to make it look good. It’s very natural and good for any occasion,” one tester raved. This sounds like an easy add to cart.
Best Natural Finish: Rare Beauty Stay Vulnerable Melting Cream Blush
What We Love: It’s easy to apply with your fingers for the most realistic, skin-like finish.
What We Don’t Love: If you’re looking for a pigmented blush, this is not the one for you. This cream is a sheer formula.
Selena Gomez launched her makeup line Rare Beauty in 2020, because she wanted a brand that felt authentic. “I just felt like the beauty space started to get really crowded with a lot of unrealistic messages. I had a moment where I was like, ‘I’m not a makeup guru or the most incredible makeup artist, but I want to get involved,'” she previously told InStyle. And while authenticity and celebrity beauty lines can be a hard pairing, the actress is making a go of it. One of the best products in the collection, in my opinion, are her blushes. The liquid blush received rave reviews, while the cream blush was a winner with customers.
I have to say that the hype is real. This feels incredibly creamy; your finger just glides across the top. Plus, for how dewy it looks, I was surprised that it didn’t feel overly heavy or sticky. Aptly named, this blush quite literally melts into your skin. Other than having a really pretty flush, it wasn’t obvious where I had applied this blush in the best way possible. It’d be my ideal low maintenance makeup choice and looked good on top of bare skin without any concealer or foundation.
Shades: 5 | Finish: Satin | Size: 0.17 ounces
Best Shade Range: Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush
What We Love: Although it starts off very sheer, the colors are buildable for more intensity.
What We Don’t Love: There is a very small amount of product in each compact.
Leave it to a pioneer of inclusivity, Queen RiRi, to launch a product with an expansive color collection. While most blushes will have a peach, pink, and berry tone, Fenty Beauty took that a whole leap further and included colors such as violet, tangerine, and a poppy red. The creams start off sheer — so don’t be afraid to choose one of the fashion tones — for a subtle take on bold color.
One tester appreciated the no nonsense, buildable formula, saying “It was pretty easy to work the product into my skin with my fingertips and blend it around my cheekbone. It’s definitely a buildable option that doesn’t look blotchy when layered.” The texture was also great; “It’s not sticky or heavy, which is a plus, and also didn’t go on spotty nor settle into pores,” confirmed the tester.
Cream blushes by their very nature are a dewier product. That can be a godsend for dry skin types craving more moisture in their products, and a nightmare for oily types afraid of looking like a grease slick by noon. Consider if you want to layer your cream blush with other products (specifically powders to mattify) or if you just want a supple wet cheek glow, says Brittany Whitfield, an NYC-based makeup artist.
Cream blushes span the spectrum from opaque pigmentation to sheer washes of color. Decide if you want a barely-there tint that’s easy to dab on with your fingers or a product with the impact that may take more finesse to blend out. In general, cream blushes are often more forgiving than say a powder, since it sinks into the skin for a natural-appearing flush.
Choosing makeup shades can have a lot of factors that come into play: what does your outfit look like, the colors in the rest of your makeup, and your unique undertones. And while it’s an artform, so there are no wrong answers when it comes to your blush shade, there are guidelines that can help you find the most flattering tone.
“I like to choose an undertone similar to the client’s natural lip shade,” Whitfield says. “It also depends on how clients like their skin. If they love bronzer, they’ll tend to gravitate to warmer colors on the face — but if they’re a contour girl they might feel more comfortable with cooler undertones.” When in doubt, the easiest way to pick a blush color is to match the shade of your natural flush. Think: the color your cheeks become after a long walk.
Products: – Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter – Make Up For Ever ULTRA HD foundation, concealer, & loose powder – Anastasia Contour Kit – MAC Cosmetics blush in Gingerly, highlight in Double Gleam, BlackTrack liquid eyeliner, lipstick in Velvet Teddy, Clear Lip Glass, & Give Me Sun bronzer – Benefit Precisely My Brow pencil & Gimme Brow setting gel – ColourPopAn Emerald Away eyeshadow palette – Sigma brushes.
(Disclaimer: I do have Keanna’s consent to post the images on designated websites including Facebook, Instagram, WordPress, and use in my digital portfolio.)
If you’re nearing the brink when it comes to all things “core,” then hold on for just a moment longer. Mermaidcore is here to glossify your beauty routine—and it’s a trend primed to stay put for the foreseeable future.
Blame it on Disney’s forthcoming remake of The Little Mermaid (or could it be our longstanding obsession with all things wild swimming?), but there were notable nods to the underwater world on the spring 2023 runways. Aquatic hair and makeup were everywhere.
Most obvious were the oceanic shades of blue (from cobalt to cerulean) and seaweed greens that were diffused in different ways around models’s eyes, as per Chet Lo, Off-White, and Etro—not so wearable, but beautifully ethereal. Meanwhile, at Jil Sander and Chloé, iridescent silver shimmers were swooshed over eyelids and, like scales, glistened in the light.
Wet-look hair was de rigueur, from Victoria Beckham’s grunge slicked look to Nensi Dojaka and Dries Van Noten’s damp salty strands, all of which were given an undone finish—an underwater existence is about much more than precise hair, after all.
Models walked the aptly named Blumarine catwalk with longer-than-long mermaid lengths, both braided and straight, which ebbed and flowed like jellyfish tentacles. Botticelli waves—yes, like those belonging to the famous Venus, resplendent in her shell—were also very much present.
And, of course, skin took on a glossy, lacquered look at many shows, too, with skin-care brands becoming even more of a focal point during the backstage prep pre-show. Hydrated and plump, extra dewy skin was oft paired with a sun-burnished bronze glow, like at JW Anderson, where models could well have been lying on the rocks all day à la Ariel.
When in doubt, keep it minimal. “Some of the trends I’m seeing for makeup both on the red carpet and on the runways are fresh makeup looks,” says celebrity makeup artist Vincent Oquendo. You can accomplish this either through investing in impeccable skin makeup, or keeping it minimal with easy skincare.
“The sunburn or [TikTok’s viral] W blush hack for one is something makeup artists have done for years to mimic a healthy glow, and is becoming popular with consumers now as well,” says celebrity makeup artist Kale Teter. Just swipe on some cream or powder blush–then add some more. And some more.
Making a statement has never been easier. By just adding a few stark lines with either a pencil or liquid eyeliner, you can become the coolest kid on the block in no time. Bonus points if you use a fun color like blue or pink to really make the look pop.
The song “Teenage Dirtbag” is still all over my TikTok, and a return to our Tumblr grunge era is long overdue. Channel season three Jenny Humphrey by layering on black eyeliner, then smoking it out with powder eyeshadows.
After years of forgoing lipstick altogether, it’s finally time to paint on your brightest lip. If it’s a long-wear formula, even better, but it’s back to traditional lipsticks this winter. Because nothing cuts through the cold quite like a bold lip.
Whether you were born with naturally fluffy lashes or you could use a little help in that department, this is one of the easiest looks to achieve this winter. Just grab a strong-hold gel, swipe up, and you’re done.
“I think we’re all kind of yearning for something a little playful and joyful,” says Teter. “It’s about having more fun now.” To achieve that joyous makeup look we’re all craving, lean into color. A single-toned, bright eyeshadow is an easy way to make a statement.
We’re still not over the Euphoria season finale–or the beauty looks. A statement color, glowing skin, and graphic eyeliner are not going out of style anytime soon. And don’t forget to add on your face gems–they’re a must-have (trust us).
Bleached eyebrows are the new breakup bangs, you heard it here first. And you don’t need to be an artist with a collection of vintage jewelry to pull it off. As long as you wear them with confidence, no one will bat an eye. The best part? The worse it looks, the better it looks.
Seeking simpler times? The ’60s are an endless source of style inspiration, and this winter, let’s commit to the cat-eye like never before. Instead of a subtle swipe, go bold with the liner. A Mia Farrow-inspired pixie cut would pair perfectly.