Parisian make-up artist Violette’s top secret for how to apply foundation? Execute it without a trace. “I want people to say, ‘Oh my god, your skin looks amazing!’ not, ‘Your foundation is so great,’” she explains. And while finding the perfect formula is half the battle, once you have it, making like Houdini and ensuring it vanishes into your complexion is just as crucial. Here, three in-demand make-up artists share their fine-tuned tips for how to apply foundation and achieve that ever-elusive, second-skin finish.
Create a glowing canvas
Clean and moisturised skin is a no-brainer, but to really supercharge your glow, begin with a hydrating mask and follow it up with a lymphatic facial massage. When make-up artist Nina Park works with clients such as Zoë Kravitz and Bella Hadid, she begins with a sheet mask specifically targeted to their skin type, with ingredients such as rose to combat oiliness, aloe to treat dryness, and green tea to soothe inflammation. After masking, gently massage your moisturiser into the skin to boost circulation and reduce puffiness. “It creates a natural flush that makes the face look more awake,” says make-up artist Kira Nasrat, who helps give Jessica Alba that perpetually luminous complexion.
Prime as needed
To prime or not to prime? It’s an eternal question for amateurs and pros alike. While Violette typically skips the extra base step in the interest of using as little product as possible, when applied correctly, it can prolong foundation for all-day wear. “I use an anti-shine primer for hotspots like the forehead, hairline, sides of nose, and around the mouth, and then a sheer, illuminating one for the tops of the cheekbones,” explains Park, adding that she applies each with her fingertips.
Apply from the centre and move outward
Only apply foundation where it’s really necessary, insists Violette, who counts Estée Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue Moisturizing Foundation with SPF 45 among her favourites. “Start in the centre of the face, on the apples of the cheeks, and slowly blend out,” she instructs, adding that another key part of the face is the area around the mouth, which is prone to yellow undertones and shadows. To ensure the foundation looks as natural as possible, Violette often skips the bridge of the nose — letting freckles show through for those who have them — and the corners of the nostrils, so the pigment doesn’t cling to dry patches.
Don’t paint, buff
No matter what tool you’re using — a foundation brush, a BeautyBlender, or your fingers — buff (or bounce, if you’re using a sponge) the foundation into your skin as opposed to “painting” it on to build coverage smoothly and avoid streakiness, says Park.
Strobe wherever the sun hits
For dimension, blend highlighter onto the high planes of the face that catch light naturally, such as the cheekbones, temples, and Cupid’s bow. “I’m not a fan of powder highlighters because it looks a bit fake to me,” says Violette. “Creamy balm textures will give you a dewiness as if you’re not wearing any products.”
Blot, then set
First, soak up excess oil with blotting papers. Then, look to a featherweight translucent powder to seal in foundation and prevent unwanted sheen. “Use a brush to apply it very lightly and only to the areas that get the most shiny,” says Nasrat, adding that the leftover lustre is what will really drive home that second-skin guise. Silky smooth and even-toned, with just the right amount of lit-from-within dewiness, that’s how you execute believably perfect skin.
Last October, four years since she left her namesake brand, and 25 years since her non-compete with Estee Lauder expired, Bobbi Brown launched her new beauty venture in the US. This week, after much anticipation, Jones Road, named after a street in East Hampton, launches in the UK.
“I am a total Anglophile,” the legendary make-up artist tells Vogue over zoom. “I have a not-so-secret obsession with the UK. I love it. It’s my favourite place. And I’m just so excited because I know that this range is going to do really well, because it’s so timely.”
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #71 series on my blog.
Jones Road is exactly what you’d expect from the woman who invented the “no-make-up make-up” look back in the ’90s: a collection of clean, high-grade formulations designed with ease of use in mind. Only this time around, Brown wants us to wear even less.
“In the last four or five years, I realized how much less make-up I was wearing and how much better I looked,” she says. “My vision of make-up has changed, and I want to teach and inspire women how you don’t have to look like you’re wearing make-up.”
Three decades ago, no make-up make-up meant natural make-up. Now in 2021, Brown’s signature look has been distilled into just nine core products, including an inky black mascara, a face pencil that can blend away blemishes, an ultra lightweight lipgloss, and a light reflecting Miracle Balm that can be worn, well, anywhere you like.
“It’s a new way of empowerment,” Brown says of her minimalist edit. “I’m someone that thinks a lot. And, of course, I was like, oh my god, what if people say, ‘Oh, there’s hardly any make-up there.’ But it’s what I believed in, it’s what I wanted to stand for. And it’s what I really wanted to bring to the world.”
Earlier this year, the brand expanded to include five skincare products, a small collection of make-up brushes and some merch.
“Nothing is out of the question,” Brown says with a wry smile of the future of her new brand. “If something is interesting and cool, we’ll try it.” Until then, here are some fan favourites.
Aptly named Miracle Balm, this light-reflecting super balm provides a wash of soft-focus moisture. Incredibly easy to use and endlessly versatile, glide it over your cheeks, lips, or eyelids for a dewy glow or light tint. In fact, you can use it all over.
“The Miracle Balm is whatignited me to say, ‘Oh my god, this is different.’” Brown says. “I started giving my friends little pots of it and they would come back saying, ‘Please, sir, can I have some more?’ And I just knew I had something. It’s for people that don’t like a lot of make-up. Some days I only use the balm.”
Made with jojoba seed oil, argan oil and vitamin E, the Miracle Balm comes in four alluring shades: Au Naturel, Dusty Rose, Brown and Tawny. A must for summer.
The Face Pencil
“I can’t live without the Face Pencils,” Brown deadpans. “You know when you get that tired look under your eyes? As soon as I put on the Face Pencil I look better. And it doesn’t look like make-up. I could use it all over my face if I wanted to and I still wouldn’t look like I’m wearing make-up.”
Made with shea butter and castor seed oil, and available in 25 shades, this ultra blendable Face Pencil covers everything from redness to dark spots, corrects discoloration, and lightens the darkest of circles – all the while remaining imperceptible on the skin. Just spot it on and blend it down with your fingers.
It’s rare to find a lip gloss that delivers the perfect shine without becoming tacky. But Brown’s Cool Gloss does exactly that. Lightweight and moisturising, this plumping gloss practically melts on the mouth.
“I don’t like running around promoting that it’s clean, but it is,” Brown says. “I am a crazy health nut, I am a certified health coach. I am someone that really believes that good ingredients make the biggest difference in health, wellness, and just everything, from how it smells to how it feels.”
Made with shea butter, vitamin E, and peppermint oil – which gives it its cooling sensation – the gloss comes in a variety of shades and can even be dabbed over the cheeks for an extra shine.
When Brown talks about the Hippie Stick, she lights up. “The packaging is my favourite. The lab sent it to me and I just fell in love with it.” A universal balm that can be used all over the body (Brown flags the heels and elbows as being the most important), the face and even your hair, Hippie Stick is the moisturizer to end all moisturizers. Made from shea butter, sunflower seed oil and coconut oil, it’s lightweight, buttery and smells irresistible. What’s not to love?
The tanned skin, the freckles, the sandy nude lip, the wispy golden bangs framing azure-blue eyes… Margot Robbie on British Vogue’s August cover is the perfect example of what every single one of us wants to look like when the sun hits. The Australian star is, to put it simply, the definition of summer beauty goals.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #60 series on my blog.
Robbie is a golden girl by nature, but it was make-up artist Pati Dubroff (who works with the actor often), who amped things up with a touch of the ’70s for the pages of Vogue. “Invoking the ’70s was a big part of the inspiration for the look,” she tells Vogue over the phone from Los Angeles. “Margot had recently cut her bangs and only really shown them [in public] once before, at the Oscars, so it was really fun for us to take that new hair and mould her character [for the shoot] through that.”
The star’s new fringe is reminiscent of a certain French icon, Jane Birkin, whose hair – specifically the bangs – has spawned countless imitations over the decades. The chanteuse’s oft-emulated ’70s look was a key reference on the moodboard. “Margot is an incredible chameleon and has an openness to play,” Dubroff says, explaining how the duo approach the different looks they create. “Her basic day-to-day look is clean and fresh, with a slight wash of a tone on the eye or lip. She’s such a natural beauty that it’s about not overcomplicating or taking that away. But she does love to transform. This time: into a ’70s beach babe.”
From how Dubroff applied Robbie’s bronzer, to the technique she used to create realistic-looking freckles, here the A-list makeup artist shares exactly how she created the sun-kissed ’70s look.
“Margot had a tan at the time so I just really amped it up. I used cream bronzer and buffed and buffed it in until it laid seamlessly on the skin. To recreate the look it’s really about blending and not relying on powdery products – instead, use cream matte products. I also think that using a flat buffing brush is key. Also, look out for bronzing face products that come out as a gel but deliver a matte finish – they’re great too.”
Chanel Health Glow Bronzing Cream, £38.70, available at Boots.com.
“I added a lot of freckles to Margot’s skin. I actually went on YouTube and learned how to create them in the days before the shoot. I watched a whole bunch of videos featuring different people who were doing their own freckle techniques… it’s a perfect lesson that you’re never too old or experienced to learn something new. The technique that best resonated with me was to use a bobby pin and dip it into a brow product. I used a palette that had both creams and powders in it, and first put the tip of the bobby pin into a cream medium-brown shade and applied to her skin. Then I put it into the brow powder and topped each freckle with that. To finish I gently swirled a clean brush over the skin to take off the top layer of residue. Brow products – but in a different way!”
“As a nod to the early ’70s, it was all about mascara on the upper and lower lashes, not too perfect and a little bit clumpy. When you see pictures of Jane Birkin in that period, her lashes are clumpy on the top and bottom, so we did both. We wanted to create a feeling that she’d done it herself and had had her mascara on for a couple of days. I didn’t purposefully squeeze them together or anything, but just let the layers of mascara do that naturally. If you’re trying it at home, I’d recommend building your mascara up and not being afraid to put more on the bottom lashes.”
“After a good coating of mascara, I paled out her lip to fit with the ’70s theme. It was a time when make-up was all about matte textures – not full-on matte or flat – but things weren’t too shimmery. That happened later in the ’80s. So I incorporated lots of matte formulas into the look in general.”
Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lip Colour – Nuance, £27.90, available at Boots.com.
It’s time to take your go-to look to the next level — slightly.
In case you’ve been living under a rock or on a remote island for the past year and a half: we’re just now easing out of a pandemic.
During our time quarantined at home, many of us embraced our natural skin and focused on skincare rather than slathering on makeup. But now that outside is officially opening back up (at least in some places), beauty lovers are using this as a chance to be as extra as possible when it comes to makeup application – especially for the eyes.
So it makes sense that this summer’s hottest makeup trend meets us right in the middle – and Dior’s Cruise 2022 show, which took place at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, Greece, is a clear indication of just that.
“It’s a very natural, glowy base for everybody, then each girl has [pearls],” Dior Makeup’s creative and image director Peter Philips told a group of journalists backstage. “Some girls just have two pearls, some have four, some have the whole eye, some have the under-eye – it’s my take on the Greek eye.”
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #55 series on my blog.
But what really made the look so show-stopping were the pearls used to frame the eyes. And ironically enough, these little details matched perfectly with the palette Philips began working on at the top of the year – long before he had decided on the final runway look.
“It’s a bit of a coincidence, because palettes you can’t do overnight, it takes a little bit of time,” he shared. “But I knew where we were going to shoot, I knew it was going to be in Greece. So I said ‘I’ll make a relaxed palette that’s something you want to have with you on a cruise.’ [I wanted] something that’s beautiful and flattering, which is not too intimidating and easy to wear.”
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.”
This foundation is perfect the person who still wants their skin to look natural and dewy. Thanks to a concoction of oils like avocado, meadowfoam, red raspberry, jojoba, rosehip and more, this foundation gives your skin all the hydration it needs while offering an enhanced glow and light coverage.
This foundation gives the skin a moisturizing boost with a thin veil of makeup that includes vitamin E oil, antioxidants, and peptides. The foundation not only works to cover blemishes but also reduces wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and dull-looking skin with neuropeptides, daisy flower extract, and bisabolol.
This hydrating liquid foundation is an all-in-one complexion perfecter. Not only does it nourish skin with licorice root extract but also hides imperfections like hyperpigmentation, acne and more well with its lightweight and full coverage formula. The hypoallergenic formula is also safe for sensitive skin.
Hoping for a dewy finish? Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer should be your go-to. It not only protects the skin from sun damage with an SPF of 30, but it also takes away the appearance of skin impurities and adds hydration with macadamia, tamarind seed extract, and kukui seed oil.
This liquid foundation offers medium coverage and is perfect for those with dry skin because of the infused grapeseed oil and sodium hyaluronate, which helps replenish the skin. The easy-to-use tube is perfect for the girl on the go.
This paraben- and fragrance-free tinted moisturizer offers a full day’s worth of nourishment for all skin types. It’s packed with hyaluronic acid and aloe water for maximum skin health and dewiness. SPF coverage protects skin from environmental aggressors as well.
This foundation has a built-in brush to make application easier for the busy body. The formula lasts for eight hours and is deeply nourishing thanks to hyaluronic acid and Irish moss extract.
Side note: I really don’t like the applicator, it gets very dirty and messy very fast. If you can find another way to use the actual product, such as dispensing some on the back of your hand and then applying it, you’ll love it.
Tarte Babassu Foundcealer Skincare Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 20
This foundation is vegan, hypoallergenic, and hydrating—perfect for those with sensitive and dry skin. The coverage is buildable so you’re able to play around with what suits you best on any given day. Babassu, vitamins A & E, hyaluronic acid, fatty acids and antioxidants offer skin nourishment and a plump feel.
This foundation not only includes SPF 35 to protect the skin, but also pansy extract, which keeps the skin from drying out throughout the day. The coverage lasts for 24 hours, with a glowing finish that avoids looking too shiny or oily.
This foundation features light protective pigment and antioxidants which lessen the damage caused by pollution, free radicals, and blue light. It’s also made up of 40% water which helps to keep the skin hydrated.
Dermablend’s foundation delivers all-day hydration through a smooth, creamy formula, while also protecting the skin with SPF 30. The coverage stays on for 16 hours, and works wells even over acne, rosacea, and vitiligo.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #39 series on my blog.
There are few makeup bags that haven’t, at some point, been graced by a Bobbi Brown product. A brand that puts making women feel (as well as look) good at its core, 16th of January marked the 30th anniversary of its inception. To celebrate such a lengthy time in the beauty industry, the brand has, excitingly, appointed makeup artist Hannah Murray as global artistic director.
“Bobbi Brown is a brand I’ve loved since I started as a makeup artist,” Murray tells Vogue over the phone. “It’s such a well-loved global brand, and we have very similar philosophies regarding embracing natural beauty and individuality, as well as empowering women. These are things I’ve been championing for a while so it feels like a very natural fit.” Take a peek at Murray’s Instagram page, and you’ll see image after image of luminous skin, playful details around the eyes and bold brows on models and celebrities alike. Her makeup is real, fresh, and a far cry from the heavy contouring and airbrushed skin that have become popular in the last few years.
All of which makes her an excellent fit at a brand known for its feature-enhancing (rather than covering) products, where she will be overseeing everything from the fashion shows Bobbi Brown sponsors and campaigns, to education and product development. She has had experience with the latter before, having worked on the (rather brilliant) Topshop beauty line when it launched in 2011.
“I’m essentially going to be the visual voice of the brand, and I think with everything that’s been happening in the world, it’s a really pivotal moment to see things with fresh eyes and build on Bobbi Brown’s heritage,” she says. “I’ve lived in New York for the last 10 years, and before that in London, and I very much understand both the American aesthetic and the European sensibility and aesthetic too – it will be interesting to see that merge, something I think will give the brand a freshness, too.” When it comes to new products, we can expect some “innovation, excitement and fun”.
Though she isn’t, like many of us, forced to sit on Zoom all day, Murray is keenly aware of the “giving, giving, giving” that is endless, exhausting meetings, and believes in the power of beauty – whether that’s pampering your skin or applying some mascara – to uplift a mood. “There’s something ritualistic about [skincare and makeup]. Just like fresh air and eating well, having five to 10 minutes to yourself to cleanse, put a mask on, massage your skin is so healing. I have a three-year-old boy, so grabbing those moments is grounding. We all need to take care of ourselves and have a bit of me time.”
As for the beauty trends she expects to be big this year? Here she shares three of her key predictions.
“Instead of applying 10 products just to walk out of the door [like we used to], it’s now about feeding your skin and making it feel fresh and juicy and plump and alive. That’s a feeling thing, as well as being about how you look, and it’s using texture rather than product. You can layer on balms – I often dab Bobbi Brown’s gorgeous Lip Balm on cheekbones as it really makes skin look alive, like spa-fresh skin.”
“I’m hoping we’ve moved on from baking and cut creases – I want to see skin, feel it, and let it breathe. Another of my favourite products is the Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm, which is a lightweight moisturiser that imparts a subtle pearlescent finish for a “flawless, hyper-real skin effect”.
“I think everyone now wants to look healthy, like they’ve been outdoors and not stuck indoors for three months! I’m thinking the beauty of a real flushed cheek and freckles.” Try the brand’s Pot Rouge, a buttery-soft cream blush which melts into skin seamlessly for a natural finish.
“Take cues from the ’90s and apply eyeliner to your waterline to tight-line around the eye. It gives a bit of definition but it’s not laboured over. Makeup should do the work for you, you want to wear products that are smart, easy to use and that work well for you.”
For some days and for some people, foundations and concealers just feel like way too much work — and way too much coverage. While there’s certainly a time and a place for a full-coverage face, there’s no denying the effortless and hydrating properties of a tinted moisturizer. But although the concept of a tinted moisturizer sounds pretty simple, there are tons of specific ingredients that make the difference between an OK tinted moisturizer and an amazing one. And by “amazing tinted moisturizer,” I really mean one that actually — well, you know… moisturizes.
So ALLURE editors asked makeup artists and cosmetic chemists to break down what they think are the best tinted moisturizers out there. If you love makeup that comes with added skincare benefits for plump, dewy, and hydrated skin, try one of these picks.
Whether you end up loving an older staple from a brand like Laura Mercier or an experimentative new take like Ilia Beauty’s pigmented serum, you’ll find your skin is in much better shape for it.
BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream
Many tinted moisturizers have powder pigments that soak up skin’s oils, zapping some of the natural moisture from your face. To fix this, BareMinerals coated its pigments in lauroyl lysine, an amino acid derived from coconuts.
“Because the pigments are cocooned, they won’t dry out your skin. Instead, the formula feels very soft and silky,” says cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson. When you mix those pigments with glycerin and squalane, you get a formula that “actively promotes hydration.” In addition to containing moisturizing ingredients, the light, cooling gel evens out skin tone and minimizes redness, which means all you’re left with is a soft, dewy glow.
Tarte’s tinted moisturizers have always been an Allure editor favorite, and its latest version is no different. The Maracuja Tinted Hydrator combines the skin-nourishing properties of maracuja oil with plumping hyaluronic acid and collagen, plus brightening turmeric, for skin that glows well after you’ve taken this off.
Squalane, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide join forces for Ilia’s Super Serum Skin Tint. With the added benefit of sun-protective SPF 40, this thick, hydrating serum offers up light but buildable coverage you can rub in quickly and easily with your fingertips.
Even though its only available in a few light shades, Allure associate beauty director Sarah Kinonen loves this BB Cream Tinted Moisturizer for its hydrating ginseng and brightening fruit extracts. For those who are extra prone to redness, you can also turn to the brand’s Best of Beauty-winning CC Red Correct.
With its pH-balancing glycerin, squalene, and sunflower seed oil, it’s clear to see why Burt’s Bees Goodness Glows has such high ratings online. What’s more: It contains antioxidant green tea extract that reduces redness, leaving behind a calm, even base for its sheer pigments.
This tinted moisturizer is free of pthalates, parabens, and 1,500 other ingredients that the cruelty-free brand has identified as potentially harmful or irritating, so you’re left with only tried-and-true elements, like glycerin and sodium hyaluronate.
“Both of these ingredients are humectants, meaning they draw moisture to the surface of the skin to keep cells hydrated,” says Wilson. The creamy formula is more pigmented than most tinted moisturizers, so it does a great job of covering imperfections. One catch: Its thick consistency makes it a little difficult to spread, so you’ll likely end up using more product than usual.
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Natural Skin Perfector
Ask any beauty fan and they’ll likely tell you that Laura Mercier’s is the first tinted moisturizer they ever used — and fell in love with. With its sheer, buildable coverage and moisture-packed formula, there’s a reason this product is a cult favorite and four-time Allure Best of Beauty winner.It’s noncomedogenic, but those with acne-prone or oily skin may benefit even more from the upgraded oil-free version of the formula.
For skin that needs a hefty dose of hydration, this illuminating tinted moisturizer packs a major punch. It contains glycerin, which leaves skin feeling soft and plump while dimethicone wards off dryness throughout the day.
“Dimethicone reduces transepidermal water loss, which is when water escapes through the skin and into the atmosphere, so it works long-term to increase skin’s hydration,” explains Wilson. And thanks to the smallest, tiniest shimmery gold particles, you’re left with a natural, allover glow that will have people asking if you just got back from vacation.
Just like Clinique’s beloved Moisture Surge cream, the Sheertint Hydrator penetrates deep beneath the skin to hydrate and calm the skin — that’s thanks to its strong concentration of cucumber extract, aloe, and hyaluronic acid.
Josie Maran’s Protect + Perfect is less of a tinted moisturizer and more of a tinted sunscreen, and we’ll take all the sun protection we can get. Alongside its SPF 47, this formula is very lightly tinted with pigments in one tan shade, giving it just enough color to mask slight skin imperfections and give its wearer and warm, sun-tanned look.
L’Oréal Paris Visible Lift Luminous Serum Tinted Moisturizer
Consider L’Oréal’s Visible Lift Luminous Serum the perfect solution to skin that needs an extra boost of shimmer for radiance. Available in five warm shades, this tinted moisturizer acts more like a highlighter than your average formula, so feel free to pat a little extra on all the high points of your face.
It’s not shocking at all that a brand that Neutrogena could deliver one of the best tinted moisturizer formulas out there with ingredients like vitamins A, C, and E. On top of all those antioxidants, Healthy Skin Tinted Moisturizer also contains small pearlescent pigment that provide a glowing, dewy sheen.
Sensitive-skinned girls, Nars has got one just for you. The silky-smooth Radian Tinted Moisturizer has a formula that’s both oil-free and made without parabens or synthetic fragrances, so you won’t have to worry about irritation or clogged pores.
“This is a really great product to apply with your fingertips; it’s super sheer and easy to blend,” says makeup artist Ashleigh Ciucci. “Or you can tap it on with a sponge to build subtle coverage.” Its barely-there coverage might be a little too light for those with post-breakout redness or discoloration, though, so have a concealer on hand for touch-ups.
This highly rated tinted moisturizer formula from No7 is a fan-favorite for low-effort application and comfortable light coverage. Although it contains SPF 15 for sun protection, we still recommend wearing an SPF 30 or higher underneath it, especially if you plan to go outside.
This thick and creamy skin tint from Philosophy has slightly higher coverage than other tinted moisturizer, according to Dall’Asen. But you can still apply it directly with the fingers just like you would your favorite moisturizer for effortless all-over coverage with a slightly matte finish.
As many of us become more conscious of what we’re putting in our bodies and what we’re putting our bodies through, we’re also becoming more aware of what we’re putting on our bodies. While the performance of natural makeup used to pale in comparison to products from our favorite makeup counters, there are many natural makeup brands creating products that are richly pigmented, apply beautifully, and wear as well as their more synthetic competitors. You may already be using some of them and don’t even know they’re all-natural.
But before I get into industry favourites, let’s get one thing straight: “Natural” doesn’t automatically mean a product is better or safer for you, as the FDA has nebulous criteria on just what constitutes a natural product (“natural” isn’t regulated for cosmetics, so it can be used purely as a marketing term). “There is no real definition of ‘natural’ in the U.S. beauty industry,” says cosmetic chemist Ginger King. “As long as the bulk of your material is natural, you can say ‘natural-based.’ There is no regulation. The true naturals have seals like COSMOS Natural or Ecocert — European organizations that allow up to 5 percent synthetics.”
The FDA does not have a definition for the term “organic,” either, as it is not defined by either the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act or the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, which they use as guidelines. “‘Organic’ usually means USDA-certified food grades. There are limited numbers of products you can make to be classified as organic green,” King says.
“‘Clean beauty’ is a much better term for the consumer as the products are non-toxic and still effective,” says King. “‘Non-toxic’ means free from undesirable ingredients listed by the Environmental Working Group. This is better than claiming ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ as they are products that perform without compromising safety. People want natural because they assume natural ingredients are safe, which is not necessarily the case. They also may not be as effective as synthetic materials.”
This brings me to another point: An ingredient might be natural or organic, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no chance you’ll have an adverse or allergic reaction to it, so it’s important to be aware of what you’re using and how your body responds.
Thanks to growing consumer concern and education, we’re definitely seeing an uptick in the use of the phrase “clean beauty.” Last year, for example, Sephora announced the launch of Clean at Sephora, the company’s new category that clearly establishes which of their products are formulated without controversial ingredients. Those that meet Sephora’s ingredients guidelines are deemed “clean” and receive the retailer’s Clean at Sephora seal.
Ingredients aside, one of the benefits of using natural products is that many, if not all, ingredients are ethically sourced and cruelty-free. As consumers, it’s never been more important to prioritize what we want in our makeup, and our money talks. These days there’s a clean option to switch out every product in your makeup routine, so it’s never been easier to avoid controversial ingredients.
But I also wanted to help you sort out your options. The following products have received high marks from professional makeup artists — who have seen and used it all — so you can start cleaning up your cosmetics bag.
Ilia Beauty is focused on creating clean, pure products with organic bio-active botanicals that nourish skin as they wear. From lipstick to eye shadow and multiple base products, Ilia’s products give you a luxurious feel, look, and wear, while being some of the cleanest makeup you can use.
Puckey is a huge fan of the brand, spotlighting many of its products. “I love how smooth the Fade Into You Powder feels and how it really disappears on the skin. The Illuminators come in three shades that work for a variety of skin tones. I like that it comes in a stick form for easy application.”
100% Pure Beauty has a full collection of skin care, makeup, hair, and body products, all made with natural ingredients. The brand is serious about the way it sources its ingredients, too, using a strict methodology to determine and confirm that its products contain no synthetic ingredients. In the past, I’ve been a big fan of its Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream, and I love that its foundations are available in a wide range of shades.
Makeup artist Benjamin Puckey is a big fan of the brand’s lipsticks, telling Allure“100% Pure Cocoa Butter Matte Lipsticks come in such beautiful, bold, matte shades that you forget you’re working with a natural brand.”
He calls out the shade Sonora Red as one that “really packs a punch.”
Each Kosas product is made with active botanicals and balanced with safe synthetics, giving you luxury formulas, beautiful pigments that flatter a multitude of skin tones, and they all look as good as they feel. The beautiful face duos are available in both cream and powder formulas, each including a blush and an illuminator that complement each other and boost your face’s luminosity and glow.
The lipsticks are also not to be missed. Puckey tells Allure, “Kosas has a line of all-natural lipsticks in super chic black packaging. Rosewater (a dusky rose) and Thrillest (bright poppy red) are my favorites.”
Did you know that Bite Beauty is natural and organic? I always forget. These luxe lipsticks are made with 12 different oils, as well as while pearl, silk, red wine, and organic butters; the result is a lipstick that’s incredibly creamy and hydrating, long-wearing and even has benefits from antioxidants for a product that’s actually good for your lips.
“No one does the range of bold color options in the right creamy/waxy base the way Bite does,” makeup artist Katey Denno explains. “They also make a lot of corresponding lip liners, which, until they filled it, had been a big hole in the marketplace.”
Newer to the natural scene, Tower 28 Beauty is becoming a fast favorite among makeup artists, beauty editors, and influencers alike. The whimsical packaging, quality ingredients, and vegan and cruelty-free promise are just a few of many reasons to love this L.A.-based brand, which prides itself on making products suitable for ultra-sensitive skin types. In fact, it’s tagline is #ItsOkayToBeSensitive, which is pretty clever if you ask me.
“Their products are so good for sensitive skin!” says makeup artist Robin Black, who battles rosacea. “I love their SOS Face Spray,cream blushes, and highlighters, and their cheek and lip products are getting lots of buzz for good reason. They’re so pretty on and so easy to use.”
One of the innovators of the now popular and chic swivel compact, Lilah B. is all about creating simple, multipurpose beauty products with clean formulas. Without gluten, sulfates, or parabens, and packed with aloe and botanicals, these products take to skin beautifully, feel luxurious and nourishing, and look amazing on your face and on your vanity.
Juice Beauty takes special care to ensure that its ingredients are certified organic so that no toxins, pesticides, synthetics, or fertilizers make it into its products. Starting with a base of organic botanical juice (hence the name), without any petroleum fillers or added water, each product is packed with antioxidants and concentrated skin-care benefits.
Denno is especially a fan of the Juice Boost Illuminator + Bronzer Duo. “Finely micronized shimmer particles add the perfect amount of highlight, no matter what your skin tone. [It] can be used directly on all areas you highlight: cheeks, Cupid’s bow, bridge of the nose, inner-eye corner, lid, clavicle, shoulders, or can be mixed into foundation to give an overall more glowy look,” she suggests.
“This stuff is unlike any other green beauty highlight product in that it dries completely (and quickly).”
The Lawless tagline is “Clean AF,” and the brand means it. Its liquid lipsticks are formulated without carcinogenic, toxic, hormone- or endocrine-disrupting ingredients. If people ingest up to five pounds of cosmetic chemicals every year, Lawless is trying to make sure that its products — that you put directly on your mouth and skin — are as safe as possible.
Stemming from the founder’s own need for clean-beauty products free of toxic chemicals and metals, RMS Beauty is a line of ultra-luxurious, pared-down multitaskers that have become favorites in the industry. It’s a bit like a grown-up Glossier, with rich formulas, bright colors, and twinkling shimmers that make a welcome addition to any beauty routine, no matter how simple or complex it may be.
The line’s hero product is the Living Luminizer, a highlighter in a pot, that you tap onto the high points of your face, as you do, for a glow that is equal parts natural and ethereal. It pairs well with any product you put it on top of (or under) and wears like it’s a part of you.
Since it’s inception in 2014, Milk Makeup has become a major power player in the vegan and cruelty-free beauty category. With innovative products that are as pretty and fun to use as they are effective, it’s easy to see why so many people adore the brand. Speaking of which, makeup artist Quinn Murphy, who works with stars like Kristen Bell, Julianne Moore, and Karlie Kloss — among myriad others — tells Allure it’s one of his top-favorite natural beauty brands. If you’ve yet to try anything from Milk, the Hydro Grip Primer, Kush Mascara, and Glow Oils (pictured above) are all great products to start with.
With a tagline like #BetterBeauty, Beautycounter strives to use only the safest ingredients possible and none of the nasties. It even has what it calls “The Never List,” which includes harsh chemicals, dangerous preservatives like formaldehyde, and synthetic flavors and fragrances. The brand offers makeup, skin-care, and bath and body products, as well as an array of kits for men, babies, and traveling. Schlip is especially partial to its eye makeup products — specifically, the Velvet Eyeshadow Palette, which is a best-seller and excellent for creating a wide range of natural, everyday looks.
Founded by three sisters in Los Angeles, Rituel De Fille is known for its witchy aesthetic and magic-inspired formulas. “They have amazing products with minimal ingredients and really interesting colors,” says Black, who’s a huge fan of the brand. “Standouts are the Eye Soots, but the lip and skin products are also great… they hold up well on camera, too, so perfect for Zooming!”
In August, Lauren Conrad launched her beauty line, Lauren Conrad Beauty, with just five products. A month later, she’s introducing 26 more products in the makeup, skin-care, and body-care categories. Allure chatted with the entrepreneur to learn more. Welcome to Artist Spotlight #21 series on my blog.
You’d be forgiven if you think of Lauren Conrad, the businesswoman, mother, and former reality star, as a Fashion Person. She runs a clothing line, a shoe line, and a kids’ line, to name a few, and longtime fans may remember her televised internship in the Teen Vogue fashion closet. But along the way, Conrad has cultivated her own signature beauty look, which consists of easy breezy makeup and a consistent cat-eye. This summer, she surprised us by channeling that energy into the launch of Lauren Conrad Beauty. She began with five products, released direct-to-consumer from her own website — including a lip gloss formula that’s already won over Allure editors. As of October 9, she’ll expand into Kohl’s with a much longer list of products, including skin care, body care, and color cosmetics.
Conrad has wanted to start her own beauty line for some time, encountering plenty of false starts along the way. “I started the process a couple of times, but I wanted to wait until I could check all my boxes of formulas, packaging, and affordable price point,” she tells Allure. “I’ve worked on this line for two-and-a-half years, but I’ve tried for many years to make it happen.”
One of her priorities, and my personal favorite feature of the line, was the sustainability factor. The packaging is completely recycled and made from post-consumer goods, and the packaging can be recycled whole after use. That sounds like it should be the norm, but so much beauty packaging is made up of mixed materials (say, metal and plastic) that it can be impossible to recycle. But once you finish a tube of LC’s The Lipstick, it can go straight into the recycle bin.
If you stock up on the full line, that recycle bin will eventually be stacked up all the way to the top. The drop includes a whopping 26 products that can take you through an entire beauty and makeup routine. The long product list includes multiple types of facial cleanser, a vitamin C oil, two types of body moisturizers, and much, much more. But when I asked Conrad to narrow it down to her favorite, must-have product, the answer comes quickly: The Liquid Eyeliner (yes, that’s the actual product name — no needlessly florid naming conventions here.)
“Going into this process, I thought the one thing I especially had to get right was the liquid eyeliner,” she says. “It’s one of those products that I’m always seeking out, and I’ve had so much trouble finding the right one over the years, so I really wanted to nail it.”
Out of all the products, the eyeliner took the longest to create, and she only landed on it after much back-and-forth with the lab. “Fortunately, it was a product that we started really early on, so we had a lot of time to play with it.”
If liquid eyeliner isn’t your thing, the range also has The Eyeliner Pencil (in rich black onyx, for $18). Then, you can finish up your eye look with one of two The Eye Shadow Palettes (six bronze-hued shades each, for $29), The Eyebrow Pencil (a double-sided pigmented pencil and spoolie, in four shades, for $22), and The Mascara (in black only, $20). You can then wipe it all away with The Makeup Remover Balm, which is designed to double-cleanse skin in conjunction with The Facial Cleanser (both $20).
The makeup drop also includes powder brush and bronzer, liquid highlighter, a delicate lip and cheek tint that’s perfect for a quick pre-Zoom meeting pop, and the aforementioned Allure favorite lip gloss. There are eight shades of classic lipstick tubes; my favorite is the orange-red Poppy.
The best part of such a wide selection is that it leave the choice up to you. Prefer body cream to body lotion? Conrad’s got you covered. Need a powder blush instead of a creamy cheek tint? Don’t worry, she has both.
“My approach has always been ‘wear the makeup you really love that makes you feel like you’ and ‘use products that you feel good about,'” she says. With a line this comprehensive, we have a feeling there’s something for everyone that meets those criteria with flying colors.
A selection of Lauren Conrad Beauty products is available now on her own site and at Kohl’s.