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.
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.
You will have spied Italian actor Sophia Loren in British Vogue’s April issue as part of the Hollywood Portfolio, which features 27 of the world’s biggest stars. Photographed looking as glamorous as she has always been, the 86-year-old silver-screen legend has long been a fan of a glamorous look and her attitude to beauty is refreshing. She once said:
“Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.”
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #45 series on my blog.
It only goes to show that Loren feels as good on the inside as she externally looks. Her penchant for Italian glamour has always been a whole beauty mood – it is timeless. There is the trademark feline flick and voluptuous eyelashes; the bold lipsticks, from red to pink; glamorous blow dries; and her bold eyebrows, expertly filled in. These are looks that many of us still imitate today and she is regularly name-checked backstage at fashion shows. Here, let’s take a look at some of her most show-stopping vintage beauty looks over the years.
At a time when mask-wearing is de rigueur, it’s no surprise that, where makeup is concerned, our attention has turned to enhancing the eyes. The distracting, spirit-lifting power of exploring new looks should not be underestimated, and from lashes to lids, and even temples, options abound.
Val Garland, makeup artist and Vogue contributing beauty editor, agrees. “Now the eye area has become our focus, it’s all about liner, lashes and brows,” she says, before singling out the graphic look of the 1960s. “Get your flick on, but switch the black and brown for navy or rich forest-green. Perfect your brows and flutter your lashes with mega volume – the strong nature of this makeup is what makes it so appealing.”
The Vogue archive holds a wealth of inspiration for looks to emulate, so here, for your delectation, is an illustrated retrospective highlighting creative expression through makeup. Look to those graphic ’60s looks, the abandon of the 1970s, the freewheeling freedom of the 1980s or the makeup magic of the modern day. This is your ultimate moodboard – and it’s a place where imagination knows no limits.
One of the earlier illustrative examples of eye makeup in Vogue, this now iconic image serves as a reminder to never forget the drama of a single sweep of colour.
Legendary makeup artist Barbara Daly created this heavenly look, applying frosted blue “halos” around the eyes to ethereal effect.
Influenced by the makeup of the 1970s, Pat McGrath, Vogue’s beauty editor-at-large, created this shimmering aquatic moment on model Adwoa Aboah for Edward Enninful’s inaugural edition as editor-in-chief.
Grace Coddington, now a British Vogue contributing fashion editor, stars as the muse for this portrait, which sees maxi lashes and exaggerated winged liner take centre stage (with hair by Christopher at Vidal Sassoon).
Get the look: layer up an excess ofGucci Mascara L’Obscur, £40, on both top and bottom lashes, tracing in extra lashes on the lower line for added drama.
Why not look to sequins and pearls to accessorise the lower lash line, like model Marika Green? Appliqué accents instantly prettify any makeup.
Coaxing out our best summer skin as temperatures rise isn’t always easy. We all have fantasies of buttery bronze, dewy (but not too dewy!) skin at this time of year, but in reality find ourselves closer to the flushed red or oily mark, and with all of our determinedly applied make-up long gone by lunchtime.
Whether it’s a Sophia Loren-esque olive, a J Lo glow, or a rich Rihanna bronze you’re after, this is your foolproof guide to nailing summer skin – courtesy of Chanel’s global creative make-up and colour designer, Lucia Pica, who says: “Summer skin is all about being more glowy and bronzy and sun-kissed – all of the stuff I love!”
Here, your six step guide to effortless summer make-up.
Prep the skin
Pre make-up, look to lightweight hydrating serums and lotions to ensure skin is primed and ready to go for the subsequent base formula. After cleaning skin (Shiseido’s Waso Smart Water cleans, hydrates and primes), apply U Beauty’s Resurfacing Compound, a one-stop shop for all skin’s needs thanks to its cocktail of antioxidants, vitamins C and E, and a rather pleasing tightening effect that allows make-up to go on seamlessly afterwards. For those who like something ultra hydrating, Guerlain’s Super Aqua Emulsion Light is a must-try, and brilliant for all skin types. Always finish with an SPF.
If you’re lacking a natural bronze glow, facial tanning has never been easier. James Read’s new Click & Glow Tan Drops deliver self-tan to the skin via a gel formula that’s designed to be added into your SPF or moisturiser – it also contains hyaluronic acid, soothing aloe vera and vitamin C to boot. Meanwhile, Isle of Paradise’s Hyglo Self-Tan Serum is also packed with hyaluronic acid and gradually tans skin, leaving it looking healthy and plump. And finally, Sisley’s Self Tanning Hydrating Facial Skincare is a lightweight, non-comedogenic cream that leaves skin both supple and protected against the environment.
“For me, summer (and even winter) skin is about transparency,” says Pica. “That’s why Chanel’s L’Eau de Teint is my foundation. It’s excellent because it’s got this way of making everything really uniform and homogenous, but you still see your skin through it.” Beautiful, fresh-looking skin shouldn’t look like it has anything on it, Pica says, and formulas should just be used to cover what needs to be covered, rather than the entire face. Look to disguise any redness, uneven skin tone or blemishes, but leave your natural skin texture to shine through wherever possible. L’Eau de Teint is excellent and offers a fresh, dewy glow for all skin tones, blurring imperfections and staying put for hours. Plus, its watery, serum-like formula means it feels comfortable on even the oiliest of skin types. Pica also recommends using concealer on the areas that might need extra coverage – try Stila’s Pixel Perfect Concealer.
Bronze and blush
Advocating the use of lots of different textures to mimic real skin, Pica’s next tip is to deploy bronzer and blush where it’s needed. Take your cues from Bella Hadid’s recent Instagram post – in which her bronzer is expertly applied in a ‘W’ shape over the cheekbones and nose – and use either powder or cream formulas, buffing them seamlessly into skin. Chanel’s Soleil Tan Bronze Universel is a Vogue beauty team favourite thanks to its natural finish, while Anastasia Beverly Hills Powder Bronzer offers a good range of shades for all skin tones. Once bronzed, it’s time for blush. “When you’re bronzed, you still have that element of red skin coming through,” says Pica. “Yes, you get a little bit tanned and your skin starts to get darker, but you still have that redness from the first sun, and I love that redness.” To imitate that fresh-from-the-beach flush, she likes to apply a creamy blush either high on the cheekbones and lightly over the bridge of the nose, or on the apples of cheeks. Try Westman Atelier’s Baby Cheeks Blush Stick or Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge For Lips & Cheeks.
For an extra hit of glow, avoid powdery highlighters in favour of liquid ones, which are better placed to melt into skin seamlessly. “I would blend it in like a foundation to create a nice veil of glow,” says Pica, who recommends Chanel’s new Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Highlighting Fluid for the job. “Again, everything has to become part of the skin for me – you don’t want anything that feels like it’s sitting on top, it doesn’t give you that natural effect of the summer glow. It’s a bit too fake looking. You have to look like you’ve just been in the sun, and magically, you’re shining.” Another brilliant liquid option is Marc Jacobs’ Glow Away Dewy Coconut Face Luminizer.
Freckles are a go
To really up the ante on the sun-kissed look, look no further than a smattering of (faux) freckles across the nose and cheeks – as per Emily Ratajkowski who is partial to dotting some on herself. “I love that fresh, ingenue type of skin, and I think freckles are a good way to make any make-up look fresh and modern,” says Pica. Freck’s XL Faux Freckle Cosmetics are excellent – just dot on haphazardly and leave to dry. Other alternatives are Colourpop’s Freckle Pen & Lime Crime Freckle Pen.
Parisian makeup 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 makeup 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 moisturized 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 makeup 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 moisturizer into the skin to boost circulation and reduce puffiness. “It creates a natural flush that makes the face look more awake,” says makeup 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.
Only apply foundation where it’s really necessary, insists Violette, who counts Estée Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue Moisturizing Foundation with SPF 45 among her favorites. “Start in the center 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 into 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, sop 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 luster 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’show you execute believably perfect skin.