I’m all about a radiant glow for my daytime look at the moment. It’s summer, and I want to look dewy, like a sexy angel.
Obviously, I’m not prepared to rely solely on my spiritual glow and I’m not prepared to get pregs just to improve the luster of my skin (althought it seems tempting); so I’ve developed the art of artificial recreation of shimmery cheekbones and radiant complexion.
Basically, I want to look like I’ve just woken up and had really good morning sex at all times, but how I look post-coitally in my imagination rather than in reality. A sort of soft-focus Sofia Coppola, Virgin Suicides meets Lost In Translation vibe. Real life Amaro-ing my face. Can I use Instagram filters as adjectives? I’m gonna. So 2013.
Step one is prepping my face. I really believe in using some sort of all-over base under foundation or BB cream (if you use them at all) if you are going for something dewy. I mean, nobody exclusively emits radiance from their cheekbones and brow bones, do they? And we’re going for faux-natural here.
I use Burberry Fresh Glow Nude Radiance, which gives a satiny base to work with. It has a light shimmer and is incredibly subtle, which I think is super important in highlighters. I mean, I’m going for the just-woke-up-in-a-meadow feel, not just-got-in-from-the-strip-club glitter face.
Because I didn’t use any foundation products but I still wanted to control where I was looking sheeny (in sexy areas, rather than on my forehead and chin where I am unfortunately most prone to shine), I brushed MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural Powder in Light over my face. It’s really low coverage but keeps you slightly mattified in areas that need it, without removing a sense dimension from your face.
I feel like one of the worst cosmetic faux-pas is when people use too much powder or foundation and their face looks like a mask--there isn’t any shape or definition to it. It’s simultaneously creepy and boring, unless you’re going for a Kabuki vibe, in which case, marry me and teach me your ways. I think I am filled with judgement and resentment today, and I’m going to focus that on badly applied foundation.
After vaguely powdering, I used Tarte Awakening Cheek Stain, which is a gel-based stick and one of my new favourite products. It is like what I always hoped NARS Orgasm blush would give me: a sexy, rosy flush (Orgasm is actually, sadly, a little dark for me). I literally wiped it onto my face straight from the stick and then blended with my fingertips over the apples of my cheeks, being careful not to go too low into the bottom half my face in order to enhance the illusion of cheekbone definition.
Why use one blusher when you can use two? I followed up with getting a big powder brush and swooping it through MAC Extra Dimension Blush in Bareness, which is a magical prismatic powder blush with a metallic feel. I loosely brushed this over the stain and then up high to my temples, making sure that I worked it into my hairline so I didn’t get some creepy line that made it look like I was wearing the much-derided mask. If this tutorial is teaching anything, it’s to avoid mask-face.
I then got out my huge fan brush, which is the ideal accompaniment to highlighting and contouring, and swished it around in Bobbi Brown’s Shimmer Brick. Although this looks incredibly dark and like it ought make me look Jersey Shore-esque, it doesn’t. I think the trick is in the application: I’m never one to use bronzer all over my face to give the illusion of tan, but rather to accentuate bone structure.
So, I just applied it diagonally into the hollows of my cheekbones and blended it down past my jaw, so that I didn’t look streaky. I touched on the sides of my nose, too, because if you use a little darker product on each side of your nose, it makes it look a bit narrower and oh god, I hate my nose so much. (Sorry, nose, we have to have a few more years of therapy before we are on good terms.)
I then shook off my brush and made sure it didn’t have residual bronzer on it and swooped it through NARS’s magic powder, otherwise known as Highlighting Blush in Albatross. This is incredible; it is transparent enough to use with about a thousand other products without looking heavy and is light-reflecting and luminous without sparkle.
I applied this diagonally, right at the tops of my cheekbones, and then in a straight line down the centre of my nose to narrow it, and finally just above my cupid’s bow on my lips. You really just need it to accent little areas of your face, because it is so good that you don’t want to go OTT and end up looking like a hologram. Unless you end up looking like Jem. Not this Jem--this Jem.
Finally, I like a cream highlighter to work into my browbones and temples, around my eyes, and to dab gently onto my cheekbones to finish the whole vibe off. I love Benefit Watt’s Up for this, and because it comes in such cute little packaging, I can stick it in my purse for highlighter touchups later in the day. Again, it is a delicate, creamy and sparkle-free shimmer which gives the illusion of dimension. You glide it on and then you can blend it in using the soft-focus sponge applicator on the other end.
And there’s my shimmery face highlighter routine! It sounds so laborious, doesn’t it? But I have it down to an art, and I can do it all in a couple of minutes flat.
So, what’s your go-to summer daytime look other than SPF? Is there any highlighter in the world that I haven’t put on my face today? How can I look like a fresh-faced 17-year-old now that I am embarking on a quarter life crisis? How do you fake bone structure and sexiness? Does anyone want to teach me how to do Kabuki mask makeup?