Pure & Sim­ple

Spring’s beauty state­ment is just glowy skin, made flaw­less with stealth makeup and sleight of skin­care


In beauty, there’s no il­lu­sion more con­tra­dic­tory,

or cov­eted, than “no-makeup makeup.” Even Ali­cia Keys, ad­vo­cate for un­adorned raw­ness, gets a lit­tle help. Her long-time makeup artist, Dotti, re­cently re­vealed the singer’s game plan: a ded­i­ca­tion to plant oils, masks, and fa­cials; a self-tan­ning serum in lieu of foun­da­tion; a sheer, mat­ti­fy­ing fin­ish­ing balm; and a brow pen to en­hance freck­les.

Nat­u­rally, you shouldn’t no­tice the work—only the in­di­vid­ual beauty shin­ing through. Such pared-down gor­geous­ness was hav­ing a mo­ment on the spring 2017 run­ways, too. At Dior, Peter Philips ex­pressed a sense of pu­rity, es­chew­ing a colour mes­sage in favour of primer, a pore-refin­ing foun­da­tion, il­lu­mi­na­tor and a del­i­cate dust­ing of a hy­brid blush/blur­ring pow­der. Makeup mae­stro Pat McGrath wanted the mod­els at Prada to look just as they are, but the re­sult is ethe­real when you put primer, foun­da­tion and high­lighter in her deft hands. Mean­while, at Os­car de la Renta, Tom Pecheux didn’t do much more than prep faces with mois­tur­izer and spot-fix strate­gi­cally with concealer.

Con­sider it a coun­ter­point to In­sta­gram beauty’s looka­like ar­ti­fice; af­ter so much con­tour­ing, over­lin­ing, and “spack­ling,” the pen­du­lum’s swing­ing back to a more min­i­mal mood. “No-makeup makeup has been around for a while, but it seems to be [gain­ing more trac­tion],” says Toronto-based edi­to­rial makeup artist Si­mone Otis, who has worked for glossies like Vogue and Van­ity Fair.

For this lat­est it­er­a­tion of el­e­vated “nat­u­ral,” there’s an abun­dance of clever trompe l’oeil prod­ucts to choose from. Loose pow­der, for in­stance, seems ba­sic next to multi-func­tional, hy­brid in­no­va­tions like Shi­seido Ibuki Smart Fil­ter­ing Smoother, a “pho­to­genic” blur­ring serum that goes on post-makeup to soak up shine for eight hours, while also help­ing tame the causes of acne blem­ishes.

Of course, a per­fected can­vas al­ways “starts with the best skin you can pos­si­bly make out of your own,” says Otis, who be­lieves the cur­rent fresh-faced aes­thetic has “moved for­ward in tan­dem with the whole Korean beauty ex­plo­sion.” Credit K-beauty for con­vinc­ing us to in­vest in elab­o­rate, mul­ti­step rit­u­als in the quest for a dewy, baby-soft com­plex­ion. It’s also fu­eled the pop­u­lar­ity of skin­care ob­sessed with tex­ture and tone, like Dior Cap­ture To­tale Dream­skin. This year, the line grew to in­clude the 1-Minute Mask, as well as Dream­skin Ad­vanced, a re­vamp of its star treat­ment, fea­tur­ing a next-gen mica for soft-fo­cus flat­tery.

K-beauty has also set the bar high for base makeup: the best must feel like air (à la cush­ion com­pacts), look ut­terly real and pack skin-lov­ing tech­nol­ogy, too. “Con­sumers want the lux­ury cat­e­gory to of­fer in­stant re­sults and long-term ef­fects. It has to look per­fect now, it has to last all day, and it has to give even more ben­e­fits the longer you’re us­ing it,” con­firms Sara De­laney, re­gional trainer with Gior­gio Ar­mani Cos­met­ics in Canada. What’s more, “the prod­ucts com­ing out are more glowy and soft, and you’re see­ing that in makeup gen­er­ally.”

Take Power Fab­ric, the new foun­da­tion Linda Can­tello used to achieve ra­di­ant gor­geous­ness at Ar­mani Privé spring 2017. Af­ter prep­ping skin with Ar­mani Prima Glow-On Mois­tur­iz­ing Balm, the artist ap­plied the vel­vet-matte liq­uid, which de­liv­ers full yet un­de­tectable cov­er­age by sus­pend­ing mi­cronized, lu­mi­nous pig­ments in non-greasy oils. “You can hide the flaws but still see a freckle—so skin looks like skin,” ex­plains De­laney.

Sim­i­larly, Shi­seido Syn­chro Skin Glow Lu­miniz­ing Fluid Foun­da­tion keeps it real us­ing trans­par­ent cor­rect­ing poly­mers and see-through colour pig­ments, then nour­ishes skin with ar­gan oil and yuzu seed ex­tract. The highly an­tic­i­pated NARS Soft Matte Com­plete Concealer gives full but feath­er­weight cov­er­age via ad­vanced pow­ders that can in­ter­lock while lay­ing flat. It, too, of­fers side ben­e­fits: hyaluronic acid to hy­drate, and col­la­gen-boost­ing pep­tides to smooth wrin­kles and pores.

Flaw­less skin will never be #woke­u­p­likethis ef­fort­less, but with the lat­est beauty tech do­ing the heavy lift­ing, it’s eas­ier than ever to pre­tend.

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