How To Embrace Shiny Skin

Over recent seasons we’ve become accustomed to minimal make-up looks, gamely swapping meticulously-applied eyeshadow for bare lids and replacing dramatic lipstick with a simple slick of tinted balm. The part that’s often harder to get to grips with is the skin – however good our intentions of embracing a dewy glow, we find a sweep of powder or an extra dotting of concealer is the make-up equivalent of a comfort blanket for facing the day. For spring/summer 2015 though, there’s no escaping it. Skin is not just “natural” for this season – now it’s positively shiny. Yes, shine – that same thing we’ve fought for seasons with powders, mattifying primers and blotting papers – was in fact deliberately added at many shows this season (powder, by the way, is out of the question).

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At Marc by Marc Jacobs, Diane Kendal used gloss on models’ cheekbones for a sweaty, nightclub vibe (sweat was also referenced as a positive backstage at Missoni), whilst MAC’s Pro Mixing Medium Shine got outings at Jacquemus, Kenzo, Chloé and Simone Rocha to add a sheen-like finish to fresh skin. Marni’s was probably the most literal take on the look, with Tom Pecheux liberally applying a taupe eye gloss from the MAC Trend Forecast Spring/Summer 2015 Palette across temples, cheekbones and cheeks for wet-look faces to match product-soaked hair.

 

But how do you transfer the look from the catwalk to real life? After all, these high-shine looks were created on the faces of women in their late teens and early twenties – the kinds of women who front beauty campaigns for the likes of Tom Ford, Chanel et al – not on the everyday office worker who has always thought of “shiny” as a dirty word when it comes to skin. Truthfully, the look is best reserved for those with relatively good complexions to begin with. Because of the way light bounces off the face, a shiny finish will emphasise uneven skin texture and – unfortunately – makes any blemishes appear larger. And whilst Marni’s girls wore gloss all over, for day-to-day life shine looks best when applied in a “strobe” effect – in beams of light on key points of the face, in much the same way that you would apply highlighter. A flash of gloss along the cheekbones, for example, or a stripe of glowy pearl down the centre of the nose or at the temples. In the same way that you’d apply a contouring product where shadows naturally appear on the face – under the cheekbones, the eye sockets, the jaw – add radiance where light would naturally glance off the skin.

Real life also calls for a swap from high-gloss finishes to luminous cream textures and glowy pearl effects – think beams of light rather than slicks of gloss (this way is also infinitely more practical – try navigating London’s windy streets with gloss on your cheeks and you’ll find your hair plastered to your face by the time you reach your destination). The approach is in the skincare. Try swapping mattifying moisturisers and blurring primers for oil-based formulas that leave the skin glowing and dewy and then limit make-up to sheer textures that complement rather than mask the skin. The moisturiser and skin tint that form the basis of Emily Weiss’s bestselling Glossier skincare and make-up line – lauded on every social media account imaginable but still US-only, to the dismay of beauty fans worldwide – both boast a glossy, sheer finish, letting skin be seen for what it is and promising not to “hide your freckles, spackle your pores, or erase any other evidence that you are, in fact, a real human being”.

So if you dare, this summer is about letting your skin do the talking – about focusing upon cleansing, toning and hydrating so that it’s the best, healthiest, glowiest version of itself and then leaving it to shine on its own. And if you’re really feeling brave? Take your cues from the Marc Jacobs show, where François Nars decided to use no make-up whatsoever on the models, using the time backstage to moisturise and massage models’ skin instead. And breathe.

See the key make-up products to enhance the look here.