We would all like to get the healthy flushed look from skiing in the Alps/having sex/red wine/all of the above, but sometimes the situation calls for makeup (we can always say that our glow originates from the aforementioned pastures if we so wish).
It seems that the old rouge is making a comeback – various publications have recently taken to informing us about the benefits of adding bit of a pop on one’s cheeks, rather in the manner of Diana Vreeland, the High Priestess of cheek colour.
Whatever it takes to make the contouring obsession go away, you say, whatever it takes. While this is entirely a question of style and taste, I’m with you on this. Applying several shades of makeup base, strobing creams and highlighters and bronzers does work for a photo-shoot, honest to god it does.
However, and there had to be a however, it is challenging to pull a fully contoured face in the real world (hello office lighting) without looking like a runaway, leftover Kardashian. In a bad way. Because the clan obviously know their contouring game, having invented it.
Again, style and taste. Each to their own. I am not here to judge people’s tastes for maquillage, but to write about what I put on my face. Herewith some winter favourites, some of which I use around the year. I adjust some products for summer, because I like to pretend that I get a slight tan, but really I don’t – would be highly impossible through the religious application of SPF50 plus the fact that I avoid the sunlight with the combined ferocity of Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman and the brides of Count Dracula.
All-round, around the year staple:
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette
This could à la limite be considered a contouring product, but for the purpose of this exercise let’s say it’s not. It’s a palette of three pale shades of finely milled magic without which I refuse to leave home. The powders, or highlighters, give an adequate, office-appropriate sheen without fear of venturing to the dreaded glitter-ball territory. The result is like my own skin, but slightly airbrushed and fresher, with a bit of sheen and barely any colour. This is not a product to replace blusher with. I often use this directly on top of moisturiser, because I feel it gives enough coverage. Bonus: the look is never cakey.
Winter powder blusher:
NARS in Free Soul
A very pale pink blusher with a bit more sheen than the Hourglass above. To be used with slightly more caution to avoid the tin-man look. I can imagine this shade to be too pale for most people in this world, but it delivers exactly the right amount of pinky pink when needed.
Winter cream blusher:
Chantecaille Cheek Gelée in Happy
This was an impulse buy if ever there was one, but I really like the product. The pink colour is very close to NARS’ cult blusher Orgasm, meaning it is universally very flattering (whatever that means). It has a the consistency of a stain, but the ease of application of a cream. It’s nice and light, has a bit of sheen and an apricot-ey undertone (see NARS Orgasm for reference) and stays on and delivers the wiley, windy moors – outdoorsy vibe without having to set one’s foot outside.
Kjaer Weis favourites:
Cream Blush in Blossoming. I bought this in the summer when I had my imaginary tan. The shade is still quite light, with blue undertone, so I ‘m OK wearing this around the year. Very easy to apply, and is excellent for a very natural look, when, for some exceptional reason, I’m not doing my Hourglass -situation.
Bronzer in Dazzling. Pale people, no need to run away. This shade actually works on pale skins. It has the perfect consistency to be built up in case we need to go for a bronzed look, but delivers a nice “weekend in Nice” -sheen even when just applied very sparingly. They say this can be used as eyeshadow as well, but I was not convinced. Fabulous otherwise, though.
Highlighter in Radiance. I fully understand if you’re shaking your head, going “why the hell is this woman bashing contouring yet dabbles about thousand different products on her own face? Who needs highlighter?”. Very well. No-one probably needs a highlighter. However, there are sometimes situations in life when I feel some highlighter in cream form is in order, and this one is very good.
Don’t let the shade freak you out. It looks a bit grey in the container, but looks really nice once applied.
I like to put all the metaphorical makeup eggs in my skin-basket in the mornings ie. focus fully on the skin. I like it to be done, but not look done. Also, it is difficult to make any other makeup look good if the skin is not in check (which of course does not mean that this would require any makeup at all). There are people who pull off the fiery red lip –lewk without a trace of anything else on their face. I am unfortunately not one of these people. I am shit with lipstick, and have I tried. SO hard. I haven’t quite given up on red lipstick yet, but reapplying and touching up the thing throughout the day is just really messing with my day job. Until this changes, focus continues to be on skin.