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15 March 2016 23 comments

I do feel a little sheepish in saying so, but I get a fair amount of compliments on my skin (although secretly I think 'And so I should! The hours I must waste obsessing over it..'), so I thought today I'd put together a little cheat sheet sharing what I do that get's me compliments, with some generic tips as well as my favourite products to create perfect skin that still looks natural, the ultimate your-skin-but-better. 

HYDRATE | In every sense of the word, I can't stress how important this is, expensive-looking, modelesque skin is positively plump from all the moisture. From drinking water, using sheet masks, hyaluronic acid, the lot. Do it all the time. And if not all the time then some of the time. As much of the time as possible.

Use a good primer | To make my skin look as smooth as possible before I start applying any makeup, I bring in the help of two primers. The first primer, which I use all over my face, is for hydration (you'll be sick of the word by the end of this post!). Now's also a good time to deal with correcting discolouration and oiliness/dryness so pick a primer that corrects your issues. I love the Guerlain Meteorites base for combo to oily skins and the L'or primer for combo to dry, they're fantastic. I then use my NARS Pro Prime stick (L'Oreal Studio Secrets primer is a really good alternative) to disguise pores and fine lines (damn you forehead).

Less is more | How many times have we heard that phrase? The type of expensive-looking skin I'm after doesn't necessarily equate to flawless. If there are flaws, I want to cleverly conceal them as much as possible, not slap on a mask, that close up is going to look unrealistic. To me, 'your-skin-but-better' is that perfect middle ground between no-makeup-makeup and immaculate. Olay's CC cream is an old old favourite that I still repurchase and reach for, there's still not a base that makes my skin feel and look so plump as this guy. Whilst this goes over my entire face in a light, well blended layer, I'll then choose a light foundation to knock back the redness in my cheeks and give extra coverage to hormonal blemish scarring on my chin. Tom Ford's foundation stick is perfect for this, it's emollient formula gives almost medium coverage but doesn't sit on the skin. If spending a fortune on Tom Ford isn't for you, perhaps try the Burberry Fresh Glow BB, it's so light, with enough coverage to even out your skin tone.

Stick to one texture | I think this is the sneaky keystone to easily achieving 'expensive skin'. As good as makeup formulas are now becoming, creams blend best with creams and powders with powders. If you notice, all of my products are cream/liquids/gel, including cheek products. My Chanel Les Beiges blush is the most wonderful cream/gel blush that blends seamlessly over powder but it's even better on a cream base. I'll then set with my NYX mattifying spray (review) once I'm all done, for staying power. If your skin is oilier, try working with the most finely-milled powders you can get your hands on and set with MAC Fix+ or NYX dewy spray.

Choose products that mimic nature | By this I mean, really think about the kind of hues things would be were they not makeup (does that sentence even make sense?!). Case in point, bronzer. When I get tinged by the sun, there's a burnt-brick-red (not orange) undertone to my tan. Stila's Aqua Glow bronzing gel looks ridiculous when swatched but sheer it right out and it literally looks like you've been out in the sun. Ditto with adding shade to my face, Kevyn Aucoin's Creamy Sculpting duo (review) has the perfect contour colour, that once blended evens fools me! A neat trick for finding your own contours is to open a head-on shot of your face in a photoediting software. Take the exposure right down to reveal what areas on your face naturally would catch the light and what areas recede.

Choose complimentary tools | Choosing tools that compliment the products you're using, goes a long way to helping you achieve the perfect 'your-skin-but-better' look. For cream products I'd definitely recommend a damp beauty sponge (the RT one is my favourite) or fingers, staying clear of brushes altogether. The warmth of your fingers/damp sponge will help with blending. For powders, some nice fat blending brushes, with a clean one spare to blend each layer as you go.

Steer clear from sparkle/super matte formulas | This one's common sense really, your face isn't naturally shimmery or uber powdery so opt for more natural textures, gels for example or velvet powders that give a soft sheen. I love using the multi-functional wonder-product, REN's Beauty Shot as a natural highlighter. It's viscous, jelly texture has no shimmer or glitter in it whatsoever, there's nothing else like it, making my skin just look so porcelain-like that it reflects light.

Blend goddamit | Everything needs to be the epitome of seamless. Work in thin layers and blend everything in between every layer. Press and pat for areas you want to keep pigmented, sweep to feather products out. A nice tip is to leave as much space bare as you can. Most people have great skin around the perimeter of the face so sheering the products out to nothing in this area helps with the illusion that the whole look is just your skin.

What are your favourite products for your-skin-but-better days?

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