It’s hard to deny: life seems to be lacking fun at the moment. And while that’s mostly unavoidable (we’re in an unprecedented global pandemic, after all), it’s important we do what we can to make ourselves feel better. The usual mood-boosters like seeing your friends, going out, and seeing nature are all strictly prohibited—but one way we can lighten our moods without putting lives at risk? Playing with makeup. So that’s what we’re going to do today.
As with any makeup look, good skincare is paramount. Start with an exfoliating toner to ensure your skin is as smooth and bright as possible. A new fave of mine is the Inkey List PHA Toner. It’s gentler than traditional AHAs and BHAs, meaning it can be used more regularly, but incorporated into your regimen it can yield very noticeable results. Follow it up with a moisturizer, duh. I’ve been loving the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream, and I’ll tell you why. For one thing, the stunning and luxe-looking packaging sparks joy—and joy is in short supply right now. But I also love what’s inside. The cream is thick and bouncy-feeling but gets quickly sucked up by your skin to leave it feeling incredibly hydrated. It also has SPF 15, which is nice if you do manage to step out into the world for a few moments.
The base for this makeup should be kept as light as possible. If you’re lucky enough to have freckles, you want them to shine through! An uber-sheer base like the Filorga Flash Nude Fluid is ideal. I find this similar to the Glossier Skin Tint, but preferable because it has an SPF of 30. I use the nozzle to draw lines across my face (one on the forehead, nose, chin, and each cheek) and then blend by rubbing in with fingers. A passing observer wouldn’t notice you have makeup on—but you’ll be able to tell you just look that little bit more polished and perfected.
For any areas of discoloration, feel free to go in with a fuller coverage like the L’Oreal Paris Infallible More Than Concealer. But also, feel free not to. The world as we know it is ending, so allowing a pimple to be on view is hardly going to attract too much attention, right?
Brows are also not a focus of this look, but if you, like me, can’t leave them alone, I’ll allow you a brush of gel. The Hourglass Arch Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel is a genius product because of its clever little brush. One side has long bristles, allowing you to shape your hairs, while the stubby bristles on the other side allow for more intense color-depositing. Either way, don’t spend too long on them as you want them looking as au-naturel as possible.
To gently contour the cheeks, I love the Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate. It costs a billion dollars, which is unfortunate because the product inside is perfect. If you’re feeling low and want to throw some money at the problem, you won’t regret this. I love to smear on the darker shade with fingers onto the hollows of my cheekbones, then use a (different, clean) finger to tap the dewy highlighter on cheekbones, cupid’s bow, and the tip of the nose.
For a hint more cheek color, the Glossier Cloud Paint in “Dusk” is incredible. This product is a true workhorse in my makeup collection. If you always find blush looks too “much,” this is the product for you. A little droplet pressed into the apples of your cheeks adds dimension to the face without any danger of looking like a porcelain doll.
Once you’re happy with your dewy, natural, slightly sculpted base, you’re ready to experiment. The look is all about light application and soft blending of bright colors—so you can switch up the shades if you want. As ever, though, you want to start with the Smashbox Photofinish 24 Hour Shadow Primer to make sure everything stays put and looks as flawless as it can.
If you want to have the best colorful eyeshadow palette on the market, look no further than the Viseart Eyeshadow Palette in “Editorial Brights.” It is, however, extremely pricey, so if you want more of a cheap thrill, NYX and Colourpop also make great options. Start by mixing the yellow and orange shadows and work into the inner portion of the crease using a big fluffy brush. The MAC 217 is a classic, but any dupe will work just as well.
Next, dust off your brush (or grab a clean one, if you’re fancy) and apply the pink shadow into the outer part of your crease. Ideally, you want to leave a gap between the orange and the pink rather than blending the two together. In the very outer portion of the pink, add a tiny hint of purple. Honestly, just dip the tip of your brush into the shade then buff it on. Any more and it’ll look too obvious.
For the lower lashes, you’ll want a brush with a bit more firmness. The Huda Beauty Smoke & Shade Brush is ideal—with a detailed end for placing color down, and a bigger end for smudging it in. Take your purple shade and apply to the outer portion of the lower lashline, then blend. Then, take the deep burgundy shade and apply to the inner portion of the lower lashline. Blend the two shades together with the wider end of your brush.
For the lashes, rather than buying a whole bunch of colorful mascaras you’ll only use a couple of times, you can reuse your palette. First, apply a liberal coat of a mascara primer to your top lashes. The ELF Mascara Primer is as cheap and cheerful as it gets. Next, using a small eyeshadow brush, apply first orange, then blue, then purple eyeshadow across your lashes. Comb through with a spoolie to minimize clumps and ensure colors look as even as possible. Finally, take a mustard-toned kohl pencil (the Glossier Colorslide in “Nectar” is probably the only correct color I can find on the market) and tight line your lower waterline.
For the lips, first line and fill in with a matte, bright, warm pink. Blot and reapply to ensure maximum opacity of color—plus ensure it lasts as long as possible. The NYX Professional Makeup Suede Matte Lip Liner in “Clinger” is a great shade and formula. On top, apply a tinted lip balm. This gives a hint of dewiness to lips, plus helps them look a little bit more smudged out and dreamy—but without the aggravation and discomfort of a sticky gloss. The Glossier Balm Dot Com in “Cherry” is ideal because it doesn’t look too shiny—plus it has the best flavor ever.