Falling in love and pregnancy (looking at you, prenatal vitamins) are two ways to make your skin glow from the inside-out. Getting a facial is less life-altering and does the trick, too. But if you're not in the business of baby-making, don't have the funds for a fancy treatment, or happen to be single and not so ready to mingle, then there's always makeup and skin care to fall back on.
Skin care comes first, of course. The pros will tell you point-blank: Foundation, concealer, and carefully placed highlighter can only do so much on their own. When the skin is dry, dehydrated, and congested, the aforementioned products just won't sit well. That's why proper cleansing, exfoliation, and moisturizing are paramount. It's so crucial that many makeup artists like to combine skin-care products with their complexion perfectors for an added "glow-up" effect.
Point is: Skin that's properly prepped makes putting any makeup on top a more seamless process. But which products elicit that fresh-from-the-spa glow? Allure tapped four pros to find the answer. Check out their favorite complexion-boosting cocktails and how to use them, below.
Katie Jane Hughes
Creating lit-from-within skin is Hughes's forte — hands down. The Brooklyn-based makeup artist is behind some of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's most gorgeous looks (many of which include glistening skin), so there's no questioning that she knows her stuff. Hughes is someone who likes to combine skin care and makeup to achieve the ultimate glow-y effect. Weleda Skin Food, a thick, ultra-emollient moisturizer, is her weapon of choice, and when she wants a full-coverage finish she mixes it with the Bare Minerals BarePRO Performance Wear Liquid Foundation. "Focus the Skin Food on the higher points of the face, using only what is left on your fingertips," she explains of her signature highlighting technique.
If you're going to be outside more than usual, Hughes recommends applying the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer With SPF 30 all over the face for a soft-focus glow with sun protection. She follows this step with Glossier's Stretch Concealer, which has a buttery texture that melts into the skin, leaving behind a surprisingly realistic, just-went-running sheen. Other staples for Hughes are Glossier's Haloscope highlighter, which she pairs with Elemis's Marine Cream and whatever concealer she's loving at the moment (right now it's this one by Innisfree).
Allan Avendaño works with A-listers like Camila Cabello, Chrissy Teigen, and Jenna Dewan, all of whom wear glow-y makeup regularly. So yeah, you could say he's mastered it. Some of his core luminous-skin staples include Cover FX's Custom Enhancer Drops, Becca's Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal, and Giorgio Armani's Luminous Silk Foundation. Each product enhances the skin's natural radiance whether worn together or on their own.
Before applying any makeup, Avendaño likes to use one of his favorite skin-care products: Babor's Perfect Glow Ampoule Concentrates. "It leaves your skin dewy and has light-reflecting particles that help give you a gorgeous sheen," he says. "It’s perfect alone, but I also find it works great mixed with your favorite moisturizer or even foundation." He's also a fan of using the K-beauty elixir with Becca's Shimmering Skin Perfector for a more dramatic effect. "I use my finger or a Beautyblender to apply the concoction to the high points of the face, which creates the most beautiful red-carpet-ready glow," he explains.
M.A.C.'s Face and Body and IT Cosmetics's Bye Bye Undereyes Concealer are another go-to combo for the makeup artist.
Bea Sweet is a London-based makeup artist whose Instagram — a mesmerizing glossary of her work — says it all. Do a quick scroll through her feed and you'll find photo after photo of models with some of the most angelic skin ever. This is partly due to Sweet's obsession with skin care. She swears by M.A.C.'s Mineralize Charged Water Face & Body Lotion, as well as the brand's Prep & Prime Essential Oils in Grapefruit & Chamomile, and Mario Badescu's fan-favorite Facial Spray with Aloe Herbs & Rosewater.
As for makeup, she raves about Giorgio Armani's Neo Nude Complexion Enhancing Watercolour collection, which features liquid blush, bronzer, and highlighter that gives skin a silky, ethereal effect. Speaking of which, Sweet's highlighting technique is one you'll want to copy, stat: "To find the perfect placement, I shine my phone torch (that's flashlight, for us Americans) on the skin exactly where the sun would normally hit, and whatever point the light hits on the cheekbones is the exact spot where I put the product," she explains. (She says she does this with M.A.C.'s essential oils for a super sheer and natural-looking glow.)
Sweet never skips the lips, either. For a hint of hydration and color, she relies on YSL Beauty's Volupté Liquid Colour Balm, which comes in a variety of complexion-brightening shades like raspberry, coral, and tangerine.
Robin Black is the brains and talent behind Beauty Is Boring, a modern-day makeup blog with photos so strikingly beautiful they could be used on billboards. She's best known for her bold, boundary-stretching looks, but all of them begin and end with the skin. "I always start by cleansing the model's face, and if possible, I like to do a quick session with the Stacked Skincare Dermaplaning Tool to remove any dead skin and excess hairs," she says. She follows up with Sisley-Paris's Floral Toning Lotion, a rose- and witch-hazel-infused toner she likes to keep in the fridge during the summer for an ultra-refreshing and soothing feel. Then it's on to moisturizer: either Drunk Elephant's B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel or Skyn Iceland's Antidote Cooling Daily Lotion, which she says works especially well on stressed skin. "Regardless of which moisturizer I use, I always apply with a light upward stroking motion followed with the ReFa Carat or S Carat," says Black. "The double drainage rollers of the device knead the skin and create more chiseled looking features and ultra glow-y skin," she adds.
Like Sweet, Black makes sure to moisturize the lips so they're supple and smooth. "You should always apply lip balm during your makeup prep — the best one I’ve found is the Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm, which provides hardcore hydration that will help even the most parched lips."
Once the skin is all set, Black likes to prime using the J. One Jelly Pack, a multitasking formula that she says changed her mind about makeup primers. "I was never a huge fan of primers until I met this one; it’s a hydrating, tightening, plumping, glow-inducing makeup base that really does it all," she says. When she wants a really luminous look, her foundation of choice is Koh Gen Do's Maifanshi Moisture Foundation, which she's been using for seven years straight. And the highlighter she's been reaching for is Flesh Beauty's Touch Flesh Highlighting Balm, which she says is buildable and easy to blend. "This conveniently sized, sheer-but-shimmering balm comes in four shades, including a gorgeous deep bronze," says Black. "It's surprisingly hard to find a gel highlighter that comes in deeper shades, so I am super excited about this one," she adds.
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