We don't know about you, but over the past few months our skin has been looking pretty fantastic. Maybe it's because we've been taking all that time we usually spend socializing and devoting it to self care, or maybe it's just because we've been makeup free for three months and counting. Whatever it is, our complexions are on their best behavior (a few bouts of maskne aside) and we are here for it.
Eventually, however, this skin hiatus will have to end as we slowly begin to venture out into the world, foundation brush in hand. While you may decide to keep the no-makeup train rolling, some of us will want to beat face once more — which means we need products that will give us that seamless coverage and glowing look we've missed without screwing with our skin's health. Enter, skin-care makeup.
Brands like Kosas, Westman Atelier, and RMS Beauty are all prime examples of clean makeup products that have formulas bursting with nourishing ingredients and extracts that infuse your skin with hydration and vitality. While essentially all makeup helps in the short term to make your skin appear healthier, makeup with skin care is made to wear longer and overall help the condition of your skin.
As our in-house makeup artist, Samson Smith, so sagely sums it up, "If you eat fast food, you are still getting sustenance and your stomach is full, it’s just not great for you — it’s the same idea with makeup. You won’t be inherently at a disadvantage if you are using makeup that isn't nutritionally valuable, but you will be helped exponentially by makeup that is."
With that in mind, here are a few of our favorite skin-care-meets-makeup brands, plus tips from Samson on how best to apply them for a perfected complexion.
One of the reasons we love Kosas so much is that its entire reason for being is to provide "makeup that feels as good as it looks," with products enriched with beneficial skin-care ingredients. Founder Sheena Yaitanes is a trained chemist who understands how to make clean formulas that also perform exactly how you want them to. They're like your go-to pair of leggings—they fit you perfectly, are ridiculously comfortable, and don't constrict you. "I love Kosas because it is so lightweight," says Samson. "The base of the Tinted Face Oil is a dry oil, so people with oilier skin can use it and kind of live in that dewy moment or people with drier skin can get a matte look from it." For best effect, says Samson, use a dense brush, as the denser the brush, the more evenly the oil formula will spread.
Another standout Kosas product we are all about right now is the Revealer Concealer, a hybrid cover-up that contains caffeine to de-puff, peptides to plump, and arnica and panthenol to heal and calm blemishes. Samson says you can apply this one with a brush or with your finger — its consistency is a bit less slippy to it so it will blend in easier.
Samson's obsession with makeup artist Gucci Westman's namesake line was love at first swipe. "With the Westman Atelier collection there is so much duality between makeup and skin care. When you use these products, your skin will improve just because of the effective level of ingredients that are in them," he says. "Westman does the work for you."
As far as application goes, Samson says the bestselling Vital Skin Foundation Stick is practically idiot-proof ("You could literally use a crumpled up newsletter to blend and it will look beautiful. You don’t even need technique — just smash your face into the stick"). Jokes aside, his usual routine is to apply in a triangle shape under the eye, a dot on the center of the forehead, a little bit down the nose, and the center of the chin. "Then I blend it with my fingers, starting from the inside of the face and blending outwards. You can either tap it in, which will give you more coverage, or do a sweeping motion to give it more of a blend. If you have blemishes or undereye circles to hide, use it as your concealer by putting your finger directly on the stick and then tapping on the area you want to cover.”
Many highlighters are notorious for being slicked up with silicone, but the cult classic Luminizer from RMS Beauty instead uses a blend of moisturizing oils to give it that creamy slip across the skin. With a blend of coconut, castor seed, and sunflower seed oils, plus natural mineral shimmer, it imparts an otherworldly glow wherever you dab it on the skin. One of the things we hear people remark on when seeing this product in person is that it's a smaller size jar than other highlighters they are used to using. That's because, as Samson notes, "It's a very concentrated product — a little goes a long way." Which also means there's no need to load up for application. "I like to use my fingers and just lightly press into it and then barely touch the product to my face," he says. That little bit will give you a whole lot of glow and add a healthy hit of hydration in the process.
While making the switch to skin-friendly makeup will definitely have an impact on your complexion's overall health, you still need to be sure you are practicing a proper skin-care regimen. Just because your makeup has skin-care benefits doesn't mean you can skip the moisturizer or go to sleep with it on. Be sure to wash your face properly each night and regularly wash your pillowcases to avoid breakouts or potential irritation. And always apply a face cream or oil first to prep and prime your skin before makeup.