Sunday, 15 May 2016

Summer Skin | Liquid Bronze and Instant Radiance.

It's sunny in France, and the Snapchat stories from back home consisting of guys stripping down to their boxers in 15 degree weather would also suggest that Summer is arriving. This is 100% going to be a stereotypical summer related blog post about healthy/glowing/dewy/natural/bronzed looking skin from your oily skinned casper friend over here. Whilst I love a full coverage matte look for photographs and nights out, I have definitely been moving towards a more lightweight and creamy look to the skin with more liquid products and, shock horror, bronzer. So, if this sounds like your kind of thing then get ready to read all about my top 5 products for a summer ready complexion. P.S I'd love to know when exactly in makeup history we made this sudden connection that healthy skin is synonymous with a bronzed JLo-esque face? I feel like Irish girls nowadays (with the exception of Cocoa Brown Tanning Thursday moments) would have been beating 14th century knights away with sticks...

Obviously it's important to use SPF every day, not just in the summer time but it is of course particularly important to make sure that your skin is well hydrated and protected when the sun comes out (for all 3 days a year here...). That should technically be the first step to any daytime skincare routine, but I don't feel like there's a big need to show those. With that said, my first must-have product for summer skin is actually one I recently featured in my Springsheen Cheeks post but it's as relevant as ever - the Boots Botanics All Bright Radiance Balm. A decent MAC Strobe Cream dupe, I love lashing this on underneath a tinted moisturiser or foundation in the summer - or even if I'm going completely bare faced for an opalescent sheen to the skin and as a base for my makeup. If you're very oily I would say use this as a moisturiser/primer hybrid and powder in places you're worried about shining too much. Dry skin girls can lash this on and I think will really love it.

Next up is the foundation or complexion product. This is completely subjective - some prefer to wear none at all, or do a BB cream or tinted moisturizer and some do like a foundation. I would say if I'm out and about during the day and seeing people then I am definitely in the latter half - although if I'm on holidays then I'm probably nakey faced 90% of the time. My summer foundation of choice this year is the Urban Decay Naked Skin. There's a reason this is so talked about by makeup artists and bloggers; it is such a beautiful foundation. I wouldn't say this is full coverage but it is definitely buildable to a firm medium coverage with a flawless finish. It's quite a watery consistency so you would think it would automatically be quite sheer but the coverage is definitely decent from the get-go which I appreciate. It does something that very few of my foundations do and that is covering and perfecting overall but still looking like skin. They hit the nail on the head with their own description - weightless and light diffusing. This is a foundation that photographs beautifully too, by the way, so if you had this and a heavy duty concealer you would be good to go and looking like an angel. 

Bronzer time - a staple in any summer skin blog post, right? This is definitely a bronzer with a difference and if you're into your JLo glow then you will probably want to splurge on this. The Giorgio Armani Maestro Liquid Summer Bronzer* (shade 110) is unlike anything I've ever tried before. I got this in the post and couldn't wait to start using it but had difficulties the first time - I had absolutely no tan on and assumed it was going to be a sheer product so lashed it on like it was going out of style. I soon got the hang of it and it is now living in my makeup bag for a number of different reasons/with various purposes.
 If you are very fair and don't ever tan then I would say this is not the product for you at all. However, if you are of a medium skin tone or like to fake tan (sassy hands up emoji) then this is stunning. The swatch below is obviously unblended, and it looks quite dark but there is absolutely no orange in this and despite the depth of colour it blends in so beautifully into the skin. The pipette dropper makes it easy to dispense the perfect about of product (trust me, 1-2 drops is more than enough for your whole face because this stuff goes a really long way). If I'm using something like the Naked Skin foundation I'll apply the liquid bronzer underneath my makeup, on the outer parts of my face, so it peeks through very naturally... you could also obviously just use this with say the Radiance Balm if you're not a fan of any foundation or BB creams in the summer. If I've fake tanned I use this as a bronzer on top of my foundation for nights out and it is so amazing for this - I take a synthetic Nima brush or my Real Techniques sponge to apply and stipple it along my hairline, under my cheek bones, across my nose and my chin. Although there looks like there's shimmer in the bottle it doesn't show up on the skin but rather translates into just a healthy looking warmth that melts into the skin (thanks to the smooth liquid formula). 
I was so surprised at the coverage this gave - it definitely isn't a sheer bronzer so like I said if you like your glow and want to try something new this summer this is definitely the product to do it with. Another use I've found for this is dropping a blob or two (very accurate measurements there) into a lighter foundation to deepen it when I'm in that awkward tanning phase. With 30ml it will also last you a life time!

The summer glow continues with some highlighting or strobing as the hip kids all it nowadays. I haven't always been the biggest fan of liquid highlighting on myself but it is something I've taken a shining to... shining... get it? I'll see myself out then so... Anyway, during the day I think a liquid highlighter compliments other cream products or more minimal/sheer makeup beautifully, and at night time I've been religiously using a cream highlight under my powder one to really make it stand out. One I really enjoyed using last summer and will continue to use this year is the No 7 Instant Radiance Highlighter stick. It's a chubby little crayon that melts into the skin and makes highlighting fool proof. I tap the product from the stick with my fingers and apply it that way (I think the warmth of your fingers works better than a brush to melt the product into the skin. I also avoid applying directly from the stick to avoid 'lifting' the foundation underneath). The colour is a really universally flattering pink champagne with the right balance between gold and silver. Dab this on top of your cheekbones, down your nose, your browbone/inner corner of the eyes and the cupid's bow to be seen glowing from space. Honestly, this is what you should be spending your No 7 vouchers on that you probably throw straight in the bin as soon as you leave Boots.

And of course no summer skin look is complete without a setting spray. Fix+ is a classic - while it won't prolong the wear of your foundation, it is a beautiful little product and something I always have in my collection. This magic water can be used before your base to hydrate and prep the skin, can be spritzed on your brush to work any mineralised powders or creams into a dry skin, it can used after powdering or throughout the day to take away the cakey look of foundation that has settled into any pores or lines, all while giving a sheen to the skin (you can thank the high levels of glycerin in it for that one). Honestly there are about a million uses for Fix+ but no matter what your skin type or needs are it is one I would recommend looking into this summer. If you live in a hot and humid country keep this in your fridge and thank me later.

L-R: Radiance Balm, Liquid Summer Bronzer, Instant Radiance Highlighter
Feel free to adapt this look to your skin type and needs - I know I'll be adding plenty of concealer and translucent powder to this face cocktail and maybe even adding in some cute faux freckles with my dipbrow and a liner brush. These are just my top 5 complexion products for achieving that summer glow. Let me know your favourites below! :)