Statement beauty trends begone! The intensely vivid lip colours made to pop and Cara-inspired bold brows we were experimenting with last year have been put on ice in the wake of this season’s ‘there, not there’ look.
The Spring/Summer 14 runways were awash with models showcasing deliberately dewy, fresh-as-a-daisy faces described backstage as “a whole lot of nothing”. The look was championed by top designers such as Jil Sander, Lanvin and even colour fiend Giles Deacon, and went straight to Hollywood where the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett and Amy Adams went au natural on the red carpet.
“Beauty at the moment is very chic and it’s the whole idea of recharging simplicity that seems to be a global obsession,” says Vimi Joshi, MAC senior make-up artist for the Middle East. “Right now, we seem to want feminine, radiant skin that almost looks like a newborn baby’s.”
While it’s not exactly big news that we all want a flawless complexion, this look is not about ditching your make-up bag, but rather getting the right kit. The new ‘no make-up, make-up’ is about a few select products and a much lighter hand during application.
“There was once a time when everyone was trying to cover up their skin issues by layering on heavy foundation,” says Samira Olfat, Max Factor’s regional make-up artist. “But now – thanks to the new and innovative skincare products available, such as Max Factor’s CC Cream (Dh69) – we can reduce the appearance of our skin issues with a less cake-y look.”
Samira goes on to explain that products such as CC creams are colour correction creams providing intense complexion correction, which you just need to blend well for natural-looking, glowing skin. That means glowing in the sense of looking healthy, not layered as in previous seasons.
“Even the blush for this season is driven by the key elements of sand, sea, and wind,” says Vimi. “It’s all about achieving that ‘just been out to sea’ look when you have a healthy flush,” says Vimi. “We call it ‘flush deluxe’.”
This look was also seen on models at Peter Som, Michael Kors and, most notably Dolce & Gabbana where perennial make-up artist Pat McGrath pared down the siren Sophia Loren image, an icon of the house, to a more cherubic summer look using Dolce & Gabbana’s The Blush Luminous Cheek Colour in Peach, Apricot and Rosebud to flush cheeks (Dh165, Sephora).
The trick, explains Vimi, is to use the blush “to create an emotion rather than a blush, along with a highlighter to create an Instagram-y, filtering, hazy effect,” that will catch the light and do the sculpting.
Instagram was cited as a main inspiration for many of the looks seen at fashion weeks this year, thanks to the ethereal photo filters that thousands of us use daily to create flattering ‘selfies’ with retro lighting. Artists backstage created this effect on models by using skin highlighters (such as Mac’s Strobe Cream, Dh157) on cheekbones to give a multidimensional feel to sculpt and define, as well as lift the complexion and add a healthy – but not too sparkly – sheen.
Lisa Eldridge, make-up artist to the stars, has created a ‘no make-up’ look on celebrities such as Sienna Miller, Kate Moss and Cameron Diaz, and garnered more than 1.5 million views for her ‘No Make-up’ Look Tutorial on YouTube. Lisa advises against “using very shimmery highlighters and products all over your face as it will look artificial”.
Instead she recommends using a product that falls between a highlighter and moisturiser, like Lancôme Eclat Miracle (Dh220) or mixing a drop of highlighter in with your daily moisturiser, a trick used at 3.1 Phillip Lim.
A ‘less is more’ approach to foundation is also key. If you dare to ditch it completely, even better. Instead, look at working with a concealer to erase individual blemishes and any discolouration in your complexion. But if you can’t bare to part with your base, Dania Bawab, Lancôme’s regional make-up artist, stresses that it is essential to find the right foundation, in colour and texture. “The secret lies in using a light-textured foundation, such as Lancôme Teint Miracle Foundation (Dh174),” she says. “As well as using the correct shade of foundation to match your skin tone, the key is about blending well so that it settles into the skin.” For a more high street option, Lisa Eldridge mentions Healthy Mix Foundation by Bourjois (Dh95) as one of her favourites.
At Balmain, Chloé and Victoria Beckham skin was the primary focus, with a distinct absence of even mascara. “In fact,” says Vimi, “I felt all I did was concealer and skincare. We hardly did any contouring, mascara or brows.” It was also the first time she didn’t use false eyelashes, instead concentrating on individually sculpted lashes where they were required.
“I think it’s part of the new modern beauty movement,” she says. “Beautiful, glow-y skin that is almost – one of the great words used backstage – like a ‘whisper’ of make-up.”
Skincare is obviously an integral part of this trend. But it’s not just about make-up – whether it looks like we are wearing any or not.
“Our skin is the largest feature on our face, so having glowing skin can make us look younger, healthier and happier,” says Samira. “I recommend drinking a lot of water and make sure your hands are clean before touching your face. I also suggest using the right skincare products that are designed specifically for your skin type.”
The advice is seconded by Dania, who says it is very important to look after your skin by “cleansing, hydrating, correcting particular concerns and protecting it from external aggression such as the sun and pollution”. She recommends Lancôme’s Génifique Advance Youth Activating Serum (Dh360).
It makes sense that this trend is already being adopted by teens and women in their early twenties who can work this look so flawlessly.
But what about real women on the street – with under-eye bags and blemishes?
Women in the Middle East in general are more accustomed to a “done” beauty look, with lashings of mascara and red lips. But it’s time to let go of the ‘too much of everything’ look. “The young Arabic woman now is making one beauty statement,” says Vimi. “Either an eye or a lip, but not both at the same time. They are wearing colours, but subtle washes – I think the whole world is moving towards this pared-down ‘no make-up’ trend.”
Awards season highlighted how this look translates seamlessly to women of all ages and colourings at even the most glamorous events. Flame-haired actresses Jessica Chastain and Amy Adams and blonde bombshells like Margot Robbie went for clean skin and barely there blush, going easy on the eyes with minimal shadow and just a lick of mascara.
Most notably absent from the awards season this year was the statement scarlet pout – in its place were soft, natural shades.
Similarly, on the catwalk, tinted lip balms such as Revlon’s Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains (Dh50) and the revolutionary Lip Butters (Dh48) were used by Revlon’s make-up artist Gucci Westman on models at Marchesa.
Finally, we can all relax as this trend proves that make-up for a special occasion doesn’t equal thick layers of warpaint.
It’s a low-maintenance approach to beauty that encourages us to enhance rather than hide, making it the modern make-up look that’s, hopefully, here to stay.