Quietly glowing skin: the cheat sheet

best-foundation

Hey, remember the first time you tried foundation? I do. I was 13, pimply, and desperate to cover that stuff up while simultaneously Being A Lady. I hounded my mother, who eventually gave in and brought home some Max Factor Pan-Cake makeup. I’m not sure if she was holdin’ on to the classics, or if she was doing some serious reverse psychology, but either way, I hated how Pan-Cake looked on my skin. Developed in 1938, it’s essentially stage makeup — which was fine for the Hollywood beauties who used it back in the day, but not so great for a clumsy girl who didn’t know how to apply it. It looked heavy, caked-on, and streaky. (And vaguely de Kooning-esque, but abstract expressionism wasn’t so hot in junior high.)

Everybody looks better and healthier with a little bit of a glow.

Anyway, it took a long time for me to tiptoe into the world of foundation again, but things are way better now. That’s mostly because there are some damn brilliant products on the market — and I do mean literally brilliant. Everybody looks better and healthier with a little bit of a glow. For this, you need products that reflect light and brighten the skin. The idea isn’t to glisten or shimmer or sparkle, but to create a soft, pearlescent finish. You can do this.

I don’t wear foundation on most days, but when I really need to look natural but polished, this is the setup: Olay’s new eye gel-cream hybrid, Bobbi Brown’s Luminous foundation, and Philosophy’s Miracle Worker concealer. The gel has anti-aging ingredients, and the foundation is pretty much “perfect skin in a bottle.” To cover dark circles and blemishes, I apply concealer with this Marc Jacobs brush, which has a flat side for application and an angled side for getting into nooks and crannies of the face. (Two, two, two brushes in one!) Finally, I am rejoicing over Philosophy’s revamped concealer/corrector duo. Years ago, the brand had a phenomenal concealer pan that went away (and, coincidentally, the sight of my dark circles returned). Now, this is back, and when they call it Miracle Worker, they ain’t lying.

There are a zillion ways to do foundation, but this setup is my new favorite. It’s quick, it covers a multitude of imperfections, and your skin still looks like skin in the end. Which is exactly what we all want, right? Right.

Olay Regenerist Luminous Dark Circle Correcting Hydraswirl Eye, $29; Bobbi Brown Luminous Moisturizing Treatment Foundation, $52; Philosophy Miracle Worker concealer, $25; Marc Jacobs The Conceal, $30.

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