complexion perfection | 5 beauty products to make your skin glow

clinique nars smashbox becca face makeup

Though Labor Day marked the unofficial end of summer, that doesn’t mean that you have to let your skin succumb to cooler weather’s drab, blah tone. To keep your complexion looking warm and radiant (even if you are a pale girl), invest in some makeup basics that can give your skin a glowing, defined look even on the dreariest days.

While no makeup is a substitute for great skin care (gentle cleansers, creamy moisturizers and light sunscreen every day!), these five basic makeup products (and three funky brushes!) can give your face a flawless look in about 10 minutes.

clinique nars smashbox becca face makeup

{Five products and four brushes can help you build the perfect complexion.}

1. Tinted Moisturizer

I like to use tinted moisturizer for light, sheer coverage that is more forgiving of foundation blending mistakes. My current tinted moisturizer, Clinique Almost Makeup SPF 15, is discontinued, but its replacement will most likely be Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 – Oil Free. Be sure to choose a tinted moisturizer with sun protection in it, especially if you are bad about using a sunscreen in the first place. This will help your complexion in the future (sorry, there’s no OTC beauty product for wrinkles and skin cancer!).

2. Concealer

To help fake eight hours of sleep, be sure to use concealer — I like NARS Concealer in Custard — under your eyes and around their corners. I also dab concealer around my nostrils to help conceal broken capillaries and redness. NARS Concealer replaces my old standby, Prescriptives Camouflage Cream, because it has far superior coverage, doesn’t crease easily and is highly pigmented.

3. Contour Kit

During the weekend, I splurged on the Smashbox Step By Step Contour Kit because I’d been obsessing over different contouring kits online after watching a few makeup vloggers’ videos. Contouring is a new step in my everyday beauty routine — I’m still mastering it (read: blending like crazy every morning) to get well-defined, sculpted cheeks. I like the Smashbox contour kit because it comes with a mini-angled contour brush and instructions glued right onto the compact’s mirror.

The idea behind contouring is simple: First, use a shade a few colors darker than your skin tone to fill in the hollows of your cheeks, creating shadows that make your cheeks seem to pop and slim your face. Next, blend in a shade one color darker right on top of that curve to add some warmth to your cheeks; dab some more color on your chin and down the sides of your nose, too. Be sure to blend these colors well both in the hollows and out to your ear so there are no harsh lines on your face. Finally, dust on a shade one color lighter than your skin tone to highlight the bridge of your nose and above your cheekbone — any place light would naturally hit your face.

Before committing to a contour kit, have a makeup artist (or a vlogger) give you a demo.  And don’t forget to blend, blend, blend — that’s what that short kabuki brush is for after you’ve gotten all the color on your face with the contour brush.

4. Pressed Shimmer Powder

Instead of the contour kit’s highlight powder, I like to dust on a bit of Becca Cosmetics Pressed Shimmer Powder in Hyawatha. This shimmer powder casts a luminous glow with light-catching shimmer, not glitter. Use the contour brush from the contour kit to pat this on right above your cheekbones, above your brows and above the point of your lips for a sun-kissed glow without bronzer — perfect year-round.

5. Blush

I’ve yet to stray from my obsession with NARS blushes; I do like to play around with my color selection every now and then. For a long time, I was devoted to NARS Powder Blush in Deep Throat, a peachy-shimmery cheek color; now I’ve grown attached to NARS Powder Blush in Sin, a deep berry color with flecks of gold that looks amazing on olive-toned skin or brown-eyed babes (it really brings out the flecks of gold in brown eyes). Using a flat-top blush/bronzer brush, pat just a bit of blush onto the apples of your cheeks — you don’t need to overdo it on the blusher unless you want to look like a porcelain doll. The goal with blush is to look healthily flushed, like you just ran up the stairs or won a breath-holding contest with your cubemate.

What are some of your perfect-complexion secrets? What products do you use on a regular basis? Share your makeup obsessions with me in the comments section.


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  • hi kim! thanks for the reminder that i need to purchase some moisturizer with a tint in it! i normally don’t wear any foundation, just translucent powder, but my skin as of late really needs something extra! don’t you hate it when something really great is discontinued? i just love clinique. happy wednesday to you my friend!! ;)
    xx ~ ks

  • @kristina yes i do! i’ve heard great things about laura mercier though, so now’s my chance to try it :) your skin is b-youuu-ti-fullll :)