A glossy face, while gorgeous on catwalks or in photographs, is usually the result of a makeup artist dabbing a heavy emollient on a model’s complexion for the fleeting moments it must stay in place, and is a look I’ve rarely worn in real life. This is partly because an oily sheen is by its nature ephemeral, but also because I find high shine ageing on all but the very young (powder gets an unfair rap: a judiciously placed dusting over chin, forehead and nose is broadly a good thing).
Chanel’s brilliant new Baume Essentiel stick (£33, 8g) solves both problems. It comes in two finishes, transparent – self explanatory – and “sculpting”, which is misleading since it suggests a contouring product. In fact, the latter is a subtle, glossy, oyster-pink sheen, slight enough for all skin tones and devoid of adolescent spangle. I’ve been using it almost daily on cheekbones and eyelids, enhanced with nothing but mascara. It delivers lots of moisture but just enough dewiness (think a five-minute walk, not a 15-minute steam room) and stays put: I top up no more than once, if my day is merging into an evening out.
If you’d like a little more gleam and colour for your buck, I love Glossier Haloscope (£18, 5.5g). This has a halo of traditional highlighter around the outer stick, with a core of transparent, fatty hydrating balm to keep things gleaming and moist, rather than chalky or unnatural. It’s cruelty free, but vegans should opt for Milk Makeup’s clever Hydrating Oil (£20.50, 28g). Unlike the others, it’s ostensibly skincare – rich, ungreasy oils of apricot, jojoba and avocado, with no added colour or shimmer. It’ll need more frequent reapplication; but like the rest, its stick packaging allows for targeted placement over any makeup.
There aren’t many bargain face glosses, but NYX Dose of Dew Face Gloss (£8, 5.35g) deserves commendation for being incredibly easy to use and conveniently compact. This stick has some lightest pink shimmer, but leaves no ashy cast on brown and black skin; it looks subtle and sophisticated on all ages and colours.
With everything here, a light touch is helpful. After all else, draw the shine in an arc from the brow bone to the top of the cheekbone and pat – don’t rub – with your fingertip.
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