There was, briefly, much talk of a post-pandemic, roaring twenties-style rush to dress up and roll in makeup because we once again could. But gratifyingly, many of the subtler, lower-maintenance habits of the past two years have stuck. What’s more, the thought of applying full, mask-like coverage makeup now seems for many of us to be retrograde.
Brands are learning that lighter, less-effortful, more breathable makeup bases seem more representative of how we now live and want to look. YSL’s brilliantly easy, inclusive and natural-looking NU Bare Looks Tint, £22.95, is a no-brainer. Think fingertip makeup at its fastest – just smoosh on the non-greasy tinted cream for a light, dewy, more even finish to even sensitive skins. It is hydrating, moist and very often the only product I’ve worn over skincare for spring days spent doing little else but work. In fact, the only thing I don’t like is their marketers’ apparent misapprehension that only very young people will want it.
The much-awaited Plein Air Complexion Balm SPF30 by Hermès, £65, famous for being the world’s most coveted luxury goods brand, could have been half-arsed and still sold out, but as with everything else in the house’s relatively new beauty line, suitable care has been taken to make it exquisite. The texture is glorious – creamy and comforting, yet lightweight (suitable for all), but the finish is where one most sees the substantial £65 price tag pay back. Its non-glittery, glowy, light-medium coverage has an expensive eggshell sort of lustre (rare in a product with a high SPF), providing that outdoorsy look of good health one associates with classic French beauty. I know that it would be an act of kindness to tell you it’s rubbish, but I’m afraid that Plein Air is an exorbitantly priced thing of joy.
Less money and a different idea is Milk Makeup’s versatile new Bionic Glow, £26. Here, we get no coverage at all, just sunny all-American gleam in a dewy, pearlescent but not glittery gel base. Bionic Glow can be applied on its own as an effortless and instant pick-me-up, or spread with fingertips on to cheekbones, temples and eyelids to direct light flatteringly on to the face. Unlike the others, this comes in only two shades (most brown and black women will be Reality; most white women will be Virtual), but the tint is so transparent that the limited lineup only adds to what is the fastest, easiest route to good glow.