I’ve never understood the desire for matt skin. I can see that you don’t want to look like an oil spill, but mattifying gels, blotting papers and powder? There is no faster way to add 10 years.
I have a friend whose chief anti-matt strategy, in her 60s (I’m guessing – her age has always been a closely guarded secret), is to keep a constant supply of Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil about her person and douse her face with it frequently. She has the skin texture of a 30-year-old and the result is the opposite of matt, but it’s not sweaty-or greasy-looking either.
However, that solution is not for everyone. If you wear foundation, blusher or concealer, applying liquid oils throughout the day isn’t really practical. So that was that, I thought. To get the dewy, radiant effect, I would just have to persist with highlighter, illuminator or, on a fancy day, illuminating highlighter.
A word or 50 about highlighters and co, which as far as I can see, are the beauty equivalent of Bitcoin: you know the right one could change your life, if you could only work out how to use it. But you’re also aware it could – and frequently does – end in tears. I don’t know how many I’ve tried. But I do know these four scenarios, none of them good: sliding off; making you look like a glittery teenager on a date that’s not going well; melting into your crow’s feet, thereby instantly illuminating them rather than your youth; leaving weird, Nicole Kidman-caught-in-wrong-kind-of-flash white rings round your eyes.
If only I’d gone to Korea a decade ago, I’d have saved myself so much trouble. Koreans have been using oil sticks as a surrogate highlighter for years. Inspired by this knowledge, my colleague Charlie discovered Neogen Dermalogy’s White Truffle Laycure Oil Stick on Amazon. And in late 2016, Mac introduced its Prep + Prime Essential Oils Stick – which has become my nomination for if-you-were-only-allowed-one-item-of-make-up. A solid balm you can swipe across cheeks, temples, eyes and even cuticles, it nourishes skin while making it look glossy and healthy. Lighter than that classic balm, Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream, and a lot less messy than a liquid oil, I can’t fault it. It works over make-up, but also under – somewhat counter-intuitively, it’s designed to work like a primer does, making your foundation or concealer adhere to your skin for longer.
This last function seemed effective to me, but judging by some customers’ reviews, it doesn’t work on all skin types. If you have very active sebaceous glands, this may not cut it as a primer, but in all other respects it’s a significantly brilliant addition to our beauty routines.
Oil Stick Solutions