For those of us with, ehem, slightly more mature skin, the heavy, oil-and-jelly-laden, dewy trends have been a no-go. While we like to look young, some of these trends have surpassed even a preteen glow and force us to assume a freshly-emerged-from-the-womb look that just doesn’t jive with our angles, planes, and existing oil.
And then—like manna from the heavens above—angel, judge on Glow Up BBC, and makeup artist Dominic Skinner coined Cloud Skin.
“Cloud Skin is just that” he explains, “skin that resembles a cloud. Lightweight, soft and fluffy, transparent and radiant without any dewy texture. It’s like the holy grail of backstage, fashion-week skin.
“I kept seeing a lot of beauty trends coming out of South Korea and Japan where the overarching theme was sheer and subtle with a light touch of the application. I wanted to capture this style as an alternative to the heavy, full-coverage bases I was seeing around me. I’m always experimenting with makeup. I’m never fully happy with a single product, so I end up mixing things all the time. So when I mixed a matte foundation with a soft glow serum, this ideal, lightweight, East Asian texture was right in front of me,” Dominic relates.
Ahh, an artist at work. And, this is different from the matte we know and love to hate from the cakey late ‘90s and early aughts.
“Matte but glow, flawless but sheer. It’s all these contradicting words that everyone is after, finally in one perfect skin finish. There is a similarity to ‘90s skin. However, instead of it being matte, it has a freshness to it. Like an upgraded ‘90s skin with the technology of modern skin care,” Dominic says.
We want—nay, NEED to know how to perfect this at home.
“The first thing you need to do is enhance your foundation with the power of skin care—primarily a skin serum.” (Dominic loves this, but we’re diehard fans of this duo). “Serums have this beautiful matte hydration that brings a demi-matte glow to the skin with a subtle soft blur. Both of these traits reflect the look of a cloud which makes serums perfect for this. However, the key is to mix the serum with your matte foundation. It’s the mixing that makes this finish so special.
“Deep hydration is the best way to prep your skin. So condition the skin with products that include ingredients like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide to plump and refine. Steer away from anything too rich and oily. Balms are a good product type to look out for.”
“Then it’s all about the application technique. The best way to achieve Cloud Skin is to think: layers. Lots of light microlayers (Dom’s favorite is this, which he mixes with his other fave above—we love this oxygenating alternative) of coverage create a flawless, sheer look. However, each layer is not ‘all even, all over the face.’ It’s about covering up little areas that stand out on the face bit by bit until you achieve the right balance of real and conceal.”
“The last piece of the puzzle is the tool. This is not the time to use a sponge or a dense makeup brush. This application needs to be whipped onto the skin like a whisk. So sparsely-packed brush hairs will help keep the base super light and polished. Bring all these elements together and you’ll have flawless, Cloud-like skin.”
“The key element to this look is the microlayers. The benefit to this technique is that lots of thin layers last a lot, LOT longer than a traditional application of foundation. However, using a little setting powder just where needed in places like the hair line, under the eyes, and the sides of the nose and chin, helps to secure the base longer and keeps the subtle glow on just the cheek bones.”
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