Bronzer is out and pretty, flushed cheeks are in - Anna Hunter explains why and how to get the look with our experts' help...
When even Poundland are jumping on the fake tan van, it’s probably time to buzz the bell on the bronzing bus and get off at the next stop. Perhaps for the first time in Strictly history, a star has refused to slather on the faux-glow (Sophie Ellis-Bextor we applaud you) and in a dramatic turn against the tanning tide Victoria’s Secret make-up artist Dick Page banned bronzer from this year’s scantily clad runway show. Is the fake stuff falling out of favour? Is a winter tan positively passé?
Not necessarily, but we advise you tan fans not to get in Page’s way this party season, as the make-up look backstage at the Victoria’s Secret show earlier this month didn’t accommodate an Autumn/Winter glow, as he revealed to The Cut:
“No bronzer. The focal point is a flushed cheek, with a reddish-brown lipstick which we swept along the nose and the cheeks, and diffused using the tips of the brush bristles.”
We’re talking an outdoorsy flush; dark tans were not the order of the day. Nevertheless, it seems that even supermodels struggle to wean themselves off the fake bake, as Page further explained that some angels were not sticking to the make-up brief:
“A couple of girls are sneaking off and doing their own contouring. Yeah, some girls are bronzed, but that has nothing to do with me."
Page also pared back models’ mascara, lipstick and foundation, in part owing to the show’s HD transmission. The natural look replaced the customary Victoria’s Secret glamour, and while the models may have snuck off to apply their bronzer regardless, the fash pack and beauty industry alike are shifting with the seasons and approaching tan lines with caution. This winter the sartorial and cosmetic powers that be are quite literally chilling out and accepting that honeyed complexions are hibernating. Think lit from within, like a candlelit carol service or crackling log fire. It’s probably raining in Saint Tropez anyway.
Illuminators, subtle highlighters, blushers and moisture-boosting brighteners are your best bet for creating winter radiance; if you enjoy the bracingly bare, fresh-faced look find inspiration from the Balmain, Alexander Wang, Jonathan Saunders and Dolce & Gabbana catwalks, all of whom opted for little to no blush, bronzer or cheek colour whatsoever.
If you’re not quite ready to go completely au naturel, reference Carolina Herrera, whose models showcased a perky apricot blush, or go windswept à la Sass & Bide, where cheeks took on a sporty, ruddy cheeked glow.
As is so often the case in life, looking like you’ve made no effort often ironically demands the most artful approach, but the natural look doesn’t require arduous application. Take it from make-up artist Daniel Sandler :
“This season it’s all about expensive looking skin, so swap powdery and dry formulas for nourishing and protecting ones, which will feel more comfortable on the skin and give you a natural flush. Ditch powder blush for fluid or cream textures such as my Watercolour fluid or crème blush."
Pick your formula
“For day I'd recommend a shimmer free formula, such as my new Watercolour Fluid in Glamour, £15.50, which is a beautiful peachy nude and suits most skintones. If you're a fan of bronzed cheeks, then my Watercolour Crème Bronzer in Riviera, £15.50 is a great alternative to your classic powder bronzer and can be used to create very subtle contouring on the cheeks.
Match your shade
“Using a synthetic brush to apply fluids or creams will create a more sculpted finish whereas using fingers will give you a softer, healthy looking glow. Pale complexions with high-colour should avoid pink tones and go for soft peach or a delicate bronze or nude shade. Pale skins that don't flush quite so easily can use either soft pink or mellow peach. Warmer skins light up in pink; it adds freshness and combats sallowness. Dark skins can get away with most shades; dab on pink, peach or bronze.
Apply and blend
“To apply, build up colour slowly and don't just pop colour on the apple of cheeks as this can often make the face appear fuller and rounder. Instead apply it to the apple of the cheeks before buffing up and out towards the hairline. Never apply blusher too low on the face or below the cheekbone or it will drag the face down. Crucially; blend, blend, blend.”
If this blusher masterclass has still not quelled your urge to bronze, take heed of wise tanning expert James Harknett’s advice on discreetly warming up winter skin:
“To lift flat, pale skin I recommend a gentle, even application of a gradual tanner. Crème De La Mer The Face and Body Gradual Tan , £65, delivers barely-there colour combined with a generous surge of moisture. It really rejuvenates the skin and looks extremely subtle, a million miles from that heavy fake look.
"For the face I always recommend matching a bronzer with your natural colouring. Try Laura Mercier Bronzing Pressed Powder , £26, in an appropriate shade and apply sparingly. Rather than contouring cheekbones and over-defining, dust it over the forehead, nose, chin and cheeks with a round make-up sponge to even out the complexion. You’re after subdued, elegant radiance.”
So there you have it - luminous and lovely winter skin that leaves splotchy, unnatural looking tans in the shade.