I’ll admit, I’m the first one to recommend steering clear of matte makeup when your skin is more mature. I believe a moisturised, dewy glow is key for looking alive and healthy, while ‘flat’ skin can make you look dull and tired, and matte textures have a tendency to sit in lines. However, that doesn't mean reaching for the shimmer. As makeup artist Mary Greenwell reminded us recently, shimmer (which she herself swerves for her own face) can add years too. So how do you strike the balance?
The key is keeping especially your eyeshadow matte while making sure your skin has a dewy, light-reflecting sheen with the right moisturising skincare as a base and a dewy primer.
We asked celebrity makeup artist Nathalie Eleni to show us how and as she demonstrates in this video, with the right tricks and textures, ‘matte’ doesn’t have to equate to ‘flat’. With plenty of red-carpet clients on her books, she is used to striking a careful balance between preventing an oily look and making her stars shine (in a good way).
Here, she shows she’s got the technique down pat – and it turns out to be pretty easy.
For a stronger party flavour, you can amp up the intensity of the liquid liner and choose a popping coral over a soft peach for lips and cheeks (we like Max Factor Miracle Pure cream Blush in 02 Sunlit Coral, £10 and Mina The Longwear Lipstick in 226 Coral, £15)
• Illuminating primer
Nathalie starts by giving the radiant game away: an illuminating primer underpins this whole look. She smooths Iconic London Underglow Blurring Primer, £24, which blurs pores and lines to create a flawless canvas but gives skin a superannuated golden glow (which flatters all skin tones) all over. It’s applied with the Artis Skincare Oval 6 Brush, £53.34.
• Hydrating matte foundation
Now that she is lit from within, Nathalie softens the glow without losing the radiance by topping her primer with a matte foundation. Givenchy Prisme Libre Skin-Caring Matte Foundation, £40, is breathable and shine-free but has mother-of-pearl pigments and a whole load of hydrating and skincare ingredients to make sure skin doesn’t fall flat. Applied with a foundation brush, the coverage is kept to ‘medium’. It can be built up to full, but keeping things a little sheerer simply looks more youthful.
How to do matte eyeshadow that makes eyes pop
• Matte eyeshadow
For eyes, Nathalie grabs her Pat McGrath Labs MTHRSHP Mega: Celestial Nirvana Eyeshadow Palette, £77, but any palette featuring matte brown shades will do. With a soft fluffy eyeshadow brush she blends and diffuses a soft wash of the pale brown ‘Desert Divinity’ shade all over the lids, and follows it with deep brown ‘Nightfall’ in the eye sockets, using the leftover powder on her brush to softly line under the eyes.
• Use concealer to sharpen your shadow
She takes KVD Beauty Lock-It Concealer Crème, £21 to ‘clean and sharpen up the undereye area’. Using another soft brush to diffuse the product into the inner eye corners, she also blends the cover-up over dark circles and at the outer corners to create a clean ‘wing’ of eyeshadow by erasing any mess along its bottom edge. The brighter and cleaner the undereye area, the more awake and radiant you’ll look!
• The perfect cat flick
KVD Beauty Kitten Mini Tattoo Liner, £11 is used along the top lashes to make eyes ‘pop’. Nathalie uses an angled eyebrow brush to blend the colour into place and get the perfect ‘lift’ to suit her eye shape; look here for more of her genius tips to perfect your eyeliner flicks. It’s all followed by lashings of mascara top and bottom. She loves the Bobbi Brown Smoky Eye Mascara, £27, which she uses here.
• Brighten eyes with a white waterline pencil
For an eye-brightening trick that requires no glitter or gloss, a white or cream or, if you’ve got dark skin, peach or pale brown pencil in the inner under-eye rims is a classic. Nathalie uses the Victoria Beckham Beauty Instant Brightening Waterline Pencil, £22; a budget alternative is NYX Professional Makeup Epic Wear Long Lasting Liner Stick in Pure White, £7.
• Keep brows soft
She subtly accentuates her brows with the light blonde shade of Charlotte Tilbury Brow Cheat, £23; you don’t want too-heavy arches hijacking this soft look.
How to apply matte blush and bronzer and stay glowing
• Use a bronzing gel
With a synthetic blusher brush, Nathalie blends a gel bronzer across her nose and cheeks and along her jaw and collarbones. The Sensai Bronzing Gel SPF 6, £31, she says, “doesn’t have any luminosity but it is very sheer [and has a dewy, hydrating texture for oil-free freshness] and really warms up your face.”
• Dust your blush softly
Over the top, along her cheekbones, she dusts a matte peach blusher (KVD Beauty Everlasting Blush in Foxglove, £22), applied not too heavily for a soft, blurry effect that still leaves room for some light dewiness.
• Set with a fine, translucent powder
Nathalie sets her makeup where needed with a translucent matte finishing powder (we love Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder, £20), pressing her sponge under the eyes, across the nose and along the forehead and chin to mattify only where needed.
Matte but not flat lipstick
• Match your lips to your cheeks and choose a sheer, hydrating formula
She pulls the look together by teaming her peachy cheeks with peach lips. The Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pink Venus, £19 is pencilled all over the lips for matte, creamy colour that’ll anchor any lipstick.
Nathalie chooses a peachy nude lipstick in a matte-ish texture (La Perla Satin Lip Balm in Espresso Lips, £45), but one that is exceptionally sheer and hydrating so again, there’s a radiance and moisture in order to get all the modernity of matte but none of the harshness.