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The Pros' Guide To Glowing Skin — Without Makeup

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    ILLUSTRATED BY ISABEL CASTILLO.

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    We’ve all seen the clean, no-makeup look that has dominated Fashion Week for the past few seasons. But, spoiler alert, the look tends to require some product (on runway models, at least — how you actually do “no-makeup” is up to you).

    Ask any makeup artist what’s really going on, and he or she will tell you that all the light-reflecting powder in the world won’t make skin look flawless if it isn’t already glowing to start with. The trouble is, even supermodels show up to work with less-than-perfect complexions, especially when hustling from show to show.

    That’s where backstage skin care comes in. These are the last-minute hacks makeup artists have honed over the years, when they need to coax out a radiant glow or create a smoother surface, before adding even a drop of foundation. Ahead, makeup gurus and Fashion Week fixtures Gabriel Almodovar, Amy Chin, and Victor Henao reveal their fail-safe tips to getting model-perfect skin.

    And best of all, you don’t need a pro kit to try them at home — a few soda cans from your fridge and some product recommendations from Murad are all it takes to get a truly no-makeup glow. Once you see the results, you might just feel like strutting down a runway yourself.

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    During Fashion Week, models rush from show to show, often arriving at their next gig with the makeup from their last. Almodovar’s task is to then get all that product off — and fast — especially without rubbing or tugging the delicate skin around the eyes. His trick: “Soak cotton pads with an oil-based makeup remover and let them sit on [your] lids for at least 10 seconds before wiping everything away,” he says. “Even stubborn eye makeup comes off easily."

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    Apply makeup. Remove. Repeat. This is the typical routine for a runway model — and a recipe for a blotchy, stressed-out complexion. To soothe skin quickly, Almodovar generously spritzes it with a hydrating, anti-inflammatory-packed toner. Then, while skin is still wet, he fans the face with a towel or piece of paper. This cooling combo takes down redness instantly.

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    When faced with lackluster skin, Chin takes matters into her own hands. As in, a three-minute facial massage while she applies moisturizer to help boost blood flow. “Facial massage increases circulation, which gives sallow skin a natural-looking, rosy glow,” she advises.

    For an added brightening boost when you try this at home, reach for an antioxidant-rich moisturizer that’s packed with vitamin C to help protect your skin for the day. Then, follow these steps as you apply it: Start on your forehead, making circular motions with your fingertips from the center out toward the temples. Next, slide your fingertips down the sides of your nose. As you move toward the area around your mouth, make circular motions around the lower lip, lifting the corners of your lips upward. Then, trace circles from the jawline to the tops of the cheekbones. Finish by tapping a few extra dots underneath the eyes, from inner to outer corners.

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    “Glowing cheeks are always pretty, but a shiny forehead is rarely cute,” Almodovar says. To create radiance just where you want it, apply moisturizer as usual, then gently press with blotting paper along your T-zone — on the forehead, on and around the nose, and on the chin. This takes down the surface moisture from the areas that tend to get oiliest, leaving your cheeks dewy fresh. (In a pinch, paper towels or tissues work, too!)

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    Fact of life: Everyone, including models, has fine lines. You just don’t see them on the runways because makeup artists use products to plump and fill in wrinkles. (Not to mention the models are in and out pretty fast.) If you’re looking to smooth your skin’s surface, go for skin-care products with ingredients like peptides and silicones. Peptides boost collagen to plump and firm lines, while light-diffusing silicones blur imperfections from blemishes to enlarged pores.