Since flooding Instagram in 2017, Korean skincare trend 'glass skin' continues to dominate the beauty scene, especially London Fashion Week AW20. From Marques'Almeida (courtesy of MAC's Terry Barber) to Temperley (the beauty look dreamed up by Charlotte Tilbury), models have been sent down the catwalk with skin so glowy and radiant, it almost appears reflective or transparent. But there's another burgeoning beauty movement happening in London, and it's prompting us all to ditch the highlighter.
Enter: 'cloud skin'.
Spotted at Matty Bovan and Richard Malone, the dreamy new trend is a skincare and makeup hybrid, and occupies a cosy space between matte and illuminated, opaque and sheer, just like a plume of clouds. "There’s an enormous exploration of skin," Dominic Skinner, MAC Cosmetics' global senior artist, told R29 backstage at Richard Quinn. "People are becoming fascinated with skincare and skin treatments but they also aren’t seeing foundation and powder as something they simply put on and run with. Calling it 'cloud skin' is ideal. It's multidimensional." And it's pretty simple to recreate.
"It’s all about specifically placed powder, a touch of foundation and a facial oil to prime the skin," said Dominic. "The technique creates an impression of a cloud because there is matte powder and then moisture from the foundation, and the combination gives a softness. It's a sort of lightness and a fluffiness." He suggests layering on MAC's Prep + Prime Essential Oil, £23, to start. "This makes the skin glow while hydrating and conditioning. Foundation also loves to blur into it and it lends skin a softer, delicate finish." If you aren't keen on facial oil, try a dewy moisturiser instead, such as backstage beauty favourite, Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré, £20 or Paula's Choice Water-Infusing Electrolyte Moisturizer, £32.
The second step is a touch of foundation, but make it matte for that fluffy, cloudlike finish. Dominic rates MAC's Studio Fix Soft Matte Foundation Stick, £27. "This is a foundation, touch-up and concealer in one," said Dominic. "Dot it around your face and use your thumb to blend it in. It’ll give you really easy-fix skin."
To amp up the blurred, almost hazy, cloudlike look, the key is translucent powder – but not all over. "Dusting powder in key areas not only makes foundation last longer, but allows other parts of the face to appear fresher and much more dewy without even adding highlighter," said Dominic. "You always, no matter what, want to powder the inner corners of the eyes and around the nostrils," he added. This makes everything appear pulled together, symmetrical and fresh.
"Then, I always powder the jawline so it makes the cheeks look slightly shiny and sheer. And when you powder your forehead, don’t just slap it on. Just powder the hairline because it means you get more of a control of the placement of the shine, and the powder will slowly dissipate and graduate to nothing. As a result, you get this nice brightness between the brows. It's healthy, not sweaty."
Skin at Rixo also had a cloudlike quality. Makeup artist Vincent Ford eschewed facial oil in favour of NARS Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturiser, £43. If your skin is on the thirsty side, also try NARS Cosmetics Luminous Moisture Cream, £46. Vincent then applied NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation, £35, and two face powders to create a soft-focus effect: Soft Velvet Pressed Powder, £29, and Soft Velvet Loose Powder, £29.
The look doesn't require anything else but if you want something more, Dominic suggests applying delicate swathes of blush, such as MAC's Powder Blush, £19.50, in the space between the apple of the cheek and the temple. Apply very lightly, using just the tip of a soft, fluffy brush. To finish, brush brows up with a tinted brow gel, such as Glossier's Boy Brow, £14, for a natural, fluffy effect.