Bright, plump, and radiant in all the right places, red-carpet skin is the real deal. From Simone Ashley to Letitia Wright, celebrities always seem to have an otherworldly glow. And while half of it may be the result of a luxury facial the night before, or being prepped with pricy skin-care brands like Augustinus Bader, makeup is arguably the most important part.
If a pro artist is feeling generous, they might take to Instagram to share the product breakdowns for certain looks. But the key to that supernatural gleam is often elusive. Until now, that is, as TikTok thinks it might've found the formula.
Over the past few weeks the 'celebrity skin' hack has achieved viral status, and it's all thanks to @officialsavannahrae. In a video with 2.9 million views and counting, Savannah revealed the speedy trick her makeup-artist friend uses to make skin look so great in pictures. "Okay, so a friend of mine does makeup for celebrities and I know that we all have the same question. I was like, 'Girl, how do they look so good on the red carpet?' and she was like, 'Listen, it is three steps.'"
Savannah's friend suggests starting with a hydrating primer, like Becca Backlight Primer. Sadly, Becca Cosmetics brand was discontinued in 2021. However, she says that something like e.l.f. Poreless Putty Primer will work just as well. The next step is mixing two products on your skin: an illuminator and a skin tint. "She said most celebrity makeup artists swear by the Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter, and I personally really love this," says Savannah, crediting the illuminating 'complexion booster' for the first part. She continues: "Then you mix it with a skin tint, not a foundation."
After applying the primer, Savannah proceeds to swipe Flawless Filter over her skin with a few dabs of a skin tint, which has much lighter coverage compared to a foundation. "You do not need much of this at all," says Savannah, "but then you're going to use a really damp Beautyblender." The end finish is pretty impressive. "Like my texture is gone," says Savannah. "Do you see this glow?"
Since Savannah's video, a handful of TikTokers have tried the hack with incredible results, like @_ayshabegum and @bexcxmpbell, who prove that it works across the board. But clear skin is a common denominator. Would the hack work on skin that perhaps isn't as smooth? I'd say my complexion is pretty textured, with large pores, breakouts, and slight scarring. You don't need me to tell you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, though. These are all normal markers of healthy skin — and healthy skin isn't perfect.
But with summer coming up I'm trying to wean myself off foundation so this hack couldn't have come at a better time. Could it give me a good amount of coverage and make me glisten like a glazed doughnut in the sun without looking or feeling cakey? I delved straight into my makeup collection.
I have neither one of the primers featured in the original video but I have an alternative that primes and hydrates — exactly Savannah's words. If you're on a budget, the aforementioned e.l.f. version is great, or try NYX Professional Makeup Hydrating Centella Hydra Touch Primer. I smoothed the primer over my clean skin with my fingers and it looked instantly brighter and more dewy.
The star of the show is probably the Hollywood Flawless Filter. Like Savannah, I slicked a generous amount of the pearlescent pigment over my cheeks, chin, nose, forehead, and brow bone, and dotted on YSL Nu Bare Look Tint, which I love for lending skin a healthy sheen without heaviness. Unlike thick foundation and concealer (which takes work), it was a piece of cake to blend this featherlight combination into my skin using a damp Beautyblender. Any similar makeup sponge would work just as well.
My makeup has never looked so good. It's impossible to erase skin texture, but something about the iridescent particles in the Flawless Filter highlighter, combined with the skin-like coverage of the tint and the dewiness of the primer, made me look airbrushed. Any blemishes were diffused and it lent my skin a candlelit glow that was so pretty IRL.
Throughout the day I felt I needed a tad more coverage in certain places, such as on a big spot that had erupted on my cheek and my blue-toned under-eye circles. But that's nothing a little dot of concealer wouldn't minimize. I love Rare Beauty Liquid Touch Brightening Concealer, although NYX Professional Makeup Bare With Me Concealer Serum is just as great. I also pulled the look together with a smudge of Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush in Encourage, but you can dial up or down your look. Just know that the glow does most of the talking.
Since giving the 'celebrity skin' hack a go, I've been doing my makeup this way every day for both work and nights out. It cuts time and struggle out of my makeup routine, as foundation takes a good while to perfect — and slides off in warm, humid weather.
This story was originally published on Refinery29UK.
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