If the 1970s were the “me” decade, then the 2010s are surely more of a “look at me” era. From holiday “selfies” to job interviews on Skype, social media is driving the desire to be camera-ready at all times.
“The digital era has pushed the importance of image to the forefront,” says Lan Vu, founder of online trend forecasting service Beautystreams. “With the proliferation of Facebook, Instagram and Skype, it is increasingly important for the average person to look good on screen, as it can make a marked difference both personally and professionally.”
Enter a new generation of super sheer primers, targeted gels and other cosmetic tools specifically aimed at minimising pores, blurring lines and evening out skin tone.
“The upsurge of social media sites means we’re constantly on-call to look good,” says Janine Bird, make-up coach for Smashbox Cosmetics. “As a consequence, cosmetics companies are responding.”
Terry Barber, director of make-up artistry at cosmetics group MAC, says: “Making skin look as real as possible is the key, even if it means taking time to layer a few products. Thick foundation simply makes the face look flat and blank in natural light, or pale and washed-out under flashlight.”
At the heart of this picture-perfect face lies a new generation of primers: not the previous white Polyfilla variety but light, opaque gels that smooth lines, blur imperfections and even out irregular skin tone. “Think of primers as an invisible perfector,” says Barber. “They give your foundation staying power too.” Clinique’s new Superprimer range of six primers (£20 each) uses lightweight silicone technology to minimise pores and wrinkles, leaving a satin-smooth surface. By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra-Primer (£41) uses hyaluronic acid to fill in all manner of imperfections and give a soft-focus finish to whatever foundation is applied afterwards.
Targeted solutions are becoming ubiquitous too. Crystal Clear Lift Away The Years (£59.99) uses a vibrating applicator to plump skin with anti-ageing serum that contains a mild muscle relaxant to soften wrinkles and to lift the eye and jaw lines, while Lancôme Visionnaire 1 Minute Blur (£40) is a velvety gel that smudges the appearance of open pores so the complexion looks even.
A finishing powder should complete your look. “New formulations will not leave skin looking cakey,” says Barber. “Dust a little down the centre of the face, chin and sides of the nose.” MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural (£22) has a sheer matte texture that leaves skin glowing. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders (£38 each) manipulate the effect of harsh light on the skin via colour correcting particles. And Dior Diorskin Airflash Matte Touch (£30) gives make-up an almost invisible soft-focus finish. So, if you’re not ready in a flash, you will be ready for one.