If you’re familiar with the K-beauty scene, you’ve likely experimented with (or at the very least, heard of) “glass skin,” which is a makeup and skincare hybrid trend that took over runways a few years ago. However, if you need a refresher, it’s the art of achieving a complexion that looks so luminous and clear, it resembles glass. “Glass skin has an intense dewiness: The trend had a long life since it served as a rebellion to the overdone matte look that saturated the industry for so many years, particularly on social media,” says Dean Fournier, PRO LORAC artist.
The beauty market made it easy to achieve the glossy skin look with products like LORAC PRO Skin Glass Skin Primer (an oil-blend serum/primer that instantly blurs out skin), Becca Cosmetics Zero No Pigment Glass Highlighter (a non-sticky, multi-use liquid illuminator), Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum (niacinamide- and peptide-infused serum), and Sunday Riley C.E.O Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil.
But since we never get bored of exploring ways to get the best version of our skin, we’re now seeing a trend that incorporates what we love about glass skin, but with the luminosity turned down a notch: cloud skin. Dubbed by makeup artist and judge on the Glow Up show, Dominic Skinner, cloud skin was inspired by a few dreamy looks that appeared during London Fashion Week last year, and is now growing more momentum. “Cloud skin could even be seen as an evolution of glass skin,” says Fournier. It lives in the sweet middle ground between matte and dewy, transparent and opaque — just like a soft cloud. “It has targeted placement of a less intense glow combined with a delicate use of powder in key areas,” he adds.
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Skin finishes often move through trends just like other beauty trends do: “We just had a period of intense highlight and dew, so it makes sense we’re circling back to a more matte finish, but in a modern way,” says Monika Blunder, celebrity makeup artist and founder of Monika Blunder Beauty. But the timing of the popularity of cloud skin isn’t just any coincidence: “As we’ve all learned this past year, all-over shiny skin on Zoom isn’t always the best choice. So learning how to combine glow-enhancing products with blurring, soft-focus items has been the natural evolution we’ve seen,” says Fournier. People are looking for their skin to have more dimension on screen. Plus, off-camera, cloud skin is more compatible with our current masked lifestyle — giving skin an ethereal glow rather than a wet-like shine that might even soak through a mask.
Achieving the look of cloud skin also fits our post-pandemic, minimalist routines. According to our pros, it’s just a matter of four easy steps:
Step 1: Prep your skin
“Prep the skin with a rich moisturizer like LORAC Dewy Canvas Prep Moisturizer + Primer or facial oil. This will ensure the lit-from-within element,” says Fournier. We also love Sunday Riley Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream that visibly brightens skin thanks to THD ascorbate.
Step 2: Ace your base
“Apply foundation starting in the center of the face and blend out with a beauty sponge using a patting motion,” says Fournier. Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Mousse Makeup gives you that light airy consistency that’s reminiscent of clouds.
Step 3: Set with powder + bronzer
It’s time to tone down a bit of that luminosity and create more dimension: “Lightly apply a loose setting powder to the hairline and center of the forehead, sides of your nose, chin, and jawline using a makeup sponge. The sponge will blend the powder and foundation together to ensure the cloud skin effect,” says Fournier. Kosas Cloud Set Baked Setting & Smoothing Talc-Free Vegan Powder has a magical texture (can you guess the inspiration?) that somehow minimizes shine, but doesn’t get rid of the glow. “For more matte skin, I’ll also usually bronze more than I would for dewy skin, just to bring more dimension back to the face,” adds Blunder.
Step 4: Add a touch of highlighter
Instead of an all-over glow, cloud skin is a bit more strategic. “Use a shimmerless, liquid highlighter to the top of your cheekbones to finish the look,” says Fournier. The Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat All-Over Brightening Pen is iconic for its easy-to-apply glow. If you want something that adds a little bit of color to your face, try Glossier Cloud Paint — a super-sheer cream blush that gives a lit-from-within look. The texture of your matte and glow-inducing products should seamlessly blend together, so make sure you’re gently patting away with a makeup sponge to get that hazy-like vibe of cloud skin.
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