Has the summer left you white faced? Here’s how to fix it

Those of you who know me well ( and even not so well) have probably heard (and become quite sick of) my ever-present adage to wear sunscreen daily.  Some of you seem to be following this mantra, and with great results.  However…a summer of spf 50 on your face (and neck, if you’re really conscientious – this skin is more delicate than that on your face) can leave you looking like the rest of your tan is fake…very unfair if you got your glow in a safe and genuine manner.

So what’s a gal to do?  Forgo the sunscreen?  (Not  worth the wrinkles, a white face is much easier to hide!)  Go to town on the bronzer? No, my friend – this can leave you looking caked and powdery, (and like one of Willy Wonka’s employees) and will not show up in photos as the flash will pass straight through and find your true colours.  (SPF in your moisturiser, primer and foundation can also contribute to a glowing white face in photos – the flash will reflect off any physical sunscreen agents.)

Has daily sunscreen left you with a mismatched face and body?

Fake tan on the face is a tricky realm, with pitfalls galore – so below I’ve outlined some ways around them below.


  1. St Tropez Everyday

Similar to the original “Johnson’s” daily moisturiser with a hint of tan in it, St Tropez is my go-to for this as it has less of an oily residue and a nicer smell (very important).  The St Tropez Everyday comes specifically in a “face” type, which seems to have a lighter texture than the one for your body.  It comes in light/medium and medium/dark shades.  Apply with a tanning mitt, unless you enjoy orangey-stained nails – I find the mini one for the face best, and easy to bring with me when travelling.

This is the simplest answer to the white face, but oilier skin types be warned – it can cause blocked pores with daily use.  I find this works best for me in the winter months when my skin is drier, and every second day is sufficient to prevent me looking like the walking dead (I use the darker one for less frequent application).

How to fix a hint face - The Daily Glow

2. Clinique Face Bronzing Gel Tint

The original Clinique flash bronzing gel was reformulated about 8 years ago, and unfortunately has become much trickier to use.  This newer version takes a bit of getting used to – like the clutch when your driving someone else’s car, you may conk out a few times at the start.  It is quite thick, and stains the skin immediately (once again, tanning mitt territory, and may be easier with the full size one for easier blending – you’ll have to see which works best for you).  Not great if you’re currently experiencing a breakout, as it will cling to rough patches and dry spots, and make them more obvious.

Alternatively you can mix this with your tinted moisturiser/foundation, or apply it over that and your concealer – which is the best option if you’re not having a clear skin week.

Benefit have brought out a liquid version of their beloved Hoola bronzer, which won’t quite give you the same deep glow as the Clinique gel but it is much easier to use – and just like the power form, hasn’t got the slightest orange tinge to it.



3. Changing up your base

I wear a tinted moisturiser from Laura Mercier most of the time – but I always have two colours in my make up bag for mixing as needed.  The lighter one matches my skin in the depths of winter, while the darker one only really blends in when I have a tan.  Mixing them together to go lighter or darker for the rest of the year works pretty well, and means I don’t need have 5 foundations on the go.

why you should wear sun cream

How have you found wearing SPF daily, have you noticed a mismatched face?  Or is it mainly in photos that it becomes obvious?






highlighters and strobing - the key to glowing skin

Highlighters, the key to glowing skin – 3 of the best and how to use them

Thanks to Kim K and the community of Instagram make up artists, contouring has made a serious name for itself.  If you haven’t heard of it (you will soon,  because I’m pretty sure “kontouring” has plans for world domination), a brief explanation is the use of darker and lighter shades of concealer/powder/bronzer etc to emphasise cheekbones, slim noses and jawlines, and generally just emulate Victoria Secret models.  When done well, contouring does have it’s place, and photographs very well – however, for a trip to the shops or everyday living (without scaring children) it can a)take way too much time, and b) involve truck loads of make up – not exactly resulting in a natural appearance, and this can be particularly ageing for older skin.  “Strobing” is a newer entrant to the arena, and it may be the preferred choice for a daily glow (soz, couldn’t help it) as it mimics the luminescence of younger skin – you could call it anti-aging make up.  Strobing is essentially contouring without the use of a dark shade, and tends to involve more sheer products, resulting in a dewy, radiant appearance in real life.

So what do you need and how do you use it? There are 3 products that I go between, and have found they tend to suit most skin types – however, oily skins take note, you do have to be careful with application as an all-over-post-spin-class-face-beam is not what we’re aiming for.

  • The basics:
    Strobing entails using highlighter to emphasise the points that light naturally hits (so going overboard in an attempt to resemble Kate Moss is not really going to work if your face shape is totally different – I feel your pain though).  You can identify these by looking in the mirror with overhead lighting – generally the areas light falls on are the cheekbones, the brow bones, just above the brow, the bridge of the nose and the top of the upper lip.
  • Liquid or cream highlighters are best used either under or straight over you base – liquid/cream before powder in most cases.  Patting it onto your cheekbones before tinted moisturiser or a sheer foundation results in a lovely subtle glow, that becomes more apparent with flash photography – solving that “which is more important Insta or IRL” dilemma.
  • Limit the highlighter to the area – less is very much more, as a reflective face is not going to accentuate any cheekbone and can just look downright weird/sweaty.
  • The “C” shape around the outside of the eye is a very popular area to highlight – it gives a dewy, youthful look to the face and is the easiest introduction to strobing
  • You can experiment with different areas as you get used to it – the cheeks, inner eye corner and even chin can look really lovely when highlighted, but are much easier to mess up and result in a post-gym appearance instead.

Strobe Cream
A.K.A. the idiot’s guide to strobing – this is both the easiest product to identify and apply. MAC is where you’ll find it and it comes in two sizes – the travel size is ideal for first-timers
and not a huge investment (I currently have both sizes, the larger of which resides in my bathroom, while the other is a constant in my handbag).  Strobe cream doesn’t have any shimmery or glittery component, which makes it suitable for all ages, skin types and occasions. It can be mixed with tinted moisturiser for an all over glow (but as before, oily skins be careful with this), purely used as a highlighter, patted sparingly on top of heavier powders to give the impression of dewiness (one of the few times you would use liquid on top of powder in your make up routine – but pat it on v gently so as not to mess up the base you just finished!) and even used on collar bones for a natural sheen.strobe cream glowing skin make up

High Beam
One of Benefit’s staples, High Beam has a slight shimmer, and can sometimes give an unflattering whitish hue to the area if used with a heavy hand. It has a superior highlighting effect compared to Strobe Cream, so it can be a better choice if you’re really looking for accentuate those cheekbones, particularly if you have dry skin. Use sparingly, you honestly only need a couple of dots along the highest point of the cheek, and one on the inner corner of the eye if you’re looking to highlight this.

Mary Lou-maniser
Powder highlighters can still give a more natural appearance than full on contouring, and are probably more suitable if you need full coverage foundation with powder to set it. Mary Lou-manizer is a dupe for the much lauded “Soft and Gentle” by MAC, and about €10 cheaper.  It does have a slight shimmer in it, but is not sparkly (something to avoid for everyday life on your face at least, unless you are 6 years old).

highlighters and glowing skin

There are literally hundreds of highlighters on the market – I have used Wonder Glow by Charlotte Tilbury, Moon Beam by Benefit (which has a warmer, more golden tone than Highbeam), Bobbi Brown’s Shimmer Brick and Matte Baked Radiance powder by Laura Mercier and they are all pretty good, but I find myself returning to the above 3 time and time again.  So once again, any favourites you have – please let me know, my make up cupboard is almost bursting but I always seem to find space for more if glowing skin is promised!

treating scarring and hyperpigmentation

Emergency Breakout Control

Murphy’s Law states, among other things, that just when you need it least (before a big job interview, important date or social event) your skin will breakout in a bout of acne like you’re 15 again. I don’t know about you, but unfortunately this tendency didn’t end with my teens and can present a complex problem when simultaneously trying to waylay the signs of ageing.  Apparently when you hit the wrong side of 25, preventative eye creams and serums etc become a must – which can be a disaster if your skin refuses to acknowledge you’ve entered a new phase of your life.

So the giant spot is here already, casting its own shadow as it grows…what can you do?!
First up, hygiene.  Now I know most people are pretty good at this (I don’t smell any of you from here) but good skin hygiene can take a little bit more effort than you realise.  So:

  1. Change your pillowcase
  2. Wash your make up brushes/sponges
  3. Clean the surfaces of your smartphone
  4. And keep your hands AWAY from your face (also no harm in cutting your nails and giving yourself a mini-manicure to ensure they’re properly clean)

Next, damage control…
Benzoyl peroxide 2% has fought many a pimple battle for me.  Available from a regular pharmacy and easy on the pocket this stuff can work magic on an impending catastrophe.  However, you have to be careful.  This innocent looking white paste can bleach the hell out of your clothes, bedsheets, towels and basically anything it comes into contact with.  White face cloths and towels only please.  And only a very small amount on your face, as it is extremely drying and you want to avoid the dehydrated, flaking volcano.  I tend to apply it with a cotton bud, avoiding getting it on my hands and subsequently bleaching my hand towels; this also stops me going overboard with the amount.  Obviously if you’re popping it on at night time use a white pillow case and don’t wear your best pink pjs!

Reduce inflammation
What’s the difference between a blocked pore that innocently presents itself as a blackhead (annoying and all as those can be), and one that erupts into a date-and-interview-ruining red mountain?  Inflammation!  The best way to immediately target this is a topical steroid that your doctor may be able to prescribe for you.  I wouldn’t advise this as your go-to remedy, as it’s a prescription medication and does come with side effects – however if tomorrow is your wedding day or another once in a lifetime event, this may be the silver bullet you need.  If time is on your side the following will really help:

  • Reduce sugar and caffeine immediately
  • Replace the above with water, and a liquid chlorophyll supplement (you’ll get this in a health food shop)
  • Sleep!  Late nights not only reduce the ability of your skin to recover, but when you’re tired you are much more likely to pick at your skin.
  • Sweat.  Whether this is achieved by going to a spin class or a more indulgent trip to a steam room/sauna does not matter.  Sweating will help flush toxins out of your system and improve the circulation to your skin.  15 minutes is enough to have an impact – and do it every day in the run up to whatever event caused the breakout.  I find a 30 minute jog is enough to properly sweat for 15minutes and still a manageable time to fit into my day.
  • Relax, patronising and all as it sounds, stress is not going to help.  Yoga, a hot bath or a guilty episode of KUWTK, whatever it takes to chill out – do it.

And finally, camouflage
Hopefully at this stage the angry red blemish has reduced to something much more easily masked.  So do not reach straight for the full-coverage, double wear, 48-hour foundation.  Nope, step away from the bottle.  Instead go against your natural instinct and use a sheer foundation or tinted moisturiser.  Combine this with a decent concealer (I haven’t found anything better than M.A.C. Select Cover-Up, that will not clog your pores further.  Dermablend from Vichy and Makeup Forever’s concealer palette have slightly better coverage, but I find lead to more breakouts so I only use them in an emergency and if it doesn’t matter what my skin looks like the following week).  Lisa Eldridge does a spectacular tutorial on this – and was what really convinced me that “spot” use of concealer is really the way forward, not a mask-like sheet all over your face.

I hope this helps any of you freaking out about an upcoming date/interview/holiday and the obligatory breakout!  How do you deal with a mini- or major-skin crisis?