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How to get the ‘cream skin’ complexion

First there was ‘glass skin’, the most-wanted and rather beautiful skin texture that gave cheekbones an almost vinyl, high-shine finish. And now we have a new finish, ‘cream skin’ – or, in simple terms, the sort of plump, dewy skin we have always wanted but never quite known how to achieve. NEWBY HANDS shares the secrets to perfecting your complexion…


What is ‘cream skin’?

Think of your face when you have just massaged in your perfect cream and your skin is looking naturally glowing, plumped up and healthy. This is what I call ‘cream skin’. However you choose to describe it, it’s the beauty ideal for many of us. “While glass skin had that obvious, almost wet-look finish, cream skin is more subtle, with a dewy glow that comes from within, not from a highlighter,” says makeup artist Valeria Ferreira.

It starts with your skincare

Cream skin originated in South Korea and was quickly popularized, with women claiming the secret to this skin finish was just a simple milky-textured toner. “But Korean women have the most amazing skin,” says Ferreira. “They don’t go in the sun; they use skincare from a young age and live in a humid climate.” So, for those of us living with more extreme temperatures, sun exposure and different skin types, a different approach is needed: one that is still simple. Although the two experts I spoke to offered different ways to achieve this skin finish (see which suits your skin best), both use minimal (at most two) products, as it’s more down to technique than a magic regimen. So here are Ferreira and fellow New York makeup artist Nam Vo’s cream-skin-achieving tips and techniques…

Valeria Ferreira’s cream-skin technique

“You need to keep the skin exfoliated, but not over-exfoliated [weekly in winter and every other day in summer], but this finish starts with using toner,” says Ferreira. “It helps minimise pores and, more importantly, it removes any cleanser residue – it’s like using a clarifying shampoo to get rid of product build-up from your hair.” As I have discovered, just adding this one step (using the beautiful Omorvicza Queen of Hungary Mist) makes a real difference to skin, especially if, like me, you use wash-off cleanser, because it goes a long way to negating the drying effects of the city’s water. “Whether you use a toner, a mist or rosewater, apply it and then wipe it off with cotton wool. Obviously, your moisturizer is key, as you need a proper cream; it can be rich or light-textured to suit your skin, but it needs to have a bit of ‘hold’ so it isn’t absorbed super-fast like a serum,” explains Ferreira. “I love La Mer’s Moisturizing Cream – I almost apply it like a face mask, leave it for a few minutes and then press it into the skin. Alternatively, use the same technique at night by really layering up your cream, using a lot more than usual, and in the morning your skin will be amazingly plump and creamy – it’s something I always do post-flight.”

Nam Vo’s cream-skin technique

“It might be a trend at present, but having a complexion that looks plump, moist and beautiful is timeless. The aim is to look as though your skin has just had a long drink of water,” says makeup artist Nam Vo. Taking a similar approach with layering, she prefers to use an oil rather than a cream. “I massage the skin a lot and do so while adding layer after layer of oil. Between each layer, I pat down the skin to take off the excess with the use of a beauty blender. The Black Rose Precious Face Oil from Sisley and Pai Skincare Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil are both beautiful to use, or, if you have oil-prone skin, Sunday Riley’s U.F.O. Ultra-clarifying Face Oil is great. But if you don’t like any oil, then layer up an essence or a concentrate – I love La Mer The Concentrate or Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum. Whatever you use, keep layering it up to fully saturate your skin.

The finishing touch

“Using a stick foundation, such as Hourglass Vanish, works really well, as these tend to be a bit denser and this is then thinned out by the cream when on the skin,” says Ferreira. “If you prefer a liquid, then La Mer Soft Fluid Long Wear Foundation, Surratt Beauty Surreal Skin Foundation Wand, and Pat McGrath Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Foundation leave a beautifully dewy finish.” With the look glowing rather than full-on shiny, Nam Vo recommends using “some precision powdering with La Mer The Powder – Translucent [the finest texture possible]. Most people use a big brush and dust it all over; I prefer to use an eyeshadow brush to put it just where it’s needed – in smile lines, the sides of the nose and the center of the forehead.”

The model featured in this story is not associated with NET-A-PORTER and does not endorse it or the products shown