How to transition your complexion makeup when the seasons shift? Makeup artists let us in on their best techniques for glowy-yet-polished perfection.


Photography ByGUY AROCH

After a season of long weekends, rosé, lobster rolls, many layers of sunscreen, and a months-long break from foundation (and, if we’re being honest, most makeup), September has arrived and—just like that—summer is over. And though the unofficial start of autumn can be sentimental, there’s something undeniably satisfying about a return to routine, the ability to wear layers, and, from a beauty perspective, getting reacquainted with your makeup bag. “You always come back to the mood of wanting to feel a bit more pulled together,” says celebrity makeup artist Rachel Goodwin. “And for me, complexion—healthy, glowy, transparent skin—is the cornerstone and the absolute thing that defines the makeup look.”

Summer and the transition between seasons can leave its mark on skin in more ways than one, though—hello, peeling, dry patches, and newly sprouted pigmentation—and after acclimating to barefaced living, returning to makeup can be jarring. How to tackle some of the lingering effects of a summer well spent and create fall’s version of beautiful, glowing skin? Goodwin and makeup artist Carolina Gonzalez, who counts Gigi Hadid and Lily Aldridge as clients, share their ways.


Both Goodwin and Gonzalez make sure skin is in top shape before reaching for a single compact. The first matter of business: Getting rid of built-up peeling skin on the surface with a gentle enzyme exfoliator that won’t leave skin irritated. “Exfoliation is critical to creating that perfect canvas, and Tracie Martyn’s Enzyme Exfoliant gently sloughs of dead skin without damaging it or making it red,” Goodwin says. “I’ve had days where I’ve been sweating in the sun and wearing a ton of sunscreen and it resets my skin in a calm way.” (We also love African Botanics Botanical Enzyme Polish and its blend of volcanic minerals and pineapple and papaya enzymes to lightly resurface.) Next, load up on moisture. Gonzales likes to layer, starting with an essence (her go-to: SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, which “caters to whatever your skin needs,” she says), a hydrating serum like 111Skin Hyaluronic Acid Aqua Booster to “pump up moisture even more,” a rich cream, and a final spritz of rose water (try Chantecaille Pure Rosewater) to “lock it in.” Any lingering dry or peel-y patches? Spot treat them with a balm, Goodwin says, to help nourish and heal skin. We like Shiffa Healing Balm, which boasts soothing chamomile and Shea butter.


Matte finishes offer more coverage and that polished sensibility the season calls for. “In the fall I’ll use something that has a more velvet or satin texture,” Goodwin says. “My favorite is Koh Gen Do Moisture Foundation; it has the feeling of a tinted moisturizer but the coverage of foundation and gives you really even, refined skin.” (Also consider the newly expanded Kosas Tinted Face Oil, a lightweight dry-oil that has a velvety finish and doesn’t mask.) Goodwin takes a restrained approach to foundation for the most skin-like results. “I apply it, and then I sort of remove it,“ she explains. “I never like to see foundation; I like to see skin and freckles.” Apply a few drops to the back of your hand, then use your fingers to massage it into skin as you would a cream so it “disappears like a tinted moisturizer,” she instructs. Next, use a Beautyblender misted with rose water and press it into skin so “it removes any excess product sitting on top.” Keep two shades on hand—a lighter shade for wintertime, and a darker shade for summer—and customize the tint as your color changes throughout the year.

The finishing touches: For any remaining spots or dark circles, work the tiniest bit of concealer into your face with your ring finger, and cut any unwanted shine with a super-fine powder, like Sisley Blur Expert Powder, targeting “the corners of your nose, between your brows, and the center of your chin,” Gonzalez says.


A believable way to add definition and prolong any remaining color from summer: Forgo your bronzer for a deeper shade of powder (Goodwin loves Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish). “I’ll brush it over foundation, on cheekbones and towards the apple of cheeks,” she says. “Bronzers tend to have a lot more pigment.” When it comes to blush, Gonzalez leans towards cream, matte formulas. “I get tired of luminizing. I just want skin to look healthy and like it’s yours, not like, ‘yeah, I’ve got luminizing blush on right now,’” she jokes. “You can get that same look without being so frosted with a great moisturizer and matte cream blush; creams are more forgiving and natural when skin is starting to get dry.” To recreate a sun-kissed vibe, she’ll mix two shades—a pale pink and a warm rose (try Jillian Dempsey Cheek Tints in Petal and Sunny)—dabbing on the tops of cheeks, on the nose, bow of lips, chin, and forehead. Or for a less blush-forward look, Goodwin opts for a warm brown-nude lipstick (think Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Very Victoria) on top of cheekbones. “It looks like it’s part of the skin and gives that little bit of refinement, definition, and color,” she says. “In the summer, my blush is always on the apples of my cheeks, but by the time fall comes, I’m ready to put it on my cheekbones again.”


“I like highlighters that look integral to skin and illuminate from within instead of sitting on top,” Goodwin says. “I don’t ever use powder highlighter—it tends to hijack my eyes. I want to see the woman, not the makeup.” That means building luminosity via texture instead of sparkly pigment. Look for creams and balms with the faintest pearl instead of full-on shimmer, such as RMS’s castor seed and coconut oil-based Living Luminizer, and work them into the high points on your face—on the tops of cheeks, brow bones, around your outer eyes, the bridge of your nose, and your cupid’s bow. “It’ll picks up as lush and luminous versus sparkle-y or shimmery.” A strictly shimmer-free approach: Try a balm. “I like to warm up In Fiore Fleur Vibrante in my hands and press it on the outside areas of the face like cheekbones, brow bones, neck and décolletage,” Goodwin says. “It livens up skin and keeps it from looking overdone.” And isn’t that always the goal?