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Celebrity makeup artist Kristofer Buckle illuminates the complexion of the moment.
Written By Jayme Cyk
The shine du jour is a subtle, luminous glow found in select foundations, highlighters, and lipsticks. Think of shimmer as the makeup version of your cocktail conversation strategy—those barely there sparkles will dazzle even the most discerning types.
To decode and perfect the elusive look, The Violet Files consulted celebrity makeup artist Kristofer Buckle—who tends to the visage of Jessica Chastain—for insights on adding a just the right measure of (Chastain-level) sparkle to your face. Above all, Buckle insists that moderation is the key to shimmering success. Focus on illuminating just one feature. If your eyes, cheeks, and lips all glisten like the top of the Chrysler Building, you’ve gone too far. Below, more gems from the artist on how to keep the look radiant and dewy, but never disco.
Understanding the principle of reflection is the first step to using any product with luster. “Shimmer and shine can be used as a highlighter to create shape,” says Buckle. “But anything you put on top of it is going to magnify, making the feature bigger or fuller. That’s why I use iridescent and shiny highlighters on the highest part of the cheekbones to make them seem even higher.”
Despite their multitasking nature, shimmer primers are low on Buckle’s bucket list. “I like to control the way the light plays on the face,” he says. “If, say, your forehead has a breakout or some texture, I’ll avoid that area and keep it more matte so it doesn’t look bumpy. And I find sometimes people can look a little feverish when they’re shiny everywhere.”
Buckle recommends dimming the lamp on your vanity to find the best spots on the face to apply shimmer. “When doing your makeup, move your face around to see how the light is playing on it,” he says. “This will help with placement because [shimmer] reflects only where light hits.”
Every face is different, so it’s important to weigh your assets and problem spots before applying shimmer. “Smile broadly and see if you have texture on the outer corner of your eyes,” Buckle says. “Then, add shine just below that. You can also use a product that has a finer molecule, making it shiny without being sparkly—you want a satiny finish as opposed to a glittery one. If you have very smooth skin, you can go with something a little bit more metallic, like the Bobbi Brown Bronze Shimmer Brick, especially on the face.”
If you want to play up your pout instead of your cheekbones, try a glimmering lip at night, when the light can reflect off the prismatic texture and add a glow. “Tapping an iridescent shadow or glitter with your finger on top of lipstick is an easy way to add just the right amount to the center of the mouth,” suggests Buckle. “If you have a lot of texture to your lips, shimmer can accentuate it, so try a gloss instead.”
Consider this the next chapter of highlighting. Whereas highlighting, as the name implies, focuses on one specific feature, strobing takes it a step further to illuminate the entire face. When Buckle strobes, he starts by locating the high points of the visage. “You can use a cream highlighter or a powdered one, depending on your comfort level and skin texture,” he says. “I sweep it across the highest point of the cheekbones and into the temple and hairline. Then I highlight down the center of the nose, which can make it look more narrow.”
A parting tip from Buckle? It’s not just about the complexion. “It’s very important that if you highlight your face, you also need to highlight the rest of the bare skin on your body, like your collarbone, shoulders, and legs,” he adds.
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