I'm currently having a love affair with a very reliable, very matte concealer. My tenure with Nars' Soft Matte Concealer has felt like an eternity and a half. (I think it's been a year—I've already gone through one pot and re-upped on two shades that I mix together for perfect skintone mimicry.) The reason I love this concealer: It works, particularly for zits. Conceal in the morning and you'll be concealed for the rest of the day. There's no need to even set. It's miraculous.
Which makes what I'm about to say hard. It's not about the concealer; it's about me. But the thing is, it's summer and matte just isn't really the look I'm going for. Shine-resistance is futile. Sweat is inevitable and what was once a really good concealer is now simply calling attention to the fact that most of my forehead is reflective, just not a few select spots. (Those spots are zits.) Le sigh.
If this were some standardized test word problem, there'd be a few givens: 1. I love my concealer and don't want to find a new one. 2. Matte concealer in the summer doesn't make a whole ton of sense. 3. I have an entire makeup bag full of other products and at least one has got to be of some service here. That last one was of particular focus during my vacation in Palm Springs a few weeks ago—a personal summer makeup preview before the heat descends onto New York. In general, I brought too much stuff, but the most important thing I did bring turned out to be Tom Ford's Shade & Illuminate Cheeks palette in Scintillate—it's a blush and highlighter palette in one very sleek package. Ignore the blush for a moment because the sheer, buttery highlighter mixed with matte concealer is the answer to every makeup problem you could imagine having this season.
Combined with the concealer, Scintillate turned into a longwearing complexion product—one that generally vibed with the mood of a desert vacation where the main activity is sweating and being happy about it. Coverage was solid; shine was consistent. Even better, the combo blended more easily under my eyes and around my nose than the concealer on its own. Together, I get the easy, breezy "It's hot so I don't wear makeup" look, with the assurance that yes, I am still wearing concealer because listen, I'm human. Perhaps it's not the pinnacle of beauty innovation (mixing two products! What a revelation!), but hey—now I'm getting more use out of that Tom Ford palette, and that's not nothing. Should work with any concealer-highlighter combination you've got kicking around in your makeup bag. Spend your saved dollars on an Aperol spritz or something. 'Tis the season.
Photographed by Tom Newton.