Go nude: make this summery look work for you

20 July 2016 ( 11 March 2019 )

The nude look is ideal for summer - and it’s one you can easily try for yourself.

While trends straight from the catwalk may not always feel accessible or age appropriate, if you still want to keep your look up-to-date, there are ways to adapt modern techniques to suit you.

A common trap for many women is to fear straying from their comfort zone, and persisting with previous regimes at the risk of looking outdated, or with styles that no longer suit them.

However, experimenting with current trends can not only be invigorating, but ultimately provide you with a more youthful look.

Go nude

Fresh complexions and nude or neutral shades can work for any age.

Achieving this look can be easy with the right concealers, highlighters and contouring products, before light browns or beige eyeshadows and nude lipsticks come into play.

Conceal and contour

Use concealer under foundation to cover dark circles, blemishes or age spots, while highlighters can be used to accentuate and lift specific areas on top.

Contouring works in much the same way, but if you have seen any pre-blended contouring images currently doing the rounds this may seem intimidating or rather over-complicated.

On the other hand, if contouring is nothing new to you after championing the technique in the seventies or eighties, but you’re concerned about how contouring a slightly older face might need a different approach, leading make-up artist Daniel Sandler says: “You want to apply your contour under the cheekbone but slightly higher than you would have 15 years ago. Gravity can be unkind on skin that has lost its elasticity.”

A simple rule to follow is that while the common use for this trick is to slim down the face, older skin that has lost its plumpness requires the opposite effect.

If it seems an overly dramatic technique for you, try using light and dark powders over your foundation instead of creams underneath, as it will produce a much more subtle effect. 

Quick step guide to contouring for older skin:

1. Using a small angled brush, apply your light contouring colour from the inner part of the eye and down the base of the nose. Continue down towards the edge of your mouth, particularly if deep lines have developed here. 

2. Then sweep the light colour from the top of your cheekbone to the outer edge of your eye to create a lifting effect. It is important not to do this directly underneath the eye socket as you may see in other demonstrations, as for older skin the colour will sink into any fine lines and make them appear more visible.

3. Continue using the light colour above the brow, down the centre of the forehead and nose, and finally on the centre of the chin to make it appear fuller. Repeat all of the previous steps on the other side.

4. Switching to the darker shade, sweep the brush under the cheekbone in a straight line from mid-cheek towards your ear. Also do this along the jawline, but if you have any sagging areas start from there and contour the dark colour above where the skin starts to sag and follow upward towards your jawline. Again, repeat on the other side.

5. Now switch to a larger brush to blend. If you use contouring cream as opposed to powder, gently apply your foundation over the top with a blending sponge so a hint of the contouring can be seen underneath. 

Product picks:

Touche Éclat Concealer (£25, from yslbeauty.co.uk).

Daniel Sandler Sculpt and Slim (£24.50 from danielsandler.com).

Mac Gel Lipstick (£15.50 from maccosmetics.co.uk).

Read our full guide to contouring

Be prepared

Creating the nude look with make-up means skin preparation beforehand is essential; most make-up artists will advise it as the best way to achieve a fresh and dewy appearance.

As Sandler says, “The most important thing as you get older is skin texture and colour – you want to make it look alive. You want a radiant and glowing effect, not shimmer. Super healthy is the key.”

Using products containing specific ingredients is the trick here. SPF is important first and foremost in protecting skin as we all know the effect sun damage has on ageing.

While preventative measures such as sun protection are always preferable, there are also products designed to help skin recover from damage, whether that be through sun or other external stresses.

“Sun exposure, smoking and drinking means our skin is thirsty for the good stuff,” adds Sandler. “Products containing squalane [a skin protecting component], vitamin C and hyaluronic acid [for retaining moisture] are always good.”

In terms of colour correction, Sandler believes this is a great way to achieve a brighter look. “If skin has become lacklustre, if menopause has caused a more sallow complexion, colour correcting is really good prep.

"It sounds complicated, but green, lilac, peach and neutral colours have light reflecting particles that brighten and colour correct melamine spots and areas along the hair line and lips. Those neutral colours really help to optically reduce the look of uneven colour.”

Another step is to use primers to reduce the appearance of pores, as well as fine lines, before applying your foundation. Nowadays you will see these worked into other beauty products in the form of BB (beauty balm) or CC (colour correcting) creams.

Sandler says: “BB or CC creams are fantastic. With a light coverage they can give you a matte, fresher look. Find the right one for you if you lack time, as they are a speedy way to apply make-up and correct any issues. They can add a lot of life to skin.”

Product picks:

Professional Solutions Skin Correcting Squalane Moisturiser with Vitamin E (£22.95 from skinlight.co.uk).

Daniel Sandler Face Primer SPF 20 (£20.50 from danielsandler.com).

Origins Smarty Plants CC SPF 20 Skin Complexion Corrector (£29 from origins.co.uk).

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.