Sun-kissed, bronzed skin isn't just for summer, according to the latest beauty tricks
Shut winter out, dispel thoughts of the darkness and picture instead the sun-soaked dunes of a far-off desert. For at the very moment when most of us retreat back to the black of our winter wardrobe, leaving our skin to pale beneath its opacity, beauty has come to the rescue with ochres, rusts, bronzy shades and uplifting hues of spice.
Take your cue from Kristin Scott Thomas in The English Patient or Meryl Streep in Out of Africa. 'There's a cinematic, sepia-ed quality to this season's palette that softens facial features and lends the body new definition against the harsh winter light,' says make-up artist Arabella Preston.
So sculpt and smoulder and prepare to layer translucent veils of colour straight from sandy planes. Bronze is the ticket to brighter eyes, killer cheekbones and never-ending limbs that will cheer winter hermits and leave the year-round globetrotter ever prepared for her next sunlit jaunt.
Bronze is the ticket to brighter eyes and long limbs
'Unlike the severity of winter's usual beauty wardrobe (black, charcoal and navy shades), bronze, burnt sienna and sepia tones breathe new life into skin, giving the impression that it has been warmed from within,' says Preston, who likens the end result to the early 20th-century autochrome photography process, in which a glass plate coated with a mosaic-like pattern of potato starch was inserted into the camera to act as a colour filter.
'Autochrome pictures have a wonderful, rosy tea-stained hue with a dream-like hazy quality. By building translucent layers of these colours onto the face, it lends skin the same sepia, sun-dappled effect,' she adds.
To build your layers and give dry winter skin a decadent glow, massage Votary's Calm Your Skin Jasmine Oil into the face, before applying Tom Ford's Flawless Powder Foundation, available in shades of gently warming Linen, Sable and Warm Almond. The trick to contouring cheeks is to first sweep translucent powder over skin to create a perfectly smooth canvas, so you never look patchy or 'muddy'. Nudge a layer of Chanel's Joues Contraste Powder Blush in Alezante – a dusky copper infused with a hint of auburn – just below the apples of the cheeks and even the most reluctant of cheekbones will emerge into the limelight.
Let the brow add strength and definition to your cinematic glow
For eyes missing the sparkle bestowed by bright summer light, bronzy shades shot through with pink or orange seem like an unlikely antidote. Yet with brown or blue, green or grey – as the Saharan halo of colour burnished onto eyelids and cheekbones at Thakoon's Autumn/Winter 2015 show proved – bronze is the best way to enliven eyes when there's little light to be had. And it was as if the sun had set on lids over at Emilia Wickstead, where sheer pinky nude and tawny brown shades in Sisley's Phyto 4 Ombres palette in Dream afforded eyes a newfound clarity.
But be warned: against such hazy prettiness, black will be too harsh. So keep things tonal and wiggle Lancôme's Grandiôse Mascara in Burgundy Brown into the roots of lashes. Then let the brow be the feature that adds strength and definition to your cinematic glow. Preston recommends simply adding a smidgeon of shea butter to a brow brush, sweeping it upwards to add shape and fullness, or feathering Blink's Cinnamon Spice Pencil through the brow to gently fill it in.
Lips should be delicately bronzed and a little bit juicy – as if they are balmy from the humidity of the beating sun. Charlotte Tilbury's light-reflecting Kissing Lipstick comes in infinitely wearable Penelope Pink and Nude Kate, both of which deliver a whisper of colour to capture that sense of living in a never-ending summer.
For the year-round traveller and beauty sybarite, a glow never stops abruptly at the neck. So whether your plan is to bare just a hint of collarbone, your upper arms or more, let the heat rise from the tips of your toes, bathing the skin in the light of a desert heat haze.
'Tanning is no longer only for summer. Mixing tanning products into your regular body moisturiser will warm and elongate limbs with just a breath of colour and accentuate collarbones in a way that's more “mini-break in Marrakech” than “two weeks in Miami”,' says Nichola Joss, who makes models glow for David Koma, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi and Julien Macdonald.
In winter, sloughing scaly skin is the secret to sustaining endless bronzed limbs. Omorovicza's Gold Sugar Scrub adds a touch of luxury to the task, while James Read's Sleep Mask Tan is like beauty sleep in a bottle for pallid winter bodies. Buffed in before bedtime, it soaks dry skin in hyaluronic acid, which develops into a gorgeous glow by the morning. At the Julien Macdonald show, models emerged with golden, gleaming bodies – a dewiness playing gently on the surface to bring out the curves and contours. Likewise, the blend of softening sesame oil and glimmering mother-of-pearl in Révérence de Bastien's Céleste Leg Shimmer Dry Oil will lend limbs and collarbones the sleekness of having emerged from a dip in a desert oasis.
So yes, eyes can be sun-kissed, cheekbones bronzed and the body burnished, even if the prospect of feeling the sun on your skin is merely a mirage for the next few months.