This is the most schizophrenic spring that our charmed metropolis has experienced in my memory. Just when I put away my furry hats and snuggly mittens, the mercury plummets and I’ve got to haul them all back out. Always readily accessible, though, is my ridiculously corpulent makeup arsenal–it’s all right there in my bathroom, displayed in its seasonless glory–and acquiring a few (okay, more than a few) new additions isn’t hindered one bit by roller coaster temperatures. Invariably, for the last couple of decades, springtime signaled my acquisition of the season’s new crop of self-tanning products; I am so pale and pasty in my natural state that the prospect of revealing my winter-white limbs to the world was just not an option I’d considered, and the years of my idiotic youthful sunbathing makes me cringe with regret for the damage it caused. Fortunately, advances in the world of the faux-glow consistently raise the bar with each passing year, making fake-baking increasingly natural-looking and no longer possessed of the telltale yucky odor of DHA (Dihydroxyacetone) the ingredient that makes self-tanners work. It’s a good era for these potions, no doubt about it.
This year, however, I’m experiencing a renaissance. After (probably way too much) careful consideration, I’ve come to theorize that it’s not actually the darkness of self-tanning–and (shudder) real tanning–that we seek. It’s the evenness, the appearance of smoothness and tone that a tan creates. All colors on the vast spectrum of human epidermis are beautiful. It’s just that darkening every imaginable skin color looks striking and optically blurs imperfections, blotchiness and spots.
I’m staying pale this season and focusing on enhancing my skin’s tone and texture. The key to this endeavor, in addition to religious sunblock application and consistent exfoliation with AHA/BHA body cleansers and moisturizers (more on this next month), is a subtly shimmering champagne-hued highlighting situation. It’s too much to ask of a beauty junkie to pick just one. In powder form, my favorite this season has to be Becca x Jacklyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Champagne Pop.($38, Sephora.com). This new golden-peachy-nude shade is gorgeous on pale skin, they might even sway those who still self-tan … maybe. But this is truly the best ever. It’s somehow a bit creamy even though it’s pressed into a sleek and satisfyingly substantial compact, has zero fragrance, and a little goes a very long way. A big, fluffy powder brush swirled across the powder and swept onto shins, knees, ankles, collarbones and the planes of the face–tops of cheekbones, brow bones, earlobes, Cupid’s bow–and anything else that’s showing in new warm-weather clothes lends the prettiest glow without being too sparkly. For medium to deeper olive complexions, the color of Dr. Hauschka Translucent Bronzing Tint ($45, beauty.com)is utter genius. You can use it full-strength if you’re feeling comfy with the liquid formula, but it’s meant to be blended into your moisturizer so you can really modify the effect. For deepest-complected beauties, it’s got to be RMS Beauty Buriti Bronzer ($28, rmsbeauty.com). The deceptively teeny jar of bronzy, shimmering color is described as appropriate for all complexions, but I find that the gorgeous, deeply cool undertone of this non-greasy, dry-textured highlighting cream really flatters darker, cooler-toned skin the best–think Lupita Nyong’o–and the shimmer is just the right amount of noticeable. It’s going to be a beautiful spring in Baltimore.