Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t deny the fact that this is the summer of body makeup. Everyone’s frenemy Kim Kardashian has launched her own line of body makeup, and the Internet is in an uproar. Kim K, however, is not the inventor of body or leg makeup, and neither is Huda Katan for that matter. They’re just the first ones really talking about it.
I admit that I mostly fall on the anti- side with this new trend. Applying body makeup is not a quick process, and do we really need another thing to feel insecure about?
Then again, I also see an upside to this; women will feel better about themselves if they know that the ultra-smooth legs of models are courtesy of leg makeup rather than perfect genetics or a better grooming regimen. Applying body and leg makeup has been the secret weapon of makeup artists on fashion and film sets for years, helping to conceal and even the skin tones of hundreds of models and celebrities.
There are also times when body makeup makes a ton of sense, like when you need to cover up a tattoo for a job interview, or special events when you want to transform yourself into a glowy fairy princess with an ultra-shimmery body highlighter. There we go, I may have just talked myself into a pro-body makeup stance!
Below, I pontificate on the scenarios when body makeup might be appropriate, and then get into the details of what you really want to know: how to apply all the different kinds of body makeup!
In this article:
When Should You Wear Body Makeup?
The easy answer is, wear body makeup whenever you feel like it! However, since putting body makeup on is not the quickest process, here are some scenarios when you might find going through the trouble worth it:
- If you have special events coming up where you’ll be showing a lot of skin you might like some body highlighter to help you feel more glam or a coat of leg makeup, which will allow you to skip wearing pantyhose.
- Body bronzer is great for giving a bit of a tan on those first days of spring when your skin is still pale from winter. However, do note that most body makeup products are not going to last after a dip in the pool or ocean.
- High-coverage body makeup is great for hiding tattoos before important professional events.
- All forms of body makeup can be extremely useful for photoshoots where you want to look your best. You can hide blemishes and scars, highlight and contour your figure, or just smooth things out a bit.
How to Apply Body & Leg Makeup for That Airbrushed Look
- Much like for the skin, prep is very important! Start with clean, freshly exfoliated skin. If your leg makeup is not particularly moisturizing, then make sure to also slather on some body lotion.
- With transfer-proof products, it is better to apply the body makeup first and to get dressed after.
- For products that might transfer after they’ve been applied, get dressed first, and roll up hemlines and sleeves to avoid covering them in makeup while applying.
- For unrollable parts, like your neckline, tuck a tissue or paper towel in so it can act as a barrier.
- Don’t rely on your body or leg makeup to go on flawlessly the first time you try it! Do a trial run before a big day to make sure the product goes on nicely and that it doesn’t rub off easily.
Body Makeup for All-Over Coverage and Glow
- For sheer, all-over formulations, dispense some of the body makeup into your hand or a large makeup brush and massage it into your skin in circular motions in order to prevent a streaky application.
- For covering large areas of skin, first, dot the body makeup all over, and then rub it in to spread it.
- If your body makeup is not transfer-proof, then set it with a translucent powder. Dispense the product on a large brush or powder puff, and then tap it over your skin to set the makeup. Wait a few minutes, and then brush off any excess product.
Body Makeup for Spot Concealing
- Much like our face, sometimes our body also needs some spot concealing. You might need to hide a tattoo for a job interview, or you might want to cover a scar or a blemish before a special occasion.
- Choose a high-coverage body makeup product, though you can also use a regular concealer.
- Use a stippling motion to build the product up to maximum coverage over the area you’d like to conceal. Avoid rubbing or brushing motions, as they will remove the product.
- Make sure to cover at least a few millimeters beyond the actual area being concealed, so that you can blend those edges into the skin seamlessly.
- You will likely want to set everything with a translucent powder once you’re done.
Body Makeup for Highlight and Contour
- The same highlight and contour principles that apply to the face also apply to the body! This means that a darker color will pull things in and make them slimmer, while a lighter color will add dimension.
- Stick to just highlight for a glamorous, subtle glow, using body makeup products with a hint of shimmer. The areas of the body most commonly highlighted are the round part of the shoulders, the collarbone, and the décolletage. Use the tip of your finger or a makeup sponge to get a precise application.
- Contouring is quite intense and tends to be fairly obvious in real life, so it is best reserved for photoshoots. To contour, use a body makeup product that is matte and a few shades darker than your skin tone, and apply it with the pointy end of a makeup sponge or with a regular cream contour brush. The areas that are most frequently contoured are the “dips” near the collarbone, along the cleavage, and the outer part of the legs and stomach.
Body & Leg Makeup for Extra Sheer Glow
- An all-over glow can be just as fetching as more targeted highlighting, especially when done with a glowy product that is neither darker nor lighter than your skin tone.
- Opt for either a very sheer, glowy body makeup product, or make your own tinted body lotion by mixing your favorite highlighter or liquid bronzer with a body lotion.
- Apply it to your skin in gentle, circular motions, much in the same way you would a regulation body lotion.
Photos via @jelena.marija, Instagram