A beauty director’s secrets to achieving the perfect complexion

There may be no such thing as “perfect skin” but your complexion can be perfected to radiate health and luminosity. Throughout my experience as a beauty director for Harper’s Bazaar UK, I have learnt that this comes down to a combination of factors: a mindful lifestyle, active skincare products and innovative make-up formulations.

Lifestyle behaviours

portrait of a woman massaging her face with jade rollers in front of the mirror


Don’t believe celebrities who claim their flawless visage is down to water and rest alone, but know that these things can encourage a glowing complexion. “Skin, when it is young and healthy, is luminous and emanates radiance,” says Giorgio Armani’s International Make-up artist Linda Cantello. “But this can change depending on age and lifestyle.” We can’t control age, but lifestyle choices can help bolster our health inside and out. As well as prioritising the obvious things (good hydration, eight hours of sleep, sun protection…), there are other skincare rituals I swear by:

  • Never sleep in make-up, which can clog pores.
  • Incorporate self-facial massage to stimulate blood flow.
  • Sleep on a clean pillowcase to avoid bacterial build-up transferring to your face.
  • Leave blemishes alone; picking them encourages scarring.

    Skincare routine

    Sergey Mironov

    Complexion perfection will be much harder to achieve without a thorough skincare routine. “If skin does not look good, then neither will any make-up that is then applied,” feels Cantello – and I agree with her philosophy that make-up should be “an enhancer, not a mask”. Getting your skin into its best shape by way of diligent cleansing, gentle exfoliation, ample daily SPF (Armani Beauty does a great UV makeup primer) and the use of active topical ingredients (like retinol for softening lines, vitamin C for brightening tone, and hyaluronic acid for elasticity, found in Armani Beauty’s Crema Nera Concentrate) will create an ideal canvas for make-up and may mean you use less of it. These are some of my other skincare tips:

    • Identify if your skin is acne-prone or oily; sensitive or reactive; dry or dehydrated (there’s a difference!). Consider visiting a professional to determine your skin type and how to treat it.
    • Avoid regular ‘product hopping,’ a key culprit for skin flare-ups. Consistency is key, so don’t be swooned by social media skincare trends.
    • Avoid the overuse of astringent products. Too much exfoliation, or use of stimulating ingredients, can result in inflammation and compromise the skin barrier.
    • Think outside the bottle: skincare devices, whether hi-tech (like an LED face mask targeting specific skin concerns) or low-fi (such as a gua sha massage tool for stimulating circulation), can have myriad benefits.

      Ace base products


      Armani Beauty

      Now to make-up, which can recreate the natural glow of skin that gets lost with time. ‘Radiant yet real’ is always my goal. To achieve this, one of the best discoveries has been the Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Foundation, aka “the make-up artists’ best kept secret”. As its name suggests, the formula delivers luminosity without leaving skin shiny, all while blurring imperfections. To get the most from foundation, a primer is recommended first to smooth the skin and provide grip. Then, after foundation (and concealer only applied where needed), a highlighter can add precision glow, while a powder may be used to set the base for longevity. Here is some more insider advice:

      • Take time to discover the perfect foundation and concealer shade for you. Cantello thinks that “the big mistake women make is to look for a shade ‘that matches’ their skin, in fact they should look for a shade ‘that flatters’ their skin”. Luminous Silk Foundation, for example, comes in 40 shades to suit all.
      • Layer like a pro. To perfect the famed ‘Armani Glow,’ Cantello advises prepping the skin with the Luminous Silk Hydrating Primer, then “cover under eye circles and redness with Luminous Silk Concealer”. Next, “use a blender brush to add required coverage of foundation, blending well, from centre to exterior in upward, outward strokes”. Finally, “apply Fluid Sheer [highlighter] on cheekbones, blending well”.
      • Always remember, less is more. As Cantello notes: “Eye and lip make-up on natural looking skin looks sensual. On heavily made-up skin, it loses all its appeal.”

        Achieve your ideal complexion with Armani Beauty