Skincare and makeup hybrids: Get the best of both in one

Talk about double duty…
woman with fresh, clean makeup

Honestly, makeup has never been just a cover-up. From the Elizabethans, who were prepared to paint their face with lethal lead to mark their affluent status, to 20th century America, when a slick of red lippie first became a symbol of women’s independence, cosmetics are a peek into our cultural Zeitgeist.

The current mood? We’re taking a high-tech leap from do no harm (to complexion or planet) to a new era of do good: makeup that improves your skin.

“Demand is high for products that are easy to use, effective and transportable, which is a true reflection of our current ‘no rules’ attitude to makeup,” says Anne Salem, Clarins Head of Makeup Artistry.

“Hybrid makeup isn’t just about makeup itself, it’s also about women’s attitudes to making themselves feel better in a quick and effective way without having to do a lengthy 10-step routine. Hybrid formulas perform a ‘double duty’ without you really having to do anything!”

While nobody is claiming that you can skip your daily skincare basics in favour of clever cosmetics alone, that desire for efficiency and ‘natural’ no-makeup makeup has forced considerable change.

Sales of full coverage foundation have been slipping. Their tendency to crease, particularly if your skin isn’t the buttery, bouncy kind by nature, makes them hard work if you are aiming for a natural glow.

Replacing cakey coverage is a generation of tints with plumping and nourishing actives, and colour-correcting pigments that blur the line between cover-up and treatment. “Hybrid makeup brings the best of both worlds together … scientific skincare meets the magic of makeup,” says Lara Srokowski, Beauty Director at Lancôme Australia.

woman with fresh, clean makeup

“Not only does it provide skin with hydration and comfort, it can also help improve skin texture and tone over time.”

Top of the treatment wishlist is makeup that lifts and plumps the complexion. “As we age, we lose moisture, so using products containing humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin to draw moisture in helps to give a dewy glow and plump up the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,” says Penny Antuar, makeup artist and founder of makeup storage brand Kitology.

Hyaluronic acid and glycerin work topically, so skin-loving plant oils and hard-working actives (predominantly antioxidant vitamins C & E and pigmentation-busting vitamin B) are also added to the mix.

“Botanical ingredients proven to nourish and protect skin provide immediate coverage and long-term skin benefits,” says Cindy Lüken, founder of Lük Beautifood. “As makeup is topical and sits on the skin for 12 hours or more, it’s important for a formula to not only look like skin by blending and blurring imperfections, but to nourish and protect too.”

According to Cindy, what is left out of makeup formulations is just as important as what goes in. “Synthetic ingredients such as PEGs and silicones can form a non-breathable film and upset healthy skin barrier function resulting in unwanted breakouts, redness, allergies and so forth,” she says.

If you already own a traditional foundation, don’t toss it away – add a few drops of serum or moisturiser to create your own sheer tint. There’s no harm in experimenting a little – even the pros do it.

“On shoots you must retouch models’ makeup constantly to keep it looking fresh and I developed my own secret recipe to create a glowing, radiant face,” says Terry de Gunzburg, founder of By Terry. “I’d mix three different textures – foundation, hydration and toner – and use a flat brush to apply it on top of existing makeup.”

woman with fresh, clean makeup

Ingredients your skincare makeup hybrid products should contain

Non-synthetic plant oils

These lock in moisture and serve as a carrier vehicle for botanical actives.

Vitamin C

For free radical protection and to brighten the complexion.

Vitamin E

To fortify the skin barrier function and smooth the texture.


Helps skin retain moisture for visibly improved dewiness.

Hyaluronic acid

To plump skin.

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