You know how much work goes into red carpet hair and makeup, but what about those glowing limbs? From Julia Roberts to Beyoncé, hundreds of stars have hit the red carpet in the past few days, showing off sculpted legs, strong arms, and toned tummies. Turns out, they had a little help. Body makeup — tinted lotions that sculpt, smooth, and even firm — has always been used behind the scenes on photo shoots and ad campaigns, but now it’s making a play for the real world.
Last summer, Gwyneth Paltrow told The Telegraph, “One of the best cheat products I have found for the body is a tinted moisturizer called Prtty Peaushun” Paltrow said the lotion, made by makeup artist Bethany Karlyn, gives the illusion of contour and defined muscles. “I wore it on my stomach when I was filming Iron Man 3.” Turns out Cate Blanchett, Oprah, and Paltrow’s famous trainer, Tracy Anderson, also stock the silver pouch at home.
At the Emmys, makeup artist Allan Avendaño used Votre Vu’s’s Silk Stockings Lotion ($23) on Sarah Hyland. “It moisturized and made her glow!” Perfekt makes a Body Perfection Gel ($48) that promises to firm and tone the skin over time, and hide blemishes and bruises in the short term. Sally Hansen’s Airbrush Legs ($12) has a cult following, while M.A.C.’s Face and Body Foundation ($27) is a fashion industry favorite. If you’re less interested in coverage than you are in that Sports Illustrated-like reflective glow, buff Benefit’s Bathina ($30) into your shins.
Once you find the right product, you want to take care to apply it properly so that it looks as natural as possible. Start with clean, dry, exfoliated skin. Skip moisturizer, since the product will adhere better without. Avendano uses a makeup puff or dense sponge: “It will keep the application smooth and soak up excess product and streaks,” he says. “It’s a great way to not commit to color on the skin… or to fix spray tan streaks.” In fact, body makeup offers the pros of self-tanner (bronzed, even skin) without any of the potential cons–uneven streaks, turning orange. And the best part? You can wash it right off.