March 27, 2023

I’ve long wondered how Emily Ratajkowski always looks perfectly sun-kissed in every single photograph. Sure, I’ve come to accept the fact she’s superhuman. And her naturally olive skin tone doesn’t hurt. But, there’s something about her barely-there makeup look I couldn’t quite put my finger on. So when the model took to Instagram Live last to walk us through every step of her makeup routine, I took notes—and discovered the trick I’ve been waiting for—how to fake that enviable sun-kissed glow.

“I have a Zoom interview this morning, so I want to look halfway decent,” Ratajkowski explained at her bathroom counter as followers amassed. She queued up some throwback jams to accompany her makeup tutorial. She explained that her hands were washed and clean, since she’s had received flak for applying makeup sans brush or blender in her last tutorial.

The Base

Using her fingers, Ratajkowski gently tapped Pat McGrath’s Skin Fetish Sublime Perfection Concealer ($32) around her eyes, nose, and mouth—just enough to even out and awaken the skin. The next product in her arsenal was Charlotte Tilbury’s Filmstar Bronze & Glow Contour Duo ($68)—which made several appearances during the tutorial and I swiftly purchased immediately after watching. Ratajkowski brushed the bronzer along her cheekbones, nose, around the perimeter of her face, and in the creases of her eyelids (in lieu of eyeshadow), revisiting these same areas later on to add a touch more.

Emily Ratajkowski with sunkissed makeup

The Lipstick Trick

I’m well aware of the perks of using lipstick as blush, but Ratajkowski’s next move was one I’ve never tried before. After carefully streaking Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick ($38) across the apples of her cheeks, she added a few dabs of it to the bridge of her nose. She then blended the lipstick into her skin with her fingers, adding a fresh rosy glow to the exact spots where the sun naturally hits—while noting her skin actually sees very little sunlight. As she did with her bronzer, Ratajkowski revisited this lipstick technique again later in her tutorial, noting “it’s all about layering.” She finished her look with a cat-eye, but it was just as impactful with a few swipes of mascara and some highlighter.

My Experience

I’ve since incorporated Ratajkowski’s lipstick trick into my makeup routine, opting for a nude shade—Charlotte Tilbury’s Hot Lip Lipstick in Super Cindy ($34). Following the model’s instructions, I added just a touch to the apples of my cheeks and the bridge of my nose after applying the same bronzer for a sun-kissed finish. Like Ratajkowski, I use the same shade on my cheeks and lips, which has a way of offering a balanced finish—though I’m sure it’s worth experimenting with different shades.

woman wearing sun-kissed makeup

The Verdict

The trick works to effortlessly elevate both barely-there and full-faced makeup looks, adding a natural warmth to the finish that brings everything together. I’ll admit I added more lipstick to my nose and cheeks than I usually do to ensure the color showed up for this photo (a little goes a long way), but when done with just the right amount of color, you’ll look perfectly sun-kissed. Again, it’s all about layering.