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lESSONS:

GOLDEN HOUR, 
bottled

Because the uncomplicated glamor of a sunset-inspired summer glow is flattering on everyone.
 

Written by ARDEN FANNING ANDREWS

Photography by ANNA PALMA

Creative Direction by VICEN AKINA

Makeup by LAURE DANSOU

Hair by HOLLY MILLS

Styling by COCO CASSIBBA

Nails by HOLLY FALCONE


In film, the last moments before sunset and the first before sunrise deliver the most photographable, universally flattering golden glow—there’s a reason Hollywood has deemed it “magic hour”. And in beauty, that feeling of endless potential, heated romance, of slipping around the South of France in strappy silks, of dancing with your eyes closed, lids gleaming and collarbones glistening, it can be bottled. 

“Golden hour beauty, for me, is about sea, sex and sun; whatever it is, it should always be easy to wear,” Francisco Costa tells me as we dive into the uncomplicated appeal of a 24/7 glow. After years as creative director of Calvin Klein womenswear, the Brazilian-born, New York-based founder of Costa Brazil understands the importance of ease in modern glamor. He points to Sol Sunlight Body Oil, one of the newest additions to his luxurious (and environmentally-responsible) beauty line, as an example. “Sol is all about the energy of the day and the warmth of summer,” he says. “It has that romantic quality of hanging onto your tan,” highlighting the skin without glitter. “It almost disappears into the skin,” Costa promises. “It’s not flashy.”  

A little glitz can help, though. “Who wants cold, fluorescent lighting on the skin when you can mimic a soft, incandescent, sunkissed glow?” asks RMS beauty founder and makeup artist Rose-Marie Swift. She notes that for all tones, “One of the most flattering colors on the skin is rose gold,” which mimics the luminosity of those golden hour rays in any setting. Swift likes it in the light-reflecting formula of RMS Master Radiance Base, which can be applied like a cream before makeup or spot-checked as a dewy highlighter. It’s customizable, like the flattering tan delivered by Tan-Luxe founder Marc Elrick’s just-launched The Body & The Face Illuminating Self-Tan Drops which doubles as skincare. “It combines superfood ingredients like raspberry seed oil, aloe, and vitamin E with a gradual self-tanner,” he explains. It’s a logical dare to dip back into a head-to-toe faux glow (at last!).   

Here, 9 VIOLET CODE APPROVED ways to cheat the light and make every hour golden. 


GOLDEN HOUR
BEAUTY



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A quick-absorbing excuse to douse every body part in this naturally luminous drink of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. “Honestly, it smells like summer,” says Francisco Costa when describing its chosen notes of orange blossoms, crushed leaves, and “perhaps a bonfire in the distance.”

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Hot to the market and described by one VIOLET GREY expert as “the non-embarrassing” future of faux, there’s a reason that the skincare-focused serum always delivers: “The gradual self-tan aspect allows anyone to customize their glow with daily use and no white cast!” enthuses founder Marc Elrick.

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Just two shades can enhance multiple skin tones. Air-whipped mousse with rose-gold hints can be blended with other products (it plays well with others) or worn alone for a gleam that reads like “a beautiful evening sunset reflecting on one’s skin without looking greasy and shiny,” according to its designer, Rose-Marie Swift.

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Victoria Beckham is into crystals, too, and each eyeshadow pot comes with the power of crushed stones (to enhance your aura) and squalane (for a hydrating touch). Apply rosey Chiffon or coppery Starlight with fingertips for a relaxed, gently glazed gaze.

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The no-rules tool to line, swipe, and smudge across eyes for instant dimension without harsh lines. An easy-glide formula refines delicate skin with Tahitian black pearl extract, lasts all day, and can act as a shimmering primer to level-up existing eyeshadows.

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The Cult of Sturm grows stronger with every pipette of this mineral-pigmented, skin-perfecting recipe. In the short term, apply after moisturizer or makeup for believable dewiness. For the long-game, purslane, bistorta root, and rosa canina refine skin with every drop.

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For the faux sunburn glow of a hot young tennis star, apply (or “drape”) clean cream blush all the way up to undereyes and across the bridge of the nose and blend (easy, thanks to organic jojoba oil). It sounds crazy, looks incredible, and comes with compliments.

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This is not your high school gloss. Makeup artist, visionary, and friend of Kate Moss, Charlotte Tilbury delivers a your-lips-but-better effect with a glassy swipe of marine collagen and coconut oil that catches the light in all the right places.

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The once-dreaded SPF step becomes a delight. Hyaluronic acid, niacinmaide, and Vitamin B5 plump skin, even tone, and lock in moisture with broad spectrum protection. Plus, a pearlescent (not too shiny) finish means this can potentially be a one-and-done step for minimalists.