Cause a stir

The latest formulas call for a quick makeup shake-up to deliver coverage and colour that’s sheer, gorgeous and great for your skin.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
The latest formulas call for a quick makeup shake-up to deliver coverage and colour that’s sheer, gorgeous and great for your skin.
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There’s a big uptick in the beauty category known as bi-phase, and the latest products make getting a luminous look as simple as whipping up salad dressing. Just like oil and vinegar, the ingredients in these formulas have distinct densities, which make them separate and sit in layers. “Shake the bottle to mix the elements and you’ll activate them,” says Jim Hammer, a cosmetic chemist in Uxbridge, Massachusetts. The benefits of this active solution are especially enticing when it comes to foundations, lip colours and eye shadows. The pigments are combined with oils and/or water to create a sheer yet vibrant colour pay-off. Your skin receives a hydrating boost as well, Jim says. Follow the pro tips on the next page for how best to phase them in to your routine. 


Get a sheer tint plus shine and moisture with a bi-phase lip colour. Think of it as a stain and an oil treatment in one, says Andrew Sotomayor, a makeup artist in New York City. But unlike traditional stains, which stick to skin in an instant, these slick formulas give you some leeway. “The oils also help the colour sink into lips more evenly,” Andrew points out. 

Use the built-in applicator to spread the liquid on the centre of your lips and blend it out towards the corners of your mouth for the most natural effect. 

We love Lancome Juicy Shaker ($36 each). Each shade has a different yummy flavour. (And, trust us, the blue tint on the previous page goes on clear. It will make pink lips look a pop brighter.) 

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A bi-phase eye shadow helps you achieve gorgeously shimmery eyelids – without the greasy, sticky or smudgy side effects that most shiny eye shadows bring. You’ll get a vibrant hue from the oil-based pigments, and the water in the formula will help smooth the shadow on and then evaporate, leaving behind a saturated colour that won’t budge or crease, Andrew says. His tip: Apply the shadows onto bare skin (because they have an emollient base, you don’t need a primer). Plus a primer’s white or beige tint will only muddy the colour. 

Using an applicator or a synthetic bristle shadow brush, blend a small amount of the liquid colour across your lids. “Less is more. You can always add if you want to intensify the look,” Andrew says. “If you’re going with a neutral shade, like pale gold or beige, try an all-over wash of colour from lash line to brow bone.” With a more dramatic, jewel-toned hue, stop at the crease, as shown on the model above. 

Try Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Eye Shadow (prices vary,, which has hydrating coconut water and argan oil-infused metallic pigments for a stunning, high-beam finish. 

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When shaken and then applied to skin, a bi-phase foundation composed of pigments and oils leaves behind a veil of streak-free coverage that looks flawless. In other words, your skin still looks like skin. The oils in the formula act as a delivery system, sinking into skin and leaving only the pigments on the surface, Andrew explains. So skin will be glowy but not greasy. 

Using a synthetic bristle foundation brush (a natural brush or your fingers would absorb too much of the oil), apply the product to the T-zone area, where most people need extra coverage, and blend it out towards your hairline, Andrew says. We like Giorgio Armani Beauty Maestro Glow ($88.90,, which contains finely milled mica for radiance plus SPF 30. What a beautiful combo!