When I’m working with a client I’m often asked about my little tips for each element of skincare and make-up. Having regularly posted a nugget or two on my facebook page in the past, I thought it was high time I compiled all of them into one handy article, which of course I’ll add to every so often. I hope you find these tips useful x
• Concealers might say they can do it all, but very few can. You’ll need at least two on your dressing table for daily use after you apply your foundation or tinted moisturiser.
The first is a creamy, thick liquid consistency for applying with fingers under your eyes (remember to set with translucent powder so it doesn’t crease). The other is a waxy ‘set’
paste, for covering blemishes, pigmentation, scars and redness, applied with a pointed thin synthetic hair brush and blended into your base with your fingers. I can’t be without the Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer (£18.50) or Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer (£7.50) for under the eyes and Laura Mercier UK Secret Camouflage (£26) for targeted concealing of blemishes, redness and marks.
• Long-lasting lips: don’t own a lip liner and find your lipstick bleeds a little around the edges? No problem – instead you can pat on a thin layer of concealer all over the lips before applying your lipstick. Just make sure your lips are smooth and you apply some balm 10 minutes or so before. If you want to adjust the shape of your lips, line with a pencil in the same colour as your lipstick after you apply the colour – this allows you to better see the outline you want to create.
• If you have any natural redness in your cheeks or tend to flush with redness, make sure that your blusher, whether powder, liquid or cream, doesn’t have a strong red tone. This will only emphasise rather than detract attention to the flush. Instead, buy a baby/light pink or peach blusher if you have fair skin and a tawny pink-bronze blusher if you have mid or dark skin. Applying and blending the right colour over your foundation will create a healthy glow and stop the redness coming through.
• If you have a favourite lipstick colour but the formula isn’t matte and you wish it was (so on trend for spring/summer!), dust a thin layer of translucent powder through one layer of tissue on top of the lipstick – voila! Your lips will keep the colour for longer and it’s also easier to maintain throughout the day.
• For some reason, many brow powders and pencils have a red undertone – not flattering at all for non-redheads. Choose one or a matte eyeshadow with an ashy tone – if you’re a brunette or redhead, choose a matte eyeshadow one shade lighter than the hair colour. If you’re blonde, choose a shade one darker. Read more about how to maintain your eyebrows here. I really like versions by Bobbi Brown and Laura Mercier as there are plenty of natural hair-coloured shades. I tend to advise avoiding eyebrow waxes as they can look very ‘painted on’.
• Curl your eyelashes with one of these – I promise you’ll be pleased with the results!
• Some of the best new-generation lip and eye pencils are wonderfully smooth and creamy, but they can also be difficult to sharpen to a point for precision application. A tip is to put the pencil in the fridge for an hour or two – this will harden the centre and then it will sharpen up…sharper!
• If you’re prone to or starting to notice puffiness around and under your eyes, try to stick to the minimum amount of salt in your diet as you can. Excess salt can mean we retain more water, which leads to swelling, particularly in the very thin and delicate skin around the eyes.
• When it’s cold, keep nurturing your skin by adding another thin layer of moisturiser on top of the first or use a mineral water spray during the day – Avene Thermal Spring Water (£10) is great! Nurture from the inside by drinking lots of water and eating excellent foods for the skin like salmon, mackerel, almonds, walnuts & pistachios, olive oil, avocado, artichokes, broccoli and seeds. If you’re prone to redness when it’s very cold, I can recommend the Avene skincare range for helping combat this.
• If you’re trying a new colour of cream blush or lipstick and you’re worried that it’s a bit too strong, next time mix in a tiny amount of a creamy concealer to tone it down a bit.
• Cold weather tip: if your face feels tight and wind-whipped during the day in a cold snap, take two pea-sized amounts of your normal face moisturiser, rub between your hands until they are coated in a super-thin layer and pat onto your face over your make-up for instant relief. If you have really dry skin, use a face oil if you have one. Oh and drink plenty of water!
• Remember not to neglect the front and back of your neck as well as your ears when applying creams and serums – these areas will see skin start to age just in the same way as your face.
• Post-blemish marks: Marks are usually the discoloration of the skin after a blemish has subsided. They typically fade on their own within 2-3 months. Sometimes, chemical peels can speed up the removal of marks.
• Corrector and concealer for eyes: The reason for using an under-eye corrector is to ensure a flawless light finish to the eye area. Firstly you should correct any under-eye shadows, often blue or purple-toned with a peach or coral corrector, bringing it back to a ‘skin’ colour and then use a concealer to brighten on top. Bobbi Brown sells the widest range of correctors on the high street – if you often have dark circles I highly recommend being colour matched and adding this to your daily ‘make-up capsule wardrobe’.
• Eye make-up fallout: Cream eyeshadows are the perfect solution for avoiding that annoying powder drop from your eyeshadows, but if you don’t like them or want to work with what you’ve already got, you can either consider applying all your eye make-up before the rest, or hold a tissue under your eye which will catch the powder. And if you’re using glitter, gently press scotch tape (not sellotape!) onto the area where the glitter has dropped – it does work!
• Blusher, bronzer and highlighter: If you’re using a cream highlighter, apply this straight after your foundation, working it onto the top of your cheekbones, brow bone and nose. Cream highlighter should become part of your skin, creating imperceptible luminosity. You should then add cream or powder bronzer with a tapered brush to the highest point of our face (on the cheekbones, jawline, temples and chin). If, like me, you love to combine blusher and bronzer, use your blusher now on the apples of your cheeks. Finally, now’s the time to use powder highlighter on to the areas I listed earlier.
• If you’re used to wearing eyeliner below the lower lashes only, this can actually drag your eye down, make you look tired and will draw attention to dark circles if you have them. Instead try applying it along the upper lashline and below the eye, starting from the outer corner and finishing in the middle of your eye – softening the edges with a cotton wool bud. Use a good inky-black mascara and see what a difference it makes. And if using eyeliner on the upper lashes is something you’re not adept at, practice first with a creamy kohl pencil as it’s the easiest formula to learn with. With your elbow resting on a hard surface for stability, look into the mirror with your eyes open and make small dots at the root of the lashes. Join them up and take a step away to check they’re even. As you master that technique, you can move on to use different formulas and create wings and flicks if you wish.
• Wash your brushes once a week, by splodging some baby shampoo in the palm of your hand or a small bowl and massage your brush into it under warm running water. Rinse until the water runs clear, squeeze the water gently, reshape whilst damp and then leave to dry horizontally, with the bristles hanging over the side of a table. If you have oily or problem-prone skin, I recommend cleaning your foundation and concealer brush daily with a brush spray.
• Spring clean your make-up and skincare: Very old make-up won’t perform as well as it’s designed to but will also harbour germs. On the bottom of some packaging, there’s an icon of a pot with an open lid with either the letter M for month or Y for year, but this guide should also help you:
o Creams – foundation, eyeshadow, blush – 12-18 months
o Powders – foundation, setting powder, eyeshadow, blush – 24 months
o Lipstick – 12 months
o Gel eyeliner and mascara – 3-6 months maximum.
• And lastly, an emergency SOS solution for saving a shattered powder compact – in case you ever need it!