A capsule make-up wardrobe: work to play part two

A little while ago Laura from style blog MyPollyanna guest wrote about creating a core wardrobe to take you easily from work to play, and here’s the second part to that piece: it’s about make-up. When you’re applying make-up for work or an off-duty day and moving onto play, you really only need these products for an easy, fresh look. You should be done in five minutes, after letting your moisturiser/serum and eye cream sink into your skin for a few minutes. Here are the essential items that I think every woman should consider using daily to create a look like this:

Emma Watson at Cannes in 2013. Image from Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

Less can definitely be more… (Emma Watson at Cannes in 2013. Image from Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images)

1. Foundation, BB cream or tinted moisturiser – for light coverage look at Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturiser (£34), Dior BB cream (£30) or for a little more coverage, a foundation. There are so many amazing foundations around so instead of listing them, here are five things to consider when shopping for a base to make sure that’s it’s right for you:

• Colour-matching

Test the product, whilst not wearing any base, around the jawline for the best match. Lighting in shops is poor so take a small mirror and check the colour by the door. The one that ‘disappears’ into your skin is the right one. Always wear a foundation for a day to see how it lasts or ask for a sample or two, do not buy on the spot!

• Coverage and finish level

Are you looking for light coverage (water-based foundation or tinted moisturizer), medium or full coverage? Would you like a dewy or light-reflecting, semi-matte or matte finish?

• Your skin type

Even if the colour is spot on, if the formula of foundation isn’t suited to your skintype, you won’t look your best. Avoid oil-free formulas if you have dry skin and go for an oil or gel base with anti-ageing moisture properties. If you have oily skin go for oil-free, water-based foundations with medium coverage. If you have sensitive skin, look for fragrance free products and if your skin is also oily or combination, consider a mineral formula as it will usually have less preservatives. Normal skins can take their pick and if you want to create an airbrushed flawless finish, HD liquid foundations are your bet.

• Texture

Finally, consider what you like to use: powder, mousse, liquid, cream, cream to powder or tinted moisturiser? If you use a lot of cream products (cream highlighter, blusher, bronzer), I wouldn’t pick a powder or mousse foundation as you’ll find it very difficult to use these on top of your foundation.

2. Concealer for brightening under the eyes, and a separate one for blemishes or redness if this is a problem for you. Look at Bourjois Healthy Mix concealer (£7.99) and Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer (£18.50) for under your eyes and Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage (£26.50) and Vichy Dermablend cream stick (£15) to give full coverage for blemishes, marks and redness.

3. Transparent setting powder is important to set your make-up before adding any powdered colour or on top of cream colour, unless your skin is dry. For normal and combination skin, apply on the t-zone and for oily skin, all over. I use Laura Mercier Loose (£29) and pressed (£25) translucent setting powders, MAC Prep+Prime (£20) and Vichy Dermablend Loose powder (£17).

4. Blusher or bronzer – choosing a cream or powder will depend on your skin type an the finish you like. On a budget my favourites are Max Factor Miracle Touch Creamy Blush and Bourjois Little Round Pot Blusher (£7.99). For a premium treat I love Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge (£19) and YSL Crème de Blush (£30).

5. Mascara – find one which combines volume and length to save you time. A ‘tubing’ mascara won’t budge and washes off with water, or pick a new generation of ‘traditional’ formula which won’t budget. If your lashes are really straight, invest in a good pair of curlers that will last years and then get curling away before mascara.

6. Tinted lip balm – there are so many fantastic tinted lip balms to choose from. My favourites are Clinique’s Chubby sticks (£17), Bourjois Colour Boost Lip Crayons (£7.99), Revlon Colour Burst Lacquer Balm (£7.99), Burt’s Bees tinted balms (£5.50) and No7 BB Lips (£8.50). If you simply can’t leave home without lipstick, then of course choose that instead!


Here’s the finished look after I applied the capsule collection on Laura’s friend Polly

More options  If you like your eyes to be defined with more than just mascara, find a good ‘neutral’ shadow that’s right for you (think taupe, ballet pink, light brown) and add a very thin line of eyeliner on the upper lashes only – black, brown, grey, taupe all work well for work whatever your outfit. In addition, your brows will need a touch of attention which I wrote about here.

Into the evening – a pop of brighter lipstick or a smudge of shimmery cream eyeshadow and a top-up of your blusher will lift your face and take two minutes!


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