I love make-up. When I say love I mean absolutely, unequivocally and obsessively, I love make-up. I feel more naked without make-up on than I do without trousers on and, well, if it weren’t for those silly little public decency laws, I would gladly forfeit wearing trousers and keep my eyeliner on instead.
Egyptians were using make-up as early as 3500 BC. Thankfully, make-up today doesn’t contain mercury and lead, like it did back then. And good old Queen Vic isn’t around to ban its use by anyone but actors and prostitutes.
This is a list of my must-have make-up items. I’ve experimented with so many different brands and products and I think I’ve managed to narrow that down to a list of my go-to items.
1. The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream
The Body Shop is awesome. They promote community trade, are against animal testing and are socially active. They also have good quality products for good prices, with attractive packaging. Moisturiser is something every person (no, not just women) should have. I personally don’t believe in long beauty rituals which have you spending half an hour a day sanding down your face. I get my clear skin from drinking over two litres of water each day, and from moisturising. Yes, every morning after my shower I moisturise. And this is exactly the product I use. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and also protects the skin from ultra-violet rays – which is important when you live on a sunny island. It also has anti-ageing properties as it reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles and, best of all, may help protect against skin cancer. Oh yeah, and it smells nice too. Not bad for one tub of cream.
2. Benefit That Gal primer
I know not everybody uses primer. Sometimes I don’t use it either. But sometimes I do and I’ve found this to be pretty good. I’m going to be honest: I freaking love Benefit. I would buy anything Benefit made just as long as it was in that fantastic packaging of theirs. And this primer is no exception. As somebody with yellow undertones in my skin, having a pink primer is good as it evens out my skintone. You may not love this product so much if you have pink undertones to begin with, and then I would suggest something like this. But, back to Benefit: I love the smell of the product. It smells like fruity candy. It also helps my foundation glide on fairly easily. Here’s a secret: sometimes I wear ONLY primer. No foundation! This primer gives you enough of a glow that you can get away with that. Bliss.
3. Diorskin Eclat Satin foundation
Everyone needs a good foundation. A good foundation will make your skin look radiant and flawless, and will provide the perfect base for the rest of your make-up. It will match your skin tone and it will not be streaky, or leave you feeling dried out. I will gladly fork out a little bit extra for some good foundation and that is why I buy Dior foundation. Dior is one of my favourite designers. The brand exudes class and beauty. Wearing Dior foundation is a little like wearing sexy underwear under your everyday jeans. Nobody else may know you’re wearing it, but it makes all the difference and makes you feel like a million dollars. This particular foundation lasts all day and moisturises your skin (yes! more moisturiser!). It camouflages blemishes and spots but it’s also quite glossy and leaves your skin looking quite radiant. Use transclucent powder with this if you prefer your face to look more matte. Sometimes, I mix a little bit of this product into my morning moisturiser, effectively creating a tinted moisturiser.
4. Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat highlighter
Ahhhhhh yes yes yes yes yes. Alright, yes, I know this isn’t cheap either; but oh my god does it work miracles! It’ll make your skin look so bright and will practically make dark circles disappear. It’ll look like you get eight hours of sleep every. single. night. It’ll also look like you never drink alcohol, eat a gazillion portions of fruit and veg every day and have never spent a night of partying ever.
5. Benefit Erase Paste concealer
Yes, Benefit again. I know it’ll seem like you’re spending a lot for such a small tub of product, but this concealer is so thick and creamy that a little goes a long way with it. My first tub lasted me about a year, and that’s almost daily use. It comes with instructions, which you should follow to guarantee the best results. Really, though, don’t be tempted to use too much of it because it really is so thick that you’ll find yourself having to throw some away if you pick up too much. You can use a brush if you like, but the best way to do it is to pick up a little using the scoop (which comes with the concealer), putting it on the back of your hand and rubbing it with your finger a bit so it’s warm and easy to apply.
6. Body Shop Brush On Beads bronzer
If, like me, you are almost always in desperate need of a tan despite living on an island, then this product is for you. Now I like having fair skin so I don’t want to orangify myself. These bronzer beads will give you a healthy shimmer. You’ll look as though you’ve just spent fifteen minutes in the sun. Use a big brush to apply this. Start from your nose, forehead and chin – where the sun would likely hit you first – then blend outwards. Be careful not to cake it on – just swirl it around to give you a lovely glow. If you like, you can also use it to create a shadow under your cheekbone, then use Touche Eclat to highlight your cheekbone.
7. Bourjois Blush
I am a sucker for packaging. I know it’s not right but if you sell me an image I like, then I will buy. Bourjois are obviously trying to tell me that if I use their stuff I will be French and glamorous and I can drink red wine and eat great cheese all day and still have a teeny-tiny waist and my hair in a stylish chignon and a gorgeous poodle in my handbag that doesn’t yap but just makes eye-contact with strangers in a way which is tres chic. Ahem. Anyway, this blush is quite heavily pigmented and also shimmers to give you a lovely glow. Apply it to the apple of your cheeks to give you a slightly flushed look, like somebody’s just told you something very risque.
8. Benefit 10 bronzer and highlighter
If you can’t be bothered to figure out where on your cheeks to apply bronzer and where to apply highlighter, then this product will do it for you. It’s divided into two contrasting colours and comes with a brush, so all you have to do is sweep it over your cheeks to make your cheekbones look so high people will think they’re on drugs.
9. Collistar Silk Effect Loose Powder
This translucent loose powder also doubles up as a beauty treatment as it is enriched with Vitamin E (yes, that again). It will keep your base in place and also has golden flecks so it doesn’t make you look sallow. Make sure you apply it after you’ve applied all your creamy products as otherwise it will look like you are trying to make your face into dessert.
10. Benefit Benetint
I promise I do not get a commission from Benefit for mentioning them so often. What can I say? I like Benefit. And I like this product. It’s great to have, especially when you’re on the go as it is both a blush and a lip tint. I like products that double up as they will save you space in your makeup bag if you are travelling. Using your fingertips, rub the liquid into the apple of your cheeks to make you look like you’re blushing. Or use the brush that comes with it to apply it to your lips. Let it dry then apply a second coat (and a third, depending on how red you want to look). When you’re done, go over your lips with balm or gloss, or a lip plumper.
11. Mac eyeshadows
This is where it gets colourful. I’ve tried so many eyeshadows over the years but I’ve found Mac really do make the best ones. They’ve got such a huge range of colour. Also, the powder is very highly-pigmented, so if you want electric blue eyeshadow, you really do get it. I use Dazzlelight as a highlighting shade, Grain as my base shade and Quarry in the crease in my eye socket, and that’s my everyday palette. Then, during the evening or on special occasions I go a bit crazy and pump up the colour. You’re certain to find shades that work for you for any occasion, and once you go Mac you won’t go back.
12. Mac Pigment
When you need to turn the colour up to 11, pigments are great – and Mac reign supreme in this area. You can either use the pigment on its own as eyeshadow, or dilute it and use it as a paste. They are pretty expensive but it takes FOREVER to go through one of them. So if you really can’t afford them, Barry M do some great shimmer powder for a fraction of the price.
13. Primark’s eye pencil
I can’t even find a photo of this. But it’s dirt cheap and it does its job well. No need to splurge on eye pencil.
14. Sephora Eye Liner
Liquid eye liner, when applied properly, means instant glamour. There are some great tutorials on YouTube showing you how to get different eye liner shapes. Check them out.
15. L’Oreal Volume Shocking mascara
Mascara is really important. It will darken and add volume to your lashes, opening up your eyes and giving you lashes you can bat to your heart’s content. This particular mascara will REALLY build up the volume. I couldn’t believe it the first time I used it. Just make sure you use enough of the black liquid, otherwise you’ll end up with white lashes, and you don’t want that.
16. Inglot lipstick
I love red lipstick. It’ll instantly make you feel like a 50s movie star. Inglot’s lipstick contains Vitamin E (YEAH!) and will moisturise your lips and keep them from cracking. When I’m having a bad day and I want to feel pretty I wear my bright red lipstick.
17. Body Shop Born Lippy lip balm
I don’t wear bright lipstick to work because I can’t be bothered to have to touch it up. Instead, I put on lip balm to keep my lips moisturised and healthy. This product comes in a range of scents, which all smell so good you want to eat them for breakfast, is cheap and gives you a little bit of gloss.
18. L’Oreal Glam Shine lip gloss
Does what it says on the box – it will make your lips shine. It comes in a range of colours and you can wear it on its own or over your favourite lipstick for some va-va-voom.