With longer days and sunnier skies, it’s time to give your beauty bag a refresh and go back to basics. We’ve rounded up best beauty items so you can look flawless, and streamline your dressing table at the same time.
They may look like instruments of torture but trust us, an eyelash curler could be the missing step in your beauty routine. Curling your lashes before applying mascara really opens up your eyes, making them look brighter and bigger. If you want a more subtle look, skip the mascara and just curl and go.
“Without any doubt, mascara needs to be part of your make-up arsenal,” says Lucy Baker, professional make-up artist and founder of Make Up Mastery (makeupmastery.co.uk.)
“When applied properly, it can make even the most tired eyes look amazing. Choose a black smudge-proof mascara and apply two coats on curled lashes – never curl your lashes with mascara already on. Eyelashes frame the eye and by coating the lashes from root to tip using a wiggle-wiggle motion, every lash will be covered. Most mascaras have a use period of six months from opening so be sure to discard any old ones after this length of time. For a quick top-up, carry your mascara and an eyelash comb with you. Gently comb through the lashes and apply two more coats for a stronger evening look.”
From gorgeous nudes to eye-popping pinks, adding a slick of nail varnish is a sure-fire way of looking polished. Don’t be afraid of bright colours, but do heed this advice – reds and corals are thought to be the most anti-ageing hues, whereas blue tones can highlight and emphasise the areas you want to hide, like age spots and veins. Draw attention away from your trouble areas with orange-based colourways, which also look great on any skin tone.
Eyebrows have been through their fair share of trends over the years – from super skinny to today’s current big and bushy look. As we get older our eyebrows tend to thin (and if you’ve overplucked in the past they could be patchy), so give your face the frame it deserves with an eyebrow pencil. It’s easy to do – just follow the direction of hair growth and use short strokes to mimic the hairs and gently fill in any sparse gaps. Voila! Instant facelift!
“Whether you wear foundation or not, concealer should be your best friend,” says Lucy. “There are two types – under eye concealer, which is usually moisturising, light-reflecting and superb for that ‘I’ve had eight hours of sleep look’, and blemish concealer – which is ideal to cover up any spots, pimples, pigmentation and redness. Blemish concealers are firm, waxy and have a thick consistency so that they cover up what you don’t want to see. Apply under eye concealer with a clean finger and blemish concealer with a clean cotton bud. Invest in a decent product that works well with your skin tone. Try before you buy, every time. Go shopping to a good store, take a mirror in your handbag and check colour matches outside before you buy to avoid costly mistakes.”
Nothing ruins your look like cracked, chapped lips so it’s important you keep yours moisturised all year round. Avoid petroleum-based balms that seal the lip so moisture can’t escape rather than nourishing them, and instead look for natural ingredients like beeswax. Lip balm is much easier to wear than lipstick but if you feel better with a bit of colour, look for tinted shades to enhance your natural tone.
“As we age the skin around the eye area loosens, resulting in a lack of natural shadow and definition,” says Lucy. “Eyeliner is a brilliant way to add that definition back in. If you prefer a striking look, choose a liquid or gel product and use a fine brush to run it along the upper lash line making sure to stay close to the lashes. For a softer look, use an eyeliner pencil along the upper and lower lash line and blend over with an eyeshadow brush – this gives a subtle smoky effect and is perfect for any eye shape.”
“For an even complexion and beautifully hydrated skin use a tinted moisturiser,” says Lucy.
“Apply your moisturiser as usual before a tinted product for a luminous-looking complexion. Apply with your fingers and massage in really well so that the skin looks radiant. Light facial massage also livens up the complexion and stimulates lymphatic drainage, puffiness and fluid retention.”
“Bronzer should be a staple part of your make-up bag contents all year round,” says Lucy. “A good bronzer needs to be just a few shades darker than your natural skin tone and choose a matte product with no shimmer or glitter in – a touch of iridescence or illumination is okay, but matte bronzers suit mature skin much better. Apply in a ‘3’ shape with a clean powder brush, starting at the temple, running down under the cheekbones and then brush under the jawline for a chiselled jaw effect.”
When it comes to blusher, less is definitely more. Looking in a mirror smile, then with a big brush apply some colour lightly over the raised apples of your cheeks. For an even more fail-safe method try a blusher stick – smiling, sweep over the rounds of your cheeks, and blend with your fingertips for a youthful glow.