About two months ago, I called my sister sobbing - and I mean hysterical, she thought someone had died. I had lost my make-up bag containing all of my regular products (and therefore my mind) and I needed her beauty support as much as I needed it when she’d smuggle me in facemasks in rehab. I know that might not be a proportionate reaction but, whatever, I’m picking my battles at the moment and I didn’t try and top myself or anything.
I mean, I might have, if she hadn’t immediately taken me to re-purchase my essentials. But she did, and it reminded me that my capsule beauty collection is amazing (as is my sister), and I am incredibly confident about how well the products serve me. I am getting to a place where I am okay without makeup, but some days I am not, however much I meditate, and I love having products that I trust to fall back on when I’m feeling pretty shabby.
I don’t even think about changing most of my day-to-day basics or adding to the collection unless something blows me away and I immediately repurchase when anything runs out. So you’ve had my haircare basics, you’ve had my facemasks, my cleansers... and now I’m telling you about the products to whom I am as devoted to as I was to my favourite drugs.
I know I keep talking about my radiant soulfulness and spiritual awakenings but what actually makes my skin glow is Laura Mercier’s Primer. I was incredibly suspicious when the woman in Space NK suggested that I try the new variation, the ‘radiance’ edition, but I did it. And I am glad that I took that wild, crazy risk.
It looks like foundation when it comes out the tube but it is so sheer that it is practically invisible and it doesn’t have the glitter in it that so many primers do by means of a cheapo way of making you look healthy. It doesn’t look healthy, it just looks like you went down on a stripper. Beauty fact number one: good primer doesn’t make people wonder if you spent your morning at Hustler.
After my primer, I use Dr Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm. I am incredibly pale skinned so I like sheer skin makeup because it is rare that anything completely matches my skin tone and I don’t want to look like I’m wearing an orange mask a la TOWIE. This is the newest addition to my routine- I got it in a goodie bag and completely fell in love after being really confused as to what a BB cream was. I’m still not entirely sure, but apparently this is one of them.
Dr Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm Cream SPF 25: whatever a beauty balm is, this one works £18, boots.com
It comes out (of its cute shimmery tube) looking like really thick foundation but applies beautifully evenly, creamily and most importantly for me, thinly - and it completely evens out my tone. I do this all with my fingertips.
Oh no, we’re not done with my ‘simple’ foundation routine. I then get MAC’s Mineralize Satin Finish Foundation and squirt a tiny bit on the back of my hand. Using a foundation brush (Bobbi Brown are my favourite brushes), I apply it roughly to my T-Zone and then even it out and blend with my finger tips - I like foundation brushes best for applying skin makeup onto my face and then finishing with my fingers, the same way that I use concealer brushes, so that the product is applied evenly.
Liberally applying MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation, the ultimate makeup essential, £20.50, maccosmetics.co.uk
Then I get my Bobbi Brown Secret Concealer and, using a concealer brush, do the same thing as with the foundation - apply it roughly to the area under my eye that I want covered and blend it with my fingers. Finally, using a large powder brush, I dust my face and particularly under my eyes with MAC Studio Fix which I swear to the Lord Almighty is as good as makeup gets. I cannot explain how many times this compact has saved me, how many sleepless nights it has hidden; I have been using it for over 10 years now and no other compact pressed powder has ever even come close.
Beauty fact number two: women look like babes after they’ve come. I have researched this both online and in the real world, and it is apparently because you get increased blood flow to your skin so you look flushed and sexy. I cannot walk around having orgasms all day, sigh, so I obviously use the infamous NARS Orgasm blush.
Nars Orgasm Blush: nearly as good as well, y'know... £21, narscosmetics.co.uk
Now this does have a little sparkle, but it is incredibly subtle, I promise, and I use a large blusher brush to apply to the apples of my cheeks, making sure that I blend it properly into my hairline. I then do a rough bit of contouring using a fan brush and NARS Zen bronzer, applying it in a line to accentuate my cheekbones, the sides of my nose and the top of my forehead (which is hidden by bangs but just in case).
VOILA! Face done. But now my eyes have faded into non-recognition so I clip up my fringe and get to them. For my regular, I just use Bobbi Brown eyeshadow in Bone liberally, all over my lids and up to my brows.
I am now about to make the best beauty recommendation I have ever made, or at least since I talked about MAC Studio Fix, and that is the Bobbi Brown angular eyebrow brush. Even if you apply everything else onto your face with your hands, you need this. It is dense and coarse and so picks up a perfect amount of powder (which I feel is the only way you should do your eyebrows) and you get an even distribution throughout the brow. Also, the size and shape of it is perfect, it works as a great guide for how you ought to be shaping. I use it with Bobbi Brown eyeshadow in Mahogany but obviously the shade you use is going to depend on your hair colour.
Bobbi Brown eyebrow brush: as handy as trip to the beautician in my book, £21, bobbibrown.co.uk
I then use Bobbi Brown Gel Liner in Black across my eyelash line on my lids to give me some definition, and very very faintly along my bottom eyelash line. I don’t like to use too much under my eyes because it makes me look tired and I think it makes eyes look smaller. Gel liners are better than any kohl you are ever going to find because they don’t smudge or fade out throughout the day, and I think they are more versatile than liquid eyeliner. They are also crazily easy to apply with a fine brush, even if you are prone to making mistakes, so double-win. I still buy kohl liners and pencils for when I am doing something different but, as a basic, this Bobbi Brown one is perfect for me.
Finally, I curl my lashes using Shu Uemura eyelash curler and liberally apply mascara. I am a huge fan of Maybelline’s The Colossal Volume Express mascara at the moment- I like a little thickening but not too much; mainly I like eyelash definition. This is why I like to curl my eyelashes; it is not actually the curliness of lashes that looks good, but the fact that the curl allows for better definition. I like the idea of Twiggy-esque doll eyes but not always looking like I’m wearing falsies and The Colossal is a happy medium.
Shu Umuera Eyelash Curler: somewhere between torture device and makeup miracle, £20, liberty.co.uk
A little lipbalm (Burt’s Bees do the most delicious Pomegranate flavour that I am obsessed with) and I’m done. I have honed this routine down to about seven minutes now- it might look extensive but actually I am fairly efficient now that I have full charge of my mental faculties. So, what are your makeup essentials? Do you feel as hideously vulnerable without a makeup bag as I do? Should I be using a different mascara? Do tell!