Is your makeup bag full of deep, dark secrets and the shameful evidence of a few bad habits? Do you tend to buy the same lipstick colour again and again? Should you be using that dried-out mascara? Maybe it's time to ditch that cracked blusher you've had for months - or years. If this sounds like your makeup bag, then our beauty expert Amber Haldane will help you simplify, reorganise, and refresh its contents.
Makeup should be fun and easy. But it can be daunting just learning how to apply it, let alone buy it. Cosmetic counters are a bit intimidating and, when faced with product overload, perfectly polished sales assistants, and mirrors everywhere, we often arrive home with colours or products we may never use again.
Your makeup bag should work like a good wardrobe, with classics that you can fall back on every day, without having to think twice.
Foundation is the first makeup essential you should have in your beauty kit, with colour and texture always the deciding factors. Foundation should match your skin tone exactly and blend with your skin. Is your skin oily, dry or combination? This is another important consideration when choosing foundation.
Blush can be a tricky area for a lot of women, but to wear foundation without blush is a sin! A good tip is to match your blush colour to your lip tone. To apply blush, look into the mirror, smile, and brush it on to the apples of your cheeks, then sweep upwards to the temples, blending with a good-quality brush.
This brings me to my next subject - makeup brushes. You absolutely must have good-quality brushes to apply makeup. I suggest that you start out with a few good brushes: a blush brush, eyeshadow brush, and foundation brush. Choose a brush with natural bristles, as this will ensure smooth application.
Makeup bag must-haves
• Moisturiser with a good sun protection factor
• Blush or bronzer
• Lip-gloss, balm or lipstick
Most products don't have a use-by date on them as it's not a legal requirement. But holding on to your cosmetics for too long can be unhealthy, and they can actually become contaminated and "go off". "Stale" cosmetics don't work well and lose their pigment and staying power. All products have an optimal length of time that they are effective for. As a rule of thumb, most products can last up to three years. However, mascara and eyeliner needs to be thrown out much more regularly - every three to six months.
Products I can't live without
Here are a few simple tools and some great products to help you to update your makeup bag.
• Foundation: Bobbi Brown and ID Mineral makeup.
• Tweezers: Tweezerman - these are amazing and have a lifetime guarantee.
• Lipstick and lip gloss: MAC Viva Glam 5 and 6. You can't go wrong with these colours, which come in lipstick or gloss form and suit every woman and every skin tone.
• Mascara: Lancôme - thickens and lengthens your lashes.
• Makeup brushes: Bobbi Brown - expensive but well worth the investment.
• Concealer: Bobbi Brown and Lancôme.
Top 6 beauty rules
• Don't overpluck your eyebrows. Grow them back and shape regularly with threading or plucking.
• Choose the right foundation - invest in mineral makeup. Mineral makeup is great for sensitive skin, as it's free of chemicals, dyes or irritants.
• Buy blush (or a bronzer if you have high colour)! This is an instant radiance-booster and adds immediate prettiness to your complexion.
• Don't squeeze your spots - it only spreads oil and makes them take longer to heal.
• Eyeliner and mascara to open your eyes up, making you look refreshed and awake. I recommend applying it just along the tops of your lashes.
• Pat moisturiser on to your skin during the day for a bit of a glow. It also refreshes existing makeup.
• Makeup should be kept simple and fun. If you make time to experiment, the good thing about makeup is that if it doesn't suit you, you can wash it off and start over!