I’ve been putting off writing a make-up blog because a) I feel a bit awkward about taking photos of my face, and b) I don’t want to make out that I think what I do/use is the best, because there really isn’t one way of doing something. But anyhow here I am writing it, and maybe I can share the small amount of knowledge I have to help a few of you gain some confidence in wearing make-up that still looks natural (if that’s something you like to do or need. I am desperately jealous of you naturally clear-skinned glowing beauties who don’t need to!). As mums it’s easy to not make an effort and forget about yourself, but doing a bit of make-up can install confidence and make you feel like you’ve done something for yourself too, which is important!
I used to work for Clinique where I learnt some useful skills, but I also learnt how intimidating a lot of people find going to a make-up counter. I get it, those ladies with the bright lipstick and big eyebrows are scary – you don’t want them to give you an equally loaded face of make-up and they might pressurise you into buying things you just don’t need. If you’re a busy person/mum, it’s unrealistic that you have the time or money to be lathering 20+ products you ‘really ought to have’ on your face each morning. So I’m hoping this blog will meet you somewhere in the middle, explaining products and tools you need to achieve a natural look – with an option for less time/more natural, or more time/more made up, depending on your preference – so for example, if you wear little to nothing each day, you’ll want to start at the less time option.
If you want to know what specific products I use, I’ve made a list at the end.
Cleanse your face at least once a day to get rid of any impurities and obviously take any make-up off. With cleanser, wipes or a wash – whatever you prefer. The other thing you do need to wear each day is moisturiser! Preferably one with a SPF factor in it – this will protect your skin from skin damage and help prevent wrinkles in the long run. A moisturiser will also help hydrate your skin ready for make-up application.
Eye-cream (does the same as a face moisturiser but for your eyes!) Brightens, refreshes helps, with dark circles. Good to use if you use an under eye concealer.
Exfoliator – use a couple of times a week to remove flaky dead skin cells, helps make-up sit better too. Make sure you use a face one, not a body one!
If you’re lucky enough to have clear skin, then I’d recommend a tinted moisturiser. Again one with an SPF in is ideal. CC/BB creams are similar to this. Gives a light, dewy look and minimal coverage. You can just apply this with your fingers. My sis-in-law is a big fan of ‘Estee Lauder daywear -sheer tint release moisturiser ‘ which adapts to you skin colour when you apply it – clever stuff!
If you need more coverage then you want a proper foundation, but it’s important not to go for a cheap cakey one. If you’re going to spend money on one product let it be this one! Again you want an SPF, and you want to go to a counter and get them to colour match you. Take your time, take a mirror into the natural light and check it’s the right one for you, try lots. Don’t feel the pressure! And key point – you really want to blend well with a brush (see point on brushes below) so you don’t have any streaky lines.
No option for this one, you either need it or you don’t. If you have spots or redness that you feel self-conscious about, you’ll want to use a concealer on those certain areas that just gives extra coverage. I actually use a ‘foundation stick’ in place of this which lasts for much longer than these little concealer sticks and is handy to have in my hand bag for top ups.
If you don’t wear much make-up then I would say blush is probably one thing you could add to your daily routine. It brightens your face and gives definition to your cheek bones. It takes seconds to apply and you don’t need much. Again colours depend on your look but go for something warm and natural. A plum or peach rather than a bright pink. There are lots out there with a slight shimmer or sheen which will aid the natural look too. You will need a brush for this, and you’ll want to blow off any excess blush before your first application. Only put it on the apples of your cheeks blending back towards your ear.
I would also add a bronzer in the summer. You could use instead of a blush but I think both works well, as your cheeks would naturally go pink and not brown. Using a big brush sweep it lightly over your forehead and around the sides of your face and chin, tiny bit on your nose and blend into your neck. Avoid the apple of your cheek area as this is where the blush will be.
I also love a highlighter. This gives your cheeks a little glow and gives definition to your cheek bones. You can get highlighter sticks or brush on ones depending on what you like. You want to apply this right on the top of your cheek bones, above the blush. And blend a lot!
UNDER – EYE
Again no option for this, depends on how much sleep you get…or don’t get in my case. I use mine under my eye and on top of the eye lids too. Covers dark circles, any redness on the top of the lids and is a great base for eye shadow. I COULD NOT LIVE WITHOUT IT.
Mascara – from feedback, mascara is probably the one product most people do use. I’ve recently been trying 3D lashes which I’ve done a whole review on…click here to read it. It gives a great option for building your lashes to achieve a fuller look depending on your outing!
Eye liner – if you want a more dramatic look or are just making more of an effort, don’t be scared to use some of this! I just use it on my top eyelid but if you also use it underneath if you want a heavier look. Choose pencil over liquid for a natural look, also easier to put on. I use a dark grey which I find is softer for me as a blonde.
Eye shadow – as a mum I certainly don’t have time for this, and let’s be honest I’m just going to the park most days. I wear it for evenings out or weddings. You don’t really need it to achieve a natural look and it’s hard to explain the technique in writing so I’m just going to leave this out completely!
Eye lash curler – they might look like a torture contraption but simply help to prep your lashes to look bigger by curling them. Not expensive, worth doing when you have the time.
Big eye brows are in fashion big time at the moment. But honestly – I’m not a fan. So if you want a natural look, skip them all together. If you have slightly patchy eye brows and want to fill in the gaps without looking like you’ve drawn them on, then I recommend using a similar coloured eye-shadow (you’ve probably got one lying around) and using a little brush with a small amount of eye shadow on, gently brush on, fill the gaps and sweep across. This is the most natural way to do it.
Just a lip balm or light lip gloss works for an every day, busy person! It’s not that practical to keep applying it so I tend not to wear anything really, just a plain lip balm.
If I’m going out or want to make more effort then lip gloss really does finish a look. Again I’m all for the natural look so I go for light shades. But don’t be afraid to wear a bright one for a special occasion, especially if you have dark hair as I think a bold look really suits your colouring!
I would recommend using a brush if you are applying a foundation. Avoid the flat ones which will just smear it around your face, and go for a flat Kabuku brush. This really buffs the foundation or concealer in and you get a better blended more natural look. I cannot recommend these brushes more!
You also need a blusher brush. I have one that cost waaaay too much money (classic case of being pressurised by a make- up counter lady) and really I think they all do the same thing. You normally use a separate bigger brush for bronzer but it’s not essential if you’re wanting to save money.
My main tip for looking natural, if you haven’t picked up on it already, is blend blend blend! (Which is where brushes come in handy).
Primers – you pop a primer on before applying make up to help keep it on for longer. I don’t use one as my make up tends to stay on fine but there are lots out there if you’re used to using one.
Powders – if you have oily skin and you want a matte look, you brush a powder on over your foundation to set it, and to reduce oil. I prefer the dewy look so I don’t use one but again there are lots out there from skin coloured ones to transparent ones.
So that took a while to write but actually the ‘less time’ option (moisturise, tinted moisturiser, optional concealer, blush, mascara, lip balm) should take under 5 minutes, and the ‘more time’ option (moisturise, foundation, concealer, under-eye, blush, highlighter, bronzer, mascara, eye liner, eye brows, lip gloss) around 10-15 minutes. Handily, if you have kids, about as long as an episode of Peppa Pig! Sounds like a lot of products but still gives a natural look. See different finished looks below (‘less time’ on the left, ‘more time’ on the right):
If you’re interested in what products I use, see below but do bear in mind I did get a discount on some of these brands when I worked in the industry- you can find cheaper alternatives! Although I have to say they do last a very long time.
Wash: Clinique’s mild facial wash
Wipes: Johnstons ‘make up be gone’
Eye cream: Clinique’s all about eyes
Moisturiser: Nivea daily essentials rich moisturising day cream
Scrub: Clinique’s 7 day scrub
Foundation: Clinique’s redness foundation
Tinted moisturiser: Clinique’s CC cream SPF 30
Under eye concealer: Clinique airbrush concealer 04 neutral fair
Concealer: Bobbi brown foundation stick in warm ivory
Blush: Mac’s mineralise blush in ‘new romance’
Bronzer: Mac’s bronzing powder
Highlighter: Kiko’s highlighter stick in 001
Mascara: Younique’s Moonstruck 3D Fibre Lashes Mascara – click here to buy
Eye liner: Mac’s powerpoint eye pencil in ‘grey utility’
Eye brows: lightly dust the brown eye shadow of Clinique’s doubles date duo palette
Various Mac ones!