Can you give me some easy makeup advice for the party season?
Jane, by email
Ah, Jane, what a flatterer you are. For you to imagine I possess in-depth knowledge about makeup is very sweet indeed, especially as you have the evidence of my pasty-faced byline photo to suggest the contrary.
Of late, my inability to apply lipstick without resembling the clown from Stephen King’s It has begun to bother me. Not as much as my inability to iron bothers certain people in my life, but a hell of a lot more than my inability to iron bothers me. So I decided to remedy the problem because, dammit, it’s annoying not being able to do something that looks like a lot of fun. To the internet!
But my determination to master le maquillage has resulted in me developing a dark addiction. I really don’t know what to say. I’ve never had any addiction problems before. I’m just not the type, you know? But this stuff – damn, it got me good. And now I find myself up at 1am, reaching out and croaking: “Just … one … more… hit!”
I am, of course, talking about online beauty videos. I love them. I watch them, hypnotised, as women (it is largely women) fiddle-faddle about with brushes as they stare into the lens and say things such as: “Then, you just flick your eyeliner – like that!“ They may as well be saying: “And then you kick one leg behind your head and effortlessly do a split – like that!” But nonetheless, I find these videos inspiring, fascinating and sometimes even helpful. So after a year’s immersion in beauty videos and tentative experimentation, I shall share what I have learned and what even those of us without opposable thumbs can manage.
First, I really love Sali Hughes’ videos for the Guardian and her beauty blog, salihughesbeauty.com. Yes, I know I’ve mentioned these before and, yes, I know she works for this paper, but hey, what can I say? She’s just really good and trustworthy and I’ve never had a duff recommendation from her.
Charlotte Tilbury is made from a different cast to Hughes. Where Hughes is plain speaking, Tilbury is all fabulous-fabulous Ibiza hyperbole, where everyone is “gorgeous” and everything is “amazing“ and looking like a movie star is everybody’s aim. In the same way that I love reading Vogue, I love watching Tilbury‘s videos because while she may be over the top, her makeup tips are easy to follow and useful.
Hadley‘s makeup tips
Those of us who cannot be faffed with foundation and are scared of looking like a dowager countess should use a tinted moisturiser and the best around is by Laura Mercier. There are loads of under-eye concealers that are far better than the overrated Touche Eclat by YSL, which makes people look faintly deranged in photos. My personal favourites are Touche Veloutée by Terry and Radiant Creamy Concealer by Nars. If you want to make an extra effort, smear Smashbox‘s Photo Finish Foundation Primer all over your face, which will make your skin look airbrushed and helps when you come to blend in the concealer.
Before you start on your eye makeup, slick some Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion on your lids (a Hughes tip) as that will stop your eyeshadow and liner creasing up underneath your eyebrows. Once that has dried, you can whack on the colour and the easiest way to do that is with Tilbury‘s brilliant Eyeshadow Pencils. You just scribble them on your lids like a crayon and they stay on for – I speak from scruffy experience here – 24 hours. They are even colour-coded so you know which to get, but don’t feel restricted. My eyes are brown but my favourites are Champagne Diamonds (such a Tilbury name), which is for blue eyes, and I scrawl in a V shape on the inner corner of my eyes to make them look a bit brighter (a Tilbury trick), and Black Diamonds, which will make you look like Kate Moss at her 30th birthday. Bobbi Brown’s Shimmer Brick is lovely for a more subtle dust of sparkle, as are Bourjois‘ always reliable eyeshadows. By Terry’s eye pencils are so soft and rich even I can use them (recommended by India Knight in the Sunday Times, proving I don’t have a Guardian bias) and they will make you look like a sooty-eyed demoiselle. Before putting on mascara, clamp your eyelash curlers as close to the eyelash roots as possible and pump them as this gives a bigger curl than just holding the curlers down (a Tilbury trick). My mascara choice is Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Mascara, which is so resistant to smudging I suspect it was actually made by Nasa. I personally find cream blushers easier to use than powder ones, plus they tend to stay on longer, and Bobbi Brown makes the prettiest and longest lasting ones. Finally, for lips, I’m sure lipliner is great but I personally cannot be bothered and recommend Revlon’s Lip Butter lipstick, which is a total bargain.
No, most of these products aren’t budget but I promise they’re easy to use and they will last you absolute yonks. They also make makeup what it should be, fun and confidence-boosting, as opposed to how it so often seems: an impenetrable world of expensive pointlessness.