I imagine that years ago, every girl across the United kingdom attended a secret meeting. During this event they learned how to apply foundation evenly, how to create the perfect smoky eye, how to avoid getting lipstick on their teeth, everything. Trouble is, I didn’t get the memo. We all grew up and suddenly I was the only one who was putting on eyeshadow like the eighties hadn’t ended (which is particularly startling when you know I was born in 1995).
I’ve always accepted myself as a wonky-lipsticked buffoon, but over the years I’ve watched billions of hours of footage (ok maybe one or two hours) of makeup tutorials and amassed many excellent beauty products in an attempt to pass as a normal member of the population. It only occurred to me recently that I might not be the only one. Do you feel like setting off a distress beacon when you’re about to put on mascara? Do you think that the word ‘blend’ is more accurate for describing highbrow coffee than what you do to your face?
I know I’m not alone. So today I thought I’d do a quick post about my makeup. Those of us who must have slept in on that fateful day need to stick together and compare tips!
Foundation is tricky for very pale people (and of course very dark people) like myself. In situations like this I like to seek professional help. I went to a Bobbi Brown makeup concession in John Lewis and got them to do all of my makeup and explain it all to me. In my experience (I am a bit of a veteran of makeup concession help), they don’t push you to buy EVERYTHING so don’t worry about spiralling into crippling debt in the middle of Boots. At Bobbi Brown she must have used about twenty different products on me, but she recommended I buy only four of them. I left with three. Just buy the things you actually want, or build it up over time. The snazzy little sponge you see in the photo is a new purchase of mine. I’d noticed my makeup was going a bit weird and quite frankly a bit disgusting when I was putting it on with my brush. I have since realised that was probably because my brush hadn’t been cleaned since I got it. The sponge caught my eye as an alternative method of putting on my foundation, but what really sold me was that the brand, Real Techniques, make videos for all their products demonstrating how to use them. The sponge appealed to me because you can apply foundation, concealer and blusher all using different parts of it, so you don’t have to clean it between each product.
I love lipstick. I have three different shades of red and they are all fabulous. Problem is, I can never get the outline right. I do have a couple of lip liners but as a matter of principle I feel like I shouldn’t have to have a different one for each lipstick colour I have. That’s where the brush comes in. Real techniques describe it as retractable but to be honest it’s a bit of a useless feature. However it does let me paint on my outline fairly confidently, and because I’m only using lipstick, it’s always an exact colour match. I also stress (well, stress is a bit of an exaggeration) about keeping my lips soft. I use a lip balm but I also like to pick lipsticks that are designed to be moisturising. The purple Revlon stick is more balm-like, which saves me time and money. Lastly, I am in an unrelenting sea of fear that my bright lipstick might come off, or spread. The struggle is real. Luckily perusing Primark gave me a solution- Lipcote. You just brush a bit on your lips and it’ll set. No faffing around with tissues and powder as Pinterest would have you do.
The concept of the smoky eye fills me in equal parts with terror and longing. I want it but it is far beyond my skill levels as a person. I gave up on that dream long ago. BUT I do like a nice nude palette. This Urban Decay palette is great because it looks very natural, and if it’s not a seamless blend then you can’t tell unless you go around pressing your face up against other people. As the winged eyeliner trend goes up and up I am struggling to get the symmetry right. This is why I favour a liner which is basically a felt tip. Don’t actually use a felt tip, but the Soap and Glory supercat liner is excellent. Just draw the shape and colour it in! Because my eye makeup is too simple to be very interesting, I have a purple mascara. Dior do mascaras in purple, pink and blue and they’re demure enough to wear anyway but they really make your eyes stand out! Now, let’s talk about eyebrows. Eyebrow adjusting is scary. The millions of slideshows on Facebook entitled “EYEBROWS GONE WRONG- I LOL’D AT NO.8!!!!!” prove this. But a little pencilling is really ok. Honest. I just gently brush my brows with the side of the pencil, starting a little bit in from the inside, until they get a bit darker. Easy! Although I did once get a bit carried away and ended up looking quite cross for the rest of the day..
So it turns out there is hope for people like us. My top tip (I who know nothing) is just ask. Any makeup counter assistant is literally PAID to talk to you about your makeup problems, so don’t feel bad. Ask all the questions, buy what you want, look up tutorials, and soon you’ll be rocking makeup like a contestant on Rupaul’s Drag Race- I know that’s all I want from life.