The Beauty Bag with Sophie Harper

With a new year comes new features, so welcome to ‘The Beauty Bag II’. A riffle through a cool gal’s makeup pouch that drops on the first of every month. Think Calendar Girls but with more beauty products and less nudity. To get January rolling I asked an old colleague of mine, Sophie Harper, Beauty Editor of What’s In My Handbag to feature as my debut bagger. She’s not only the owner of one of the best boot collections I’ve ever spotted in an office, a wise one with words, or the girl who got my Sophie Hulme bag addiction rolling, she also has the whole kohl liner look down and her locks partly contributed to my yearning to chop my own off. Sophie – take it away…

“I’ve always thought my skin was quite dry, but now I realise it’s more dehydrated so I like a dewy base. CHANEL’s Vitalumiere Foundation is the best I’ve found. I think 20 is my general face shade, but I’ve just come back from holiday so I was probably rocking a total 40 and now I’m having to do a slightly scientific thing in the morning where I’m pumping less of the 40 and more of the 20. Perhaps I should just get the 30? If things get oily throughout the day that’s when my blotting papers come in. They are the Paul & Joe ones – aren’t they just the cutest thing ever? I’ve got a lot of time for blotting papers in general, I’m not fussy, but the packaging of these makes me feel slightly happy when I get them out my bag. To apply foundation I was always a hand girl, slapping it on before I met you and you converted me to the Real Techniques Buffing Brush, but Anna you need to try the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge. I just feel like it applies makeup really easily; you can get in all those bits around the nose. The poor thing looks dishevelled, doesn’t it look like the British Gas glow worm? For concealer I use the Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer in Ivory. I watched some sort of tutorial online, I do the whole triangle thing under the eyes and I blot it in with the sponge.

Isn’t the Guerlain Meteorites Light-Diffusing Perfecting Primer glamazonny? I tend to use this after my foundation, sort of as a highlighter – over my cheekbones, under my brows – I’m probably using it in completely the wrong way, but it feels very luxurious. NARS Bronzer in Laguna – it’s a staple. I’ve gone through countless compacts of these and always end up smashing them in the pan. I apply it with the Space NK Powder Brush which is fluffy, big and king of foolproof. Because of my phobia of dry and cakey skin, I like more creamy blushes like Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge in Blushed Rose. I just think powdered blush can look too heavy, whereas this formula you can even use on your lips. It’s bloody good.

For brows I begin with the Lancôme Le Regard Pro Eyes and Brow Kit. I actually really like the brush in this – so many things come with rubbish brushes – I’ve yet to use the tweezers, but I use the darkest shade to powder in my brows slightly. Once I’ve filled in my brows with the Lancôme, I brush though them with the spoolie on the end of the Blink Eyebrow Pencil in Cinnamon Spice and then use the coloured side a little bit through my brows so they don’t look too blocky. I also get my brows done there so it all ties together – such a gullible customer.

I’m a huge kohl girl, always have been. It’s rare that I haven’t got my kohl on unless I’m hungover. I always used to wear black when I was younger and my Mum always said I needed to wear brown, “it’s just much more flattering and black’s too harsh” she advised, but when I was younger I just thought I was a bit rock ‘n’ roll. Then WIMH worked with Charlotte Tilbury on her Rock ‘n’ Kohl event in Selfridges and all her MUA’s were using MAC Eye Pencil in Coffee, so I picked it up and I really like it. It’s still dark enough for me and my Mum was right, it’s much softer. If I’m going out and want to top-up what I’ve had on in the day I whack on the Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Kajal Liner in Black Amethyst. It’s much more punchy and it’s got a smudger on the end and I’m a bit of a sucker for a good smudge. Another pencil I use is Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal in Nude which I discovered from shooting Lily Pebbles’ bag for WIMH. I suffer with my eyes cause I wear contact lenses; they get really dry and really red and it’s so obvious when I’m tired. She uses it to neutralise redness in the eyes on the bottom waterline, I thought that’s a fab idea so grabbed myself one from Boots. It works.

The Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers are just an absolute staple. I had never curled my lashes until a friend was using them and I gave in, used them and then I just had to run out and buy them. Even if I’m not wearing mascara now I’ll at least curl my lashes – it really does open up your eyes. I feel like my mascara pick is a bit of a weird one and not massively popular. It’s Estée Lauder Sumptuous Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara, but I really like it. It doesn’t make your lashes too wet and it’s quite dry so you can really get in there and give it a wiggle. The eyeshadow line-up that I just love at the moment is the Bobbi Brown Navy and Nude Eye Palette; really good colours that cover every eventuality. I’m also a recent MAC 217-er, anyone who I’ve met through WIMH was going on about this brush. It’s the secret to executing a smokey eye.

When it comes to lips, it’s a choice between two. Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick in Nudist, is my daytime pick. I spent ages looking for a ‘my lips but better‘ simple, easy and foolproof shade and this is it. No mirror is required for application, plus it smells/tastes amazing. A more evening appropriate pick that I use when I’m sitting at work and thinking ‘Oh gosh, how can I make myself look less bedraggled?’, is NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Hyde Park. It’s slightly softer than a pillar box red, for me that’s a step too far. It’s more of a burgundy plum tone and I love it, despite the fact that when I entered Space NK it was for a completely different colour.”

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  • Anna Blush

    Excited to see more of these posts xx

  • Carina Stewart

    I love the Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer! It’s amazing 🙂


  • Sophie ♥

    I agree with Sophie! Coffee is such a great eye pencil. Adding Shu Uemura curlers to my shopping list too.

    S xo

  • Celina

    Such a beautiful selection of products. I’m really stuck between the Shiseido eyelash curler and the Shu Uemura eyelash curler. I’m limiting myself to one, but I don’t know which one!

    Celina | The Celution | Bloglovin’

  • Bella

    Great new feature, and Sophie and I have quite a few picks in common. However, I could only think one thing: BOOT COLLECTION POST, pretty please? I am a total boot addict!!!!!!!!

  • Hannah

    I love seeing what others makeup staples are!


  • ok. I need all of these things. Must save my dollars.

  • Francisca Ferreira
  • danniella josephine

    Love this feature, I love noseying at what people are using and picking up some new items for my ever growing wish list!

    Danniella x |

  • Kelly

    Totally love this new feature. I love peeking into other people’s makeup bags.

    Kelly | secondhandspring

  • Lavinka

    VERY VERY good article!!!!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!!!
    Happy new year and lots of love from Germany

  • Clare

    Hi, love this post – where is the make-up bag from?

  • I loved reading this, it felt like Sophie was having a conversation with me, very relaxing to read with my cuppa, really need to try the real techniques sponge, it actually does look like the British Gas glow thing haha x


  • Elena

    I love this feature, probably because I’m so nosey, I can rarely look at a photo of someone without wondering what make-up they have on! Also I love it when people write like they talk. The guerlain primer thing looks so cool and one of these days I’m definitely investing in a pot rouge! 🙂 xx
    kooky capricious

  • Chelle

    I really wish you would have taken a different approach with this! its come across very… ‘into the gloss’?! I bet Lily Pebbles will be doing a similar *coughs* same feature in a few weeks time haa! however, I do appreciate the effort you put into your blog and wish you a successful ’14! x

  • niamh

    Ahh I love this! It’s so great to see someone writing how they talk! Her makeup bag is so luxurious, extreme jealousy haha

    niamhholly xx

  • Lisa

    Love this approach!!! Such a cool idea and I am so curious for the upcoming features of this lovely & thoughtful series.
    Sophie is awesome & I love her Makeup Bag a lot – also her style of writing this: Amazeballs <3

  • Parisian To Be

    And Anna does it again. This incorporates everything I love about ‘Into the Gloss,’ but with a more personal touch–je t’aime. I can’t wait to see what 2014 holds for VDM. xo

    Lillian from

  • Nathalie

    Love this! Feels like a ‘Beauty Bag’ version of Into The Gloss’s ‘The Top Shelf’ which I always enjoy reading.
    Happy New Year to you, Anna! x

  • Victoria Larroque

    i love this! It’s like “Top Shelf” for Into the Gloss, so great to get a peek at other’s daily favorites 🙂

  • Curious to know how the Real Techniques Sponge compares to the Beauty Blender. I bet they don’t differ much…

  • Summer

    Really enjoyed this new feature. I can’t wait to see the other ladies who will make an appearance soon. Only complaint? Why only once a month? I’d love to see it more often. I’m a nosey person like that 😉

  • LauraMae

    I love that you don’t just have high end makeup in your bag!!

  • Alice Yeh (翠雲葉)

    I absolutely ADORE this new feature. Good job Anna, you’ve done it once again … Amazing start shot for 2014!

    Alice from

  • Aleyna Akgul

    Great post.

  • Chelsea Leigh

    love this post! great items in her bag 🙂

  • Eleri Roberts

    Loved this post 🙂 Chanel Vitalumiere is my absolute favourite, so now very tempted to try application via the RT sponge xx

    Eleri Roberts

  • Marlenne

    Love this new feature! And that Guerlain primer/highlighter thing looks so cool!

  • PeonyandPeach

    Love this post! Looking forward to more of this series!

  • Maddie

    where is her awesome scarf from?

  • Great feature! Paul & Joe make the cutest blotting papers and you can’t be NARS Lip Pencils! 🙂