The Five Key Pieces It’s Worth Nailing In Your Makeup Routine

…to really get things DOWN.

Over the years I’ve moved from tangoed university student with a penchant for double-thickness false eyelashes to someone who feels swanky when they use lip balm. My tastes have changed, along with the products that satisfy them, however there have always been five categories of products that I’ve stuck to – foundation, concealer, bronzer, mascara and lipstick. Whether I’ve been in full-glam mode or barely-anything-on mode, these are the genres of makeup that have ruled the roost in my routine and I genuinely feel that if you have got those five things completely down in your makeup bag, then you’ve got your beauty shit in order. Everything else can be chopped and changed, but by keeping those five constantly high-quality, you’re always going to feel flippin’ fab.

So today I thought I’d share my top picks in each of those categories. For foundations I’ve given options depending on what coverage you prefer and I’ve done the same for concealer. There’s something for everyone bronzer-wise, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro. Everyone has a personal preference when it comes to mascara, so I’ve tried to give a broad outlook there. Then finally for lipstick there’s a bit of everything from balms to faux-liquid lipstick textures…


It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream in Fair or Light. OF COURSE THIS WOULD BE HERE! If I’m wearing makeup then the chances are that I’m wearing this. It’s glow-central without feeling sticky on the skin and it never accentuates dryness. Sure, it’s not exactly amazing on the longevity front, but it does fade evenly as the day wears on and is easily touched up.

CHANEL Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation in B10 or B20. I have loved this foundation for years. It’s neither dewy nor matte. It’s not light-coverage, nor is it high-coverage. It just sits perfectly in the middle of all formula spectrums and just looks like skin. I’ve yet to recommend it to any mates and them return disappointed. A good everyday option that can be layered up when required.

NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation in Deauville. I find myself doing double-takes back into the mirror when I wear this because it does such a brilliant job of melting into the skin and looking natural, whilst providing serious pigment which equates to serious coverage. IS THAT EVEN ME?! I don’t wear it everyday as I prefer something glowier on the skin, but it’s great for those moments when you just need more.


Glossier Stretch Concealer in Light. Day to day this is one that I always reach for. I’m über dry under my eyes so appreciate that it almost has the consistency of eye cream. It means that it’s not the longest lasting concealer out there, but it does a great job of brightening up and evening out any patches of redness I have going on.

By Terry Style-Expert Click Stick in 2. There’s something that’s just so handy about a concealer in a pen format. You draw it on. You blend it in. DONE. I enjoyed using this one because despite its set-up it’s really, really creamy which means that it’s forgiving on the ol’ under eye area and around creasy bits like around your nostrils.

Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Concealer. I’m gutted because I’ve just realised that the cream-compact version of this concealer is discontinued and I absolutely loved it! However if you need something a little more heftier in the concealer department then give the wand version a go, or try the NARS Soft Matte Concealer which never disappoints.


NARS Sun Wash Diffusing Bronzer in Seaside. If I’m looking for a light wash of sun-kissed colour across my cheeks then this is what I reach for. The powder is so subtle that it’s impossible to go overboard with and does that whole ‘no makeup’ makeup thing perfectly. There’s no shimmer and the finely-milled powder blends softly across the skin without any prep needed underneath. Bronzer beginner’s start here.

Milk Makeup Matte Bronzer in Baked. A cream bronzer is something that I’ve only recently begun to incorporate into my routine on a regular basis, but HELLO they’re fab. You smoosh them over your cheeks and it looks terrifying, but with a bit of brush and/or finger blending the whole thing seamlessly pulls together and you just look so darn healthy.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Powder Bronzer in Rosewood. I didn’t end up falling in love with this undertone on me, but I did enjoy the formula and it’s rare to come across a range that serves a variety of different skin tones so darn well. If you feel like you’ve mastered the basics of bronzer and are looking for something more yellow, pink or neutral then start your search with these.


Estée Lauder Little Black Primer. Let’s start with the everyday option. Both my Mum and I LOVE this formula. The curved wand hugs my lashes and it just gives a fluttery lift to my elephant-like lashline. It’s waterproof and sturdy and doesn’t go anywhere. I mean look at the brush compared to the others! No clumps to be seen here. Not today Sir.

Fairydrops Scandal Queen Mascara. If you struggle with smudging then this is the one that I’d recommend for you. Remember to employ the magical abilities of the Clarins Instant Eye Makeup Remover to get it off, but it holds a curl and gives length and volume by the bucketload.

Maybelline Total Temptations Mascara. A non-waterproof option (although it does now come in a waterproof version too), this gave me tonnes of volume. Like LOADS of it. It’s a great one if you like a bronze metallic lid with a hefty dose of lashes in the summer time. Not one for the fainthearted, but one for those who like a bit of oomph to their peepers.


Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Colour in Bare. Although the shade is tad too brown for me these days, this would be a fab nude on those with a deeper skin tone and the balm-like texture makes all the shades in the range quick to throw on. If you’re a lipstick newbie and aren’t sure where to start then this is a good place to begin your journey.

Hourglass Girl Lip Stylo in Futurist. I mentioned in Sunday’s decluttering video how if our wedding was this year, then this would have probably been the lipstick I’d have worn for the big day. The pen format makes it easy to apply and Futurist is basically a slightly pink-ier version of my own lip colour and evens everything out with a smidge of sheen.

Bourjois Rouge Velvet The Lipstick in 02. If you like the pigment and longevity of a liquid lipstick, but you’re not so crazy about feeling like your lips have been grazed with a cheese grater, then this might be a good option for you. It packs a punch in the colour department and stays around for YONKS, plus it keeps your lips pretty darn hydrated for a formula that possesses those two abilities.

Photos by Lauren Shipley

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