It’s so easy to get stuck in a makeup rut. As women we’re busy creatures and trying to get out of the door on time every morning can be a struggle. It’s likely we’ll use the same blush, eyeliner and lipstick combo each and every working day, only bringing in something a bit different for a special night out. Now there’s nothing wrong with having your routine down pat, but there are clever little tweaks you can introduce into your daily makeup repertoire that can make a big difference. And the best part? They take hardly any time at all.
Secret one: conceal and correct
Concealer really is your best friend, especially as you get older. It’s best worn over foundation but these days the formulas are so good you can also use it by itself. Many of us believe the best place to apply concealer is the under-eye region, and while it is a great place to start, the product is a lot more versatile than you’d think.
Applying a light reflective concealer to the orbital bone, just under the brow, will work to lift the whole eye area. You can also apply it to the outer corners of your eyes for the same effect – this positioning is also good to get rid of those little red marks some women get when tired. Another great place for concealer is on the cupid’s bow, taking it out to halfway along the upper lip. This little trick will define the lip and also gives the illusion of volume, which is what we’re all aiming for.
When working with your under eyes, go about half a shade to a full shade lighter than your skin tone. Concealer is the key to tackling those dark, blueish-purple under-eye bags; however you’ll need to go for one that colour corrects. Makeup artist Leisa Welch’s advice is to “avoid using a concealer that is too white as it will create a grey finish”. Her recommendation? “Add a little colour, yellow or pink, depending on your skin tone. This will counteract the purple.”
Leisa Welch’s tips for concealing:
1. Use a small brush to make sure you apply the concealer in exactly the right place.
2. Dab with a fingertip to blend concealer into the foundation and skin.
3. Don’t rub, it will just displace it.
Try: Stila One Step Correct, $76, Shiseido Sheer Eye Zone Corrector, $48, Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Wild Edition, $76, Estée Lauder Double Wear Brush-On Glow, $54.
Secret two: artful sculpting
Sculpting your cheeks can be very effective when you contour and highlight certain areas, which will also help achieve a glowing complexion. Use a contour powder or bronzer just along the hollows of the cheeks to help create a shadow. It’s a good idea to start near the ear and follow that line all the way to the cheek. “Beware of streaky brown lines and make sure you blend upwards and outwards,” Welch says. Apply blush as you normally would to the apple of your cheeks, or use the bronzer as a blush if you like, and then use a highlighter to add luminosity on the top of the cheekbone where it is best positioned to catch the light.
If you want to go a step further and create a slimmer nose, Welch suggests using a contouring powder on either side of the nose and the tip, and then a highlighter through the centre. Not only will it look slimmer, but straighter too.
Try: The Body Shop Lightening Touch Touche Lumière, $30, Smashbox Halo Highlighting Wand, $54, MAC Bronzing Powder in Bronze, $48, Nars Contouring Blush in Paloma, $84.
Secret three: invisible liner
Don’t worry about mastering a thick liquid liner on your top lid; all you really need to make your eyelashes look dense and defined is a simple black eyeliner pencil. The trick is to use the eyeliner on your top lid, right along your waterline. It might be a little ticklish at first but give it a try – look in the mirror, lift up your eyelid and draw a black line right into your upper lashes. This quick step will fill any gaps and darken lashes at the root. It may be subtle but it really will make a big difference.
Tip: Whatever your colouring, a black liner suits everyone.
Try: Maybelline Colorshow Crayon Kohl, $10, Makeup Me Pencil in Coal, $36, Estée Lauder Pure Color Intense Kajal Eyeliner in Blackened Black, $52.
Secret four: fabu-lashes
Lashes are perhaps one of the most overlooked areas when applying makeup. Many of us think a quick flick should do it, but there is nothing worse than seeing badly applied mascara that is clumpy or has missed the lash completely and settled on the skin.
To get a polished, eye-opening look, your first step should be curling your lashes. “I heat eyelash curlers with a hair dryer before use,” Welch says. “Make sure you clamp your lashes down in the eyelash curler until they look like they’ve started to curl, and then release.” To finish, apply mascara – the blacker the better – from the base to the tip of your lashes by wiggling the wand to add extra volume. Put in some extra time to get all those lashes in the corner of your eyes which are easily missed, and remember your bottom lashes as well; this will help frame the eye. For extra oomph, add falsies or individual lashes to bulk up areas which may need it.
Try: QVS Natural Lashes Style Q1, $13, MAC Studio Sculpt Lash, $34, Bobbi Brown Everything Mascara, $75, Clinique Lash Power Feathering Mascara, $46.
Secret five: the now brow
Gone are the days when you’d pluck your brows into non-existence… the key now is just to fill in any gaps. Brows are back and bigger than ever, and because of this there are many more products on the market than the classic soft brow pencil. While a soft pencil will do the job, it’s best to use it in conjunction with a clear mascara, which will then fix brows in place. Another useful product is a coloured mascara, which has the same effect and can be worked through the brow hairs to set them and dispense colour – halving your application time.
Try: Shiseido Eyebrow Styling Compact, $63, Lancôme Le Sourcil Pro Pencil and Highlighter, $49, Art Deco Clear Lash & Brow Gel, $18, By Terry Eyebrow Mascara, $72.
Secret six: magic blusher
Blush is one of the best products you can use to wake up your face. It gives you instant freshness, brings colour back into your cheeks after using foundation and makes your features look more 3D – especially as we age and our faces aren’t as plump. Unless you have very oily skin, a cream blush is perfect as it adds a radiant sheen to the cheek. “A good trick for longevity is to use a cream blush and then set it with powder over the top,” Welch says.
Apply with a brush on the apples of your cheeks – if you’re not sure where the right place is, smile in the mirror to bring them out. Keep in mind if your face is rounded, you probably won’t need to use blush – stick to sculpting instead.
Try: Art Deco Cream Rouge for Cheeks and Lips, $18, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Diffused Heat, $68, Lancôme Blush Subtil Palette in Nectar Lace, $77.
Secret seven: the new lipstick texture
Gloss is no longer the go-to texture for lips; right now the look we’re all after is creamy, satiny and slightly matte. That means colours that will stay on and aren’t too transparent when applied. Some people adore bold colours, but if you choose a bright rosy peach or pink it can also make an impact. For best results, fill in the entire lip with lip liner and then apply your lipstick over the top. Blotting with a tissue will also help keep your lippy in place longer.
Try: L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Moisture Matte in Red Valentine, $24, Nars Lipstick in Funny Face, $51, Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Colour in Calypso, $54, MAC Lipstick in Pheromonal, $40.