Last month I shared with you some of my best make-up tips (read them here) – but that was just half the story! So this edition, I’m taking you through what I know about eyes, cheeks and how to ‘finish’ a face perfectly…
Learn the art of making eyes. I think that smokey eyes always look fabulous. End of story. The eyes really are the window to the soul, and eye make-up is the window-frame. Personally, I have a deep socket with lots of eyelid, so actually I can take a lot of shadow in the socket area, to add depth.
Honestly, I’ve got it down to a science… So here’s the step-by-step.
- I start with a magnifying mirror. For anyone who needs glasses, this is a must: it’s brutal, but worth it not to look like Bette Davis in Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?, when you’ve finished!
- I use a light-reflecting concealer all over the lid, which works to even out the skintone (getting rid of any redness or shadows), as well as acting as a ‘base’ for the make-up to cling to.
- I outline the eyes with a kohl pencil, close to the lash-line; then take a brush and blend the eyeliner, pencil to create a softer line.
- I don’t like my brows to be too dark, nowadays. I’ve been through phases of having them dyed almost brunette, but I think it looks softer to have them a few shades lighter. If I want to emphasise them, I use a powder brow pencil (in a taupe-y shade) and extend the outer corner – where my natural brows just disappear!
- At this stage, I move on to looking into the mirror from quite a distance away – because I find that to start with, when I’m applying shadow, I want to be able to see the impact rather than the finer detail. (The magnifying mirror comes in handy for making sure it’s all perfectly blended, when I’m done.)
- I have a palette of neutral eyeshadows – coppery-gold, taupe, dark brown and a pale shimmering bone colour – and I swirl quite a fat blender eyeshadow brush in the four shades, to mix them. I then hold a mirror quite a way away from me, at this point, and using the brush I work the mixture of shadows into my eye socket, spending time blending, blending and blending again, so that there are no hard edges. I have green-y gold eyes, but I’ve seen these colours work beautifully on blue eyes and brown eyes, too, and palettes of those neutral browns are available for every budget. They’re the ‘Little Black Dress’ of eyeshadow palettes.
- I also use the brush to sweep the eyeshadow out towards the outer corner of my eyebrow. When I’ve enhanced the socket, I might also add a touch of the bone shadow to the brow-bone, to emphasise the bone structure – and for that, I sometimes just dab it on with a finger.
- When I’ve finished with the shadow, I reach for that kohl pencil again and outline my lines one more time.
- I add lashings and lashings and lashings of mascara, till the lashes get smokier and smokier.
Blush stuff. Oh, how I used to hate my chubby cheeks, when everyone around me – Patti Boyd, Julie Driscoll – had those fabulous sculpted cheekbones. But my mother was right when she said that one day, I’d be grateful for those chubby cheeks – and it’s true: even now they’re slightly plump and cushioned, which (at this age) is a good look. You can still create that sort of milk-maid plumpness and healthy glow with make-up, though. I gave up on powder blusher years ago. After forty, cream blusher works best because it looks softer and blends better into the skin, with no risk of appearing dry and old lady-ish. But the secret is to use a brush to apply it. My blusher brush is by M.A.C., and it’s shaped like a fan. (It’s also made of synthetic bristles, which are essential with creamy and liquid textures.) I touch the brush to the cream blush in the palette and then I add a kiss, a whisper, a breath of blusher to my cheek: flick, flick, flick! You see, it’s always possible to layer on more blusher but if you try to take away, you take everything else with it and have to start over. (Or walk around looking like a panto dame all day.)
Perfect powdering. You do not want to look dry and dusty. But that’s exactly how all-over powder makes skin look, and it’s very ageing. Go for the very lightest, most translucent powder that you can find – it should literally be featherlight. Don’t ever dip your powder brush directly into the powder: or you’re bound to overdo it: there’ll always be a little dusting of powder in the lid of your compact or powder pot, so dip your brush in that, instead. Traditionally, make-up artists use their biggest, fluffiest brushes for powder. I do the opposite: I have a small brush – no wider than two centimetres (about three-quarters of an inch), and I use that to powder around my nose, and that’s all. With a bigger brush, you can’t help but get powder all over a much wider area, and you’ll just look too matte. You don’t want your nose to shine, of course – but everything else will look that bit younger if it’s a little bit dewy.
TIP: I mix and match make-up all the time – just like I always have with skincare, and with clothes. Just because there are four shades in an eyeshadow palette, don’t stick to four! Blend them together in different combinations and see what you come up with. Mix two favourite lipsticks, by smudging them together on the back of your hand, and see what colour you get. If you’re feeling bored with the shades in your bag, you may not need to go make-up shopping: you can create a whole new palette with what you’ve got, if you start playing