Thursday, 19 April 2012

What's In My... Makeup Bag?

I am writing the post on the assumption that other people are as nosy as I am. I love looking through other people's makeup bags (I mean with permission, I'm not THAT nosy...) and finding out about products that work for them. If you met me you wouldn't necessarily guess from my appearance that I love cosmetics. The products, the advertising, the satisfying click when you close an expensive compact. I just love everything about the world of make up, there is just something so glamourous and ladylike and grown up about nice cosmetics. I know that a lot of the time I am buying into an impossible dream - as I say, if you saw me you would wonder if I was familiar with a hairbrush some days, let alone a lipstick - but I don't care, they are a relatively harmless pleasure, all things considered. Anyway, since we are all friends here, I thought you might be curious to know about what I carry in my basic makeup kit. Also, I make no apologies for the "Jackie Collins bonkbuster" styling of these photos, leopard and lace is a GREAT look!
By the way, this is not all of the makeup I own, but it is the stuff that I use pretty much every time I put on makeup (about once a month these days), and I have refined this collection through years of trial and error and meticulous research. Makeup is a pretty subjective thing, but I hope these recommendations might give you a few pointers towards some new products that you can love too.

Part one of my basic makeup is the base. These days I always start with Estee Lauder Double Wear Light (1) in Intensity 1.0. I discovered this when researching makeup for my wedding day (I did my own makeup on the day). A lot of people had recommended the original Double Wear foundation as one of the best long wearing foundations, but at the Estee Lauder counter the lady recommended that DW Light was better for weddings since it looked better in photographs. I was initially concerned that I needed fuller coverage than a 'light' foundation could provide, and imaged it would be more like a tinted moisturiser, but in fact  I find that this provides great coverage for my skin, which can be variable. And if you let a tiny dot dry a little on the back of your hand, it thickens up enough that I often use a little dab of this on top as a concealer. I am really happy with the consistency, colour, coverage, everything to do with this foundation. Ideally I wish it was a little cheaper, but I find it lasts well and a little goes a long way, and I definitely feel that foundation is one of the items of makeup that is worth spending a bit more on.

In terms on concealer I also use this Boots Number 7 Instant Radiance Concealer (2) under my eyes and perhaps around my nose. No offence to this product, which is great, but I do think of it as the poor woman's YSL Touche Eclat, which was the original 'clickey brush' concealer. These kind of concealers that say they add radiance (there are several brands that do them) are great for under eye shadows but too bright for covering spots and blemishes I find - those are not areas where you want to add radiance! 

Once I am happy with my base, the next stage is to add a little shine, though I mean very sparingly! This little tube (3) is a Body Shop gold highlighter cream (maybe a precursor to this product now?) that I don't think they make any more, that's how old it is. I should add that I am a terrible role model when it comes to keeping cosmetics for a long time. I have never paid much attention to all those bits of advice about throwing products out after 6 months or a year. I can only speak for myself, but I tend to keep things until I finish them, unless their consistency has changed, they smell funny or have dried up. Hence, I have the odd product like this that is older than I care to admit, but since I only use a tiny smidge each time - the aim is dewy radiance rather than disco glitter. I apply this to the tops of my cheekbones, my brow bone, perhaps the outer edge of my eyes and the inner corners of my eyelids. As I say, go slowly and be sparing, otherwise you'll look like one of the women from the start of Goldfinger.

After highlighter comes blusher. I use one of two Benefit products: Benetint cheek and lip stain (4) or this Powder Pop compact (5) which I think was limited edition and combines three of their best-selling blush/bronzer products - Hoola, Dallas, and Dandelion - with a mini brush as well. I already had the large size of Dandelion, which I totally recommend as a brightening pink blush, but I find this compact is very convenient for carrying in my makeup bag rather than separate blusher and bronzer. The bottle of Benetint is also a mini size which I got free with a magazine. It is super dinky and really handy for popping in your bag. I think the powder blushers give a more polished look but the Benetint is great for a more natural flushed look.

Of the three powders, I use Dallas the most, which I think of as a cross between a blusher and a bronzer. Though it comes with a brush, as you can see, I tend to use this larger retractable blusher brush (6) from Sephora instead since I live in fear of hard lines of stripy blusher, 80's style, so I think the larger and softer the brush the better, and retractable means it stays clean and tidy in my makeup bag. I bought this brush years ago in America and I don't think you can get it in the UK, but I'm sure you can get similar things. 

With my base done, I can move on to eyes and lips. I often put a thin layer of foundation on my eyelids to help my eye makeup last, but if I need my makeup to last all day I use this Clinique Touch Base for Eyes (1). I might also use this Laura Mercier Matte Eye Colour (2) in Buttercream to give a smooth light base for eye makeup. I then use these Clinique Colour Surge Eye Shadow Duo (3) in Double Date (another mini, this time a free gift with another Clinique purchase). I love the pretty pots of brightly coloured eye shadows, but boring brown is a useful basic to have for contouring and shading, and I although I got this one by chance as a free gift I am very happy with the taupey, beigey colours and how well it lasts. Like my blusher brush, this eye shadow brush (4) from the Body Shop is retractable. Brushes work so so so much better than those little foam applicators that usually come with eye shadows and you only need one or two good ones, I would urge you to invest in one. If I want more definition I may apply black liquid liner. This one is Liner Pinceau by Bourjois (5). I have tried the more expensive gel and cream liners that come in pots, but I have come back to this cheaper one which I really like, and find easier to apply. I am all for paying for quality, but the best product for you isn't always the most expensive. The final touch is to curl my lashes (6) and apply mascara. These two are Max Factor Masterpiece Mascara (8) in black. This is the waterproof version that I bought for my wedding, after extensive research in wedding magazines. I am happy enough with it, and it worked well for my wedding day, but most of the time I don't need to wear waterproof mascara and find it harder to apply so I also use this non-waterproof one by L'Oreal (7), again in black, which is ok, but I am in the market for a replacement, if you have any recommendations? I have used Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara before, and was also thinking of trying our Maybeline Great Lash, which always gets great reviews. I don't usually wear makeup, but I might apply a bit of Benetint on my lips for a hint of colour, and top it off with a layer of good old Vaseline.

So there you go, my whole process from start to finish. The last thing I wanted to share with you is this little tine which I use for carrying cotton buds in my makeup bag. I find them essential for precise tidy ups, especially with eye makeup, but always found they got grubby and horrible at the bottom of my bag. But then I discovered this little tin, originally containing mints from Starbucks. It fits my cotton buds perfectly and keeps them fresh and clean on the go. I was so pleased with this little trick so I wanted to share it with you, especially if you've kept reading all the way to the bottom of this long post!

I hope you've found this sneak peak interesting. I'd love to hear about our favourite cosmetics and makeup tips.

PS. This font is Channel and the lace brush is by Nadine Pau on Deviant Art

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I love to hear from you - no-one wants to be in a one-sided conversation - so leave me a comment and let me know you care! And if you want to send me a really lo-o-o-o-o-o-ng message, you can email me on heynicecardigan [at] hotmail [dot] co [dot] uk

Amy Xxx