Tips and tricks from a former beauty consultant...
For online beauty writer Coral, making women look and feel good has been a lifelong obsession. Before turning her hand to journalism, she spent her days on the luxury beauty counters – advising customers on all things make-up and skincare. Along the way she picked up tips and tricks that will transform your routine. Click through to steal her wisdom…
The natural instinct when trying to find the perfect foundation is to smear some on the back of your hand. However the tone of the skin on our hands can vary quite considerably from our more pampered complexions. The best place to match your foundation is actually along your jawbone, it's the only place that will give a true account of which shade will seamlessly blend into your skintone.
When having a foundation match in store, don't be afraid to ask to double check the colour outside. Department stores often have a lot of up lighting which can create shadow on the face, and what looks like the perfect match in store might not be so perfect once you walk outside. Every make-up counter will have a portable mirror, specifically designed for this purpose, so don't be afraid to ask to take it outside.
Similarly bear in mind that strong light such as a camera flash can dramatically alter your make-up. Dark colours generally appear two shades darker in photographs, whilst light colours such as foundation can go up to two shades lighter.
Once left to your own devices, only ever apply foundation to the tip of the brush (usually this area features darkened bristles to guide you) and lightly feather the fluid on to the face in downward strokes. Brushing upwards will lift those tiny hairs we all have on our face, making them static and more noticeable. Applying foundation to the tip of the brush only will result in a more precise, even application and make it easier to clean.
Brows are often overlooked but are in fact the key to framing your face and pulling a make-up look together. Clean defined brows have the ability to roll back the years if done properly. Here's how to get them...
To establish the perfect shape for your face you'll need to take a brush and lay it flat across your face to take your measurements. Place the brush inline with the corner of your nose and your mouth - the area where it rests is where your brows should begin. Next move the brush across to the highest point of your brow - this is the arch, then move the brush over until it's inline with the corner of your nose and your eye - this is where your brow should stop. if your hairs fall short of these measurements, you can fill them in using a pencil or powder.
Take a stubby angled brow brush and start half way across the brow where there are fewer hairs. Using light feathery strokes lightly fill in the areas which look sparse. Then use the excess product remaining on the brush to fill in the area at the beginning. This will stop all of the product sitting at the thickest beginning part of the brow.
Smashbox Brow Tech Trio, £17.50 come with complementary wax. To hold stray hairs in place and stop brow powder from falling lightly dab your brush into the wax and sweep it across the whole brow from start to finish.
A smoky eye can be daunting for anyone who isn't used to wearing a lot of make-up. A quick trick to trying it out before investing in vampy shadows is to mix a black kohl pencil with concealer.
Start by drawing on the back of your hand with the kohl pencil, then once you have built up a small square of product pop a smear of concealer over the top. Next reach for a flat sided concealer blending brush, £24.50 and mix both together on the back of your hand, this will form a DIY creamy dark shadow which you can apply to your eyelids to see if the smoky look suits you.
For those who are already fans of the sultry smoky eye, applying this DIY creamy shadow before your regular shadows will help the powdery pigments stay put for longer.
Warning: You have 60 seconds of play time before it sets. If you do make a mistake, simply swipe it away with a cotton bud and eye make up remover.
Thinning lips were one of the key areas of concern for women who visited my counter but it's actually really easy to naturally plump your pout. The key to full lips is liner. Select your shade and always begin drawing the outline from the centre. Follow the natural curve of your bottom lip staying on the line and draw slightly over the top lip line to balance the volume. Next use the pencil to colour in the entire lip. This will provide a even foundation for your lipstick colour and stop it from bleeding into fine lines.
Alway apply your lipstick the first time with a flat lip brush. This makes for a more even and precise application. Reaching for the lipstick bullet for touch ups is fine but initially you should use a brush to establish a clean line. Make sure you blend from the middle outwards this will ensure majority of the colour is deposited in the centre, creating the illusion of a more voluminous pout.
Bronzer can give drawn tired complexions an instant glow. The trick is to imagine there is a line down the middle of your face and apply it in two stages. Pick a side and start at the forehead, sweeping down out to the cheekbone and back in and down to the chin following an 'E' motion. Next start the process again on the other side of the face sweeping the brush down your face also as if your are drawing the letter 'E'.
To ensure you hit your contour line and get a defined cheekbone, aim to dust bronzer from the corner of your ear to the corner of your mouth when you're completing the middle of the 'E'.
For freshly pinched effect, apply some colour blush over the apples of your cheeks in circular motions. This will soften the contour and give you a peachy glow.
Forget expensive make-up brush cleansers because the best way to keep your tools in tip-top shape is Johnson's baby shampoo. Gentle and mostly chemical-free, use once a week to banish bacteria and product build-up.