Blush & Bronze
Three months ago I started to take a vested interest in make-up, with a wedding on the horizon and no make-up artist, I needed to learn what worked for me. I’ve never worn a lot of make-up as I’ve never felt that comfortable with it. Whenever I’ve tried a stronger look I feel ridiculous and I’m convinced everyone’s staring at me when I do. However, my everyday look – which consists of Jouer Luminizing Moisturiser Tint, Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Glow, a couple of subtle MAC eyeshadows and Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner – just wasn’t going to cut it on my wedding day. I needed help!
I met with the team at Estée Lauder, who showed me some new tricks and gave me lots of lovely new products to try. Their Pure Color Envy eyeshadow palettes are quite possibly the best I’ve come across, the shades are natural and work well with my own skin tone. And, their Bronze Goddess Summer Glow EyeShadow Palette is great for a subtle holiday look, with shimmery, fresh shades. Estée Lauder’s Genuine Glow Blushing Creme For Lips And Cheeks is a great multi-use product, it gives a natural flush to the cheeks but equally works well on lips to enhance their colour without looking obvious. At first I didn’t get on so well with their Illuminating Perfecting Primer until their make-up artist Emma showed me how to use it as a highlighter on the tops of your cheeks. Apply a small amount to the soft fleshy bit of your hand just at the base of your thumb (the thumb pad), then rub your pads together before patting it to the tops of your cheekbones. It applies it evenly and not too heavily.
I was struggling to find the right base and was beginning to think that foundation wasn’t for me and that I would never use anything other than a tinted moisturiser for the rest of my days. All the foundations I tried made my skin feel caked in make-up. My skin is naturally a little bit dry and longwear formulas tend to suck up the moisture I do have in my skin, leaving any dry spots highlighted and my pores clearly visible; not a look anyone wants. For this reason, I tend to avoid using powders on my skin most of the time as they have a similar effect. However, if you do prefer to use a powder to set your make-up I have a great tip, spritz your skin with a face mist after you’ve dusted your T-zone with powder. I’ve found Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist is great for this or Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist. It takes away the granny face look you get with lots of powder.
With our wedding day looming I started to worry more and more about my make-up base and asked my friends about what they had used on their wedding days. One friend told me to avoid using anything with a high SPF as it can be quite reflective in photos and suggested trying a mix of Chanel Vitalumière Aqua with their Les Beiges for natural looking coverage. At the Chanel counters I visited in London they either didn’t have a sample suitable for my skin tone or wanted me to book in for a bridal make-up tutorial (at a cost). Another friend suggested MAC Face & Body, a water-based foundation that’s quite light but also long wearing. If I had been a little more confident about my skin and didn’t have a few little dark spots to cover this would have been great. It evens out subtle differences in tone but it wasn’t enough for me to feel confident on my wedding day. I’ll definitely be using it as an everyday foundation going forwards though when I want light coverage.
I took a break from my search for the perfect foundation and started looking for waterproof mascara. I’m such a softy and anything vaguely emotional can have me in floods of tears (the good kind). I needed a mascara that would stay put regardless of my strong emotions. After a search online I came across a recent report by Marie Claire. One brand that stood out was Sensai, reportedly used by none other than Kim Kardashian. (I have to admit ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ is one of my guilty pleasures, it’s easy watching whilst I workout in the mornings.) Sensai make a mascara called 38°, it only comes off with water that’s at least 38°C. It works in the swimming pool (a bonus for the summer) and doesn’t run when you cry. There are two types, a separating and lengthening one, and a thickening one. I opted for the separating and lengthening one as my little lashes clump quite easily. Whilst at their counter in Harrods I decided to give their foundation a try too – in for a penny, in for a pound. Their make-up artist started with a primer (something else I’ve struggled with previously), Smoothing Water Make-Up Base, she told me it’s always best to use it on top of your moisturiser. It’s without doubt the best primer I’ve ever used on my skin. Sensai follow the concept of make-up Saho which “teaches that anyone can achieve flawless make-up by following a simple rule: “Veil + Colour”. Applying a veil of moisture followed by make-up will help keep your skin protected and beautiful through the long hours of the day, encouraging a healthy, natural radiance“. I then tested two of their foundations, their Cream Foundation felt too heavy so I tried their Fluid Foundation, bingo! This one gets a gold star from me, a first. I bought the mascara, left their counter at Harrods wearing the foundation and wore it for the rest of the day. I rarely make impulse purchases these days and I wanted to be sure it stood up to my needs before spending any money. Within the week I was back for both the Smoothing Water Make-Up Base and Fluid Foundation in two colours, my usual shade and a shade darker for when my skin’s tanned.
Knowing I was onto a good thing with Sensai I spoke to their PR team to find out more about the brand. They very kindly sent me a Bronzing Gel and Gel Brush to try. Once again a product I absolutely love, with a great applicator brush to match. If you want a warm natural glow that you can build up you will love this, it’s a wonderful fluid product with a cooling feel as you apply it with the brush.
For a little while I’ve been using a dark eyeshadow and an angled brush to fill-in my brows, there’s nothing wrong with this but I much prefer Anastasia Beverly Hills‘ Brow Whiz, the effect is much more subtle and easier to build up. I just kept forgetting to replace my old one but with the wedding coming up I had no excuse.
The only thing left to worry about were my lips. I’d read many good things about Charlotte Tilbury‘s make-up and their Lip Cheat Lip Liner in Pillow Talk was the main product I’d been meaning to try. It imitates the natural colour of your lips, allowing you to create a smooth lip line for use with almost any lipstick (it’s not ideal for red or dark lipsticks). I then applied a little of their K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Lipstick in Bitch Perfect and topped it with Beauté‘s Luminous Volume Gloss.
I was really pleased with my wedding day make-up. I’ll share some photos soon so you can see what it looked like altogether. If you’re not sure about what to use I would recommend spending some time trying products and asking for advice from your friends and make-up artists, reading articles and trying to identify which products work with your skin condition, texture and tone. Although frustrating at times, I have found that it’s been beneficial in the long run. I have products in my make-up bag now that I know work for me.
Please get in touch if you have any questions about the products I’ve mentioned or my experience.