As a make-up artist, one of the most common questions I’m asked is ‘What is in your PERSONAL make-up bag?’  What’s ‘in my kit’ is another one but I’ve been told that there is more interest in what an MUA uses personally as it then has the professional ‘stamp of approval’.

So, without any further procrastination, I give you an insight into my personal make-up stash (stock pictures of COURSE! My actual make-up bag is pure and utter chaos.)

I’ll try and list it in order of application to give you a timeline of sorts and also the tools I use with each item.

Starting with my skin- I always prep my skin with a gentle toner before my moisturiser. I am currently enjoying Boots Botanics Cleansing Toner to refresh my skin and lay an extra hydrating layer down before my moisturiser, NuCerity Peptide Plus.

Since I’ve been using Skincerity, my roll-on night mask, my skin has improved so dramatically that my need for a full/medium coverage base has been dramatically reduced. I sometimes do still wear foundation but when I do, it’s minimal.

I always, however, start with a highlighter and I do this BEFORE anything else. The reason I do it this way is that I want it to be subtle and blended into my skin so it looks like a ‘lit from within’ highlight rather than a lurid sparkle shimmer in stripes on my cheekbones because that’s a look I can’t carry off!  I’m still really enjoying Seventeen Cosmetics Skin Wow Highlighter which is a liquid. I pump out a tiny amount, about 1/3 of a full pump, disperse between my fingertips and gently tap along the top of my cheekbones. With the residue from what’s left, I sweep it under my eyes and over my cupid’s bow. 

Then, I do a little contour. This isn’t something I do because I want that heavily made up, ‘carved’ look, I actually do it to keep my skin looking more natural. Let me explain- I’m very fair with absolutely zero redness to my skin and if I’m not careful, I can look very 2 dimensional and flat. So, I use a very light cream contour under the hollows of my cheekbones, through my eye socket (as an eyeshadow for the day) and along my hairline. My contour of choice is Illamasqua Cream Colour in Hollow, I stick my (always clean) finger in, spread the colour between 2 fingertips and literally wipe it from my ear towards my nose. Nothing too technical! If I were skipping foundation, I’d buff that in and blend the highlighter out at this stage, then set it with powder. However, for clarity, let’s cover all the steps.

If I do want to use a little foundation, I am enjoying the YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundation. I love its lightness and how it sheers out. The finish is divine and it really looks like my skin, only perfected. I pump out again only about 1/3 of what the pump would naturally disperse and I use a Real Techniques Expert Face Brush to buff this in. I work it initially around my contoured and highlighted areas and then when there is a lot less on the brush, I gently buff over and blend away lines so the overall effect is seamless. 

Now the base is more or less done, I work on my brows and eyes. I conceal at the very end, you’ll see why when I talk about my eyeliner!

So my brows- they are the most frustrating part of my face! Sparse and patchy and looking like they belong to 2 different people altogether, I have a plethora of tools I use to fill them in. I fluctuate between 2 pencils- Laura Mercier in Ash Blonde and Kevyn Aucoin in Brunette. They’re both cooler in tone and give a nice crisp line, I feather this through my sparse patches and create an arch and comb through with the spooly brush on the other end. To solidify and clean up the lines, I actually use a cream shadow with a waterproof texture. This defines the tail of my brow further and I also flick this through the inner corners where they’re almost bald and create hairs. My weapons of choice here are a Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Permanent Taupe and a Louise Young Brush LY-30.

Once they’re safely in place, I curl my lashes using Laura Mercier Lash Curlers and then using No7 Smoky Powder Liner in either Brown or Black I roughly line my top lashes, smudging out the edge with my ring finger. These are a recent favourite find of mine and I am really impressed. They do fall out slightly, which is why I conceal after this step.

I usually have about 3 mascaras on the go all at the same time which is silly really as once a tube is opened it has 3 months until it really should be thrown away. My 2 main mascaras of the moment are – Rimmel Volume Flash in Extreme Black, because if you’re going to wear black, it may as well be extreme! I love this mascara because it is affordable, I love the natural fibre brush and the fact that it’s even better as it dries out. It is a tad wet for me at the start but thickens up nicely after a week. 

I recently splurged on the new Lancôme mascara – Grandiose. It’s almost 5 times more expensive than Rimmel but not necessarily 5 times better. It has a weirdly angled brush and does give nicely defined lashes but at £24.50 I’m expecting a bit more! The big benefit of it is that it sets nicely and holds a lash curl better than most mascara. I won’t be repurchasing though. My next splurge will be Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes.

I finish off by Concealing with Collection Lasting Finish Concealer, I mix 2 shades together because I am a fussy old mare but I cannot STAND white under eye circles. Just, awful.

The final straight consists of blusher, currently using Laura Mercier Orange Blossom with another LM brush, her Angled cheek brush and then set my face with her Loose Translucent Powder and a Real Techniques Blush Brush. Yes, I know- a blush brush for my powder, I am a rule breaker and you can’t stop me!

When it comes to lips- I am guilty of buying multiple versions of identical colours in various textures. I am a warm peachy coral gal and I’m not ashamed to admit I took 19 lip products on holiday this year and used 3. I can’t list them all but my favourites are Revlon Lip Butter in Juicy Papaya, Rimmel Matte by Kate Moss in 32 and an old lip gloss by Laura Mercier called Cancun Coral. I cried a little when they discontinued it and bulk-bought about 30.

This entire routine takes me 15-20 minutes and is my absolute sanctuary, my peaceful start to a crazy day. I keep it all in a firmly zipped, toddler-proof cheapo bag and it would be the first thing (after family, natch) that I’d save in a fire. Call me obsessed, it’s true.

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