Classic products that are appropriate for every occasion, can be worn every day, and help you feel like the most beautiful version of yourself.
Think of your makeup stash as you do your wardrobe. You have your trendy stuff – the things you buy to wear for just a season (hello crop tops/pink eyeshadow). Then you have your ultra-basics – undies, jogging bottoms, foundation, concealer and mascara. The makeup classics featured here fall into a third category: like crisp white shirts, LBDs and ballet flats, they’re elegant, timeless, and help you look perfect whatever the occasion.
The brown eyeshadow palette
Browns, beiges and taupes aren’t statement making or trend setting, but they look good on everyone, regardless of age, style or skin tone. When you get a palette, make sure it has a good mix of shimmery and matte shades, cool and warm tones, and light and dark. I’ve had the Naked 2 palette from Urban Decay for years and it’s still going strong, though I definitely use some shades more than others. Nyx Cosmetics The Natural Shadow Palette is another good option – it has fewer shades, but all are highly pigmented and long-lasting, and it’s a real bargain too.
The black eyeliner
How to get a perfect cat-eye flick: Use a basic black pencil like Sephora Contour Eye Pencil 12hr Wear to line the eyes first, then make a dot where you want your flick to finish. Trace over the line and create your flick with a liquid eyeliner such as Nyx Super Skinny Eye Marker. The pencil gives your liquid something to cling to so it lasts longer, and you get a neater line too.
The red lipstick
Choosing the right red can be time-consuming, but it’s really worth it – it can make your teeth look whiter, and your skin, brighter. Bobbi Brown’s Lip Color in Red suits almost everyone because it’s not too blue and not too orange, and it has a slight shine without being glossy. Burt’s Bees Lip Crayon in Napa Vineyard is another good option – it has a creamy matte finish and is full of moisturising ingredients. If you find red too bold, put a little lippie on your finger and dab it onto your pout for a more smudgy, subtle finish.
The burgundy nail polish
Chanel’s Vamp is my go-to nail polish – the red, nearly black shade is classy, without being boring. Essie’s Wicked ($9.99, at drugstores) is a good dupe at a fraction of the price, and it’s long-lasting, fast-drying and opaque in two coats.
The cream blusher
This is an ultra-basic for me, but tonnes of women don’t wear blusher at all. They’re missing a trick: blush makes you look fresher and more wide-awake. It’s even more important if you’re wearing heavy eye makeup and lipstick because it brings your face together and helps you look ‘finished’. Cream products are easiest to use – just dot a little on the apples of the cheeks and use your fingers to blend them up towards the temples. They can look cakey if you apply them over powder foundation. To avoid that, put on the blusher first, before the foundation. Clinique’s Chubby Stick Color Balm has a lovely creamy texture and comes in four shades.
The eyebrow gel
Well-shaped, strong eyebrows give your face balance. In my teens, I was very well endowed in that department – my eyebrows looked like two caterpillars trying to mate. Over-plucking and age have swung the pendulum the other way, and now I need to boost my brows, but have never been skilful with eyebrow pencil. Enter the brow-volumising gel. Benefit’s GimmeBrow ($28, at Sephora and www.sephora.ca) contains tiny fibres that stick to your own hairs so your brows look bushier. It’s easy to use – you just comb it through your eyebrows – doesn’t smudge or look unnatural, and the tiny tube lasts forever.