Mascara regularly tops the polls of the one makeup product you can’t live without. I’m sure we’re all aware that we can live very happy and fulfilling lives with no makeup at all, but that’s not the issue here.
I think the point is that mascara is one of the most transformative products – one coat and instantly lashes are boosted, eyes look bigger and the impression of a made-up ‘done’ face is created. Blush and concealer would probably vie for second and third spot but before we move away from the eye area there are plenty of makeup-based hacks to artfully enhance, detract, flatter, conceal and highlight.
First up, a little trick which has made its way out of the MUA book of secrets and into the mainstream: a nude waterline. If you want eyes to look brighter and more wakeful, you’ll want them to appear as big as possible. Using a neutral-toned pencil will help reduce the appearance of redness and give the impression of wide-awakeness. I like Victoria Beckham’s Instant Brightening Pencil (£24 victoriabeckhambeauty.com) which is suitable for lens wearers and is a good universal shade.
Once that’s done, consider the eye area. If you have darker circles, discolouration or want to blur fine lines a colour corrector can reflect light, making the general effect brighter and more glowy. The downside is that if you pile it on, it can look chalky, cracked or sink into the lines you’re trying to mask, drawing more attention to them than if you hadn’t bothered. Take the time to apply in light layers and build coverage gradually. Apply with your middle or ring finger and tap it into place. Not only does this help protect the skin which is thinner here than on other parts of the face, but the heat from your fingertips will help warm the product, allowing you to apply it more evenly. I’m a fan of Lottie London’s Bright Bounce Corrector (£5.95 lottie.london) which also has skin-friendly ingredients to hydrate and nourish.
Now to make your eye colour pop. Listen, I am all about makeup being fun and creative, so would urge you to wear whatever brings you the most joy but if you’re interested in the theory, go for contrasting shades to make the natural colour of the eye stand out. Brown eyes will gain new depth paired with blue eye makeup (the brighter the better), browns will enhance blue eyes, purple tones for green eyes. Grey eyes are a neutral shade, so anything goes.
Pictured here are some of my personal go-to’s; Luminous Cream Peacock Cream Shadow (£32 cosmeticsalacarte.com), All Shades of Eyeshadow palette (£17.99 kikocosmetics.com) and finally, new from Sculpted by Aimee, Bare Basics – a full face palette (£32 sculptedbyaimee.co.uk)
On to brows: the frame of the face. Sparse, overplucked or even – whisper it – greying brows can be reinvigorated with clever use of any of the many products on the market designed to replicate the fashion for bold looks. I know tint pens are really popular but I’ve always found them trickier to handle than a fine pencil/crayon when it comes to filling in the gaps and defining shape. Look out for a grey-toned shade, rather than anything which translates as too orangey on the skin – a dead giveaway. A useful tip for getting the shape right is to use your pencil to imagine a line going straight up from the outside of the nostril which is where your brow should start. Take it through the iris to find the natural arch point and then draw it to the outer edge of the socket. You may prefer a more exaggerated shape (as trends dictate) but as a rule of thumb, this works as a good starting point.
Follow up with a brow gel which will grip all hairs, smoothing any stragglers. I can generally find any product I’m looking for within Eyeko’s great range of brow products – their new Fluffy Brow Volumising Gel (£18 eyeko.co.uk) will add additional texture and volume making brows satisfyingly fuller-looking. Don’t forget to dot a little highlight to reflect off the brow bone.
Finally, back to where we started. Mascara. For thicker lashes there are countless faux options from strips to more permanent lash extensions but we’re talking about makeup, so therefore mascara. For big fat lashes Rihanna’s got your back with her new Hella Thicc mascara (£19 sephora.com). As with all Fenty Beauty it’s road-tested by Rhi Rhi to ensure it is sweat, humidity and transfer resistant (as well as being cruelty-free). It is designed for maximum impact, adding volume, length and curl. If your beauty philosophy is less is more, try something like Perricone MD’s No Makeup Mascara (£26 perriconemd.co.uk) which also acts as a treatment serum to lift and separate. The shade is a near-black neutral, designed to suit all.