When I break up with my makeup…


I had an epiphany today and it all started when I went to have my passport photo taken and I forgot to take some makeup with me. I had applied it before I left, but a biting wind and cold weather meant that my eyes watered really badly (which happens ALL THE TIME. So much fun.) All my concealer disappeared in a puff of smoke. On the plus side, at least I can see what my mugshot will look like when I’m arrested for murder in twenty years’ time= tired with massive under eye shadows. Delightful.

I’ve been wearing makeup fairly regularly since I was sixteen. Back then, it pretty much consisted of liquid eyeliner and mascara, with the odd bit of Rimmel Hide the Blemish when I needed it. My mum didn’t wear makeup and I was never really interested in it before I started college and going out. My basic makeup has evolved from this starting point, but boy has it got complex: I counted that, on a morning, I can use anything up to FOURTEEN different products on my face- and that’s only if I use one shade of eyeshadow (I sometimes use up to three.) That’s skincare and makeup, by the way: serum, moisturiser, primer, foundation, powder, eyeshadow, mascara, eyeliner, eyebrow gel, blusher, highlighter, lip balm, lipstick. Some mornings I even put a bit of oil on my face before a serum even touches it. This has been a gradual build up of stuff over the years that has only recently got to this size.

I’ve always loved playing with makeup and its ability to transform me at 5.30am from looking like a very tired builder called Graham to, well, a better version of me. But who’s to say that is a better version of me? And do I just look tired because I’m an insomniac who, at least three times a week, gets up at 5.30? Could I actually live without less makeup? Could I maybe get a bit more sleep if I didn’t wear as much makeup? And who exactly am I doing this for?

I got seriously into makeup around the time D was born; I think I was trying to re-establish my identity and not just be ‘mum’. My makeup was also armour at a time when, emotionally, I felt weird. I had the deadness of post-natal depression battling with the hormonal weirdness of new motherhood. Makeup helped me put a brave face on a difficult time and helped me to distinguish between home and the outside world.

Lately, though, makeup is a bit of a chore- and an expensive one at that, even though I don’t buy expensive makeup. I told a friend that I was looking forward to the summer because I knew I wouldn’t have to wear makeup and I’m finding myself desperate to get home at the end of the day and wipe everything off. In fact, after the passport photo, I did just that. I went out with a bit of moisturiser, concealer and mascara on and that was it. I can’t remember when I ever did that before. No one looked at me weirdly and my skin felt amazing for the first time in ages (because apparently stress and makeup are crap for your skin. WHO KNEW?)

So I think I’m adopting this for work. Skincare stuff, a good SPF- let me know if you recommend one, btw-plus very basic makeup and that’s it. Will it be weird? Probably. But in the long-term I think it will really pay off. And of course, I reserve the right to wear more makeup on days when I want to, I just don’t want feel like I have to.


Red lipstick for beginners

Earlier this year, I decided I was going to start wearing red lipstick. I’d decided that , in my 28th year, I was going to develop the confidence to wear such an iconic shade. I did my research, started at the bottom of the intensity scale and worked my way up to the top. It does take a certain mindset to be confident enough to wear it (mine is always, “How do my teeth look?!”), but it’s possible for anyone to wear the colour of starlets and glamourpusses. I’ve decided to show you some of my favourite shades, in the hope of inspiring you to take the plunge!

Left to right: Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey, Rockalily in Roulette Red, MUA in Shade 1, Accessorize in Infatuation, Poppy King for No 7 in History.

Swatches from bottom to top: Black Honey, Roulette Red, Shade 1, Infatuation, History

Your introduction to red lipstick: Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey (£16- Clinique concessions)

This is a very sheer lipstick that is nowhere near as scary as it looks in the tube! It’s almost like a balm that gives a sheer wash of colour and it’s my go-to for when I don’t fancy too much lipstick, or if I’m at work. It’s one of Clinique’s most popular products and is something of a cult favourite. It was a good introduction to having something on my lips, without being totally scary.

Best for vintage belles: Rockalily in Roulette Red (discontinued, similar shade would be MAC’s Russian Red, £14)

It’s a real shame that the Rockalily lipsticks have been discontinued- they have a really nice texture and vanilla smell, which I love. This shade of red is what I wear if I’m feeling a bit daring (or if that’s how I wish I felt!) However, a good match is MAC’s Russian Red, a similar bluish red that’s popular with Hollywood actresses, my favourite style icon Gwen Stefani and the ultimate vintage vixen, Dita Von Teese. It’s a glamorous colour that gives confidence- as long as you can get your head round the colour!

The budget favourite: MUA Shade 1 (£1, Superdrug or MUA Store)

This looks more brown in the pictures than it does in person- it’s a really nice wine red (that has more than a passing resemblance to Anne Hathaway’s lipstick in The Dark Knight Rises!) I was a bit sceptical, as a lot of the budget lipsticks are quite drying. However, this one has a really nice creamy texture and is not drying at all, which is quite surprising. It’s also got a lot of pigment and lasts a good couple of hours before fading- not bad for a super cheap lipstick! If you were wanting to start to build up to wearing lipstick, you could do worse than starting with MUA.

The sophisticated shade: Accessorize Infatuation (£4.99, Superdrug)

This looks more like a purple in the tube, but it’s an almost mulled-wine shade that’s really flattering (I first saw this shade on Cityscape Bliss– we have totally different colouring, but it works differently on both of us!) Also, the packaging is so cute. It’s a long lasting colour too- it faded after four hours! One word of warning about this one though: I found it really drying. I combat this by putting lipbalm underneath and blotting like mad.

The classic beginner’s shade: Poppy King for No7 in History (£12 Boots)

I’ve raved about this a lot on here, but it really is the best basic red I’ve found. It’s classy and invokes memories of starlets of the 1940s. It’s long-lasting, smooth-textured and the tube size is perfect for your handbag. If you buy one shade to start with, I think this should be it!

What are your favourite lipstick shades? Are you tempted to try any of these?