How to do: Foundation

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

By Luke

Oh sweet mother of god there are a lot of base products out there aren’t there? Foundations, tinted moisturisers, BB creams, CC creams, and everything in between. What are they, and what is best for you? Where on earth do you start?

Well there are a whole host of bases available, and all are good for different things, like, different times of year, different skin types. Any one person should ideally have at least two of the following list in their arsenal, in my humble opinion.


Light, translucent. Gently evens skin tone without covering too much up. You should be able to see your skin underneath and have it not feel heavy, or opaque. Ideal for on makeup wearers (who ARE you people??!!) and summertime. Comes in a variety of textures (oil free, radiant) and finishes (matte, dewy). Generally a fluid type, but sometimes comes in a compact. NOT a replacement for skincare generally. Just a name for a super sheer makeup.

GOOD FOR: A little bit of coverage, the summer time, when you don’t want to much on, generally everyone who wants a light easily applied makeup.

BAD FOR: Anyone that has hyper pigmentation (they generally will not cover this) or anyone that requires a fuller coverage base.

I RECOMMEND: There are a lot of these, but I like the Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser a lot Amazing array of colours, and textures, and I also love the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua (available nationwide, £32) . Less choice of colour, but a really lovely finish, and is virtually weightless. It also has light diffusing particles that are imperceptible, but work really well. Will need to give this a really good shake before you use it though. The NARS Tinted Moisturisers (available at, £29) are also amazing, and have a high SPF too. Tend to use these when I’m working outdoors.


There are lots to choose from here. Comes in all manner of finishes, dewy, to matte. All different types of coverage also, from really close to what one might consider a tinted moisturiser, to a full coverage where nothing shows through. All different types of texture available, generally for different skin types. Creamy for dry, oil free for blemish prone, or shiny, compact foundations for ease of use, to sprays, and the list goes on. Just so you know, I have yet to come across a foundation that I can’t make look amazing, regardless of the price, and the quality. It’s not good enough to slap it on, you do need to spend a little bit of time, not hours, but a bit of time working it so you get what you want from it. Colour is perhaps the most important thing here. But generally nowadays they are all pretty good.

GOOD FOR: Anyone that requires a bit more coverage, perhaps the more problem end of the skin spectrum.

BAD FOR: Anyone who thinks you need a foundation ‘for evening’. Not necessarily. Anyone that doesn’t want to cover 70% of their features. Anyone that doesn’t want to spend a little bit of time working a base on.

I RECOMMEND: Lord so many. But in my kit I have the YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat which I adore. Light coverage, and dewy finish, and comes in a great range of colours, I use these a lot and am forever running out. The Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus foundation (available nationwide, £29) is another one I love. Not wild about the range of colours here, could be more, but generally found that it’s a good match for just about everyone. Has amazing skincare benefits too. Another one of my all time faves is Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum (available at, £8.99)). Amazing stuff. And so reasonably priced and smells delicious. Also I do like the Givenchy Teint couture foundation (available at, £32.50). Great coverage, not too heavy, and a really nice finish on it. Particularly for skins that can’t make their mind up if they are dry or oily.


Generally formed of minerals (no surprise there) which act as a sort of flat pigment that sits over the skin, and when ‘buffed’ provide coverage. Lots of different ones on the market with varying degrees of quality and effectiveness. Generally contain a natural (as in not added) SPF due to the nature of the product, and the materials used. NOT a face powder in the traditional sense. Has little to no oil absorbing quality, and if it does, sorry. It aint a mineral powder proper.

I RECOMMEND: Well, there is a well known brand of this particular type of makeup that frankly, I just can’t get along with. I find it overpriced and frankly, rather chalky looking. AAAANYWAY, I hate to bang on about them, but the best mineral powders I have ever used are the Laura Mercier ones. They come in two formats. Pressed and loose, they cover well, have a good range of colours. Some may struggle to match up, but few will, and they last a while too. (£31, available nationwide)

GOOD FOR: Generally speaking anyone that is particularly sensitive (unless it’s a mineral sensitivity), anyone that wants a quick and easy application as these are generally brushed on.

BAD FOR: Anyone with very dry skin. Despite not having a huge talc content, they are still a ‘powder’ so can look a bit arid on dry skins. Anyone who wants to look totally matte. They DO NOT absorb oil in the way a setting powder does. Older skins may struggle with these too, as they can show up fine lines.

Perhaps the most misunderstood, overused new term in the beauty market to date. Save for that awful ‘hypoallergenic’ rubbish that means zilch, but that’s a rant for another post. BB creams are not tinted moisturisers, and tinted moisturisers are not BB creams. A lot of BB creams on the market are IN FACT tinted moisturisers under a zeitgeist name. BB Creams were invented in Germany, not Malaysia as is commonly believed, by a Dr who wanted her clients to be able to wear a base that covered the rather inflammatory effects of her aggressive anti ageing facials that would also benefit the skin. The BB (or blemish balm, not beauty balm) was born. A unique product, with pigment suspended in rich skincare that evened out tone and redness and also helped the skin to heal. It was quickly adapted by the Malaysian market as a staple favourite, and then of course we heard about it a mere 10 years later, and acted like it’s the second coming. The formula since has been diluted down and down to such an extent that to be honest, if you are considering a tinted moisturiser or a BB cream, there is so little in the difference, you could quite easily use either to the same effect.

I RECOMMEND: There are few actual BB creams out there. Dr Jart (available at, from £9) is the closest I have come across. I am not wild about the colour of them though, but they feel nice and are easy to use. Without doubt, the best one I have ever used is the Stila 10-in-one HD Beauty Balm (available at, £26). Not strictly a BB cream, but has the same effect. I used this on myself when I had a quite reddening lactic acid peel, and it worked a treat. Love the finish on this. Another one I like is the Rodial BB Venom Skin tint (available at £35).

GOOD FOR: Anyone wanting to try something OTHER than a tinted moisturiser. Anyone who wants an uber natural finish, with the added benefits of skincare.

BAD FOR: Anyone expecting a fuller coverage.


Yet another product that has been around for eons, just rediscovered and given a new name. Commonly known in the industry as colour correctors, I have been using similar incarnations of these for nigh on 10 years. Now though, some have the benefit of a smart delivery system that means instead of effectively staining the skin, which is what they used to do, they become part of it, similar to the way a BB Cream pigment is delivered, and are thus much easier to use, and less like to make you look like Shrek.

I RECOMMEND: I am extremely old fashioned and tend not to use these, as I go for the colour correctors instead. That said some really nice ones have landed on my desk over the last year or so, My fave is the Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream (available at, £30). I have heard stories that despite the name, it can leave the skin feeling quite dry, but adequate skincare underneath sort of stops this. It does now also come in a handy compact. The Bobbi Brown ones are also good and come in a variety of colours for different concerns.

GOOD FOR: Anyone with high colour, or feels their skin could do with a ‘boost’ of radiance or more even tone. There are different colours for different needs. Green for anti redness, peach for dullness etc...

BAD FOR: Anyone who wants coverage. These work together with your base to make a more flawless appearance.


I have no idea. Not sure I want to know either. See: cynical marketing efforts by beauty companies.


To use a sponge or a brush? I would probably guess that 7 out 10 women do not use either, as it’s seen as a bit cumbersome, and takes a bit more time. Well, this isn’t necessarily the case. There are a whole host of tools to apply foundation that can make the world of difference to the finish. Here is a very general guide:
    A sponge should never be used wet! I hear this happening a lot. No. Just no. It will affect the foundation to such an extent that I am pretty sure you’ll be looking at about 20 minutes of good wear. Always use a dry sponge, preferably one you can wash and re use.

    There is no real benefit to using a sponge over a brush or vice versa, it really is personal preference. As a very general rule, a brush will place the foundation well, and buff it in, where as a sponge is an excellent idea for moving the product around, and blending it around the edges of the face.

    No sponge or brush need be used with a BB Cream or tinted moisturiser. They are too sheer really for this sort of application. Fingers all the way here.

    Please for the sake of your poor face, make sure that you CLEAN your foundation brush and/or your makeup sponge. Even if it is just you who is using it, it will still gather all sorts of bacteria so a good wash once a month (or more) is HIGHLY advisable. This can be done simply with some hot water, and some washing up liquid. Dry them flat on a tea towel overnight.

    A little foundation from the bottle or pump on the back of your hand rather than dipping it into the bottle itself is advisable. Hygiene being incredibly important here.
I RECOMMEND: Just your common or garden makeup sponge from Superdrug. I prefer the Oval shaped ones as they are easier to get into the smaller areas of the face than the triangular ones. To me, it makes no difference if you use a latex free sponge or not. Save for should you have an allergy to latex.


I recommend the following:

MAC 187: Large head of duo fibre hairs. One set synthetic, one set natural. All cut different lengths so excellent for buffing in any foundation. I just go in circular motions all round the face. Don’t be afraid by the ‘seams’ this brush leaves initially in the foundation, as soon as you keep buffing, they disappear to a flawless finish.
MAC 183: Same as above, but with a smaller head, great for getting into smaller areas, or if the 187 is a little intimidating. Both available at

Estee Lauder Foundation Brush: Perfectly sized, and cut to place foundation. Using the flat side of the brush you literally paint it on, until you have the desired finish. Available nationwide.

Glamcor Finish Brush: Superb buffing/finishing brush. Huge head on it again with the duo fibres that are shorter. Excellent for finishing a foundation by gently using the very tips of the fibres to gently buff over the surface of the base to really give a flawless finish. Available at

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DHC Premium Lipstick: Petal Pink and First Blush

Monday, 21 July 2014

By Laurin

Until recently, I was something of a tart when it came to skincare. Like a Viking-sized magpie, I was all about the latest shiny thing promising to give me the skin of a teenaged nymph. The one constant in my routine for the last 10 years has been DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. I discovered it through India Knight back in 2008 and have been positively evangelical about its benefits since. It deep cleans without stripping the skin, shifts the most tenacious of eyeliners, smells reassuringly wholesome and a £21 bottle lasts for months on end. 

So when I heard DHC were launching a range of proper lipsticks, I was mustard-keen to try them. I chose the two palest colours, Petal Pink and First Blush to try first. Though I like to think I’ve come a long was in my appreciation of a bold lip, the truth is that I am running fifteen minutes late for work on any given day, and pale colours are more forgiving when applied in haste. The gold and silver tubes with flower etching are as pleasing pretty as the two colours themselves turn out to be. Above, you see Petal Pink on the right and First Blush on the left. At first glance, there seems very little difference between them.

The formula is specifically for those with ageing as a primary concern, so contains light-reflecting pigments to give the appearance of fuller lips. Applied on skin, both shades have a soft, candlelit glow that I find much more flattering than the opalescent, borderline-glitter favoured by some brands.

Above: Petal Pink applied with a lipbrush and Studio 10 Age Reverse Perfecting Lipliner

They’re also incredibly moisturising, containing a blend of macadamia, olive and rice bran oils. As such, they apply easily straight from the tube and are a pleasure to wear, but are somewhat lacking in the longevity department. To be fair, I tested them over a couple of days in London that included a heatwave, several journeys on the top deck of the 133 and an eight-hour shift in a shop that had decided to explore an alternate career path as an oven. I got about two hours wear from both shades.

Above: First Blush applied with a lipbrush and Studio 10 Age Reverse Perfecting Lipliner

Petal Pink and First Blush are both pretty everyday lipsticks that would be great to have in your handbag for quick touch ups on your “My Lips But Better” days. Far from being only suitable for more mature skins, I also think they would be a lovely “Lipstick 101” gift for an adolescent girl if you’re not ready to send her out in full Ruby Woo. Check them out. And if I happen to convert you to Deep Cleansing Oil as well, my work here will be well and truly done.

DHC Premium Lipstick GE is £13 and available at

The Fine Print: PR Samples

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Lipsticks of the Week

Thursday, 17 July 2014

By Tindara

Well I don’t know about you, but I think it’s about time for another Lipsticks of the Week. This week, it’s a summer mixed bag, pinks and corals and you guessed it, a tomato red. I’ve also been on a spending spree and bought a few new lovely lippies that I feel like raving about.

Last time, I mentioned my favourite go-to deep pink, Bobbi Brown’s Cosmic Raspberry. Since we’re talking about the pink hit parade, a close number two is definitely Lipstick Queen’s Hot Rose Sinner. It’s got a real hot edge to it alright. There’s something of the deep but fizzy bright to this, it’s more flirty somehow than pinks of similar tone. It’s also got a lovely moisturising but semi-matte texture. I really like Lipstick Queen products as a concept and this is not the only one from the range I’ll be featuring this week. Hot Rose Sinner is a versatile colour, and works with little eye make-up or a big flick, or tones really well with taupe or goldey browns and greys.

(Hot Rose Lips either full selfie or one of crops, whichever you prefer)

Like me, you’ve probably heard a lot about Estee Lauder’s new Pure Colour Envy lipsticks. I had to see what all the fuss was about and bought a couple. I went for Intense Nude and Impassioned. I really loved the feel of these lipsticks, long-lasting, highly pigmented and satin in finish with a light vanilla scent. Both colours are eminently wearable.

Intense Nude is the perfect brown-pink darker than natural lips colour on me, but I think it could suit lots of skin tones from pale to dark. It works well whether you’re going for an efficient day look or a more of a statement look with lashings of mascara and smoky eyes. Somehow it makes my lips look bigger and fuller. I really love this.

And Impassioned, well, you know how I feel about tomato reds, and this one is glorious. It reeks of glamour, and the satin feel needs a touch more make-up than I sometimes wear with other more matte finish reds. This is not a problem however, these lipsticks feel luxurious and make me want to spend more time on my routine, adding flicks and smudges and highlights. I’m revelling in them to be honest.

And now two coral lipsticks; I love a sheer coral at this time of year, it feels totally right for sipping a fruit-filled Pimms and matching with your pedicure showed off in your gold sandals. Well, Birkenstocks, anyway, I’m not that blooming glamorous. Anyway, the two I’ve been wearing are Tarte’s paper-packaged Soft Coral and Lipstick Queen’s Endless Summer Stoked.

Tarte Soft Coral lipstick is great, a hint of peachy coral in a really moisturising sheer finish with quirky cool packaging. It works well on it’s own for a natural look or with bright blue, turquoise, or navy liner/shadow. This has been in my bag all week and the packaging stands up to being lolloped around a bag on London Transport, even if I don’t in this weather. Lipstick Queen’s Endless Summer Stoked is almost like a deeper coral take on Jean Queen for me. Slightly more pigment, perhaps, but supremely soft, natural and moisturising. I like wearing this with a smudgy navy liner, and my hastily applied dolly blusher in a peachy coral shade with a bit of shimmer.

Well there you go lipstick fiends, there’s mine for this week. Maybe I’ll go heavy on the eyes next time and clear gloss. Adam Ant stripe over the nose? Nah, there will be red, there will always be red.

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Geometric Nails featuring Models Own, No7 and Seche Vite

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

By Emily

I’ve got a bit of thing for bare nails with a splash of colour; often I’ll do a French manicure but with bright coloured or multicolour tips. It’s really quick and high impact. This week I wanted to create something a bit more unusual, so got out my Models Own nail tape and created this Modern geometric design. Here’s how:

First up, make sure your nails are squeaky clean before applying the nail art tape. Using two strips of tape per nail, create a triangle shape at the top of each nail. Make sure you keep the tape a bit longer than your nail so it’s easier to pull off.

Then apply your chosen colour to the triangle area. I chose a No7’s Stay Perfect in Me! Me! Me! Your first coat should be light…try not to gloop too much on. Don’t wait too long before you apply the second coat and again try to keep it light while getting the colour depth you need.

Once your second coat is on, don’t wait long before carefully removing the nail tape, using tweezers. If you wait too long you’ll get a jagged edge to your triangle.
Once all the tape is removed you can tidy up any rough edges with remover on a fine brush before applying a good quality top coat. I use Seche Vite, for its speed-dry amazingness.

And there you have it, hipster nails worthy of a trip to Dalston. Undercut and Fixie bike optional.

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Makeup Revolution: Blushers in Now and All I Think About Is You

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

By Laurin

In 2007, against her better judgement, Her Gracious Majesty Queen Elizabeth II extended to me an offer of citizenship which I duly accepted. There was a ceremony at Lambeth Town Hall, and I came away with a souvenir photo of me looking like I’d accidentally joined the Hogwart’s branch of the BNP.

To receive this honour, I had to sit the “Life in the UK” exam, thus satisfying the British government that I did indeed know the date that women gained the right to divorce their husbands and what percentage of the population identify themselves as Muslims. There was a study guide! I made flashcards! But to get to the really useful stuff, you just have to learn by trial and error and the occasional raised eyebrow at the pub. Here’s a few of the things I wish someone had told me when I arrived at Gatwick fourteen years ago:
  1. When your friend cancels your plans at the last minute, he hasn’t blown you off, he’s blown you OUT. The former means something completely different and is best not discussed in front of your mother-in-law.
  2. Do not be tricked into ordering Pimms and lemonade simply because the sun is out. It is essentially a non-alcoholic beverage with added hedge trimmings, and you will need to build up your alcohol tolerance if you ever hope to truly fit in.
  3. People will make assumptions about your social class based on the word you use to refer to your evening meal.
  4. People will make assumptions about your social class based on the daily newspaper you read.
  5. People will make assumptions about your social class based on the supermarket you most frequent.
  6. Superdrug is the best chemist on the high street.
The last point eluded me until about six months ago. It only dawned just how much love there is for Superdrug when I realised that people were genuinely excited for their 50th anniversary product editions. It seemed that every woman who spent her formative teenage years in this country had a happy memory of spending Saturday morning with a coven of girlfriends, happily wallowing in the cheap and cheerful nail varnishes and lipsticks at her local branch. I, on the other hand, had pretty much ignored them for the past 14 years, having been impressed by the fact that I could buy a lemon-flavoured yogurt from their main competitor on my first visit to these shores. So exotic! I now see the error of my ways.

Superdrug’s new cosmetics range Makeup Revolution definitely falls into the “cheap and cheerful” category, but that’s no reason for letting the teenaged girls have all the fun. I have, of late, been extremely impressed with the colour and longevity of both their powder blusher ranges.

I tested All I Think About Is You from the Vivid Baked Blusher range (£2.50, above right) and Now from the Powder Blusher range (£1, above left), and found that they performed as well as blushers at twenty times the price. The packaging is nothing to write home about, but for the price of a Diet Coke, I’m not complaining.

Now is a soft, rosy pink with an almost undetectable shimmer, while All I Think About Is You is a brighter candy pink with swirls of tawny gold. They both give a pretty, sheer wash of colour that looks beautiful on my ghostly skin, but without making me look so flushed that fellow Victoria Line commuters ask me if I’m okay. Despite the shimmer, Now actually goes on quite matte, giving it a low-key yet polished look that’s perfect for work or general daytime wear. All I Think About Is You is now my go-to blusher for a fast casual look. It makes my cheeks pop without looking too “done”, and the golden highlights mean I can skip the highlighter altogether. I get a good nine hours wear from both formulations.

I’ve not seen the range in store yet, but it’s available to order online. Get stuck in – cheap make-up is a great way of trying out a new look or colour without worrying about wasting your hard earned cash. Any other questions, give me a shout: I’ll be the girl on the houmous aisle at Waitrose with a copy of the Guardian tucked under my arm.

Makeup Revolution is available at

The Fine Print: Purchases.

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