The brow essentials Tom Ford Brow Perfecting Pencil/Brow Sculptor
With two different but equally excellent Tom Ford brow pencils to choose from (depending on the effect you want), both come in perfect taupey shades (the best brow enhancers have a slightly gray, shadow-y tone), are easy for the non-professional to use and have proven staying power. With a super-fine tip, the Brow Perfecting Pencil is good for feathering in hairs to create that natural, brushed-up brow look, or, for more intensity, the Brow Sculptor has a wider, flatter calligraphy tip that’s brilliant for giving brows definition and depth of color. Most beauty bags could benefit from both.
The second-skin foundation Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick
The brief for the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick was to create a base that looked like real skin, albeit one that was flawless. The idea is you blend this perfect ‘skin’ over your own and, once applied, it adjusts to your body temperature to give a seamless finish. Perfect for those who like some coverage, but do use less than you think you’ll need, as a little of this amazing base goes a long way.
The ultimate glow-y skin highlight Westman Atelier highlighters
As one of the world’s most sought-after makeup artists, Gucci Westman excels in incredible skin. Which may be why her highlighters (there are three: one gel, two powder) are so very good. With a clear, sheer, slightly iridescent glow, the Lit Up Highlight Stick gives skin that post-facial glow, while the powder Peau de Soleil and Peau de Pêche give a buildable, shimmering, sheeny wash that makes skin look super-polished.
The longest-lasting liner Nars High-Pigment Longwear Eyeliner
Apply a Nars High-Pigment Longwear Eyeliner in the morning and I can guarantee it will still be there, perfectly in place and intense in color, by evening. But cleverly, the gel formula still lets you smudge it out (if that’s the look you prefer) before it ‘sets’, staying put all day… and into the night.
The dream-skin finisher Sisley Blur Expert Powder
Sisley may call its Blur Expert a powder, but I prefer to call it a mini miracle as, once dusted on, it gives skin (bare or otherwise) that beautiful, blurred out, Insta-filter finish, but IRL.
The ultimate lipsticks
For those still searching for the perfect lip color (and who isn’t?), this may help. Christian Louboutin Beauty’s Silky Satin Lip Colour in Rouge Louboutin is deservedly a global best seller, because it’s such a flattering, uncompromising true red. For those who prefer a more subtle nude, Charlotte Tilbury does an excellent range of peach-, pink-, beige- and brown-toned nudes, but the K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Lipstick in Penelope Pink stands out, if only because while she created it for Penélope Cruz (brunette), Charlotte (redhead) herself wears it, as do I (blonde), proving its versatility.
The super-natural skin tint Code8 Radiate Beauty Balm SPF15
Rather than the usual tinted moisturiser, I love the newer Code8 Radiate Beauty Balm. It goes on easily and leaves skin hydrated, dewy and glowing, but not greasy – perfect for warmer weather or those who prefer a more velvety rather than creamy or shiny finish to their base.
The multitasker Sarah Chapman Skinesis Skin Insurance SPF30
With an adaptive tint, SPF30 (and soon a 50), infrared and pollution protection, plus pigmentation inhibitors, Sarah Chapman’s brilliant Skinesis Skin Insurance tint does all the work for you. Perfect on its own, or, if you prefer more coverage, I use it as a potent primer under my base.
The double-duty concealer By Terry Stylo-Expert Hybrid Foundation Concealer
What’s so clever about the By Terry Stylo-Expert Hybrid Foundation Concealer is its shape: like the wide nib of a pen, it lets you get right in to the dark corners around the eye and under the lashes (covering up shadows at the outer corner of the eye instantly brightens your face). Plus, you can use it to define brows (blend under the outer brow) and lips (blend along the outer quarter of the top and bottom lip line for a little extra fullness). It also works as a foundation touch-up as and when needed.
The pore-perfecting skin cheat Marc Jacobs Beauty Under(Cover) Blurring Coconut Face Primer
Already a favorite with professional makeup artists, Marc Jacobs Beauty’s Under(Cover) Blurring Coconut Face Primer is excellent for blurring out pores and matting down any shine, but it does both while somehow still leaving skin looking dewy, not dry. And it keeps foundation looking fresher for longer.
The perfect mascara Gucci Mascara L’Obscur
Once you find your favorite, it is difficult to be tempted to try any other, but do give Gucci’s Mascara L’Obscur a go, because beyond looking beautiful (there is a definite return to gorgeous, show-me-off packaging), this is an outstanding mascara. With the perfectly weighted wand (it makes a difference), it coats beautifully, is a true black, and you can build up layers without any lumps. Lashes look silky and luxe, not brittle, as with some mascaras.
The makeup-enhancing mask Charlotte Tilbury Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet Mask
A sheet mask may be the last thing you’d think of using when made up, but Charlotte Tilbury’s Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet Mask is a real secret weapon to add to your beauty arsenal. Unless you have oil-prone skin (or prefer a more matte look), use it over your finished face and, when removed, your skin will have an incredible glow – it’s amazing for dry skin, plus it gives makeup a more seamless, real-skin finish. Those who have discovered this effect are known to drive to an event wearing the mask, only removing it when they are parking.
The beautiful blush Chantecaille Cheek Gelée
The best blush looks like your natural color, not a sweep of powder, which is why Chantecaille’s Cheek Gelées are so good. Part way between a cheek stain and a cream blush, you can build up the color, from the sheerest sheer wash to a sculpted rosy glow.