Get the right tools for the job. Investing in some good quality brushes, sponges and applicators will mean you get the most out of the make up you buy.
Get advice from a professional. If you’re not sure what makeup suits you, a one-off session with a beautician or make-up artist could open up great new ideas and colours to try, or simply help you to streamline your daily technique.
Go for long-lasting options. Look for long-lasting mascaras, lip colours and foundations – modern formulas are designed to stay put all day, and save you hassle of constant retouching.
Keep it light. Nothing looks more clumsy than thick, caked-on makeup, clumpy mascara and greasy smears of lipstick. It’s quicker in the end if you work gradually, too: you can always add a bit more as needed, but if you’ve started by piling too much on, you’ll have to cleanse it all off and start again from scratch.
Focus on one feature. For a subtle look concentrate on one of your face’s finest assets and then add just a hint of cosmetic support elsewhere. For example, smoky, emphatic eyes should be teamed with barely-there lip colour, while a glossy, come-hither pout needs little more than a quick flick of mascara for company. Go too heavy on making up all your features at once and it can be overwhelming.
Overdo shimmer. What makes an impact on a cleverly lit magazine cover will look tacky in normal conditions, even in the evening. Take care if choosing a metallic eyeshadow that it doesn’t make your lids look crepe-y, and remember that superglossed lips can look great, but overdone lips might also be sticky.
Be afraid to experiment. Even if you’ve never considered blue eyeshadow, or you just don’t ‘do’ red lipstick, there’s no harm in re-evaluating your assumptions every now and then. A touch of vibrant colour – just a touch, mind – can lift your face and your mood, while switching from a brown/beige palette to something soft and pink – or vice versa – might take you in a whole new direction.
Forget blusher. It’s easy to focus on eyes and mouth because they’re the first things you notice when you look in the mirror, but judicial use of a subtle blusher on the apples of your cheeks works wonders to banish tiredness, winter blues and even the odd late night.
Hang on to outdated techniques. Dark lipliner was once considered essential to stop colour ‘bleeding’ round the edges, but hard outlines have no place on a modern face. The same goes for bands of blusher underneath your cheekbones.
Leave home without concealer. It’s not just for eyebags and spots, either – dab it lightly over any blotchy area before you put foundation on, to even out your skin tone.