Creating the perfect make-up bag

As A/W trends land on cosmetics counters, it’s time to streamline your beauty regime. From classic pieces to the best new season launches, Weekend’s Beauty Editor Rachel Marie Walsh creates the perfect make-up bag.    

Good skincare is worth investing in but you don’t need high-end products for every step of your regime to look great.

Cleanser, for example, spends very little time on the skin. Buying a pricey one loaded with ingredients that would only make a difference when regularly left on for hours at a time seems wasteful. All that is required of a cleanser is the gentle, effective removal of dirt and derma- debris without leaving residue.

Harley Street dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting often recommends Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, €14.86, to clients. This basic yet efficient wash-off product best suits normal-to-dry skin. Eye makeup remover is another item for which price does not always equal skincare value. Budget removers Simple Kind to Eyes Eye Makeup Remover, €3.79, and Nivea Daily Essentials Double Effect Eye Makeup Remover, €4.99, are both very useful and won’t irritate sensitive skin.

Serum should be the most expensive item on your skincare shelf, simply because a good one provides high (usually costly) concentrations of potent extracts undiluted by the cheap base ingredients (e.g. water, glycerin) found in most moisturisers.

If you have oily skin, you can skip an additional moisturiser altogether and finish your regime with a vitamin-rich serum like the new MAC Lightful C 2-in-1 Tinted Serum with Radiance Booster, €54, which helps maintain an even complexion and works well under makeup.

Get your look for less

Makeup wise, mascara and liquid eyeliner need to be replaced most often (for hygiene reasons), so it is worth choosing good cheap ones over designer tubes.

L’Oreal Paris Volume Million Lashes Feline Mascara, €14.98, both bulks up and separates lashes without breaking the bank. Felt-tip eyeliners minimise time spent on flawless feline flicks.

Physicians Formula Eye Booster Lash-Boosting Serum + Liner, €15.90, is new to pharmacies nationwide and has an extremely precise pen and impressive staying power.

It is wise to devote most of your makeup budget to a foundation that both benefits your skin and looks great. Smashbox HD Liquid Halo Foundation, €35.50, photographs beautifully, contains soothing extracts and suits all skin types.

Creating the perfect make-up bag

If you have age spots or other pigmentation issues, try Strivectin Clinical Corrector Advanced Anti-Ageing Face Tint SPF35, €42@Harvey Nichols and The formula provides excellent sun protection, radiant camouflage, and a high concentration of spot-lightening niacinamide, among other reparative ingredients.

Stick to classic shadows

Most of us only need two eye-shadow palettes: a trio of nudes for daytime and a smoky-eye kit for the evening.

These are the basics but one of this season’s biggest product trends is for palettes that combine the two. “Greige” eye kits are a highly practical phenomenon filled with suit-everyone shades in a variety of textures. The Urban Decay Naked Smoky Eye Palette, €46, is already a hit with top beauty editors.

This latest addition to the brand’s popular Naked eye collection offers all the warm bronzes, dimensional greys, rich browns, and soft taupes you need for any occasion. The compact comes complete with a double-ended shadow and liner brush and detailed instructions on creating a variety of looks.

Bobbi Brown’s Greige Eye Palette, €68, available from September 1, was inspired by a shade range she came up with during a home interiors project. It combines some of her best-selling grey and beige- toned shades with shimmery newbies like “Twinkle” and “Earth Metal,” all of which can create chic, modern looks.

Good tools save time

Even an amateur artist is only as good as her tools. A quality brush-set, much like a great winter coat, finishes its run with a very reasonable cost-per-use. BareMinerals is expanding its “Bare Brush Bar” collection considerably from September 1, with precise new designs available for making-up all features. The face and finishing brushes are particularly good at cutting application time.

Foundation and concealer designs to look out for include Beautiful Finish, €29, which is packed with synthetic fibres for stippling sheer-to-full coverage foundations, and Smoothing Face, €27, for sheer- to-medium coverage blending of the brand’s excellent Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream SPF30, €29. The tapered Complexion Perfector, €27, makes for seamless smoothing of liquid foundations and concealers.

Seamless Buffing, €27, features an antibacterial treatment and works well with BareMinerals Blemish Remedy Foundation, €29, for oily skin.

Creating the perfect make-up bag

New brushes for finishing include the plush Supreme Finisher, €27, for the natural-look perfection of mattifying powders, highlighters and bronzers.

Makeup sponges remain beauty-bag essentials this season. The elliptical shape of the Beautyblender Sponge, € lets you apply and buff product evenly in difficult corners.

Skincare can work like a primer (and vice versa)

Foundation primers have gone from seeming superfluous to veritable makeup essentials in recent years. While their oil-controlling/pore-filling/wrinkle-smoothing properties are paramount, primers that double as treatment products like SPF moisturisers or antioxidant serums are valuable timesavers for your beauty regime.

Take First Aid Beauty’s new Skin Rescue Oil-Free Mattifying Gel, €29.50 This non-sticky, residue-free hydrator layers beautifully under makeup. It contains an impressive range of antioxidants that both reduce redness and work to prevent ageing.

Salicornia herbacea and niacinamide, just two examples, have both been shown to lighten age spots and post-acne marks. The Balm Honey Face and Body Primer, €23.40@feelunique, is a great buy for normal-too-dry skin.

The lightweight, silky texture belies a formula rich in collagen-supporting antioxidants and emollients.

Read widely

It is fun to give a beauty blogger with great makeup a follow but beware of sponsored posts. Social media-ites that write these or participate in Insta-marketing may not provide the most honest product reviews generally.A Model Recommends, a blog by London model and beauty junkie Ruth Crilly, and are both thoughtful, entertaining places to read about beauty online. is an excellently-curated online boutique where you can stay ahead of the curve by reading about obscure beauty gems from all over the world. Makeup artist Lisa Eldridge posts wonderful video tutorials and advice at Her first book, Face Paint: The Story of Makeup, is published by Abrams New York and currently available to pre-order for October 13 via Amazon and

Make the most of your brows

Lush, defined eyebrows are the most desirable features of the moment. Simply brushing a well- shaped brow can really open up the eye area, giving it a modern, youthful look. If you have yet to recover from past plucking disasters, I recommend the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Kit, €62, for a home makeover. This contains tinted powders, professional angled-tweezers, gel, brushes, and (perhaps most usefully) stencils that help guide the shaping and filling of brows of any size into flattering arches.

YSL Couture Brow, €25, on counters from September 1, is a brow-shaping mascara that allows you to fix and intensify your eyebrows to look as natural or dramatic as you wish. The formula is very long-wearing and contains light-reflecting pigments that create a volumizing 3D-gloss effect.


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