From flawless bases to the perfect red lip, we’re delighted to share our ultimate make-up-bag ICONS.
Having collaborated with several leading make-up artists over the years, and as busy working women, we know a thing or two about constructing a high-performance and easy-to-use cosmetics bag. We have tried, tested and honed our kits, with only the very best products making the cut. These are our favourite make-up-bag essentials.
It is a truth universally recognised that a truly flawless base starts with a great primer. For oily/combination skin, it doesn’t come any better than Erborian’s Matte Crème, which contains silica powder to keep shine at bay. Dermalogica’s Hydrablur Primer acts like a filter for your face, instantly blurring fine lines for a flawlessly smooth complexion. Glow-seekers should look no further than Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Flawless Filter. Blended with nourishing oils and pearlescent porcelain flower, it imparts a luminous, dewy finish.
A good foundation is the crucial building block of any make-up look and the key to success is finding the right coverage for your needs. A staple in Laura’s daily cosmetics bag, Quinoa Water Foundation from clean brand Ere Perez, has a water-light consistency which glides on skin, offering hydration and light-to-medium coverage. For medium coverage with glow-boosting benefits, Charlotte Tilbury’s Light Wonder Foundation ticks all the boxes. And, for evenings and camera-ready occasions, we rely on BECCA’s Ultimate Coverage 24 Hour Foundation for a long-lasting, flawless look.
When keeping our beauty look low-key, these are the products we reach for to give us just a hint of polish. Bobbi Brown’s BB Cream SPF 35 tops our BB list – sitting in the middle of a foundation and tinted moisturiser, the air-light formula delivers on coverage and hydration. Adapting to your skin tone, Erborian’s CC Crème combines colour correction with skin-boosting honey and vitamin E to create a smooth, luminous complexion. For a bare-skin look with added bronze, mix a couple of drops of Chanel’s Les Beiges Eau de Tint into your moisturiser and apply with the flat brush.
The secret weapon in Petro’s make-up kit, there isn’t a concealer she hasn’t put through its paces, and the indisputable winner for disguising dark under-eye circles is BECCA’S Light Shifter Brightening Concealer. When covering blemishes, reach for Hourglass’s Veil Retouching Fluid, which could hide Mount Etna. And for touch-ups on the go, we love Laura Mercier’s highly-pigmented Secret Camouflage compact. Containing two shades, it can be custom-blended to match your exact skin tone.
If there’s one thing we agree on, it’s the benefit of a good bronzer. A mainstay in our kits, Charlotte Tilbury’s Filmstar Bronze and Glow powder duo defines and highlights features for a softly sculpted look. For cream-lovers, Chanel’s cult Soleil Tan de Chanel can be blended onto skin for a just-back-from-holiday bronze. Tom Ford’s Shade and Illuminate palette is a one-stop shop for gentle contouring and glow. Apply to cheekbones, temples and jawline for a sun-kissed effect.
For a healthy flush, these best-in-class blushers are part of our daily essentials kit. On busy mornings, Charlotte Tilbury’s Beach Stick in Moon Beach is the product to reach for. Apply to the apples of your cheeks straight from the stick for a fresh, peachy glow. For an evening-ready sculpted look, Tom Ford’s Cheek Colour comes as a soft, matte powder that gives cheekbones a velvety finish. Those seeking a subtle flush will love Petro’s go-to: Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge, a cream pot that can be pressed onto cheeks and used on lips, too.
Giving balance and shape to your entire face, mastering brows is essential, so it’s important that products deliver. Already on her second tube, Laura loves Glossier’s cult Boy Brow gel to tint and tame hairs. Extra points go to the little spoolie for precise application. For on-the-go grooming, Bobbi Brown’s Brow Kit is the ultimate handbag companion, comprising two shades to swiftly fill and define brows. Tom Ford’s Brow Perfecting Pencil is the best pencil we’ve found, thanks to the fine nib, which creates natural, hair-like strokes.
Depending on your desired eyeliner look, we know a product to suit. For a soft, everyday line with long-lasting abilities, Laura looks to MAC’s Pro Longwear Fluidline, which smoothly sweeps on with a brush. Defined flicks can be easily achieved with Benefit’s Roller Liquid Liner, thanks to its precision felt tip and non-flaky waterproof formula. For a smokey look, Stila’s Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner comes as a creamy crayon, which offers strong pigment that blends effortlessly.
When it comes to eyeshadows, only those of minimum effort and maximum impact make it into our edit. Speed demons should look to Trish McEvoy’s 24-Hour Eyeshadow & Liner – a two-in-one cream stick that can be smudged over the lid, or traced along the lash line to give a long-lasting and crease-free subtle metallic sheen. When looking for just a hint of colour, we love RMS Beauty’s Eye Polish, which gives a sheer, tinted glow. Plus, the clean formula contains nourishing ingredients to moisturise dry eyes. For a day-to-evening palette, Charlotte Tilbury’s The Rebel V2 comes with four universally flattering, smokey shades.
After years of trying and testing, these three mascaras are the ones we come back to time and again. IT Cosmetics’ Tightline 3-in-1 Black Primer Eyeliner Mascara came recommended to us and with good reason; the skinny wand gets right to the root of the lash for an unrivalled lengthening effect. Eyeko’s unbeatable Beach Waterproof Mascara is a must-have for day-long occasions and holidays. A favourite of Jennifer Aniston, Westman Atelier’s Eye Love You Mascara delivers on long-lasting volume and curl and the clean formula is made from 96% natural ingredients.
We’re very impressed with the simplicity of Olio E Osso’s Balm No. 2, which contains just a handful of natural ingredients to nourish lips and impart a pretty tint. The clean balm comes in a variety of shades and can also be used on cheeks. For a sheer hydration hit, Lanolips’ Lemonaid Lip Treatment contains pure medical-grade lanolin and organic lemon oil to exfoliate and moisturise. And when lips are in need of extra TLC, our fail-safe treatment is Twelve Beauty’s Hyaluroil Lip Treatment, a clean formula containing all-natural plant-oils to heal and protect.
The ultimate beauty ICON, the trick to a red lip is finding the right formula for you. Traditionalists will love NARS’ Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Red Square – a true red with a matte finish that doesn’t dry lips. (It’s also Jenna Lyons’ go-to product). Classic lipsticks don’t come better than Pat McGrath Labs’ MatteTrance Lipstick in the geranium-hued Obsessed. While Hourglass’s Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Icon is the best liquid formula we’ve found, delivering a long-lasting, hydrating pop of deep red.
While you won’t find an abundance of complex tools in our kits, there are three essentials that every woman should own. The first is a good set of lash curlers, to give lift and volume, and they don’t come more effective or easier to use than this one from Hourglass. The gold finish has bathroom-shelf appeal to boot. The second is IT Cosmetics’ Heavenly Luxe French Boutique Blush Brush, which was recommended to us by a make-up artist and, thanks to its angled bristles, makes applying blusher and bronzer foolproof. Finally, use Real Techniques’ Miracle Complexion Sponge to give polish and precision to foundation application.
A good nail polish is the ultimate finishing touch, and when it comes to the right formulas, our bar is set high. Every kit needs a classic red, and for this we gravitate towards the long-lasting, intense pigment of Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour in Pirate. Neutral nails need CND Vinylux Weekly Polish in Lavishly Loved, a universally flattering shade with a chip-resistant finish. And for a high-shine top coat that will maximise the lifespan of your manicure, Seche Vite’s Dry Fast offering is the only one worth considering.
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