Stuck in a make-up rut? That’s exactly how Laura was feeling. So she hit Tom Ford Covent Garden for a one-on-one session to shake up her cosmetics knowledge, coax her out of her comfort zone and learn how to achieve a striking evening look at home.
In summer when my skin has that sun-kissed glow, I can get away with wearing very little make-up – even in the evening. However in winter, when my skin seems so pale and dull, I’m at a bit of a loss. I start to notice uneven skin tone, more darkness under the eyes and my complexion looks so tired and flat. So recently, I’ve been craving a few more tricks in my beauty arsenal. I want to be able to step it up at night and look a little more glam. On the day, I turned up without a scrap of make-up on (glance left if you dare!). And below, witness the power of make-up. The pictures aren’t retouched at all, so you can really see what the right products (and some make-up artist prowess) can do for a girl who’s feeling a little blah.
Whenever I’ve had my make-up done in a store, I’ve always felt a little on display. However, at Tom Ford Covent Garden, you descend a discreet staircase into another world. And it’s exactly what you might expect from a space designed under the watchful gaze of Mr Ford: smoky tones, luxe finishes, a lighting design that made my heart skip a beat and, most importantly, discretion.
A lot of make-up artists I know use their fingers for a super-natural finish, but at Tom Ford, it’s all brushes – and after seeing the result, I’m a believer. The point, I learned, is that it results in a smooth, perfectly blended finish. And when you’re going for glam, that matters. (The cream formula shown here was the base for my smoky eye.)
The first four products completely transformed my skin, and I would have happily stopped there for the perfect daytime look. First, my skin was primed, which is a step I usually skip but may rethink as my skin looked so much better. Next up, traceless foundation (in Bisque, for me) perfected my skin tone; a sweep over the apples from a contouring palette (in Intensity One) found my cheekbones; and brows gave me that polish. Side note: the Tom Ford brow sculptor (in Taupe) is going straight in my make-up bag. It comes with a built-in sharpener, brush and refill.
Hands down, the most impactful step was etching my entire upper and lower lash line in the Tom Ford Eye Kohl Intense (in Metallic Mink, which has an inky shimmer). It immediately added definition and drama to my eyes, and it’s a trick I’ll be adding to my own make-up routine right away.
I’ve always been a little intimidated by eye-shadow palettes, and I had my doubts when I saw this one. The colours may seem solid and intensely pigmented, but they’re actually really soft and buildable. I was shown how to add the colour, starting with a darker base and adding shimmery accents – and now I realise how easy it can be.
I’m wary of certain lip colours, because I think they can be quite ageing on my face. For me, it’s either modern, matte red, or a shade that simply enhances my natural lip colour. Luckily there were a lot of shades, so I was spoilt for choice.
I’m not sure if I’ll have the confidence to do this at home, but for smoky eye pros, this trick is nothing short of miraculous: once you’ve finished your shadow, lightly sweep a blending brush (with a little foundation on it) under your eye to clean up any shadow and then drag up past the corner of the eye towards the temple to create an instant cat’s eye.
For evening, I love my skin to have luminosity (never sparkle!), and this best-selling highlighter (in the aptly named Reflects Guilt) gave my skin a lovely shimmer. It was as simple as sweeping it across the tops of my cheeks.
The signature Tom Ford look has a much richer lip, but for me it’s all about balance. If the eyes are high-drama, I want very subtle lips. And at Tom Ford, I found the perfect nude lipstick (the shade is Devoré). Of course, as lipstick lovers know, it’s not enough to find the perfect shade – the formula has to be right too. This one ticked all the boxes: it felt smooth and hydrating going on, and when I pressed it into my lips for that wash of colour I was after, it left the prettiest, most natural shade that really lasted.
What did I think of the finished result? Despite the fact I was wearing more make-up than I normally would, I absolutely loved it. I think it was really what I needed to confirm that, especially for winter evenings, I want to define my features more and enjoy the transformative effect make-up has when you’re not feeling at your best. With a little practice at home, I think I’ll get that cat’s eye perfected.
As I watched my glam evening look build, I was reminded that make-up really is something that I should try to have more fun with. When it comes to eye shadow, by adding a little at a time and playing with darker and lighter shades, you can quickly build quite a look. What’s the worst that can happen? I go a bit over the top and then take it down a little with a cotton bud.
If you’re looking for a little glam inspiration, anyone can enter that gorgeous mirrored room and get the Tom Ford make-up look, which involves 60 minutes with a professional make-up artist who’ll teach you everything you need to know along the way. You can book the session online (there’s room for two more people, so take friends) and the cost (£65) is redeemable on products.
Blush is one of my favourite steps (perhaps that’s why I look so happy!), and whenever I have my make-up done I beg for more. I just think that flush of colour adds a healthy glow. I usually add it after my base, but at Tom Ford I learnt it should be one of the last steps. That way, you know exactly how much colour you need. This pretty shade, called Inhibition, is an instant classic for me.
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