Makeup overhaul

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New year is a good time to assess your makeup bag.

Somewhat like my sister chucking out all of her out-of-date spices, New Year is the time that I like to overhaul my makeup bag. 

I say ‘bag’, but it’s actually a series of trays arranged on my landing windowsill – just about the only place in the house where I can sit in good light and do my makeup.

Once you’re over 40, your makeup should just be about looking brighter, healthier and better, so the key tools are primer, concealer and blush, to create a healthy glow, and foundation – if you need it – to even out the complexion. An uneven complexion is a far greater sign of ageing than are wrinkles, if looking younger is something that bothers you.

Anyway, most of us don’t wear half of our makeup, so get out everything you own and have a look at it. The average life of a makeup item is six months – if any of your items are older than this, it’s time to think about chucking them out. The mascara tube, in particular, is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, so don’t take any risks with mascaras. 

Pressed powders and pressed eyeshadows that are getting an oily or grubby surface should also be thrown away, along with any makeup items that use a built-in brush and are more than six months old – this includes things like Touche Eclat. If you have a favourite colour that you just can’t bear to get rid off, try sandpapering off the surface of the powder until you get to fresh powder underneath. 

If you have glittery eyeshadows that you don’t wear (most of us have bought eye makeup that has proved way-too-glittery on a softening eyeline) and they are in pale shades, crush them up and recycle them as loose body powders: you can even mix them into your body lotion. 

Clean out your makeup bag/box/drawer/shelf and disinfect it, and wipe over all your brushes with an alcohol wipe (you should be washing these out once a week anyway, to avoid infection).

Then take a look at what you have. IMHO, an over-40s babe’s makeup bag should can usefully contain the following:

* Smashbox skin primer for a perfect satin finish, with or without makeup.

* Foundation of choice (mine’s Dior Airflash).

* Loose powder (I use Yve Rocher).

* Pressed powder (I use Dior).

* Bronzer if you wear it.

* Blusher in the form of gel or cream (for no-makeup days), and powder (for last-minute application) – two shades, one with an apricot tint and one with a rose tint.

* A good quality eyeshadow palette containing brown, flesh colour, cream or gold and one or two in-between shades. I’m currently using Gemey-Maybelline. 

* Dark brown eyeliner pencil (black if you’re dark). I use Revlon. 

* White or pale pink eyeliner pencil to open out the eye (also use the pink one below your browline). I use Eyecare. 

* Mascara in black, brown or browny-black and a waterproof version for swimming/weddings etc.  Also clear mascara if you wear it. (I favour Maybelline and La Roche Posay).

* Eyebrow pencil (mine’s an Ultima).

* Lipliner in the same colour as your lips when you bite them – also use for infill (I use Yves Rocher). 

* Lip balm, red lipstick, pink lipstick, clear lipgloss (I use various makes, but favour Revlon and Chanel for their colour density).  


When it comes to tools, I couldn’t get by without:

Microfoam sponges for applying powder and foundation (Boots’ own).

Big fluffy powder brush for loose powder (Yves Rocher).  

Blusher brush (Yves Rocher).

Lip brush (Yves Rocher).

Clean mascara wand for recombing lashes.

Eyebrow brush (mine’s on the end of an Ultima pencil).

Eyelash curlers (Boots).

Eyeshadow brush (Yves Rocher).

Eyeliner brush (Yves Rocher).  


Everything else can really be discarded. If things are still in their clingwrap, give them to charity, but if they’re used, bin them, and go stock up on decent replacements. Like a capsule fashion wardrobe, a capsule makeup wardrobe needs to be slim and efficient, not stuffed to the gills with things you don’t wear.  


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