Last weekend, I embarked upon a spring clean of my make -up drawer, which was so abundantly over-stuffed it would barely open.
My beloved stumbled across me in an apron, blithely soaping my brushes in the sink, and trilled: ‘Ladies, I like to do this once a week,’ as if I were some sort of influencer.
‘But, you are meant to do it once a week,’ I cried, causing him to collapse with mirth.
This is curious, as he was once an art-school student, and the same principle applies. Don’t wash your brushes? Hello, ugly, sludgy mess — only with make-up, you’re also likely to get acne and/or pink eye.
Hannah Betts advises to not make the mistake of harboring too many options. UK-based beauty expert describes how best to apply make up and skincare
This is never more crucial than in mid-life when clever textures are all, and not piling it on with an encrusted trowel is also key.
Post-40, we want to look as if we know what we’re doing, and the more honed the tools, the more nuanced the effect.
One essential I deploy between washes is The Apprentice winner Tom Pellereau’s StylPro Anti-Bacterial Make-up Brush & Beauty Tools Spray (£9.99, feelunique.com). Use on brushes, tweezers, clippers — anything potentially icky in your cosmetics arsenal.
Otherwise, for their once-weekly dip, there’s make-up artist favorite StylPro Make-up Brush Cleaner and Dryer (£24, boots.com), which cleans and dries in seconds.
I’ve never understood Beautyblenders and their first. Those who do should equip themselves with Pellereau’s Stylpro Squeeze Beauty Sponge Cleaner (£32, boots.com), because they can become festeringly grim.
Given that fiftysomething’ beauty is about a series of technical touches, brushes are essential, even for a diehard finger-dabber such as Trinny Woodall. However, don’t make the mistake of harboring too many options. MAC may boast four zillion brushes, but MAC serves make-up artists. For the happy amateur, too many tools simply get in the way.
Hannah Betts (pictured) says given that fiftysomething’ beauty is about a series of technical touches, brushes are essential
You can finger-dab, but a brush is best for under-eye concealer. Budget is fine: mine is an old £2.99 TK Maxx find, not unlike MAC’s 242S shader, now half price (£12.60, maccosmetics.co.uk).
When it comes to foundation, I’ve always been a dabber rather than a brusher, following makeup guru Mary Greenwell’s axiom that fingers on skin give a lifting circulation boost.
However, Rose Inc’s outstanding, sheer Skin Enhance Luminous Tinted Serum (£36, spacenk.com/uk) benefits from being applied with its angled Number 3 Foundation Brush (£28). Inspired by this, I bought a slanted Face & Body Brush 124 for less than £3 at Hema in Paris recently (Hema’s sadly gone from the UK) and do increasingly use it to apply liquid base.
An angled brush will also be required for cheeks. Mine is an ancient, double-ended H&M number with slanted bristles on one extreme (for the bones), splayed on the other (for the apples). If you fancy a splurge, try MAC’s Dual-ended Brush in Magnificent Moon (£21, maccosmetics.co.uk).
Jones Road’s amazing Blush Brush (£32.50, jonesroadbeauty.com) has finally enabled me to fall in love with cream blush.
If I ever contour, I avail myself of Charlotte Tilbury’s Powder & Sculpt Brush (£35, charlotte tilbury.com). And you’ll also need a full, fat affair for powder — bargain is fine — such as Boots Powder Brush (£5, boots.com).
For eyes, I adore Charlotte Tilbury’s Eye Smudger (£25) for sockets, and her fantastic Eye Liner Brush for kohl (£20).
I use several slanted shadow brushes to follow the arch of the lid (plus an extra for applying highlighter crescents on top of cheeks). Try H&M Eye Shadow Brush (£6.99 as part of its Brush Kit, hm.com).
As for lips, I opt for anything so long as it’s retractable, thus it doesn’t destroy my make-up bag. This means a pack of two Retractable Dual End Lip Brushes (£7.99, amazon.co.uk). Pretty tacky, but super-light and very effective.
RACE YOU TO IT
Everyone’s going to want a M&S Summer Beauty Bag (right, £25 when you spend £30, marksand spencer.com from tomorrow). This year’s version is crammed with six full-size wares and five travel minis from brands including Clinique, Origins, Aveda, Prai, Nuxe, Nails Inc and This Works — worth £160. But be quick: previous M&S Beauty Bags have sold out in hours.
MY ICON OF THE WEEK
Nigella Lawson, 62, (pictured) attributes her complexion to having ‘no sun and eating lots of fat’
The British beauty, 62, attributes her complexion to having ‘no sun and eating lots of fats’. She is also a fan of Garden of Wisdom’s 100% Pure Prickly Pear Seed Oil (£20, victoriahealth.com) saying: ‘Put it on at night and you’ll wake up looking as if you’ve been to a spa by the sea, sleep ten hours a night and been off Twitter for a month.’
Behold, Charlotte’s velvet make-up bag (£30). Or go all out with her Jubilee Bundle (£124): the bag, Magic Cream and a jewel-hued lipstick.
Perfect for getting hands ready to press flesh with your subjects — gloved, of course.
Inspired by Her Majesty’s gardens, this has notes of orris (iris), oats, rose and a violet heart.
The brand’s classic face freshener featuring a jolly, Londonloving label.
After a pandemic spent with barely brushed locks, the ‘glasshair’ craze has brought super-sleek styles back to the fore.
Aveda’s defrizzing range has been a global best-seller since its launch in 2010, aimed at providing a salon-straight blowdry at home. In 2014, Smooth Infusion Naturally Straight joined the line-up, loosening curls with every use. So hair became straighter and stayed that way, allowing for less time styling and more protection from humidity. The revamped Aveda Smooth Infusion Collection (from £23.50, aveda.co.uk) includes five products that coat hair in a plant polymer shield and botanical oil blend to render it instantly smooth, giving longer-lasting results than its former silicone-based formula .