Growing up I wasn't much of a girly-girl so makeup wasn't big on my teen agenda. My mum didn't wear makeup and I don't have any older sisters so it wasn't something I was really fussed about, and my only experience of it (observing my peers cake their faces in nasty orange foundation) wasn't exactly appealing... Aside from mascara and the occasional dash of lipstick, I only started to wear and experiment with makeup when I started university and my skin started to clear up. It's been a love affair from there, and I think it's really important for us as modern women to EMBRACE rather than shy from a love of beauty and makeup.
We need to move away from the assumption that an interest in beauty products is shallow and stupid, and understand that it's perfectly possible to be smart, confident, and accomplished women yet still harbour a passion for lipstick and feel a thrill of excitement upon opening a new face cream. I like to think that this idea is at the heart of That Grace Girl, so in today's post I wanted to reveal a little about the origins and evolution of my own personal relationship with beauty.
Base I only started wearing foundation about three years ago, and even now I would much rather go without it if I could. This was mainly down to the fact that my skin was so bad throughout my teens, that I was terrified of putting anything on it that wasn't classed as 'skincare'. Base makeup is the one area where I truly believe that paying more pays off. In terms of formula and shade range, high-end foundations are miles ahead of their drugstore counterparts, and as someone with a history of skincare woes I much prefer to play it safe when it comes to what I put on my skin, and stick to what I know and trust (i.e. Nars Sheer Glow). Concealer works wonders and I find it incredibly useful when it comes to covering redness and brightening the under-eye area. When covering blemishes I always apply my concealer before my foundation as I find it draws too much attention to spots when applied on top. I also really love powder and think that it's an incredibly under-rated product. A really good powder can make such a difference to the finish and last of your foundation. And let's face it, compacts are chic.
My picks: Nars Sheer Glow Foundation in Siberia, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation in 10 Beige, Bare Minerals Original SPF Foundation in Fairly Light, Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Fair, Eve Lom Light Illusion Concealer in Alabaster*, Chanel Les Beiges Powder in N10, Real Techniques Buffing Brush
Eyes Mascara was the first makeup item I ever wore and is the one thing I won't leave the house without. Of all of the many and varied products we apply to our faces I really think that it makes the biggest difference - and also requires minimal time and effort - so win win. I went through a terribly embarrassing teen obsession with bright glitter eyeshadow, so in recent years have kept my eye makeup pretty minimal. It's only really been within the last six months or so that I've started to branch out and experiment a bit more with eyeshadow - albeit of a much more subtle type. I have quite sensitive eyes so I don't wear eyeliner on a regular basis, but when I do I've found that (for me at least) less is more. A subtle application with a pen-liner throughout the roots of my lashes suits my far better than a bold cat-eye flick.
My picks: L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes Mascara, KIKO Longlasting Stick Eyeshadow, Bobbi Brown Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow, The Balm Nude'tude Eyeshadow Palette, No7 Stay Perfect Shade & Define, Zoeva 227 Blending Brush*
Lips My relationship with lipstick has always been a bit of a peculiar one - I LOVE buying it and have enough bullets in my MUJI drawers to go a few weeks without wearing the same one twice, but in reality there are only a handful of lipsticks that I actually wear. I definitely think that when it comes to lipstick there are two types of people - those who can pull off any and every lipstick out there (and look REALLY good in it) and those of us who have to be a bit more picky... I have very thin lips so I always used to avoid wearing nudes and really bold colours. However I've since found that some bold colours really suit me, and some nudes make my lips look bigger. However, this certain 'je ne said quoi' has no rule or reason to it at all - I can wear my Chanel red to my hearts content, but the incredibly similar Rimmel shade I picked up looks terrible on me. My biggest tip to anyone with thin lips is to wear a nude lipliner with every lipstick. This helps, a lot.
My picks: Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in Captivante, Chanel Rouge Coco Hydrating Lip Colour in Gabrielle, Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry, MAC See Sheer, MAC Cosmo, Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Boy, No7 Precision Lip Pencil in Nude.
Cheeks Blusher and I don't have much of a history. I only own two, they're both very subtle, and one is more of a contour shade than a blush. Again, I think this probably goes back to having spent my teen years surrounded by girls with bright pink/red blusher washed across their faces because OTT blusher is my biggest pet peeve. Closely followed by OTT bronzer. Contouring looks best when it's super subtle (to the point where you want people to ask IF you're wearing bronzer, not which bronzer you're wearing), and should also be achieved with an equal balance of light and dark, so a highlighter is equally as important. I'm pale and find it hard to wear bronzer so I tend to rely more upon a highlighter to create the illusion of cheekbones. I also find that using a brown-toned blush is WAY more effective than using a bronzer to contour (they always tend to be too orange-toned). Aside from finding the right shade to suit you, a good blending brush is essential.
Eyebrows When I first started filling in and shaping my brows the high-street offered just two eyebrow pencils - neither in a shade particularly suited to my ashy brows. However, c/o Cara Delevinge eyebrows are having a bit of a moment and these days we're really quite spoiled for choice. Until about a year ago an eyebrow pencil was my weapon of choice, but I've since become a convert to using an eyeshadow instead. This makes for a much more natural take on a bold, defined brow - free of rigid lines, easily buildable, and (thanks to MAC and blending) you're pretty much guaranteed to find a spot-on shade. Paired with a brow gel or clear mascara to improve the last and shape, bold brows can remain bold all day long.
I would love to hear some snippets from your makeup stories! What shaped and inspired your love of beauty?