Foundation: These days I very rarely use a traditional foundation unless the subject has particularly bad skin. I prefer instead to use a very light, sheer base or tinted moisturiser. Many of the tinted moisturisers now on the market contain high levels of pigment, so you still get a good even tone on the skin, without the heavy coverage. Then if any areas need slightly heavier coverage, e.g. blemishes, I use a good concealer and match it to the skin tone. I like to be able to see the skin’s natural texture, especially when shooting close-up beauty, and tinted moisturisers are perfect for this. Many also have the benefit of added SPF. My favourite tinted moisturisers are Bobbi Brown’s, which has a fantastic range of shades for all skin tones, Laura Mercier’s, and I also love Giorgio Armani’s Hydra Glow Foundation, and Face Fabric. Stila also does a brilliant tinted moisturiser, but sadly you can only buy this in the U.S now. I felt slightly bereft when Stila closed in the U.K.
Concealers / Correctors: I have tried just about every concealer on the market in search of the perfect ratio of consistency to coverage, and I found that most, including the brands that other make up artists rave about, somehow came up short. Call me fussy, but concealer, to me, is probably the most important item in my kit and I want it to blend perfectly and smoothly, whilst covering the most stubborn of dark circles. In my humble opinion, the best concealer on the market is by a little-known professional brand called Supercover. You can buy individual pans, but I prefer the Colour Wheel which contains 5 shades that can be blended to achieve the exact skin tone. These are substantial enough to cover tattoos and birthmarks, but creamy enough to blend easily without dragging or looking heavy.
If there are areas of the skin tone that need correcting or balancing, I use Bobbi Brown’s correctors underneath the concealer. The peach tone is excellent for correcting bluish under-eye circles. Occasionally I also use a light reflecting pen underneath the eyes and in the lines either side of the nose, and my faves are Guerlain’s Precious Light, Chanels’s Éclat Lumiere and Bobbi Brown’s Tinted Eye Brightener, I think these have better shades than most on the market. Note: go easy with light reflecting pens, over zealous use leaves a panda-like white cast under the eyes that’s not very attractive.
Powder: I have quite a wide range of powders in my kit for various purposes. Chanel’s Poudre Universelle in Peche is probably my favourite for setting foundation lightly and translucently. It is super sheer, with the tiniest hint of shimmer, and the warm, peachy tone suits most skin types. I also love T. Le Clerc’s powders because they come in a wide range of shades including yellow and lavender to correct certain skin tones. These are pricey, but worth it. If I can’t get hold of T. Le Clerc, I use Ben Nye’s in Banana. For T.V work, I tend to use a much heavier powder, usually MAC’s Studio Fix which can double up as a foundation. This provides a very matte, even base and controls shine well. Im often asked what I think about mineral powders and foundations, and for the most part, I don’t carry them in my kit because they often contain high levels of Titanium Dioxide which is very reflective under studio lights, and can leave a white cast on the skin. However, I do think these are great products. Anything that allows the skin to breathe while you are wearing it is a plus point in my eyes.
Bronzing Powder: What did we do before bronzing powders came along? This humble little compact can transform a face from pasty to sunkissed in seconds. It can shape and shade a face, giving you cheekbones where there were none, and is probably top of the list of desert island must-haves for most women. I reckon I have tested every single one on the market in the search of the perfect bronzer. Most are too orange, too shimmery, or both, and many are simply the wrong texture rendering them hard to blend. Here is a list of my favourites:
Guerlain. They have a huge range of bronzers for different skin tones. They even created a shade called ‘Make Up Artist’ which was jolly considerate of them.
Bobbi Brown. I particularly like their matte bronzers.
St Tropez. Good for darker skin tones. Go easy with the brush and build colour gradually.
Chanel. These have a very subtle shimmer, and they have a great shade for very pale skin tones, in fact it’s the best I have found.
MAC. I really like their Mineralize Skinfinish powders to create an uber sheeny, bronzed look. These have a high frost, metallic finish. Great for cheekbones, shoulders, decollete, in fact, anywhere that requires gleam.
Hydrator: After applying powder, I tend to spritz the face with Supercover’s Hydrator Spray or Avene’s Thermal Spring Water Spray. This not only refreshes the skin, leaving it dewy, it also helps to ‘set’ the make up for a longer lasting finish. Particularly useful if you were a little too enthusiastic with your powder brush.
Part 3 to follow…