Ladies! Let's be honest, to many of us makeup is not something we're going to spend all day on but wouldn't it be great to pick up a few new tips? I've answered some of the most common questions I get asked and I'm hoping you guys will pick up a few new tricks. The key is keeping it simple and time efficient. Most of my friends and women I know just don't have the time or the patience for various different reasons, to be faffing on for ages. I've given as honest an opinion as I can as someone who loves makeup and as a professional makeup artist. Put the kettle on, get your pen out and most importantly, have fun.

Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick
— Gwyneth Paltrow

Q. How do I contour?

A. Firstly, lets talk about what contouring is. In a nutshell, contouring is a way of moulding and manipulating the shape of something to emphasise and enhance. Looking at the dimensions of your face, we want to highlight the higher planes making them pop, stand out and look fuller by reflecting light off these areas. In places where our face naturally recedes like your temples and under your cheek bones, we want to create shadow so the light won't look like it's hitting these areas. If you look at your face in the mirror, ideally in front of a window and press your fingers into your skin, you can feel the bone and where bits rise and recede. Your face already gives you a natural guide of where to place your makeup.  If you can understand this first it will make it easier to understand why and where you are placing your products to contour.

We also contour to make our faces look more oval. If someone has a slightly rounder or longer face, contouring can give the illusion of a shorter or slimmer face

When contouring you want to use the basic shape of the number three on either side of the face. Starting along your forehead, blend the product towards your temples, down and under your cheek bone. Take the product slightly under your cheeks (use your fingers as a guide if your not sure and push them along and under your cheek bone. Where you feel it dip and recede is where you want to place your shadow). Head back towards you ear and dust down and along underneath the jaw line.  

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Q. What are the best skin care products for very dry and sensitive skin?

A. I really find with skin you have to try before you buy. Asking for testers wherever you go. My skin goes through it all. Sometimes it's great, sometimes I have break outs, it goes dry, it goes oily, the lot. I'm no skin care expert and I find when my skin plays up it could be one out of one thousand reasons which drives me crazy. Generally, I'm a great believer in you get out what you put in but I also know that genetics plays a huge part and some of us are lucky and others get a couple of good days out of the month. Take me and my sister for example. If I don't keep the perfect balance of sleep, hydration, exercise, nutrients and stress levels it all goes out of the window and through hormones into the mix, total nightmare! My sister can go on a food and drinking binge, go without sleep and go from one extreme climate to the other and her skin looks soft smooth and radiant. Why? Seriously! 

I find the more you over think it the worse it can get. We just have to breath learn to love ourselves and work through it. For extra dry skin I like to layer moisturisers on top of each other, this is a technique I've been doing for years and I love it. For extra hydration to the skin, use a hydrating serum first followed by a moisturiser and don't forget eye cream for those delicate under eye areas. If you have a face oil, this is really handy to press into the skin in the morning and at night. For a great hydrating and highlighting technique, after you've applied your makeup, press some face oil onto the skin for an added dewy glow. 

Go for products that are perfume free. I find educating yourself on what you use is helpful too as you'll then be able to identify ingredients that aren't working for you. I've recently started having facials once a month and I can't rave enough about how important it is to take yourself off every now and then and have a you day dedicated to your skin.

If you find makeup can irritate your skin, try using a primer. It creates a webbed effect on the skin so your makeup will stick and stay for longer but it also acts as a barrier between the makeup and your skin.

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Q. What is the best way to colour match foundation?

A. Choose 3 shades of foundation that you think are the closest match to your face. Using each of them one at a time, draw a line from your cheek all the way down your jaw line. (Please don't use the back of your hand!) Start to blend them in with your finger then take a step back and look into a mirror. The shade that has disappeared is your shade. If you can still see it, it means it is too light or too dark for you. Too light will look ashy and too dark will look very yellow. I prefer to use foundations with a yellow undertone. Even on warm skin tones, I find they are the most flattering.

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Q. What is the best coverage for people with freckles?

A. Honestly I love freckles and when people ask me to cover them completely, it breaks my heart a little. If you love your freckles too and would still like a bit of coverage or to feel like you have makeup on, go for a tinted moisturiser or a medium coverage foundation. If you'd like to cover them completely, go for a full coverage foundation. These can be found in stick forms, powder or liquid. Build up the areas you want more coverage. Remember to choose a foundation that matches your skin colour and test it along your jawline first.

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Q. I have red hair, what is the best makeup for me?

A. I love doing makeup for people with red hair. You want to use colours that compliment those copper tones in the hair. I find a simple no makeup everyday look and a blown out dark smokey eye, can look equally amazing. If you've intense green eyes go for plum tones to emphasise the green in your eyes. Try a bronze and brown for a more natural look and smudge some charcoal liner around your eye to intensify the look. Again, with the foundation you want to colour match it correctly along your jawline. Match the foundation to the skin colour but to draw the eyes of others to those amazing tones in your hair, experiment with colours on your eyes and lips.

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Q. Which should take priority, lips or eyes?

A. I say either and it depends what type of day you are having. If I'm in a rush but would like to look like I've made an effort with my makeup, I'll only do a few coats of mascara on the eyes and then I'll add a bright red or pink lip. It's quicker than spending time on my eyes but still looks like a statement makeup look. 

I do love a good dark smokey eye so when I spend time on my eyes, I'll go for a pale colour or nude barely there lip. The truth is, I do both all the time and I love seeing people change up their looks. It's so much fun but if you're in a rush, try my little technique, forget the eyes, add a lick of mascara and go bold on the lips.

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Q. What colours clash?

A. This is something I used to think about a lot. I remember going out one night wearing a pink skirt and wanting to wear red lips and I thought, I can't do that! It will clash! These days, I think anything can work I really do. People are expressing themselves more and more and experimenting and I love it. I think if you're wearing soft pastel clothes and want a colour pop on your face, go for it. If you're wearing an orange top and want to wear pink lipstick and a neutral eye colour go for it. And, if you want to add glitter into the mix... DO IT!   

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Q. How do I compliment my eyes?

A. To compliment your eyes go for contrasting colours that will make you eyes pop. Browns are great on blue eyes as this will highlight the blue, plums look good on green eyes for the same reason.

What about enhancing your eye shape? If you have almond shaped eyes you can add a wing to your liner to emphasise the shape. Not all eye shapes suit winged liner (sorry I know it's a popular look). If you have smaller eyes or slightly hooded lids, smoke your eye shadow up and out. When you open your eyes you still want to be able to see the eyeshadow as a lot of it can disappear so blend it further out. If you have receding eyes, go for lighter shades or add a bit of shimmer so when the light catches, this will help draw the eyes out. The aim is to enhance what is naturally there and not to change it too drastically.

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Q. How do I match lipsticks to outfits?

A. If I'm all in black, I absolutely love a pop of colour and this can be any colour. A little black dress or a long black jumpsuit add a hit of hot pink or coral. If you're feeling like you want to keep your whole look soft do the same with your lipstick, if it's a pastel colours kind of day, wear something soft and pastel like on your lips. It doesn't need to be the same colour just the same mood. I'm not overly fond of too much of one colour going on. If you have a red outfit, red bag and nails, maybe don't go so red on the lips. You can however match you lip colour to your accessories. Try a plum lip to match your plum clutch. Hints of the same colour are better than too much of the same colour. Matching to the mood is something I like to do. Add a dark brown or burgundy lip for a sultry evening look. 

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Q. Do I use creme or powder to contour and why?

A. I use both. I find powder can be easier to use if you're not used to contouring. It takes less time to blend and its easier to fix if you make little mistakes. Creme contouring can seem a little scary because you're drawing the colour on and then blending it in but I love it, particularly on people with extra dry skin or on people that want a very defined, strong contoured look. For everyday and for ease, I tend to stick more with powder. 

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Q. What are the top 5 essentials you should carry in your makeup kit and why?

A. This is a great question, I would say the top things to have are,

  • Mascara. This is the ultimate staple makeup item. Mascara is for everyone whether you like three thick coats or one light coat. For instant glam this is number one. Go black and renew it every three months.
  • Lipstick/gloss. When we're out and about eating, drinking or at the gym, a quick lipstick top up is key for that back to normal glam feeling. It will instantly brighten and add colour to the face. You can even use it to dab on your cheeks and top up your blush.
  • Eye brow pencil. Game changer! Your eyebrows frame your face and instantly bring everything together. Brushed and pencilled in eyebrows will give your face a polished and instant groomed look. Don't ever forget about the eyebrows. Ever!
  • Foundation/tinted moisturizer. To even up the skin tone, use this in the morning and have on hand if you need top ups throughout the day.
  • Translucent face powder. On the go whatever your skin type, we do sometimes get a little shiny especially around the T zone. We want sheen not shine darlings, so to take the glare off throughout the day, have this on hand and sweep a bit over your forehead using a fluffy powder brush.
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