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Working in beauty for the best part of a decade has afforded me the skills to master lots of smart makeup tricks. There’s “brow mapping” (using your facial features to determine where your brows should start, arch and end) and the clever red lipstick hack that stops bronzer from appearing orange. One thing I’ve struggled with, though, is soft, natural everyday makeup. How do you look as though you haven’t tried without forgoing coverage? And is it possible to wear lipstick without feeling too “done”?
I needed a little help, so when I was invited to check out the new Burberry beauty counter in Selfridges recently, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. If anyone knows a thing or two about how to achieve a classic, effortless look, it’s the timeless British brand. (The iconic trench coat is a fashion mainstay for a reason.) Excitingly, Burberry just expanded its beauty offering, and now, a makeup collection sits alongside its popular fragrance dynasty.
There are beauty experts on hand, too. Getting your makeup done at a beauty counter has long been considered a rite of passage; think prom, milestone teenage birthdays and bridesmaid duties. But gone are the days of inaccurate shade matches and the idea that deep purple eyeshadow suits everyone (it doesn’t). Things have come a long way, as I discovered when trained Burberry makeup artist Nassim sat me down in her chair.
Just 20 minutes later, my makeup had never looked better, and the tips I learned continue to serve me well each morning. Here’s everything I’m applying to my own beauty routine going forward.
Try “in-built” eyeshadow
Dark under-eye circles and discolouration are very common and entirely normal, but if you’re keen to minimise their appearance, a dab of full-coverage concealer is your best bet. We can mostly attribute the ingrained habit of haphazardly swiping it everywhere to the beauty YouTubers of yesteryear, but Nassim’s top tip was to leave eyelids entirely free of base makeup. Not only do our eyelids have natural creases, which means foundation and concealer tends to collect there throughout the day, but they also tend to be a slightly different shade, perhaps darker or more pink, than the rest of our skin. Try not to see this as uneven skin tone or something that requires covering up; think of it as a natural, inbuilt eyeshadow. Nassim made sure not to blend the concealer up to my eyelids so that my natural skin colour shone through. Then she told me that blending some bronzer (or even some of the lipstick I want to wear) into my eyelid crease can create an understated, unintentional ombré eyeshadow look.
On me, Nassim used Burberry Kisses Satin Lipstick in Horseferry Beige, £35. For an evening look, I topped this up with YSL Rouge Pur Couture Refillable Lipstick in NM, £35. If you’d rather spend less, try e.l.f. O FACE Satin Lipstick, £9.
Use lipstick as blush
Cream blush isn’t necessary when you have lipstick to hand. Wearing lipstick as blush isn’t a novel idea, but Nassim told me that making it look convincing requires smart application. To avoid transferring makeup and bacteria from your face onto the lipstick bullet, make sure you have clean hands and swipe a little product onto the soft pad at the base of your palm, just underneath your thumb. Gently rub your palms together to warm up the lipstick and use each palm to press the lipstick onto your cheeks, focusing more so on the high points. Tap the remainder of the lipstick onto the tip of your nose to pull the makeup together. It’s simple but effective.
Diffuse your lipstick
My one issue with lipstick is that it often makes me look too “done”. There’s a place for a crisp lip in my beauty routine, but for everyday, I prefer a result that’s soft and diffused. That’s where an eyeshadow brush comes in. Nassim taught me to apply my lipstick as normal and to very gently swipe the brush over my top and bottom lip line to blur the edges. Nassim focussed on my Cupid’s bow, pushing the lipstick upwards slightly to give the illusion of plumper lips. This works especially well with nude shades, like the ones above. Also try Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Beauty Icon Lipstick, £27, available in new shades, and L’Oréal Paris Color Riche Satin Lipstick, £7.99, which has great staying power. When it comes to brushes, I like Fenty Beauty All-Over Eyeshadow Brush 200, £20, and Sephora Collection Eyeshadow Brush 08, £9.99.
Apply mascara with one eye closed
It might sound impossible, but if you always get mascara on your eyelids, or accidentally poke yourself in the eyes, consider applying it on a closed eye. In theory, it shouldn’t work. While my eye was closed, Nassim lifted my brow slightly and applied the Burberry Ultimate Lift Mascara, £32. The curved brush boasts tiny teeth rather than tightly-packed bristles, which makes light work of defining, lengthening and beefing up lashes without clumping. Since, I’ve learned that giving my lashes a good press with an eyelash curler makes them sit up when the eye is closed. This is especially useful if your lashes are on the short side and you want them to appear longer. It’s then really easy to swipe on mascara without getting it everywhere or causing eyes to water. If you aren’t sold, maybe TikTok’s beauty enthusiasts can convince you: The hack is already viral.
Reconsider your foundation brush
Lastly, not all foundation brushes are created equal. If you want full coverage, something with densely packed bristles is best, but if it’s lightweight coverage you’re after, consider a flat brush. Nassim used her fingers to dot Burberry Beyond Wear Perfecting Matte Foundation, £45, over my forehead, cheeks, chin and nose so that it was evenly distributed, and used the very tip of the brush to lightly blend the product into my skin in downward strokes. The matte, featherweight finish of this foundation is on par with my favourite (Gucci Beauty Fluide de Beauté Natural Finish Fluid Foundation, £46) but the shade range isn’t as extensive. For a wider choice, consider Fenty Beauty PRO FILT’R Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, £30, or NARS Soft Matte Complete Foundation, £31.
I liked the result so much that the next morning, I dusted off a similar brush — Jones Road The Skin Brush, £35 — and copied the same delicate technique. Blending felt a lot more precise compared to the large, chunky brush I had been using; I didn’t need to use micellar water to remove makeup from my brows, lashes or lips, either. That said, I don’t believe you have to splurge on brushes. The Sephora Collection Foundation Brush 01, £12.99, and MASQD The Flat Foundation, £8, are just as good.