How to update your make-up bag

powderIt's all too easy to become attached to the 'same old, same old' beauty basics. The good news is that My Beauty Emporium has 10 quick, easy and foolproof ideas explaining how to update your make-up bag.


1. Skincare products

Your skin doesn't stay the same, so why should your products? Add to that the fact that your needs change from season to season and you have good reason to start afresh – or at least take a long, hard look at what you've got. If you're stuck for ideas, start with a simple swap.

Switch your cleansing wipes for the radiance boosting Inedit Radiance Lotion, £19, and add cotton pads if you like to 'swipe clean'. Love the feeling of water? Swap your cleansing bar for the refreshing Caudalie Foaming Cleanser, £15, a foam that you apply to damp skin. Fine lines or uneven pigmentation? Invest in Trilogy Skin Defence Day Cream SPF 15, £28, for daily sun protection and antioxidants to help slow down environmental ageing and pure plant oils for long-lasting hydration.

2. Change your foundation

There's nothing that dates your look more than foundation. Out with anything cakey, heavy and ultra-matte. In with sheer tints, light veils of colour and luminous coverage. Seek out formulations that give you skincare benefits and extra radiance. Be sure to match the colour carefully to your jawline and neck, not your hand.

For sheer coverage and instant radiance, invest in Wild About Beauty Sheer Glow Moisture Tint SPF20, £22, which can also be mixed with your existing foundation to create lighter coverage. 

3. Swap your eyeliner

You don't want to part with that black kohl pencil you've been attached to since your teens, but perhaps it's time to change up to something that's fresher and, be honest, more flattering. If you have been a fan of liner on the upper lid, why not try a turquoise or shimmery metallic along your lower lashes. Line eyes with Nyx Jumbo Eye Pencil in Electric Blue or Sparkle Nude, £5.40. And if you've been lining your eyes with smudgy pencil, try your hand at liquid liner with a flick at the outer corner. It's easy to do with Nyx The Curve, £15, which has a curved applicator.

4. Shape your eyebrows

Eyebrows frame your face and if they're over-plucked or under-groomed, no amount of make-up will redress the balance. If you're addicted to tweezing, consider giving your tweezers a rest and letting your brows grow back. The careful use of a brow pencil or powder to 'fill in' while you wait for them to grow should help keep temptation at bay (and prevent you plucking).

Consider having your brows threaded or shaped by an expert, who can help 'train' your brows into shape. Great brow boosters include Jane Iredale's Itty Bitty Brow Kit, £23, in Brunette or Blonde; or Cheeky Cosmetics Brow Powder, £8, which can be applied with a fine brush, and comes in four different shades to match your natural brow colour.

5. Make-under or make-over

Too much or too little? Which category does your make-up application fall into? If you're sparing with your make-up and think that mascara and lip balm will suffice, consider adding a touch of eye pencil or a lip tint to the mix. Likewise, if you are over-doing it, take a look at what you can cut out. Eyeshadow, liquid liner and mascara could easily be pared down to a quick smudge of powder eyeliner and a flick of mascara for a softer daytime look. And try swapping lipstick for tinted gloss in peach or apricot. Try Lily Lolo Natural Lip Gloss in Peachy Keen, £7.30.

6. Change your lip colour

Do you have a favourite lipstick or gloss that you've been wearing for eons? If you want to pick a new shade that's going to flatter your skin tone and brighten your face, pick a rosy tone that has a hint of your natural lip undertone.

As a rough guide to what suits your skin tone, try these recommendations:

  • For fair skin, true pinks, nudes and apricots work best.
  • Olive skin looks great with shades of caramel, bronze and chocolate, but avoid frosty pinks and lilacs.
  • Dark skin suits browns, plums and berry tones.

Priti NYC nail polish7. Experiment with nail polish

The smallest changes can make the biggest differences. If you're used to sporting unpolished nails, investing in a nail varnish can make you 'on trend' in minutes. Keep it simple with pale pinks – try Priti NYC Nail Polish in Fairy's Petticoat, £8.95 - and beiges which always make nails look well-cared for; or for something more dramatic, dark red is chic and classic. For a deep red, try Sheswai Lacquer in Fersure, £10. And to keep nails ultra-modern, keep them short and 'squoval' ie square with rounded edges, rather than talon-like.

8. Choose peach blusher

Nothing makes you look healthier than a flush of colour on your cheeks. Swap your old faithful pink blusher for something peach-toned, which will give you a glow and a fresh 'pop' of colour. Dust cheeks with Lily Lolo Mineral Blush in Juicy Peach, £7.30. If you're tired, place the colour higher on your cheeks and sweep it up to your temples.

9. How to contour

Contour does not mean painting stripes down your cheeks to create phony cheekbones. Rather than using dark shades to sculpt and shape your face, try the reverse principle using highlighter. A dab across your brows, cheekbones and down the centre of your nose catches the light and gives your face more definition. It's so much easier to do than sculpting with darker powders, which is best left to expert hands. Easy to apply and to blend, use Wild About Beauty Ultra Dewy Glow Stick in Benny 02, £15, to enhance cheekbones and brows.

10. Invest in lash curlers

Curling your lashes will make them appear longer and make you look more 'awake'. Practice makes perfect when it comes to curling. Curl the lashes near the roots first, squeezing for 10 seconds, then repeat in the middle and at the ends. Pair with a lash lengthening mascara, such as Nyx Grow Lash Mascara, £13.80, for extra definition.


Karena Callen is creative and beauty director of


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Last updated: almost 2 years ago