Monday was a big day when I was growing up. It was the day my mother did the rounds, checking our bedrooms to see if they were tidy. I took the path of least resistance and kept my things in order while my brothers tried to argue their way out of the inevitable.
Those early days taught me that being organised not only makes life simple but also feels great. So at least twice a year I make it a point to do a clean sweep of my house. My favourite place to start? My make-up stash, of course!
Begin by getting a handle on what make-up you own. Make three piles of everything you have. Make a pile of anything that’s broken, smells funny or has changed colour; this should all go in the bin.
Group together anything you haven’t touched in two years (if you haven’t yet used it, you won’t use it now) and put it in a box to give to a women’s shelter, your local high school’s drama department or your daughter or niece for dress-ups.
Turn your attention to what’s left and cast a critical eye. Is there a handful of products for which you always reach? Do you have multiples of a shade? When it comes to colour, what do you feel prettiest in? Your answers to these questions will help you determine what you do and don’t need to go shopping for.
As you spring-clean, make sure you have the following make-up basics, as these are essential to your look:
It’s the best way to make your skin look smooth and even. The right shade will “disappear” when you swatch it on your cheek. Most women need two shades: one that matches their skin now and one for the opposite season when their skin is either lighter or darker.
Using three shades of eye shadow will make your eyes really stand out. Choose a light all-over colour (white, bone, banana or toast) that blends easily with your skin; a medium colour (taupe, grey or mocha) for your eyelids; and a dark colour (mahogany, charcoal or navy) to line your eyes.
Blush will “warm” your face and give you a glow when you feel dull. Choose two shades: a neutral one that looks like your cheeks when you’ve just worked out and a slightly brighter shade to layer on at night.
Just one swipe can make you look more “pulled together”. Instead of having a dozen shades, focus on finding a neutral shade that you can wear every day (pinky-brown if you’re fair to medium, and rose or raisin if you’re dark) and a slightly brighter shade for evening.
In addition to these year-round staples, I love to have fun colours and palettes that reflect the current season. At the moment I’m enjoying raspberry, which is a cool tone.
It’s a deeper, bluer pink that brings out the natural flush in all skin tones and it’s the perfect shade when you want to look fresh, outdoorsy and bright. Best of all, a little goes a long way.