‘Never match your make-up to your outfit.’ This is the first tip Diana Kohutova gives me. And as the regional make-up artist for Bobbi Brown, a US-based cosmetics company and industry leader, she sure knows her stuff. ‘Use your natural colouring as a guide,’ she explains. I’m amazed by how many steps are involved in looking ‘naturally’ beautiful. ‘Not all of them are essential,’ she assures me.
I leave her make-up booth with a cachet of tips and a fresh face that actually makes me look (gasp) younger. We’ve included the step-by-step process of achieving the same look.
Step one: Prime the skin
Before touching a brush to your face, it’s vital to cleanse and moisturise.
Bobbi Brown tips: For dry skin, apply a cream cleanser – this allows the oils to dissolve – before washing with water. For oily complexions, use a gel cleanser on wet skin.
Step two: Concealer
Even if you don’t use any other make-up, Kohutova maintains that concealer is a must. ‘It covers any under-eye bags and makes you look fresher.’ When choosing a shade, go for one that’s a degree lighter than your natural complexion and apply with a brush. ‘If it looks ashy, it’s too light. If it looks very yellow, it’s too dark,’ she says.
Bobbi Brown tips: Peach-toned concealers are good for darker or tanned skin, while pink tones are ideal for pale complexions.
Step three: Foundation
Foundation helps to even out the skin and cover blotchiness. ‘To find the right shade, test a few options on your jaw line. The shade that disappears is the right one,’ says Kohutova.
Bobbi Brown tip: Powder-based foundations are great for those with oily skin. Those with dry skin should opt for a creamy formula.
Step four: Bronzer
Though not essential, a good bronzer gives off a nice, sun-kissed look. Brush it over most of the face, but spare the cheeks.
Bobbi Brown tip: Test for the right shade on your neck or chest.
Step five: Blush
Kohutova advises blending blush across the apples of your cheeks towards the hairline, then downward to soften colour.
Bobbi Brown tip: Tap off excess powder before sweeping the brush across your face. It’s far easier to build colour in a few light layers than it is to remove it.
Step six: Lipstick/gloss
Start with a smudge of lip balm to make sure your lips are hydrated, then apply lip liner (for long-lasting colour), lipstick and, finally, gloss. ‘Choose a shade that matches your natural lip colour or is a degree or two darker,’ says Kohutova.
Bobbi Brown tip: If you have thin lips, use light to medium shades. Dark colours will make lips look smaller.
Step seven: Brows
First, pluck excess eyebrow hair growing under and between the brows. Next, define the brows using a neutral eye shadow. ‘Find a shade that matches your hair colour,’ advises Kohutova. Apply the shadow with a small brush and gently fill in the lines of the brows to create a sleek look.
Bobbi Brown tip: To tame unruly brows, use a light gel.
Step eight: Eye shadow
Use two layers of shadow. The first neutral shade will hold the second layer in place and prevent creasing. To apply, use a brush and press the colour onto the lid up to the crease. ‘If you sweep the colour on, it can get under your eyes,’ Kohutova explains.
Bobbi Brown tip: To make blue or green eyes pop, use a contrasting colour, such as heather. Brown eyes can carry almost any colour.
Step nine: Eye liner
For a smoky look, gently wet a thin brush and dip it in black eye shadow.
Bobby Brown tip: Those with dark shadows under their eyes should avoid putting liner on the lower lids, as this will make them look darker.
Step 10: Mascara
When applying mascara, hold the wand parallel to the floor and brush from the base of the lashes to the tips, rolling the wand to avoid clumps.
Bobbi Brown tip: To plump anaemic lashes, try a thickening mascara.