Words by Patsy O’Neill
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Patsy O’Neill has been a makeup artist for 20+ Years. Here are the best makeup products she can’t live without.
“Having spent over 20 years as a make-up artist, I believe I have discovered exactly what’s needed for a person to feel like the very best version of themself. No matter what age we are, we all just want fuss free products that really work, so here are my all-time favourites!”
1. The best eye brightener
Skin preparation is key for beautiful makeup. For most of us, this involves cleansing our face and applying moisturiser (and hopefully an SPF), but as a makeup artist, one of my favourite things is using Liz Earle’s, Eyebright Soothing Eye Lotion, £18 to wake up the eyes.
For best results, keep this incredible eyebright tincture in the fridge, then apply it using cotton wool pads to experience the magic! The Euphrasia ingredient instantly calms, soothes and awakens – and it’s particularly good for soothing irritated eyes. It’s also very useful for tidying up a mistake with eyeliner or mascara as a small amount on a cotton bud removes any smudges.
2. The best foundation sticks
When it comes to evening out skin tone, I always suggest a foundation stick, mainly because they’re quick and easy to use on-the-go .Unlike liquid foundations, they don’t drip and you can use as much or as little as you like, by layering up for a heavier coverage, or dabbing to hide blemishes or redness.
Make-up artist tip: To loosen the consistency of your foundation stick, apply while your moisturiser is still wet for a light, blurred coverage. Or mix some with your moisturiser on the back your hand to find the perfect shade for your skin.
Whilst a little pricy, the Merit, The Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick, £40, is a staple in my handbag. I love the way it applies; it’s so easy to touch up whilst on the go; it’s breathable and lasts well.
And at the other end of the price spectrum, the Revolution, Fast Base Stick Foundation, from £3.59 comes in a huge range of colours, which is amazing and great value for money. The formulation is a little bit heavier, so you if you want a lighter coverage, loosen it up with moisturiser.
3. The best brow gels
When it comes to eyebrows, people typically fall into two categories: those who invest a lot of time grooming them and those who do very little. However, there is a middle ground. If you’re short on time and don’t want to go overboard, enhancing your natural brows can make a significant impact. Use a brow fixing gel to set your brows in place and look more put together without too much fuss.
The Blink, Brow Bar Clear Brow Gloss, £23 is a firm favourite of mine because it really works! It doesn’t get clumpy or leave a white residue, which so many fixing gels do. I prefer the clear colour, but you can get them in lots of different eyebrow shades and I think they are worth the spend.
And at a superb price-point, it’s e.l.f. yet again for the win! The e.l.f., Clear Brow & Lash Mascara, £3 has brow gel at one end for keeping them in place and a clear mascara at the other end, which is good for lash extensions or if you want a lash lift but aren’t a fan of coloured mascara.
4. The best under-eye concealer
To even out our complexion, we often reach for concealer, but under-eye areas need special care. Luckily, there are lighter, colour correcting products designed for this sensitive area with added benefits like anti-aging properties.
Sadly, Becca stopped existing as a makeup brand a few years ago but their under-eye concealer was such a cult favourite, that Smashbox brought it out and I’m happy to say that it’s still available to buy online! With its soft, easy to blend pink tone texture and luminescence reflecting light to magic away dark circles, the Smashbox x Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector, £27 is just great.
This Brighten Up Concealer by Sculpted By Aimee, £15 is also a firm favourite of mine. The consistency is perfect for your sensitive under eye area and you can use it to build up coverage in other areas of the face at the same time! It also has the luminescence we need to reflect dark circles… a complete winner in my book!
5. The best setting / foundation compact
I wouldn’t be without a compact foundation in my kit…or my handbag for that matter. It’s great for touching up makeup on set or for everyday running around. I’ve talked previously about my love for the Australian brand, Inika. I adore their Baked Mineral Foundation, £38. It comes in a compact, so it’s a solid product that is buildable and breathable. I often find that 5-10 minutes after you’ve applied it, you really see the benefits because the minerals warm up and bed in, allowing the luminescence of your own skin to shine through.
My other favourite is The Body Shop’s, Tea Tree Face Base, £16. The powder texture of this foundation allows for the lightest touch finish, whilst being buildable for more coverage, in a great range of refillable shades.
6. The best mascara
For many people, their one desert island makeup product would be a mascara, and I adore the wave of tubular mascaras on the market right now. There are two main things I want from a mascara – I don’t want it to budge during the day, and I want it to come off easily at night – and tubular mascaras manage to achieve both!
One of my favourite everyday mascaras – in fact everyone’s raving about it – is the Vieve, Modern Mascara, £23. It can be used in one coat to achieve defined eyelashes, but if you want more volume or length you can build it up without it clumping or flaking. This long-lasting, intensely pigmented mascara has become a staple in my kit.
I also love the Hourglass, Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara, £24 because it goes on like a dream and is delightful to wash off at night! It separates your lashes, allows you to layer up and create a thicker lash with ease, lasts a long time and there’s a lot of product in the tube!
7. The best makeup pallets
One of my top tips would be to invest in a good makeup pallet. One pallet often can do a few jobs in one, offering you a blusher, highlighter, bronzer and sometimes eyeshadow, but with so many to choose from, it can be hard to know what to spend your money on. Here are my top two pallets that I feel are worth the investment.
They’re not cheap, but Hourglass pallets are well known and make a great gift for someone who’s really into experimenting with makeup. I love the Hourglass, Ambient Lighting Edit Unlocked, £86, which is made up of the brand’s hit bronzer, blusher and highlighter. The pigment and luminosity in the product make for easy application and the packaging is always beautiful.
I would also recommend the Sculpted By Aimee, Bare Basics Palette, £32. It comes in two colour variations called Nude 01 & Nude 02, and offers plenty to play with for the face and eyes. I would say there’s just the right amount of everything and the formulations are so easy to apply.
8. The best eyeshadow crayons
Eyeshadow crayons are one of the best makeup inventions, whether you want to create a strong or natural everyday look. There are no brushes required, you just need your fingers to blend or possibly a small angled brush if you want to make it more detailed. On the whole they are a foolproof way to create anything from a smudgy line to a smoky eye!
I love the Vieve, Eye Wands, £23 as they don’t budge; they’re easy to apply and they come in an array of shades. I’m particularly addicted to their Mahogany shade – an aubergine tone – as it’s so unique.
The e.l.f., No Budge Shadow Stick, £6 is a versatile cream eyeshadow stick which delivers a high-pigment, with stay-put power at a great price point. It’s creamy, blendable and crease-resistant which could double up as a primer if you want to layer regular eyeshadow on top. The twist-up design offers foolproof application while the convenient built-in sharpener keeps the precision point sharp. Love, love, love!
9. The best lip crayons
I love a lip crayon. Most tend to have that beautiful fudge-like, matte, satin finish, and the ones I reach for over and over again, are not drying. A hydrating formula that delivers colour or pigment is key for any lip product, especially as we head into the colder months.
Pillowy-soft, the Monika Blunder, Kissen Lush Lipstick Crayon, £28 is infused with natural botanicals and oils to keep your lips moisturized. It’s cloud-like formula slides on smooth to give an airy, buttery finish, and it lasts a long time! My favourite rose shade is Florence.
Burt’s Bees have been doing moisturising, lipsticks and crayons for a long time now and they are just the best! Just perfect for everyday wear, their Matte Lip Crayon, £9.99 is a lightweight formula infused with Shea Butter, Kendi Oil, and Jojoba Oil.
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Makeup Artist and Beauty Consultant