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Start to Finish 5 Minute Face

I get lots of questions on instagram about my ‘no-makeup makeup’ and what I use. It’s been a while since I decoded my current everyday makeup bag so i thought I’d do a little step-by-step from start to finish, all of which take less than 5 minutes on an average, blear-eyed morning.

To me, makeup should let your skin shine through while covering up the bits that take away from the good stuff (zits, bags, red around your nose etc). I’v normally got all of the above to deal with and while I rarely wear makeup at home or just for running errands, until I have a few freckles or a bit of a tan, fake or otherwise, I feel much better with a little bit of slap. Don’t we all? So this is what I’m using to add a bit of life to my face on a daily basis right now….

Meet 100% barefaced me. This is me totally unedited just after I’ve taken off makeup (in order to start again for this) with just Avene skin recovery cream and Tom Ford Face Protectorant SPF 50 all over me. If I’m doing something a bit more done I might use a primer or a base illuminator but right now, this is about ease and speed so these two are all I need. I like to clip my hair back to do makeup to save any kinks by putting it up but also avoiding any mascara-in-hair situations.

Next up, I use a light layer of Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser in St. Moritz all over my face, minding my eyebrows, top lips and blending extra carefully around forehead and jaw. This is a tiny bit more tanned in colour than my actual skin right now but it as it’s so light it actually helps add a bit of colour and glow without being obviously too dark.

I call this ‘face mapping’ and I use three, yes three, different types of concealer. I use the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger (again, I should really have a slightly lighter shade but this was good when I as slightly more tanned after Jamaica) for my eyes and around my nose, the Estee Lauder Perfectionist Youth Infusion stick concealer (in Light Medium (warm)) for pimples and redness (I use a cotton bud if I’m applying directly to a spot) and YSL Touche Eclat to add light and luminosity to areas of darkness like around my mouth, my cupid’s bow, under my eyebrows and the lines around my nose.

I then use a beauty blender of foundation buffing brush to blend it all in. I don’t like to cover everything those so I leave a bit of natural darkness around the eyes to come through. After this you look a bit weird and flat but that’s what the next steps are for…

A quick sweep of Nars light-reflecting setting powder helps set it all and take away a bit of shine/dewiness without adding any colour or making it too thick.

Unless I’ve just had a bath or I’ve just attempted to run for the bus, I rarely have colour in my cheeks and have the tendency to look really sallow so a bit of pink really helps. I love creamy blushes like the Nars multiple stick in Potrofino or Bobbi Brown cream blush. Smiling creepily is mandatory to help find the apples of your cheeks and then I just blend it in with my fingers.

You known me, I like a bit of warm colour so a good bronzer is a must, as is a delicate touch when using it. Right now I’m using the Victoria Beckham X Estee Lauder bronzer in Saffron Sun and just add a little bit to cheeks, nose and forehead and I also sweep over my eyelids. Don’t forget your neck too…


We all want to be ‘glowy’ right, so highlighter is always a nice little extra. A little bit of Hourglass Ambient Strobe lighting hihglighter or the Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess palette on the tops or cheekbones and brow bones adds just enough shimmer with zero sparkle. I also like Nars Radiance Primer dabbed on cheekbones too for the same effect.

Brows are really important to me and while mine are very dark, they can be a tiny bit patchy. I fill them in with a subtle tiny like the Eyeko brow liner. If I’m not wearing makeup on holiday, a good brow is the one thing I like to still do. Again though, I would never want them to look sharp or perfectly outlined, so I only add a bit of colour to the insides of them, never the outer edges. And yes, my brows are not perfectly plucked but that’s the way I am… I like them to grow out a bit before I attack them with tweezers. Plus who has time or the inclination to remove every errant hair on their body?! Not I.


Lastly, mascara. I might sometimes go without this but if I want to feel a bit more polished or look more awake, I ‘ll always finish with this. If I’m going to be out all day, I go for Eyeko as it really sticks and doesn’t crumble but if I was length and a bit of drama, this YSL mascara is a favourite. And the new one has stars all over it so I kind of love it just for that too.

Lastly, a bit of lip balm really well rubbed in to get rid of any cakiness on lips from the makeup I’ve been putting on and to add a tiny amount of shine with zero colour or gloss. I’m obsessed with By Terry Baume de Rose and the Creme de la Mer lip balm for this. Both are I’ll concede, very expensive for lip balms but they are amazing and I have a weakness for overpriced, indulgent lip balms.

TA-DA. And that’s me done. Take out the clips, muss up the hair and I’m good to go.

I always look dewier immediately after finishing my makeup and then it soaks in and settles a bit, so I try and resist the temptation to over-powder and be too matte. I like a bit of natural shine to come through as I think it’s what makes people look healthy and awake and if I ever wonder why I don’t like my makeup, it’s normally because it’s become too flat.

Five minutes from knackered and sunken to healthy and ‘have you been on holiday?’. Hurray!

Shop the products below:

Top | Vince
Jeans | ReDone
Necklace | Lucy Williams X Missoma 
Choker | Cat Bird

Ph and Gifs by Frances Davison