Make-up can be a girl's best friend - and worst enemy. Applied the right way, it can make you look younger, fresher and flawless, but get it wrong and you could look like Amy Winehouse… on a bad day.
We've all seen cases of OTT drag-queen-style make-up, two-tone foundation faces and eyelashes so caked together they resemble spider's legs. Thankfully, make-up guru Bobbi Brown is only too willing to share her secrets so we can avoid such disasters.
No matter how many times a day, week or month you apply make-up, there's always room to re-master those tried-and-true methods and transform your techniques.
:: THE ESSENTIALS
Now is the perfect time to give your make-up bag a spring clean in time for the new season.
"Separate your basics from items rarely used," Brown advises. "At least twice a year make sure your colours and formulas are still working."
If you feel the need to stock up on every eyeshadow colour of the rainbow spectrum, stop! Brown recommends this shopping list of basics for your at-home make-up kit: concealers and correctors, foundation or tinted moisturiser, powder (two colours), eyeshadow (three to four basic colours), eyeliner, mascara, blush and lipstick or gloss.
:: MAKE-UP OVERHAUL
Checking the use-by dates on food is commonsense if you want to avoid a nasty bug. But you should also keep an eye on the shelf life of your make-up to avoid infections and skin irritations.
"You need to get rid of any make-up that's past its expiration date," Brown warns. Toss out any staples that are beyond these dates:
:: Liquid and cream foundation: two years
:: Concealer: two years
:: Powder: two years
:: Mascara: six months
:: Lipstick: 12-18 months
:: Eye pencils: 12-18 months
:: Eyeshadow: two years
: Cream blush: two years
:: Moisturiser: two years
:: Eye cream: six months
:: BROWN’S 10-STEP PROGRAM
Think you have to set aside hours to “put your face on” for a special occasion? Not according to Brown. "When you know how to apply it and have an organised make-up drawer, it should only take five to 10 minutes. Practice is the key," she says.
Here Bobbi unveils her full-proof 10-step guide - but apply your make-up in the correct sequence for a flawless result.
"Using a concealer brush, apply underneath the eye up to the lash line and on the innermost corner of the eye. Blend by patting with your fingers," Brown says.
TOP TIP: Under-eye concealer should be one to two shades lighter than your skin tone.
"For full, all-over coverage, use a brush, sponge or fingers to apply and blend foundation to the outer edge of the face," Brown recommends.
TOP TIP: Invest in two shades of foundation, one for the winter months and a slightly darker one for the summer.
"For crease-free long-wear, apply loose powder in a pale yellow tone (or white if you are very fair) over concealer, using a blender blush or a mini powder puff," Brown says.
TOP TIP: If skin feels dry, dust powder only around the nose and forehead.
"Smile and apply a natural shade of blush on the apples of cheeks. Blend up towards the hairline, then downward to soften the colour," advises Brown.
TOP TIP: Pot rouge or cream blush is a good option for dry skin.
"Neutral lipstick shades and sheer formulas can be applied directly from the tube," says Brown. "Use a lip brush to apply darker or brighter colours, which require precise application."
TOP TIP: If you have thin lips, choose light to medium lip-colour shades. Dark shades have a minimising effect.
:: LIP LINER
"To achieve natural-looking definition and to keep colour from feathering, line lips with a lip liner after applying the lip colour. Use a lip brush to soften and blend any hard edges," Brown recommends.
TOP TIP: Make lipstick or gloss last longer by lining and filling in lips with lip liner before applying colour.
"Fill in sparse areas or holes in the brow with an eye pencil. For the most natural look, layer powder shadow on top," Bobbi says.
TOP TIP: Soften too-harsh brow colour by pressing loose powder onto the brows with a powder puff.
"Sweep a light eyeshadow colour from the lash line to the brow bone," says Brown. "Then dust a medium eyeshadow colour on the lower lid, up to the crease."
TOP TIP: Face powder on lids keeps shadow from creasing.
"Line the upper lash line with a dark shadow colour. Apply damp or dry," Brown says.
TOP TIP: Black eyeliner is the secret to sexy eyes. Layer black liner on top of your normal liner on the upper lash line.
"When applying mascara, hold the wand parallel to the floor and brush from the base of the lashes to the tips. Always apply two to three coats," Brown advises.
TOP TIP: Roll the mascara wand as you go to separate the lashes and avoid clumps.