I doubt I’m the only person who feels their relationship with makeup has evolved considerably over the course of the pandemic: with most of us having spent much more time at home over the past year, the novelty of a highly abridged grooming routine has surely now worn a little thin. And while I used to relish my no-makeup days, principally because they were few and far between - the occasional WFH day or Sunday with no social plans - their abundance since 2020 meant they lost their lustre.

But the absence of makeup over the past year has highlighted its importance in my life. I’m happy to admit that makeup to me has never, broadly speaking, been about creativity – I honestly just want to look like a better version of myself, and as I invariably go for no-makeup makeup, it’s all about becoming fuller and bushier of brow and rosier of lip, and subsequently looking (and feeling) more put together. Even just a few minutes spent applying makeup is one of the few constants in unpredictable times, and enjoying beautiful products every day is unfailingly a wholly legitimate source of joy – something perhaps not recognised by those who sneeringly suggest that beauty is entirely superficial.

And so, I’ve reverted to applying a face of makeup, even if only a couple of products, on a near everyday basis – more for a psychological boost than anything else, really. Below, the products I rely on to look groomed, without feeling uncomfortably made-up for a day spent at home.

Complexion

Trinny London’s entire range seems almost purpose-built for attaining this sort of look: all the products are easy and quick to apply, and perfectioning in an entirely natural-looking way. I often find myself reaching for her BFF SPF 30 Cream to create an all-over glow, followed by her foundation/concealer hybrid, Just A Touch. It’s a little pot but the product is quite high coverage, encouraging you to apply specifically where you need to really conceal and not mindlessly covering healthy, beautiful skin (a beauty misstep we have surely all been guilty of at some point).

There’s famously a disconnect between what appears best on camera compared to in real life, and looking elegantly mattified on a Zoom meeting (video calls somehow seem to make all but the very driest types look unflatteringly shiny) can often result in an unnatural and cakey finish in the unforgiving light of day. By Terry’s Hyaluronic Hydra Powder manages to look beautiful both online and offline, cutting shine without leaving even a hint of a tell-tale powderiness.

For days I want to feel slightly more done, Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Skincaring Foundation is a lovely option. Part of a growing category of products that straddle both skincare and makeup (its formulation also contains skin-loving vitamin E and hyaluronic acid), it creates a pretty, lightly perfected canvas that might convert even those who usually completely abstain from foundation.

Lips

Sometimes my love of a product is a slow burn: it’s only when I realise I consistently reach for it on days when I want maximum effect for minimum fuss that its value in my stash is properly acknowledged. Such is the case for Revlon’s Kiss Glow Lip Oil: it has an elegantly light texture that’s comforting on dry lips and not at all sticky. It imparts a whisper of a rosy tint, the sort I go for where I do want a little colour without the fuss or formality of a traditional lipstick.

Some days, though, a little fuss and formality are exactly what I want: it can be a balm for the soul, even if I’m just working from my living room. If I want to feel polished, I invariably rely on a Charlotte Tilbury product to do the trick. Her Pillow Talk Lip Cheat, which I tend to pair with the Pillow Talk Lip Lustre as I prefer its glossier texture, make for the ideal, ultra-flattering lip duo.

Eyes and brows

For everyday wear, a tubing mascara, like Clinique’s fabulous Lash Power Mascara, truly is a no brainer. It won’t smudge and it slips off lashes cleanly with nothing more than warm water; a blessing on days when going through an involved eye makeup removal routine feels an insurmountable mental challenge.

But for all their (many) strengths, tubing mascaras can’t always achieve the same volume as traditional formulations. For a more impactful look, I’ll use a regular mascara (Revlon So Fierce! is a fantastic budget-friendly option I’m obsessed with) and layer the Clinique over the top to prevent smudging, a clever tip if you tend to opt for waterproof formulations but want to side-step the frustration of removing them.

And then, of course, a little brow grooming. Hourglass’s Arch Brow Volumising Brow Gel cleverly deposits microfibres to cheat extra body without looking fake. Its perfectly tinted formula (not too little nor too much) works wonders in just a few strokes.

Story by Tess de Vivie de Régie

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