29th June 2015 Helen 8Comment

A big clap on the back for Sinead over at Bumbles of Rice for hosting a ‘How to look human on three hours sleep’ linky. None of that ‘how to looking like a supermodel while breastfeeding a baby, making a soufflé and taking a conference call’ nonsense. No. This is more about scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel to find enough product to make yourself look respectable after one of those nights where the landing seemed like a train station. So given we’re in the league of lowest common denominator beauty tips, I feel that I – an exhausted, broke and somewhat frazzled mother of three knocking around a mirror-less half-finished house, is well positioned to make a contribution! Welcome to my Barefaced Truth!

I feel that with my first (and likely last) beauty related post, I should make my excuses early and often.

First off, three weeks after moving house I honestly only have access to the rear view mirror in the car. Therefore if you’ve seen me anytime in the last fortnight be kind. On that point there will be no pics, vlogs or actual proof I use this stuff. You’ll all just have to imagine the sheer perfection of me.

Second, as my husband would attest (if allowed) I am a terrible woman for buying products but forgetting to use them. Much like that pilates ring that I thought would give me a sculpted torso, it appears I have mountains of cosmetics, all well-past their freshness date and many of which I don’t use. None of that stuff features here – this is the stuff so well used the packaging is in bits.

And last, I have about 15 make up bags but don’t use any of them. Everything is fecked in the front pocket of my rucksack so I can’t forget it in the morning.

So now to the products….

The bare necessities

Cutting to the chase there are only three things I know that I’d actually be lost without. First off is a tiny tweezers that lives in my bag for that single random hair on my chin that overnight grows to about 2cm in length. It’s the sole survivor of a Benefit eyebrow kit from years ago and it’s essential for losing the bearded lady look when that little follicular explosion happens. Second, I have fallen from grace as a girl who could not leave the house without a daily shampoo to girl who can. Batiste Dry Shampoo was always a top ten in my post-natal shopping basket but of course it had the critical disadvantage of making my hair look even more washed out than it is. Step Up Batiste Light and Blonde which instantly de-greases hair without making it look grey. Batiste, I love you. And finally, I’m currently addicted to Kiehl’s Calendula Cleanser and the Ultra Face Cream. These have banished my sometimes spotty, often dehydrated skin and mean I can face the world without makeup – even if that’s more by accident than design.
Bare Necessities

Base products

Dating back to when I could afford binges at the Laura Mercier counter (think 2007, Celtic Tiger, two incomes, no children) I love a good primer. I normally come into work having just managed to smear moisturiser on my face so I lash this on before applying foundation and find its good for smoothing my complexion. I’ve two primers on the go at the moment:

Garnier 5 Second Perfect Blur – often available on a ‘3 for 2’ in Boots this gives you a lovely dewy look that can helpfully distract from what lies beneath;

Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Good Morning Re-texturising Primer – which I got free in Cleary’s (sob) awhile back and which is lovely..


Women (and make-up wearing men) are so bloody lucky as – let’s be honest, a good foundation covers a multitude. Depending on the day, the time I have to blend / smear and the type of coverage I need I’ve a few different BB creams and Foundations. Current favourites are:

Garnier BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector for Sensitive Skin – very nice and cheap as chips when on a ‘3 for 2’ deal with the Perfect Blur

Kiehl’s Actively Correcting Beautifying BB Cream – fab as it has an SPF of 50 (though a little smelly as a result)

Max Factor Facefinity All Day Flawless Foundation – a much-loved replacement for Estee Lauder Double Wear, this Max Factor foundation is perfect for long days or – breath deep, nights out. It’s also about half the price of Estee Lauder and often on ‘3 for 2’ in Boots (are you seeing a trend here?).

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Cream Makeup – three days after coming back from maternity leave I was given about 20 minutes notice of a meeting. I looked like I’d been kicked out of a skip. Enroute to the meeting I nipped into Cleary’s (second sob) where a lovely girl at the Elizabeth Arden counter did her magic and lashed enough foundation on my face to render it semi-respectable. This is one of those creamy foundations that goes on pretty easily and is particularly fab for a sneaky refresh during the day – though I suspect the sponge gobbles up lots of the foundation so I’m thrifty with it. The Mineral Foundation is a loose powder with a very cool twistable dispenser that means it doesn’t end up all over the inside of your bag. Both are winners.

Primer and Foundation

And finally, the introduction of a little contrast… eyes, cheeks, and lips.

At this point my two minutes smearing of product has me looking a little oat-mealy! If I’ve done my job well I look even-toned if a little dead. Though not one for dramatic contrasts I have a few favourite products for a little bit of much needed colour:

Cheeks – a little subtle blusher works wonders and my favourite is Benefit Dandeline powder. An old favourite for dressing a hangover, these days it makes me look less wilty – and maybe even fresh.  I struck out a while back when Benefit was sold out and got the Hervana Powder. It’s nice but I’ll go back to Dandelion when I run out again – in about 2 years time!

Eyes – I’m partial to muted shades of eye colour not least as I’m terrible at applying it. I’ve abandoned creamy eyeshadows as they tend to sit in my wrinkles (third sob this post) and just stick to a few basic Rimmel palettes that I have knocking around.  Don’t laugh please but I’m a big fan of blue-black mascara as it works well on my blue eyes and doesn’t make me look like a panda. But since we’re not living in 1980’s Ukraine it’s hard to find so I tend to just use whatever black waterproof one is on sale. Today its a No. 7 Lash Impact mascara I got free somewhere.  I have eyeliners and pencils but they never see the light of day and are probably in the Twistables box at this point. My eyebrows tend to disappear into blonde obscurity so I swear by a Benefit Gimme Brow – which makes even lightly tended brows look very neat and defined altogether.

Lips:  bright lipstick makes me look like an aging hooker, so unless that’s the look I’m actually going for, I tend to use nude and pale coloured lipsticks or glosses.  I can’t abide sticky lip glosses as inevitably my hair gets stuck to my lips so I have a stack of unused sticky ones and about two I actually use.  The ones I just rooted out of my bag are apparently my best used ones: Clinique Perfect Beige (how un-hookery can you get?); Estee Lauder Pure Colour Gloss (total freebie from some giveaway); Mac Frost Lipstick in Fabby; and Rimmel Microbubble Lipstick in Nude.



So that’s it. Simply, I have the products, I have a bit of the know-how so I really only have my offspring and their nighttime galavanting to blame for looking as terrible as I do sometimes. If you want a nosey around some way more organised and glamorous – but equally honest, makeup bags, check out Sinead’s great blog link up which you can find here.

And now whisper quietly ‘Thank Fuck for Makeup’.


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8 thoughts on “The Barefaced Truth – my make up miracles (a blog linky with Bumbles of Rice)

  1. I’m in two minds as to whether to join this linky. I don’t know what BB cream is.
    I’m with you on the lip gloss though Helen. Sticky crap. I hate it. Vaseline or proper lipstick is what I use.
    There are loads of German ladies who look like they live in 1980s Ukraine, so if you want some mascara posted over, I’m sure I can find it here somewhere.

    1. Oh if only to share some German tips with us you should throw your hat in the ring Fionnuala! Lets get a blue-black mascara supply chain going!

    1. Oh you must have been drinking heavily when you wrote that (but not half as heavily as you are on your hols!). Fab linky idea.

  2. Some nice products there and I too am SO guilty of stock piling products that never get opened!
    Every time I read one of these make-up linkys I swear I’ll join in…. may happen yet!

    1. Meet your over-producted sister Val. I swear I’m reforming myself – more because of money than any maturing on my part! I’ve loved reading what everyone’s little secrets are. Dare to share yours!

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