A few days ago, I got a message from a friend asking for advice and help around make-up; her entire make-up bag had unfortunately been stolen and she was on the hunt for some new products. Melissa, we are so sorry about your bag 🙁 It however got us thinking, and we thought this would be such a great idea for a post – so thank you!

No better than for me to ask Sam (my very own beauty bible) about what she would recommend if she had to start a make-up kit from scratch. This is what she had to say:

When Ilaria asked me to write this post I was like: ‘eeeerm, you know I am not Tori or Jules and Camilla right?!’ But if it was to help out some poor soul losing her make-up bag, I am more than happy to oblige and share my views on the best make-up products I have tried.

Where to begin then? I suppose at the start – make-up is as much as about the products one uses as it is about the right tools.

  • I cannot emphasize enough how amazing the Beauty Blender is; you may have seen my thoughts on the sponge on Instagram recently and how highly I rate the blender. Using the sponge results in the most seamless of make-up applications. I have bought both of mine overseas (slash I love having a sister live in London), although I see 27Pinkx is now stocking these.
  • For powder application, I absolutely love the Real Techniques brushes; they pick up just the right amount of the product and evenly disperse these on the skin. These are now available at selected Foschini stores.
  • If you are into eye make-up application, I would highly suggest investing in a proper set of brushes. I personally love the MUD brushes I received as part of set from a friend a few years back. If all else fails, you can never go wrong with MAC; they are slightly pricey but last for years if taken care of properly.

PicMonkey CollageThe MOST important step in my make-up routine is the foundation step. If you have had your make-up professionally done you would have noticed a) how long the artist spends blending in product and b) how little product they actually end up using. I always try keep this in mind when I am applying my foundation.

  • I love starting with the primer – it definitely helps my foundation last a few extra hours. I have previously mentioned how fantastic I find the Catrice primer; it is serious bang for buck. That said, if your budget allows, treat yourself to a Smashbox primer; their range of primers is extensive and available for a multitude of skin concerns.
  • For days where I want to keep my make-up more natural I reach for my Bare Minerals Tinted Moisturizer. This is unfortunately only available overseas, but if you do happen to be popping over make sure you find a Bare Minerals counter. The gel-like texture of the product is amazing – my skin also looks so dewy after application. It won’t last the entire day but is fabulous for Saturday mornings, and post-work touch ups!
  • If you read my March favourite five you would know I am about one foundation: Chanel. The price is high, yes, but I honestly don’t think you will find a better product. I absolutely love it! If you are feeling a bit stretched for cash you cannot go wrong with a MAC foundation – great colour selection (Warm and Cool shades) and a huge variety available. The Mineralize Mositure foundation is amazing in my opinion.
  • I never believed in finishing powders – it sounded so 90s to me! But this year, I decided to add The MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Powder to my routine and have not looked back since. I love that it helps “set” my makeup, removes any overly shiny areas (obviously, since I religiously wear a proper SPF) without looking heavy or unnatural.

48836foundationMy sister and I have a running joke about how much we luuuurve blusher (as much as Bridget Jones). I basically devoted half a day to finding a new one while I was in London recently (so.many.options.) so know that I have probably looked at every high-end variety out there.

  • I settled on the Charlotte Tilbury cheek-to-chic blush, which is probably the nicest blush I have ever owned (in fact, anything CT is so lush that you might as well buy anything you see). Unfortunately it is only available in the UK, so if you are looking for an alternative I would recommend MAC blushes: the colour payoff is fantastic and lasts fairly well.
  • If you are fair skinned (like me), then a bronzer is a brilliant product to add to your make-up bag. NARS Lacuna bronzer is my ultimate product but- again – not available locally. I love the seasonal bronzers produced by Clarins and Estee Lauder that seem to get the balance right between colour and shimmer. If you worship your bronzer, Guerlain is your answer but be prepared to fork out close to R900!
  • More of a highlighter than a blusher, the Bobbi Brown shimmer brick is a fantastic product – stunning for the evenings and to add a healthy glow to a dull complexion.

blushbronzerConfession: I own way too many eye-shadow palettes for a person who rarely wears it but I do love a good bronzy/smoky eye for the evening. My laziness in this department means I am always on the lookout for an easy option – which is why I love the Sephora Velvet eye-shadow and this Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chamelon chubby pencil I picked up in August. If I had to go buy a new palette (I do have an Urban Decay Naked 2 palette to first get through) I would probably look to “proper” make-up house like Smashbox or MAC.

I find mascara so painful – getting my eyelash extensions done for my holiday to Turkey/Greece was one of the best decisions I have done, although not financially sustainable – and hop between drugstore brands (Maybelline, L’Oreal, Catrice) and mid-end mascaras like MAC, Smashbox and Stila. I am currently enjoying the Maybelline Lash Sensational variety – it is a great option for less than R200.10191189

While it may seem like A LOT of make-up of that I own or have tried, I do prefer keeping my look more natural, especially for work; I rely on a pop of colour on my lips to complete my look. MAC’s empty exchange programme (6 MAC empties = 1 free lipstick!) has generously allowed me to experiment with bolder lip colours, while the Revlon ColourBurst sticks are a cheap and cheerful addition to my makeup bag. If I want to go more natural, nothing beats the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector; the smell is divine and the slight sheen on the lips is perfect!


The best advice that I really can offer is to utilize make-up counters – I always get a sample of a foundation before buying to test it out at home – and make sure ask the salesperson /make-up artist how to best apply the product. Take advantage of make-up applications in store (I had my eyes done at the Charlotte Tilbury counter in London for a night out – best decision ever) and lessons redeemable in product [I know MAC and Chanel both offer this service].

My Current Make-Up Collection

If you want to know anything further about any of the aforementioned products chat to us in the comments section! Also – I am always on the hunt a new item to add to my makeup drawer so if you have any fabulous suggestions please let me know 🙂 

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