Written by Camilla King


Why I ❤️ makeup

Sometimes the time spent with her face and makeup is more about survival than beautifying, explains Camilla King.

HeathLedgerJoker – The Dark Knight

Back in my 20s I had this idea that by the time I reached my 30s I’d have the whole being an adult thing all sewn up. It wasn’t that my older friends and colleagues were perfect, but there was definitely a strong impression of people who had learnt to deal with life’s complications with grace, fewer hangovers and the ability to get to work on time.

Little did I know that those post-university years were my halcyon days. Not that I’d give up any of the wonderful things that have come into my life over the last few years, but it’s fair to say that, so far, my 30s have been full of challenges, from a number of close family bereavements and illnesses (including my husband’s diagnosis with bipolar), to the usual house moves and job changes. A lot has happened in a short space of time.

I’ve been obsessed with makeup since I was a little girl, but lately its application has been more about survival than beautifying. There have been days when I didn’t want to leave the house at all, and days when I did venture into the outside world, but the smallest act of kindness, even a smile from a stranger, left me crying in the street.

“I’m a fairly recent convert to lipstick, and adore the way it brightens my skin, transforming how I look even on the crappiest of days.”

On these days more than any others, the ritual of taking five minutes to myself (OK, it’s often more like 10, and I’m almost never alone as a mother of two young boys), sitting in my bedroom covering up the dark circles and carefully painting on a bright splash of lipstick, has become an immense source of comfort.

It’s my little way of sticking two fingers up at life, and in the manner of Delia Smith (I too come from Norwich, so we’re almost certainly related) shouting, “Let’s be ‘avin you! Come on!” That’s right, you bastards, me and my face full of makeup will not be defeated today. Unless my son rides through a pile of dog poo on his scooter, leaving us stinking and late for the first day of school. That defeated me, a statement necklace and Bobbi Brown.

eyeshadow coloursThis is my Official Survival Kit, put together following years of trial and error, weird brown lipgloss and face powder that photographic evidence suggests was composed entirely of cornflour. These are the products I wouldn’t be without. Trust me: if you’re feeling tear-stained and tired of life, these bad boys will not let you down.

Skincare – Vichy (from £2.50-£26): I’m a complete Vichy convert, and wouldn’t use anything else on my skin (I especially love their serums and Normaderm range). Reasonably priced, simple products that have helped my post-baby, hormonally wrecked skin more than anything else. The Vichy Dermablend range includes a great foundation, loved by sufferers of acne and rosacea.

Tinted Moisturiser – Bioderma Photoderm AR Tinted Cream SPF50+ (£15.80): I can’t get on with BB or CC creams, but love a good tinted moisturiser. This is rich and glowy, but not greasy, and as we all know high sun protection factor = fewer wrinkles, which I’m all in favour of.

Concealer – Clarins Instant Concealer (£21.50 from all Clarins stockists): A good concealer is one product that’s really worth investing in. I’ve tried so many over the years, only to be disappointed every time. That is, until I discovered the Clarins Instant Concealer. I had a hot flush when I saw how small the tube was, but it really does the job, and has lasted well over a year. Fantastic for deep under-eye circles and blemishes, with virtually no creasing. It’s nice and creamy, making it easy to blend, but also very long lasting.

Eyebrows – Topshop Brow Pencil in Spike (£5): This isn’t strictly an essential, but I’ve become addicted to very lightly filling in my annoyingly patchy eyebrows. It takes seconds to do and makes a subtle but noticeable difference to my face shape. This Topshop pencil is the first one I’ve found that is a good colour match for my brows, and it doesn’t budge.

Eye Shadow – Mac Shadow (£13): You can’t go wrong with Mac shadow pots. My favourite is Shroom for a quick wash of unobtrusive colour. The pots last forever, and work just as well applied with a finger or a brush (check out Real Techniques for amazing quality budget brushes).

Eyeliner – Wild About Beauty Eyeshadow Pencil Duo (£14.50): These double-ended liners are fabulous. One end acts as an eyeshadow, the other a liner, although I generally use both ends as liners. Beautiful subtle colour that goes on smoothly without dragging. My favourites are Marjorie and Beau, although Kim (a gorgeous khaki green) is going on my Christmas list.

Mascara – Topshop False Lash Intense (£10): Mascara is a very personal thing, but I’ve found Topshop’s mascaras to be far better than any designer brand or other high-street option. No clumping or smudging, gives nice thick lashes with a good fat brush, not one of those horrible rubber spiky affairs that I always seem to poke myself in the eye with. What’s not to love? Well, if Topshop could bring back their Doe Eyed version, it would really make me happy.

Powder – Mac Mineralize Skinfinish (£24): This stuff is a miracle worker. Somehow it manages to set makeup, soften skin texture and minimise pores. I almost never leave the house without a dusting of this.

Blusher – The Balm Shadow/ Blush in Frat Boy (£12.47): A pretty apricot shade, that gives a healthy glow (essential for scotching the pallor of sleep deprivation) and comes in gorgeous retro packaging. I love it. Alternatively, Sleek do a blusher palette for £9.99 and singles from £4.50 with colours that are dead ringers for the way more expensive Nars blushers.

Lipstick – Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss in 01 £5.49: I’m a terrible lipstick wearer, as I’m a bit of a lip chewer and I also like eating. Even so, I’m obsessed. I’m a fairly recent convert to lipstick, and adore the way it brightens my skin, transforming how I look even on the crappiest of days.

There are too many great lipsticks to write about here, so I’m starting with the one that really made me fall for a classic red lip. Until I tried Kate Moss for Rimmel in 01, I didn’t think I could wear red lipstick – it was altogether too grown-up and glamorous. This is a dark, sexy red. Wearing it feels a bit dangerous, mainly because of the risk of getting it all over my clothes, but it’s just right amount of edge to give me a spring in my step.


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Written by Camilla King

Freelancer in the arts. Unwilling expert on Batman, dinosaurs and poo (there are children) and running widow of @UpDownRunner. Lover of music, cake and lady stuff. @millking2301