#105: Do You Know Your Arch from Your Elbow?

#105: Do You Know Your Arch from Your Elbow?
5 minutes to read

I’ve been running a few guest posts recently, you may have noticed. I hope you’re enjoying them – so far I’ve covered money saving and working mum fashion. This week, it’s time to chat about one of my most favourite things in all the land – MAKE-UP! So, do you know your arch from your elbow?!

My friend Jenny from Accidental Hipster Mum does the most beautiful things to her face with all manner of tools and trickery. If I could wing my eyeliner even half as good as she does, then I’d basically just stand around all day with my head dipped at 45 degrees and my eyes shut so that the good people of Southampton might regale in wonder at my skills. Or, more likely, rob my handbag.

Anyway, over to Jenny. I hope you enjoy it…I have all the wants for all of these things!

Make-Up for Mums: Do you know your Arch from Your Elbow?

Gone are the days when mascara and eyeliner were the only items I needed in my make-up bag. I can no longer rely on the ruddy cheeks of youth to keep my complexion aglow.

With my 30-something skin and recently stuffed make-up bag I thought I’d share with you the beauty secrets I’ve spent the best part of a decade learning.


Primer is absolutely necessary in the absence of a teenage face. Primer smoothes and perfects the layer under your foundation, which helps give you a flawless, dewy finish. The real pros use colour correcting primer, which either tones down redness or brightens dull skin. If you have a touch of rosacea, a green primer will calm it, if your skin is looking a little sallow, a lilac primer will give you a healthy glow.

BarryM Green Primer

Foundation, BB Cream or CC Cream

I’ve spent years on the quest for the perfect foundation. I hear everyone suffers this same trauma in their lives, sometimes never finding an answer. Personally, I think I’ve solved the problem. Your skin is always changing, so it makes sense your skin’s needs will change too. This means what was the perfect foundation for you at 25, might not be what you should be wearing at 30. Keep searching, keep trying new stuff, I think that’s the solution.

Eye Make-Up

This is the one that’s impossible to advise on. People have such varied tastes and needs in this department that there is no one product or brand to recommend. My favourite mascara is Roller Lash by Benefit, but it’s a little pricey to risk if you’re not sure you’ll like it. If you’re an eyeshadow addict on a budget, then Sleek is the brand for you. I have loads of their palettes, the application glides and the colour choices are gorgeous. That’s the only advice I’ll give on eyes, the rest is up to you.

Flatlay of Sleek I-Divine eye makeup pallette.


The fashion at the minute is clear definition with a gradient fade towards the bridge of your nose. Eyebrows are funny things, you’d think they wouldn’t have a fashion of their own, but they do (anyone remember the over-plucking of the 90’s? Or the weird tadpole trend of the 00’s?). The one constant is that they should be neat. Get yourself some tweezers and don’t pluck anything from the natural arch. I find a mixture of powder and pencil make my brows look reasonable.

Adding some Colour

Make-up for lips and cheeks is great for adding a pop of colour. I prefer pink or peach tints for my cheeks, but if I have a bit of a tan, I tend to plump for red or coral. A small amount of blush can breathe a bit of life into your face, especially if you’re a little short on sleep.

Lips are a different creature altogether. My style changes with my mood, which flip-flops between all or nothing. On a ‘nothing’ day I go for a clear balm, but on an ‘all’ day, I go for all out vamp. Bright red is my go-to, burgundy is my back-up. I’m a serial lipstick buyer. I think I must have about 12 separate red lipsticks that barely vary in shade. You need to have fun with lipstick. I think all make-up should be a bit fun, otherwise what’s the point?

Okay, so that’s the basics covered, you probably knew all that anyway. Now you’re ready for what the kids are doing these days. I think we can blame the Kardashians for most of these.

Contouring: Where you paint light and dark patches on your face to make you look like you have cheekbones without having to actually bother losing weight. You can also paint your nose to look smaller but I’m yet to perfect that.

Strobing: More painting stuff on your face. This time it’s using an illuminator to paint lines on your cheekbones, above your brows, down your nose and on your chin. The aim is to make your face shine brighter than the sun.

Baking: Apparently, this was a favourite in the drag community before it became mainstream. You apply a thick coat of concealer and foundation then cake on a load of baking powder (not the stuff you put in cakes), leave it about 15 minutes and the heat of your face will help everything set. Dust it off once you’ve finished.

Microblading: This is semi-permanent make-up for your eyebrows. It’s like a light tattoo, except they use tiny blades to cut tiny lines over your natural brow arch. They fill the little lines with ink to give the appearance of hairs which should result in a natural finish. It usually takes two appointments, but the colour settles a little while after it’s been done, meaning it’s kind of a leap of faith. When it’s done well it can look really good, but I’m too nervous to get mine done.

LVL Lashes: This stands for length-volume-lift. It’s basically a modern eyelash perm, but sounds much posher. It curls and sets your lashes from the root so that they appear thick, long and curvaceous. If you’ve got good lashes anyway, this treatment can look like you’ve got falsies on by just adding a little mascara.

What does your make-up routine look like?

-SJW April 2017


  1. April 26, 2017 / 10:58 am

    Crumbs, not like this. I’m planning on a ‘get me to john lewis make up counters and get some lessons’ soon…i may still be using some of the make up from the last time i did that which may have been, possibly, perhaps six years ago. Oh my. Do love a good foundation though, and mascara. Can’t see me baking or contouring any time soon but very enjoyable tips, thank you!

  2. May 2, 2017 / 1:33 pm

    Tips on foundation having spent years trying to find the perfect one – Jane Iredale BB cream – incredible bloody stuff. I need to find a primer though as I need all the help I can get xx

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