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The Make-Up Basics We Need Now & Forever

Feature: Long Read
Words By Olivia De Courcy

When was the last time you took a look at your make-up basics? As winter approaches, it’s the perfect time to assess your current line-up. That said, 2021’s make-up basics are anything but, well...basic, with modern formulas aplenty leaving you thinking “wow, this really works”. Foundation feeling a little heavy? Try switching to an innovative Japanese formula, which is renowned for being lightweight while providing great coverage. Lashes looking lacklustre? Gucci’s mascara has earned its cult status for a reason.

It’s worth remembering too that products have a shelf life – anywhere between eight months to two years according to legendary make-up artist Jillian Dempsey. “If you use a product everyday, you should consider replacing it more often”, says Dempsey. “Mascara, lip balm and concealer are all examples of daily products. The more you expose a product to open air and use it, the more likely it is to collect bacteria.” The bottom line? Don’t risk it, even if your make-up doesn’t smell “off”. “You definitely don’t want to transfer any harmful bacteria to your face”, stresses Dempsey. Worse still, an eye infection triggered by an eyeliner that’s been hanging around for a little too long. No, thank you.

Now that you’ve got your make-up replacement rota sorted, here are the latest wonders of the beauty world for the simple, yet effective, beauty life.

3 foundations lined up on-top of a foundation splodge

New Foundations

Foundation technology is always evolving with new ways to target common woes such as the perfect shade match and ‘flawless’ finish. Some of the most advanced base-tech comes from Japan and Korea, with brands such as Clé de Peau Beauté and Shiseido offering full-coverage foundations with feather-light formulas. Similarly, Clinique's latest base, Even Better Clinical Serum Foundation, puts skincare at the forefront, with a vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and salicylic acid enriched formula for brighter, bouncier skin over time. It’s no replacement for skincare, but it helps knowing your make-up is also doing good for your skin.

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The Base-ics


3 lipsticks and lip glosses lined up on-top of a lipgloss splodge

Lip Service

The feeling of wearing a coloured lip – be it bright red or deep berry – and the power it has to lift our moods or imbue confidence should not be underestimated. In 2021, there are, of course, traditional lipstick bullets, but also shapes and formulas that adapt to modern life. There are balms that impart a wash of colour, lip oils to temporarily stain and double-use lipsticks whose angled edges also work as a liner.

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Blush & Bronze

The modern way to contour? Liquid formulas are your NBF – mousse-like blushers or those that come from a pipette or tube are typically responsible for the most natural-looking flushes as they’re easy to apply with a finger and blend.


And then there are the products that do it all. Uoma Beauty’s Highlife Palette contains four colours to sculpt, highlight and bronze, with a blend of matte and shimmering textures to make your skin pop. Kevyn Aucoin’s Contour Book, meanwhile, is just as effective on cheeks as it is eyes.

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Beauty products displayed on a table

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