They're the cosmetic equivalent of your favourite well-worn jeans. Get the right ones, and barely there neutrals can look effortlessly good. Here are some favourites.
Essie Nail Polish in Mademoiselle, €9.99
If it's good enough for Lara Stone ... the model wears this classic sheer pink on her nails all the time. And who could blame her considering its fast-drying, long-wearing and non-streaky formula? And let's not forget just what a flattering shade it is too.
MAC Lip Glass in Underage, €18
Yes, it's sticky, and a little bit messy – it's worth applying a thick layer of balm first as a type of primer and you may have to use your fingertips to ensure the gloss is spread evenly. But this baby doll pink shade goes on oh-so-smoothly for a soft, pretty look. The milky colour also works well with a smoky eye for a '60s vibe.
They say the eyes are the windows of your soul: in my case, it's my eyelids. Unless I've had my eight hours' sleep, mine are red, reflecting my not-so-inner tiredness. So a creamy eyeshadow is an essential pre-requisite in my cosmetics bag. And this is one of the best. A beautiful neutral shade with a soft texture, it's very blendable and long lasting. Highly recommended.
Models Own Powder Blush in Cheeky Pink, €7.65
This affordable blush is perfect for those who want to mimic the lovely glow you get on your skin after you've been out for a brisk walk. It's highly pigmented so take care not to overload your brush when applying. Pretty impressive staying power, and particularly good for combination or dry complexions.
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Eyeshadow in Candlelight, €24.50
The texture of this gold shadow, which is more gel-like than cream, is a little heavy so blend with fingers for a smooth finish. It does dry quickly and lasts without creasing for several hours. While the blendable, buildable formula could be used as a base, its subtle shimmer adds depth when worn alone.
Dior Nude Skin-Glowing Makeup, €44.50
This could be a confusing product. Described as a fluid, this foundation has an unexpectedly gel-like texture and yet it definitely doesn't leave your complexion glowing as you might reasonably expect! But don't worry about that because this lightweight formula does the business. It hydrates and moisturises skin, blends easily for a sheer flawless finish.
Clinique Pressed Powder in Fair, €29
Dewiness is all well and good, but sometimes you have to call a spade a spade and admit that it's just shine! Loose powder is fine in the morning, but this is perfect for touch-ups. Unlike a lot of pressed powders, this isn't cakey or chalky. Instead, this boasts a silky feel, with a slightly more than sheer finish. Bonus marks for the good mirror.
THIS WEEK. . .
Q If you only buy one thing this week, make it Liz Earle's body brush (€8.50): be warned the natural bristles of this long-handled brush will wake up the weariest of bodies. It's ideal for dry body brushing and definitely helps to improve the texture of skin. Don't neglect the side of your bust (it helps to clear away any toxins lodged in that area). And while it's a funny feeling, it's worth giving your elbows a good going-over to get rid of any extra-dry skin.
I like Dr Hauschka's Rose Day Cream (€23.85), which I mix with sun block and Angels Make-up collagen patches (available from angelsmakeup.com) which my make-up artist Angela Levin designed. You put them under your eyes and they moisturise the skin. A nice morning pick-me-up.