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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 16 January, 2019

Skin Deep: How to get yourself out of a makeup rut

Sick of doing the same old thing every day? Here’s some advice on how to change it up.


Welcome to Skin Deep with Louise McSharry, my opportunity to put years of obsessing over beauty products and techniques to good use. I won’t tell you something is good if it’s not. I won’t recommend products I haven’t actually tried. As the magical sitar in Moulin Rouge said, I only speak the truth.


When I was a teenager, I went through an awkward phase of not having any friends. I’d been unceremoniously dumped by my best pal, and hadn’t found a new one yet, so I had a lot of time on my hands. It was then that I really developed my makeup skills.

Every evening in my bedroom, I’d apply and reapply makeup, creating a diverse range of looks, from people I’d seen in films (Cher from Clueless anyone?) to the women I saw in magazines (including the Playboys a mischievous friend and I had stolen from her stepdad the previous year). I did dark lips, light lips, glossy lips, bright eyes, dark eyes, strong blush, heavy bronzer, super pale and everything in between. The world was my makeup oyster, and I wanted to experience it all.

I took the skills I honed in my lonely bedroom into the real world with me when my social life got back on track, and in my late teens and twenties, makeup was my thing.

I was inspired by everything around me, and owned enough Urban Decay palettes to allow me to create virtually any look I wanted to. No colour was out of bounds, and every event was an opportunity to get creative.

Now, in my thirties, things are a little different. I don’t have as much time to be creative as I used to, so I tend to go for the same look, time and time again, occasionally changing up my lipstick when I get bored. The truth is, I’ve been in a makeup rut. It happens so easily. We find the things that suit us and we stick to them. But where’s the fun in that?

As I always say here, makeup is supposed to be fun, and of late, I’ve been missing that aspect, and according to some of the messages I’ve been receiving, so have you. So, here are a few tips on how to get yourself out of that rut and excited about makeup again.

1. Do some inventory

What is actually in your makeup collection? Most of us have lots of lovely things we never use, and a proper look through can serve as super inspiration to get them back in action.  You may rediscover something you used to love, or a gift you never actually got around to using. As you sort, experiment! Start out with a clean face and test things out as you go along. Make a pile of items you’d like to use and then make yourself use them in the ensuing weeks!

2. Organise an exchange

If, after your inventory, you find that you have things you know you’re not going to use, suggest an exchange with your friends. Chances are they have product they’re not using either that they’d be happy to see go to a good home. Obviously, not all makeup should be shared, and it does come with an expiration date, so use your discretion. Personally, I love nothing more than to be given a beautiful blush or eyeshadow palette which has been gathering dust in a friend’s collection!
3. Treat yourself to a new palette


If all else fails, a new eyeshadow palette is great for sparking creativity. This week I got my hands on the new Urban Decay Distortion palette and within minutes it was swatched all over my hand. (It’s also what I’m wearing on my eyes in this article’s photo!)

It’s definitely got my juices flowing, and I’ve challenged myself to use every colour in it in order to get myself back in the groove.

4. Remember that Google is your friend

PastedImage-95498 Source: Doug Peters, EMPICS

If you’re planning A Look for a special event or night out, then hit up your old pal Google for inspiration. Image search what you’re planning to wear and makeup (i.e. yellow dress makeup) and you’ll find lots of images from the world of celebrity which should serve as inspiration. Aside from anything else it’ll let you know what a top makeup artist would suggest you do.

5. Find a makeup artist you love

The beautiful Chantal @notanotheragency

A post shared by Linda Smyth 💋🍒 (@lindasmythmakeup) on

There are so many makeup artists posting regularly on Instagram these days that there is definitely one whose style you’ll love. Some of my current favourites are Katie Jane Hughes (as mentioned in last week’s column), the queen of all makeup Pat McGrath and Lynda Smyth (a really cool young Irish artist). Save your favourite looks and then when you’re lacking inspiration go back and look through them.

6. Ask a friend to do your makeup

Or go and get it done. Someone else will look at your face in a whole new way and will probably try things you’ve ruled out. Don’t mistake the unfamiliar for bad. Remember that anything you’re not used to will be jarring initially, so let yourself sit with a new look for a while before you decide whether or not you’re into it.

New Product

PastedImage-81869 Source: Penneys

This isn’t so much a new product as it is a new option for getting your hair and makeup sorted. The PS… X Glissed pop-up salon has launched in Penneys Mary Street in Dublin and for the next three months they’ll be offering customers hair and makeup services for extremely competitive prices.

Fifteen euro will get you an upstyle (no blow-dries, so arrive with clean dry hair), twenty will get you a thirty minute makeup application, and a fiver will get your lashes and eye liner sorted. Not too shabby!

PST. We’re giving three lucky readers a fab Essence cosmetics goodie bag! Get on over to our Instagram to find out how to win. 

Want to get a notification every week when Skin Deep is published? Of course you do! Just send us a WhatsApp saying ‘Skin Deep’ to 083 8120901, and add our number to your contacts as DailyEdge. (If you don’t add us, we can’t message you :( ) We’ll never spam you or share your personal details with anyone, and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

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