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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 20 June, 2019

Skin Deep: Transform yourself in five minutes with this simple routine

It can be done once you’ve found the right products.


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.

Sometimes you need to look good, and you only have five minutes. I mean really, properly good, like you’ve made an actual effort. And I also mean five minutes. Literally. I find myself in that situation a lot these days, due to the requirements of my job and the miniature dictator living in my house.

My time is no longer my own, instead it belongs to my eighteen month old, and while he absolutely loves makeup, he also loves destroying it. As a result, I’ve had to get my five minute makeup routine down pat.

It’s worth assembling one, because when you have it down, it’s an absolute lifesaver. Even if you don’t need it for work purposes, a nice face of makeup can give you a real lift when you’re feeling glum and like any notion of glamour is a distant memory.


This routine is all about identifying a few staples which you know you can rely on

Foundation, eyebrows, a cream eyeshadow, a cream blush, mascara and a great lipstick. Obviously, most makeup users are on an eternal search for the dream foundation. It doesn’t matter if you’ve found one that you really love, the fact that new ones are being released all the time means there’s always something new to try. Who knows? It my be even better than the one you’re currently using!

The good news is that budget foundations are batting well above their average these days, with lots of excellent options which can be found in the chemist. I’ve written about this here before, but it’s worth mentioning a few good’uns which didn’t feature then! I recently tried both Note Luminous Moisturising Foundation and Rimmel London Match Perfection Foundation and found them both to be excellent products with a natural, skin-like finish.

Truly, there are so many options these days, it’s brilliant.


Chances are, you have a favourite foundation already, and you probably have a brow routine down too, (those are the initial steps for a five minute look), but do you have a favourite cream eyeshadow?

There is nothing better for speed than one you know you can rely on. While powder shadows are incredible for colour pay-off and creativity, they require more finesse and technique than cream products. When you don’t have time, there’s really no room for a detailed eye look, so you need something you can sweep on and quickly buff out.

My number one go-to is Mac’s Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Groundwork. It’s an extremely wearable terracotta shade which makes blue and green eyes pop, and while it’s pricier than anything you’ll buy in the chemist, it last for ages.

Other colours in the range which work well for a quick look are Quite Natural and Constructivist (which will make your eye look a little more dramatic). Charlotte Tilbury and Bobbi Brown also have great, long-lasting cream shadow options, while Maybelline’s Eye Colour Tattoo cream shadows are also good and less expensive (I like Permanent Taupe for a natural eye look).

Once you’ve selected your cream shadow, apply it over your eyelid and along your lower lash line. I like to use a brush, but you could absolutely use your fingers to pat the product on. Then, use a buffing brush to blend it out. Hold your brush lightly toward the end of the handle in order to keep your touch light and delicate, and create gentle circles along the edge of where you’ve placed the product. Once you’ve done this, you’ve given your eye a little depth, while covering any discolouration or veins on your lids. It’s simple, but it makes you look a little more polished.

Apply a few coats of your favourite mascara, and your eyes are done.


Next, it’s time for blush. Cream blush. Are you noticing a pattern here?

Cream products are great for simplifying a routine, and while once upon a time they weren’t great at lasting, modern products have it down. Cream blush also has a real knack for making your healthy glow look totally natural, as do gels and other liquidy formulas.

I’m currently all about Glossier Cloud Paint in Haze (get the lowdown on Glossier here) which I carefully dab on my cheeks from the apple right up the cheekbone. With cream or gel products it’s best to start with a tiny amount of product and build, They can be quite high impact and often a little goes a long way. As they say, it’s easier to add more than to take some away!

If you can’t be bothered with the Glossier faff, the Body Shop’s Lip and Cheek Stain is lovely, quick and gives a similar natural glow.

Once this is done, it’s all about the lips. A good lipstick is worth its weight in gold in terms of making you look done, and I’ve said it before, red is the ultimate in transformations.

Having said that, you could absolutely go for a darker cream eyeshadow and choose a neutral lip colour instead, or indeed go for a pink, burgundy or purple instead of red. I just find nothing gives me the confidence boost a great red lipstick does. (In this image I’m wearing Fenty Stunna Lip Paint, which I love for its look but struggle with when it comes to wearability.

While it’s absolutely gorgeous, and the applicator works dreamily, it never completely sets, so I find I always end up with it on my teeth, hands, and if I have a few drinks, streaked across my face when I forget I’m wearing it and wipe something off my mouth.) Whatever colour you choose, make sure it’s something you love. Then look in the mirror, and marvel at your transformation.

Due to its simplicity, this is a look which can absolutely be done on the bus or train. You can do it sitting in your parked car, or in the loo of a hotel on your way to a meeting. It’s simple, but transformative, which is what you need when you only have five minutes.

New Product


Trilogy’s Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+ isn’t a new product, in fact, if you’re a fan of skincare, you’ll know all about it because it is fantastic. It promises to brighten and rejuvenate, and it actually does. If you want to look healthy and glowing, you would not be going wrong with this oil which can be applied morning and night. What warrants its presence in this section of the column is the fact that there is a special limited edition bottle of the product available while stocks last, which is raising money for the Mants’ase Children’s Home in Lesotho, Africa. The bottle is €18.50 for 15ml (an excellent price for this amount) and available in selected pharmacies and health stores nationwide and online at Cloud Ten Beauty.

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