We all have our favourite time and place to do our makeup. Maybe it’s one spot of your bathroom in the morning, or when the evening sunset hits your vanity juuuuust right. The bathrooms at Annabel’s or the powder room in The Wellness Clinic in Harrods are my personal favourites. But sometimes (all too often in my case) you have to make do in some hideous, strip-lit office without natural light. Follow my expert tips and no one ever need know that your face was an al desko job.
A dead giveaway that you’ve done makeup in poor lighting is usually product applied too heavily. When you stand in gorgeous natural lighting, it encourages you to apply less because the sunlight gives you radiance. Without it, you have to REALLY layer on the highlighter or foundation to get there, but don’t be tempted to fall down that trap. Instead, make a note of how much of a certain product you usually use (maybe a quarter-size dollop of BB cream, for example) and don’t stray from that. Remember – it’s just the light that’s bad, not your face.
“It’s just the light that’s bad, not your face.”
Remember the importance of shadow
Strong overhead lighting, like the light you often get in restrooms or offices, really exacerbates the presence of shadow. In layman’s terms? Your dark circles will seem more pronounced and your complexion generally more sallow. Counteract this by using that old make-up artist trick, the Triangle of Light. Sketch out a light-reflecting concealer — something like Trish McEvoy Instant Eye Lift would be perfect — into a triangle with the base at the root of your lower lashes, coming into a point near the top of your cheeks, It’ll deflect any grey tones right away.
Keep it simple. Like, really simple.
Now is quite simply not the time to attempt that winged out, super-smokey eye you saw on Instagram, nor is it the time to contour if you don’t usually. Focus on your complexion and lean into your strengths, whatever they may be. Personally, I can’t do a sharp cat-eye without a magnifying mirror, so in these circumstances, I go for a smudged pencil line and hope for the best. Likewise, I follow all those old-school make-up rules I remember from my days as a beauty counter girl, just dusting bronzer on the high points of my face and buffing like crazy as I go. That 90’s Kevyn-Aucoin-esque sharp contour I love can wait until I can see what I’m doing, thanks.
One final tip? Buff and blend more than you think you need to. Dull lighting might not reveal foundation patches or streaky highlighter in the same way natural light does, so give each element a really good going-over with a buffing brush before you head out. Honestly, there’s nothing better than a BeautyBlender for that final step – just bounce all over and any tell-tale lines will melt right away.