5 Jan 2012

Recommended Makeup Brands - Face Products

Part two of a series of five posts on recommended items (as requested by Makeup Bootclass students).  See here for the first in the series.  This post covers "face" items (ie Bronzer, Contour, Blusher, Highlighter, Illuminator).

These product recommendations are listed here.

Recommended Face Products

There are lots of bronzers available.  I recommend having one matte bronzer for the winter time, and one shimmery bronzer, slightly darker, for summer use.
  • Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronze Universel  My all-time favourite bronzer.  This works will all skin types/shades/tones.  It's a cream-gel-mousse hybrid and can be applied with fingers, synthetic brushes (my recommendation), or a sponge.  Buildable coverage, satin finish.  Expensive but worth it
  • MAC Mineralize Skin Finish (eg Deep Dark)  These MAC powders can also be used as finishing powders, but they're not matte.  You can use these on top of MAC Face & Body to give a more full cover base with some sheen.  The darker colours are good for bronzers
  • Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder  A matte bronzer, brilliant for all skin types and great when you don't want a shimmery product
  • Bourjois Délice de Poudre  A budget alternative to the above three options, there are two shades and each has a very faint shimmer (it looks and smells like chocolate, which is not great if you don't like scented products on your face)


I personally prefer to use a cream for contouring, however powder variants are also available.  Both of these recommendations are for light-medium skin shades.  Darker skins will require a much darker shade for contouring; depending on the shade and undertone of the skin, you may find that a dark eyeshadow or a really dark foundation will work the best.  In general, more ashy tones work better for contouring, and it's better not to use a product with glitter or shimmer for contouring  - you're trying to sculpt the face by creating the illusion of shadows (or exaggerating those already there), and shadows don't shimmer!
  • Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow - a brilliant ashy-toned grey-brown cream pigment
  • MAC Powder Blush in Harmony and Prism in particular (there are other shades, but as they are PRO range only, I'm not recommending here)


There are a lot of blushers that I can recommend.  These brands, in my opinion, make the best blushers.  A great simple and free cream blusher is just to use your lipstick (provided it's not a frosty one), that will also ensure your blusher and lipstick are more-or-less matching.  Otherwise...

  • Sleek Blush  The Sleek blushes are very highly pigmented, very good value for money and there's a wide range of colours.  The matte ones can look a little chalky, but you can just brush over with your foundation brush afterwards to minimise the "chalkiness", or spritz on a finishing spray (see here).
  • MAC Mineralize Blush  Powder blushes - beautiful colour range and very buildable, however not hugely long-lasting (about 4-6 hours).  Most of them are shimmery, so you can vary the application to get a different finish; brush them onto your face and build gently to give a flush of colour;  really buff them in to give a more high-shine finish 
  • Chanel Joues Contrast  A great range of blushers.  I love all Chanel makeup, their blushers wear well, you need only a tiny amount, they last, they apply and blend well.  But they are expensive
  • Ben Nye Creme Rouge  Incredibly inexpensive cream blushes, highly highly pigmented, blendable, long lasting, well-wearing, great colour range (originally formulated for theatrical use, as I understand) however only available online


I am a total and utter highlighter junkie.  There is nothing out there that's dewy, or shiny, or metallic, or shimmery, or glittery, that I haven't tried.  I have well in excess of a hundred different highlighters.  Highlighters can be powder, liquid, cream, gel... they can be shiny or matte.  
They are generally used on the high points of the face (eg bridge of nose, just above the cupids bow, tops of cheekbones, and just underneath the brow).  These are the ones I recommend above all else, and I'm not including any limited edition highlighters in here (even though my absolute favourites are actually LE):
  • The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer  This is a powder highlighter, with a lovely ivory-gold shimmer finish.  A little goes a long way
  • Makeup Forever Compact Shine On  Another powder highlighter, with a really beautiful faint shimmer.  There are a number of shades available
  • Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow All Over Face Cream  A cream highlighter, there are two shades, my favourite is the Rose Gold
  • Dior Shimmer Powder in Amber Diamond (this is what Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks should be).  This has five different highlighters that you can use separately or swirl together.  Gives a subtle beige-gold highlight
  • MAC Cream Colour Bases eg Hush, Shell, Pearl, Luna, Fawntastic, etc.  These are cream "primers" that can be used as highlighters and give a beautiful glow to your skin - however they are not very long lasting and they will rub-off if they're not set afterward.  Most of them are quite frosty
  • GOSH Giant Sun Powder  This one is a big recommend but for summer only!  It's an absolutely huge gold bronzer/highlighter that looks amazing on a tanned skin with minimal base makeup


These belong with the highlighters, really, as most of them are usable as liquid highlighters, as well as illuminators.  As illuminators, these can be mixed with foundation, moisturiser or primer or used on their own.  Illuminators can be used on the high points of the face (like highlighters) but can also be used all over your face (assuming they're not too metallic or shiny) to give you a "lit from within" glow, or (like highlighters) on your collarbones, down the front of your shins, etc.  All these here are liquid products.
  • Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel Sheer Illuminating Fluid  Beautiful gold colour, but dries quickly, so work quickly.  Expensive.  My favourite in terms of colour, but not necessarily the best formulation
  • Pixi Flawless Beauty Primer  Pink-based golden shade, really beautiful but only available online in Ireland
  • MAC F&B Mixing Medium  This gives a lovely dewy colourless finish or "glow" to the skin, used over or under or mixed with foundation, great when you don't want a pearly finish or a tone to your highlighter/illuminator.  [EDIT: MAC PRO product.  Apologies]
  • Boots No.7 Skin Illuminator  Two shades, these are a great slightly cheaper drugstore option (although not as cheap as they used to be) and are more or less the same in shade/tone as Benefit High Beam/Moon Beam.  They now come with an annoying brush at the end of the tube which is not terribly hygenic and a little wasteful
  • Illamasqua Gleam Cream  This is more or less the same as MAC Strobe Cream;  a slightly pearly-ivory-white-pink toned Illuminator.  Gives a very high shine
  • Illamasqua Illuminator  eg Odyssey, if you want a very dramatic, pearly/silvery, cream-based illuminator, this is the one for you.  High drama though, so not for everyday use

These product recommendations are listed here.


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