What do Karl Lagerfeld, Jenna Lyons, Steve Jobs and Hillary Clinton all have in common? Yes they probably all accumulated quite a lot of wealth, but they have also developed a fashion uniform: a tried and tested formula of clothes and accessories they rely on day in day out, that works for them and doesn’t involve any morning faff. Hillary is rarely seen in anything other than a trouser suit, Steve had his signature black turtleneck and jeans, Jenna owns the cigarette trousers and statement glasses combo, and of course Karl was in a league of his own with a black suit, high collar shirt, gloves, and sunglasses. The same failsafe approach can be taken with your beauty routine: a combination of tips and tricks which make mornings quick and efficient and create a look that becomes part of your signature style. Here are my six time-saving tips that deliver an achievable everyday beauty uniform.
Paint your nails a muted tone
One of my beauty resolutions last year was to paint my nails at least twice a month in two different colours including nail art. I failed miserably on that so until I find my mani mojo back I’m sticking to light muted tones that instantly make my hands look groomed but don’t require intensive upkeep. A couple of coats on short nails should be enough to smarten hands and will last longer than a full on deep or bright colour which is unforgiving when it starts to chip. This low-key manicure can be stretched out for a few more days before having to be removed. A deep purple is a lot less forgiving than a translucent nude pink or even a transparent polish such as Sensationail Nailtural Strengthener.
I’ve never had a perfect canvas to work with but even then foundation has typically felt more effort than it’s worth, maybe because I’ve never been a pro at applying it so it ends up making my complexion look even more patchy. Using Clinique’s buff brush has certainly helped, and even more so opting for a tinted moisturiser like La Roche Posay Hydreane BB Crème instead of full foundation. But I’ve now nailed my ‘lightly does it’ base: The Body Shop Matte Clay to hide blemishes, followed by the brand’s Lightening Touch highlighter to tackle shadows. It’s near impossible to overdo it and easy to build up coverage without the need to be too perfect or precise.
Go bold with lip colour
How to make a bold statement in a matter of seconds: apply a flashy saturated lip colour. This is the opposite of the subtle manicure. I had so much fun with makeup in my twenties. The thing is I had the time to experiment. I thought nothing of rocking up to work with a full turquoise eye makeup. Yep, mermaid eyes on a Tuesday morning, that’s where I was at. My favourite look was fuchsia eyeshadow combined with navy blue eyeliner to make my blue eyes pop. But the last time I created a full eye makeup look was for a Christmas party – that’s right, pre-2020. The quickest way to make an impact is with a strong lip colour: bright red, punchy fuchsia and electric orange applied straight from the bullet are some of my favourites, as well as deep plum come winter – they never fail to make it look like I’ve put in more effort than I have.
Groom brows to frame your face
When brows are shaped correctly and coloured well I find that’s half the job done to framing your face – that and a good haircut. I’ve previously referred to my eyebrows as cousins rather than sisters: they are related but definitely not identical so require tweezing, a few well placed strokes of Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil and clear gel to set them.
Embrace the sleek hair bun
When was the last time I dug out my hair straighteners from under the bed and applied them anywhere near my hair? I can’t remember. Again it was probably a Christmas party. Nowadays I rely more on a fresh cut and colour to give my hair structure, then at home it’s just a quick spray of a leave-in conditioner such as Cake Beauty The Mane Manager and a 3-minute blow dry. When my hair grows beyond shoulder length and just hangs like spaniel ears, I pull it up in a bun. Not a scrape-back-with-fingers-into-a-scrunchy kind of mess, but one that involves a brush and is closer to emulating a ballerina bun. No hairspray or grips needed, nothing fancy but instantly gives off a tidy pulled together look.
Find your signature scent
The finishing touch: nothing visible but the right signature fragrance will represent who you are at that time. If you opt for a niche fragrance or a unique combination of layered scents, people around you will come to recognise this fragrance as part of you, part of your beauty uniform.
So do you have a beauty uniform, and if so what does it look like?
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