Looking Back: What I Wish I’d Known About Makeup In My 20’s

Ten years ago my makeup collection wasn’t as expansive as it is now, but my enthusiasm was still strong. I knew next to nothing about application techniques, bases and longevity of products, but I did have a collection of lipgloss that took over two thirds of my bedroom. My daily look took all of five minutes to apply and consisted of only a handful of products, with lipsticks and foundations being too intimidating to integrate. Many moons later and my daily routine takes five times as long and includes five times as many products… This is what I wish I’d known about makeup in my 20’s.

1. Bases Make All The Difference
I don’t think I used a primer until a couple of years ago, but it really does make the world of difference. A great primer not only helps to prep the skin and create a barrier between makeup (preventing that horrendous ‘4pm slip’ that sees our noses and chins become an oily mess,) but it can also aid the application of products on top. I always notice a difference when I use a primer before applying makeup, it helping to keep my base in place for as long as I need – as well as ensuring it creates a flawless finish.

2. Foundation Will Help To Even Your Complexion
Believe it or not, I didn’t start using foundation until I was 25. Before then I relied on a targeted concealer and a dash of powder, which unsurprisingly didn’t do much to leave me looking flawless. Getting a great foundation match will instantly leave your complexion looking radiant and uniform, as well as creating a base on which to then contour and colour. Foundation doesn’t have to be thick and provide a huge amount of coverage though; light and dewy foundations can be just as handy at creating the perfect base.  

3. Use A Brush, Not Your Fingers
Using your digits to apply makeup is not only unhygienic (just think of the millions of bacteria you’re transferring from finger to face!) but also messy and slapdash. You wouldn’t apply a fresh lick of paint to a wall using only your hands, so there’s no difference when applying makeup to your face. A great collection of brushes will transform your routine, as well as ensuring a professional finish. There’s no point investing in great quality products to only ram them on your face with a dirty finger. 

4. Contouring Will Be Your Saviour
Bronzers used to be incredibly intimidating to me, but as soon as I got the hang of contouring they became my new best friend. Although I did have a tendency to overdo it initially, a delicate bronzing shade can help create cheekbones and add a sunkissed glow to the skin. The key is to apply it where the sun would naturally hit your face (the top of your nose and cheekbones in particular,) for a natural and unstated look.

5. Lipstick Is Your Friend
Back in my 20’s lipsticks were absolutely not on-trend. Reserved for women over a certain age, a slick of bright colour on the lips wasn’t wearable unless part of a vintage night down the local pub. Little did I know that a dash of red or a slick of orange could instantly update and lift an outfit, enabling you to look ‘done’ when you’ve literally just rolled out of bed. It’s no suprise that red lipsticks are now fashioned by every celebrity going, as well as being seen on every Topshop-wearing Shoreditch resident. If you don’t own your perfect shade already, get thee to a Space NK and invest in a bullet of Lipstick Queen stat.

6. The ‘Cat Flick’ Adds Understated Glamour
I’ve always loved the 1960’s black winged eyeliner look, but didn’t have a clue how to recreate it on myself. Once I found a great eyeliner pen and plucked up the courage to give it a whirl, I realised how easy it was to add an understated touch of glamour. When you don’t want to look too ‘done’ or need your lipstick to do the talking, the perfect feline flick brings everything together and oozes retro glam. If you haven’t plucked up the courage yet, get out and buy a felt tip liner and start practicing!

What do you wish you’d known about makeup in your 20’s?



  1. Brittany Seel
    May 30, 2014 / 12:09 pm

    I remember telling my friends not to use lipstick because it was for old ladies!! How wrong 12 year old me was haha :DBea xBea's Beauty Blog

  2. Emily Knott
    May 30, 2014 / 1:02 pm

    Loved this post! I used to wear such heavy foundation! I now opt for BareMinerals powder and it makes my skin look flawless and a primer is a must – honestly makes all the difference!www.britishbeautyaddict.com

  3. Gemma Parker
    May 30, 2014 / 1:35 pm

    Tick to all of the above, except lipstick, I embraced it early and we've never been apart since 🙂

  4. Sue O Keeffe
    May 30, 2014 / 4:33 pm

    love this! lipstick has been my best friend for the past year..I didn't know what I was missing and now I have a whole drawer full of shades! http://whatsuesees.blogspot.com

  5. Katherine Joan
    May 30, 2014 / 7:42 pm

    Great tips!www.thebeautycandle.blogspot.com

  6. Sophie
    May 31, 2014 / 8:53 am

    Using your fingers to apply make-up is NOT unhygienic if you wash your hands beforehand.. which you should do anyway. I see bloggers with ridiculously dirty brushes, which is WAY more unhygienic than using your hands and certain products are made to be applied with the fingertips.

  7. Hayley Carr
    May 31, 2014 / 12:17 pm

    On the whole it is unhygienic… You're dipping fingers in pots and then onto your face, back into the pots, back onto your face. Our fingers carry a huge amount of bacteria that's not killed simply by washing them, whereas synthetic brushes don't. I agree dirty brushes can be just as bad though, which us why I frequently talk about cleaning them.

    • SM
      June 4, 2014 / 9:13 am

      The bacteria left behind after washing is commensal, and chances are you have the same bacteria on your face anyway. It isn't harmful, and after washing the number of bacteria is decreased- you aren't getting massive amounts of bacteria in cosmetics or moisturisers this way. The 'huge' amounts of bacteria you speak of are either washed away when you've done the job properly, or so deep down in your skin that no amount of washing will get rid of them. But either way, hand washing removes the surface bacteria for long enough to safely dip hands in a jar of cream.

  8. Pinkey Heart
    June 1, 2014 / 9:20 pm

    your post has been linked in my may favorite blog posts ^^ ♥http://itsrozee.tumblr.com/post/87517660050/best-blog-posts-of-may

  9. Anna Primrose
    June 2, 2014 / 10:45 am

    Love this post. I still can't believe I EVER used my fingers to apply my foundation AND I used those stupid pressed powder sponges back then too. If I met myself at the mirror now, I don't think I'd recognise half of what I was doing.

  10. susan1375
    June 6, 2014 / 9:14 pm

    i use my fingers (the shame) as i a unsure abut which brushes to buy. can you suggest some starter brushes please

Leave a Reply


Looking for Something?