The secret weapon in every girl's handbag...
Shhh! The women here who don’t want to face the world without hundreds of pounds of make-up. Stephanie Bell meets those who know they’re worth it
Most women today wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without make-up on, a new survey has found. And the idea of going to work bare faced is unthinkable to the majority of women who regard it as more stressful than public speaking, attending a job interview or even a nerve-wracking first date.
In fact, when asked what they would most hate to leave the house without, the majority of women said “hair styling and make-up” rather than daily essentials such as bank cards, cash or their diary.
The study, commissioned by the Vitality Show, also found that the majority of women wear make-up every day to work compared to just 20% who only wear make-up at weekends.
The poll also revealed that women spend an average of 21 minutes applying a ‘full face’ of make-up each working day requiring them to get up half an hour early.
And it is big business. The average monthly spend on make-up is £25, which equates to around £2,156,875. spent every hour in the UK.
The reasons why so many of us feel the need to apply make-up before work are ‘to cover imperfections like spots and dark circles’, ‘to even my skin tone’ and ‘to give skin more colour’.
The top UK make-up bag staple is mascara, followed by lip gloss, foundation, concealer and eyeliner.
While 70% of women would not feel confident going to work without make-up on, 91% said they would cancel a first date rather than turn up bare faced, 31% would not go to the gym without make-up and astonishingly one in six women wouldn’t even answer the front door unless in full make-up.
The women polled were no less sympathetic to the UK’s top celebrities either.
When given a list of 30 high profile women, 47% said all of the female celebrities “look better wearing make-up”, although 14% thought Katie Price and 13% thought Holly Willoughby could do with using a little less on their faces.
Jennifer Aniston, Kate Middleton and Cameron Diaz were rated as the top natural beauties who look great fresh faced.
We talked to three local women who confessed to having a love affair with make-up and revealed why they wouldn’t be seen dead without their faces made up.
‘Most people never see me without it’
Oonagh Boman (45) is a make-up artist who runs her own make-up school and is a distributor for Senna Cosmetics. Oonagh, who lives in Belfast, has two children, Skye (13) and Brad (9), and is married to Leslie Graham (32), a sales manager. She says:
Give me anything to do with make-up and I am happy. I’ve always loved the show side of make-up and the instant gratification you get — the transformation is immediate. My friends would say my eyes light up when I talk about two things — my kids and make-up.
I only started wearing make-up when I was 15, which I think is quite late. It was the early Eighties and I was really influenced by the New Romantics like Adam and the Ants and Culture Club. I thought their make-up was very artistic.
The first item I bought was eyeliner as my eyes are pale and I’ve always felt I needed to define them. As you get older it becomes part of your identity and now, for me, my make-up is my identity. It’s my image and part of who I am.
Most people would never see me without make-up and even my kids might not recognise me. I get up at 6.40am every morning, and then start my make-up routine around 7am. It usually takes about 15 minutes.
If I know I am going to have a long day I will use primer but I don’t like to use it every day. I don’t use cleanser or moisturiser in the mornings. I then use green concealer, which is definitely my desert island product. I put it under my eyes and I have a few wee capillaries which I use it to cover — as well as any redness. Effectively it means I can wear less foundation.
After applying foundation I put on cream blusher and then a dusting of loose powder. I will then pencil my eyebrows. I really love eyeliner at the minute and will put a lot of it on.
I use two eye shadows, usually a mauve on the socket line and a base colour on my lids. I finish with black mascara, and then I put some powder blusher on top of the cream blusher which gives it more depth and makes it last all day.
I then put highlighter on my cheek bones which really cleans up the complexion. I finish with lip liner, lipstick and lip gloss. I find if my make-up is layered properly it will not need to be touched up during the day — apart from after lunch when I might use a little compact face powder under my eyes and reapply my lip gloss.
I wouldn’t consider going out without make-up on as I just feel more me when I am wearing it and I suppose it does give me confidence.
I’m blonde haired and blue eyed and without make-up I think my face has no definition, is very colourless and has no depth.
It is also important to move with the times and refresh your colour palette every season. When I change from winter to summer wardrobes, my make-up changes accordingly.
Weirdly, I don’t spend a lot of money on make-up anymore. I know what suits me now and I stick to what I like and know. I don’t have to have the next new miracle product because I think you can’t reinvent the wheel and it’s just a case of repackaging and remarketing what is already out there.”
‘Make-up is like a uniform to me’
Clare McKinney (29) is a beauty therapist and owner of Clare McKinney Make-up and Beauty in Hillsborough. She says:
My mum was a colour analyst and from a young age I saw her doing makeovers and I was absolutely fascinated by it. I loved make-up and doing other people’s but strangely didn’t start wearing it myself until I was about 17.
Now I wouldn’t go across the door without it. Mum had a big make-up bag and I was always using her stuff. As a teenager even before I wore it myself I was always buying it.
I do spend a lot of money on make-up. I love nothing more than to spend my Sundays in House of Fraser or Debenhams wandering around the make-up counters seeing all the new products. I am a total sucker for new products and have to have them.
I haven’t cut back on what I spend even with the recession because to me, it is my job. Everybody is looking at you as a beauty therapist and expects you to be well made-up. It’s like a uniform and I just wouldn’t feel right at work without my make-up on.
As a beauty therapist first and foremost I believe in cleansing, toning and moisturising every morning before I put my make-up on. I love Decleor products.
Then I’d put on a primer followed by my foundation. Next, I put on cream blusher, powder blusher and highlighter. I use an eye-shadow base on my eyelids. I had my eyebrows, eyeliner and lips tattooed last July with semi permanent make-up which I just love. It means I don’t have to use eye liner or shade my eyebrows. I only need a little bit of lipstick and gloss. The tattooed make-up lasts for about five or seven years and really is amazing.
It takes me about five minutes to put my make-up on in the morning. It is quite a natural look but if I am going out at the weekend I will spend longer, probably half an hour and put on heavier make-up, including the whole smoky eye thing. We all feel more confident with make-up on.”
‘I feel I can take on world’
Sara O’Neill (30), from Belfast, is a professional stylist who works with the Style Academy Model Agency. She says:
I started wearing make-up when I was about 13. The first product I bought was a black eyeliner. As a teenager I was very into the goth and punk look and so make-up was very important to me. I spent a lot of money on it and it wasn’t about looking pretty but more about being creative and self expression.
I would cover my face in green colour corrector which made it very white with a green tinge. In my teens I had the whitest face ever. But I don’t cringe when I look back on those years. In fact, I have fond memories because I was trying to do something different. I certainly didn’t need as much make-up as I was wearing.
Growing up in the ’90s, make-up was all about brown tones so I got quite a lot of stick about my make-up back then. Even today I wouldn’t consider leaving the house in the morning without my make-up on, although it has toned down quite a bit.
I think you feel as if you can take on the world when you know you are looking your best. Every morning I have a shower and then put my make-up on after cleansing, toning and moisturising.
I use a light, mineral based foundation and the main emphasis for me is on my eyes. I fill in my eyebrows and then put on my eyeliner and false eyelashes. I use contouring eye shadow that has no colour. I finish with a pink blusher and lipstick.
It is such a habit now that I have it down to a fine art and it takes me about 15 minutes to do it all. I suppose I would describe it as a vintage inspired look. To me clothes, hair and make-up go hand in hand and it’s about achieving an overall look.
In my job you have to be well presented and because I style models for photo shoots and fashion shows, I think wearing make-up is part of that. I’m very lucky that I work with make-up artists who would suggest what new products would suit me. I don’t buy lots of make-up now. Years ago I would have had a drawer full of products and bought anything that caught my eye, even if it didn’t suit me.
Now I have it pared down to the absolute essentials.”
‘I wear lippy while swimming’
Sara Neill (26) from Jordanstown is a beauty blogger at belfastbeauty love. blogspot.com. She says:
I started wearing make-up when I was 13 when I got a mascara free with a magazine and it snowballed from there. I love eyeliner and wouldn’t go to school without it on and then I started carrying my lipstick.
I am part of a beauty blogging community in Northern Ireland where we all swap tips and details of new products. I spend a large part of my income on make-up every month and I have a list of what I want to buy next month. I have drawers and baskets full of it.
The recession has made me more conscious of what I spend and I search for bargains and use loyalty cards to buy some of it.
Make-up gives me confidence and I couldn’t imagine going out without it. I go to a swimming club every week and I am the only person getting into the water with my mascara and lipstick on.
One person said that I don’t appear to wear much and for me, that was a real compliment because I want a natural look.
I cleanse and tone at night so in the mornings I just put on a light moisturiser followed by foundation. I love the whole smoky eye look. I love eyeliner and and loads of mascara on. This month I’m using Urban Decay Lush Lash mascara which makes my lashes look long and dark. I use Laura Mercier’s eyebrow pencil in blonde.
For finishing touches I pop on a pink lipstick/balm hybrid by L’Oreal in Impulsive Fuschia. I wear a translucent face powder which sets my foundation and hides blemishes, followed by a powder blusher. I finish with pink lipstick. It takes me about half an hour to do my make-up every day. I tend to use a good mix of high street/high end products.”