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25 June 2018Last updated
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Make-up bag makeovers

Are you masking your beauty behind a layer of the wrong make-up?

By Sonam Basantani
26 Nov 2014 | 10:40 am
  • Emma Burdett gets a makeover.

    Source:Tanya Rex

Everything from your skin undertone to your natural hair colour and the distance between your eyes could make a huge difference to the sort of products and techniques you should (or shouldn’t) be using on your face. We sent four lucky readers to an exclusive one-on-one consultation with Max Factor Ambassador and Aquarius Beauty Heroes judge Samira Olfat for a rummage through their beauty bags. The ladies arrived already made up as they would be for a night out and the celebrity make-up artist analysed their look, showing them how to detox their beauty kit by ditching the unflattering products, and keeping only the items that really work for them...

Emma Burdett

Age: 28

Nationality: British

Occupation: TV producer

Skin undertone: Warm

Emma loves her neutrals – she doesn’t deviate much from these shades and wants to keep her look natural while incorporating some colour. When Emma came to see Samira, she was wearing a light layer of foundation, a pretty pink blush, a wash of ivory eyeshadow across the lids, with a thin stroke of black liner and a few coats of mascara.

“Even though Emma has light skin, you can tell just by checking her veins that she hasn’t got a cool undertone. You can see more of a gold tone, not a pinkish one. You can have a fair person who’s got a warm undertone and you can have a darker person who has a cool undertone,” says Samira.

Samira’s evening look for Emma

Eyes

Samira chose to focus on Emma’s pretty blue peepers, especially as she wanted to find a way to incorporate a splash of colour into her make-up wardrobe. “It would be great to bring out Emma’s eyes with a touch of colour, nothing crazy, but a shade that is in between a neutral and bright, such as brownish plum,” Samira said, before working her magic.

Using a plum hue to create a smoky eye really brought out the blue in Emma’s eyes. Purple can be a risky colour, but you can soften the look by adding black or gold to make it more wearable.


“A foolproof colour that brings out blue eyes in a warm-toned skin is copper. For the lips, a bright pink with an orange or yellow base works really well,” says Samira.

Three of the best

Warm 

2

Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con in The Punk, Dh190, Sephora; Max Colour Effect Mono eyeshadow in Golden Bronze, Dh36, Boots; Dior Addict lipstick in 571 Windrose, Dh175, Areej.  

Cool

 3

Mac lipstick in Captive, Dh104; Tom Ford Eye Color Quad in Ice Queen, Dh355, Harvey Nichols; Max Factor Colour Effect Mono eyeshadow in Silver Dust, Dh36, Boots.

2

Rasika Singh

Age: 30 
Nationality: Indian

Occupation: Commercial Pilot

Skin undertone: Warm

Rasika arrived wearing a light layer of foundation, a pop of blush, black liner along her top eyelid, and a slick of black mascara to enhance her already very long lashes.

When Samira went through Rasika’s make-up bag, she noticed a pink lipstick that didn’t flatter her colouring. “The lipstick has a blue base, which makes a cool colour. With Rasika being a warm undertone it’s best if she wears a shade that has an orange or yellow base to really enhance her look,” Samira says.

“You’ll see the change instantly if you switch to the right undertone for your skin. Getting the undertone right will also brighten up your smile and create the illusion of whiter teeth.”

Samira’s evening look for Rasika

Face

Samira started by applying foundation all over the face, “really buffing it in, so it looks like a second skin,” before contouring her face by applying a dark shade of powder along the cheekbones.

Eyes

Samira created a soft smoky-eye look for Rasika, using an easy-to-blend non-waterproof kohl pencil liner. “It’s always good to have a dark brown or black eyeliner in your kit, as well as neutral hues, which can be used to line the eyes, create a smoky eye and act as complementary shades to an array of eyeshadow hues,” says Samira.

She used a black liner to create the perfect wing on Rasika. Starting with a thin line from the inner corner of the pupil, she thickened the line from where Rasika’s pupil begins so as to complement her eye shape. “Rasika has close-set eyes, so I’ve applied a light colour in the inner corner of her eye to give the illusion that her eyes are further apart then they actually are.” Rasika also has big eyes, so Samira lined her inner lash line – also known as the waterline – with a black liner to define and make her eyes look slightly more almond shaped. For the brows, Samira used a taupe-coloured brow pencil and just filled in the gaps for a more groomed look.

The last step was the concealer application, which helped clean up any shadow fall-out and added a burst of brightness to the eyes.

Three of the best

Warm

 4

Chanel Compact eyeshadow, Dh150, Sephora;  Mac lipstick in Shy Girl, Dh104; Max Factor Kohl pencil, Dh25, Boots.

Cool

 10

Max Factor Colour Elixir lipstick in Midnight Mauve, Dh59, Boots; Aqua Eyes Waterproof pencil in Majorelle Blue, Dh90, Make Up For Ever; Max Color Effect Mono eyeshadow in White Satin, Dh30, Boots.

3

Elisa Fausto-Lossifidis

Age: 41

Nationality: Filipino

Occupation: Owner and teacher at Inspire Yoga Pilates and Fitness

Skin Undertone: Warm

Elisa plays it safe when it comes to colour. She buys different shades to experiment with, but usually keeps to neutrals. When we first met Elisa, she came in wearing a neutral shadow, lots of mascara and a pink lipstick.

Elisa’s main make-up concern was the white-panda-eye effect that appears in pictures when you apply foundation or powder, but she wasn’t sure why it was happening. Samira explained that it’s either from wearing too much powder, or from wearing a foundation shade that doesn’t have the right base 
for your skin tone. So, for Elisa, a yellow-based foundation works best as she has a warm undertone.


With a yellow-based tone she can even wear a shade lighter without running the risk of getting the white under-eye effect in her pics; instead, her skin will look brighter.

Samira’s evening look for Elisa

Face

Samira defined Elisa’s nose with a bit of contouring. She applied a darker foundation from the inner corner of Elisa’s eye (where it meets the brow), down to the tip of the nose, blending as she applied. She then highlighted the bridge of the nose to create the illusion of a slimmer nose.

Eyes

When Samira went through Elisa’s bag she noticed a lot of neutrals, but then she spotted a green eyeshadow that Elisa had never used before. Samira felt that it was the perfect colour for Elisa’s warm undertone. “The green was an earthy shade and really flattered her skin, especially when it was mixed with bronze and browns,” Samira says.

Three of the best

Warm

 1

Guerlain Terracotta bronzing powder, Dh245, Paris Gallery
; Aqua Cream #52 in Pearly Green Lagoon, Dh100, Make Up For Ever; Max Factor Colour Elixir lipstick in Ruby Tuesday, Dh54, Boots.

Cool

5

Giorgio Armani Rouge D’Armani lipstick in 400, Dh185, Harvey Nichols; Guerlain Terracotta Light sheer bronzing powder in Sun Brunettes, Dh250, Areej; Mac Pigment in Smutty Green, Dh141.

4

Syreeta Stanley-Vespero

Age: 31

Nationality: British

Occupation: Mum of two

Skin Undertone: Warm

Being a mum of two gives Syreeta very little time for herself, but she still manages to look fantastic. When she came to see Samira, it was apparent how amazing her skin looked without a hint of foundation. She had on only a winged liner and dark brows.

As Syreeta has a warm undertone, Samira advised her to opt for yellow or orange-based shades to complement her skin tone, rather than blue-based shades. Syreeta didn’t have much in her make-up bag – just the basics, such as foundation, eyeliner, and some neutral eyeshadows. Samira felt that Syreeta needed a bit more colour in her bag, even if it was just a classic red lipstick.

Samira’s evening look for Syreeta

Eyes

Samira started by creating a really dark black smokey eye – something that would be easy for Syreeta to recreate as a busy mum. She used a dark black pencil all over her eyelids and blended it out with a brush before adding some dark brown eyeshadow to create a cat-eye finish. She then applied a little bit of black eyeliner on the lower eyelid and brushed it along the lower eyeline.

She worked on the brows next – Samira always recommends beautifying brows after you’ve completed your eye make-up. “What works best is if you do your eye make-up first before your brows, so they frame your face perfectly, while complementing your features and make-up.” With Syreeta, she changed the shape of her brows so they lifted her eyes. “When Syreeta did her brows the arch was higher and the brow end was longer, but now I’ve created a brow end that goes straight rather than down.

Gold, orange, copper and earthy tones work really well with Syreeta’s skin. If she wanted to pick a blue – I think a navy shade that has yellow/orange undertone is fine, but a cerulean or sky blue won’t complement her skin”.

Three of the best

Warm

7

Max Factor Max Effect Dip-In  eyeshadow, Dh39, Boots; Shiseido Shimmering Cream Eye Color GD803 Techno, Dh162, Paris Gallery; Benefit Gimme Brow, Dh124, Sephora.

Cool

8

Laura Mercier Caviar stick in Rose Gold, Dh132, Bloomingdale’s; Maybelline New York Color Sensational lipcolor in Plum Paradise, Dh52, Boots; Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner in Diamond Turquoise Blue, Dh115.

Samira’s top tips

“The starting point for choosing make-up that works for you rather than against you is to find out what undertone you are. Don’t get it mixed up with clothing colours – make-up is split into just two separate tones, and you’re either a warm or a cool undertone,” says Samira. “To find out yours, look at the veins on the inside of your wrist – if you’ve got blue veins then you’re a cool undertone, and if you’ve got greenish veins you’re a warm undertone. It’s that simple!”

“For perfectly shaped brows, you needn’t fill them in with a dark pencil – instead a lighter shade, like Max Factor’s Hazel, is good enough to give you a natural look rather than harsh one with a dark pencil. Make sure you finish by cleaning up with a bit of concealer on a blending brush, buffing it above and below the brow bone.” 

By Sonam Basantani

By Sonam Basantani