I mentioned on my Twitter a few weeks ago that I’d (somehow) managed to snag a new job in Manchester. Since then, time has flown by and it was suddenly time for the rite of passage that is ‘the leaving do’ – where people you don’t really know very well dance awkwardly together in a circle to Mr Brightside. (‘It was only a kiss’, shrieks Janet from Accounts. ‘It was only a kiss!’)
For me, getting ready for a night out is a serious operation. Every surface is covered in makeup. There are hair extensions hanging off the curtain rail, I usually end up burning something with waylaid straighteners, and my entire wardrobe ends up on the floor in a discarded heap. Summed up? It’s chaos.
I went for a pretty classic smokey eye, nude lip combination – I was wearing a black high neck bodycon number from ASOS with nude accessories, so felt my makeup should be inkeeping with this.
After a nutritious and delicious (ahem) ready meal, I slather on some tan. When doing it right before a night out, I like to use 1 part tanning mousse with 2 parts body lotion, so it’s not too orange (and it tones down the dreaded biscuit smell as well). I usually spill tan on the carpet at this point. A baby wipe is used to smear the stain around.
My favourite tanning mousse is the St Moriz in Dark, and I use a really intensive lotion alongside it – Garnier Body Intensive 7 Days is great.
Prep time. Extensions come out and get brushed out and straightened for later use: I like to be prepared. I give them a spritz of some heat protection spray and attack them with a hairdryer to make sure they’re sleek.
Best extensions I’ve found are the Dirty Looks Quad Weft extensions: I use colour Espresso. They’re so thick and easy to clip in – I use Bumble & Bumble BB Does it All heat protection styling spray on them to keep them in (vaguely) good condition!
The tan has dried and it’s time to tackle my makeup. This naturally requires every brush I own – and 90% of the products in my makeup box – being scattered around my bedroom. Why is there a kabuki brush under the bed? Is that a liner brush in my underwear drawer? Who knows.
A great base is crucial. I’m not a huge fan of primers – I feel they make my skin a little greasy – so instead I use a heavy duty concealer on my red or dark patches, like under my eyes, the sides of my nose, and around my chin. After letting this dry, I apply my foundation: first using a foundation brush to spread it evenly onto my face, and then I finish off with a Beauty Blending sponge to get a great airbrushed look.
Best heavy duty concealer I’ve found is the Phwoarr Paint by 17. It’s brilliant for dark circles, and it lasts ages, both on the skin and in the compact. My go-to foundation for nights out is the Estee Lauder Double Wear: it’s so industrial strength, it’ll stay put all night long.
Contour and Highlight
Contouring and highlighting is – by far! – my favourite part of my makeup regime. Watching my face change thanks to a sweep of a brush is so interesting and exciting!
I followed my Step by Step Contour and Highlight routine, as a night out requires a more dramatic look than the daytime. For a more low key contour – or if you’re in a rush – try my 30 second routine which only requires 3 products and 1 brush!
My favourite contour products? Personally, I’m loving the Clinique Contour Chubby Stick and the Sleek Trio Face Contour Palette. But I’m always on the lookout for new contouring products, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know!
I always find that a nice glass of rose helps my technique. Maybe that’s just me…
Sometimes, when I’m feeling nostalgic, I like to crack open the photo albums and reminisce about all the times I left the house without doing a single thing to my eyebrows. (I’ll admit it – sometimes, it does make me feel a little sick to see those bushy monstrosities frolicking around on my forehead.)
But today is 2015, the year of the brows, and I like to think nowadays, I’ve got my brows down. My Brow Routine is explained step by step here (with pictures. Just saying), and my favourite brow products by far are the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade, and the Collection ‘Work the Colour’ Eyebrow Kit. These babies get my brows on point every time.
The wine did not help my steady hand. Brows look too extreme. Baby wipes at the ready.
I’ll be honest with you guys – eyeshadow is my least favourite part of getting ready. You’ve probably noticed I rarely write about eyeshadows or eye makeup looks; I’ve got pretty hooded lids, which sometimes makes me feel like the whole shebang is pointless – nobody will really be able to see it anyway! – and I sometimes struggle to get shadows as pigmented as I’d like.
However, with a combination of a couple of favourites, eye makeup can be a doddle. I tend to buy palettes of shadows rather than single pots, and currently I’m liking the Makeup Revolution Iconic 1 palette – a dupe for Urban Decay’s Naked range. I’ve also got a soft spot for the Nars Dual Intensity Narsissist palette, which allows you to create both soft and extreme looks just by wetting your brush. (Top Tip: Why not wet your lips too? Go on, get yourself a fresh glass of wine. Treat yourself.)
If anything, the one-and-a-half glasses of Pinot Noir make me even more confident when winging my eyeliner; at this point, I’m brazenly flicking and winging all over the shop.
I like the Sleek Dip-It Liner for my top lids, as the pointed wand allows for precise application and a sharp wing. However, I find it hard to apply on my lower lash line, so I plump for a gel liner here. Rimmel Scandaleyes Gel Liner is fab for the water line as it stays put all night, and I like to buff it out under the lash line to create a real smokey eye effect.
Possibly the most daunting task of the evening, applying false lashes is never easy. My favourite lashes to use are either the budget Primark falsies, or the slightly more expensive Kiss human hair lashes.
I glue my lids together several times before managing to get them fairly even. (Ish. I’m not a miracle worker.)
The Boyfriend arrives
Why is he here so early? He reminds me we’re being picked up at six fifteen. Panic sets in.
I like to leave my lipstick until just before going out, so hair gets tackled first. Curls are my go-to style, especially when wearing extensions, as I feel that they blend better when not poker straight.
The best heating product I’ve found for curling my hair is the Babyliss Curl Secret. It’s quick, easy to use, and makes my curls last all night without the need for heavy-handed hairspray. My hair can be in soft waves in under ten minutes – and I’ve got a lot of hair.
At this point, I’m starting to get slightly frazzled. Night Out Essentials are thrown haphazardly into a clutch bag. ‘Do you really need all that?’ The Boyfriend asks unhelpfully, as he watches me run around like a headless chicken. A hairbrush is thrown at him and ends up knocking a picture frame off the wall.
The end is nigh. Slugging down the last of the wine (no smearing of lippie here), it’s time to create a perfect nude pout.
I prefer a darker nude shade for my skintone, and for evenings, I like to make sure my lips stay looking sharp by lining them first. My go-to liner is the Rimmel Automatic Exaggerate Lip Liner in Tiramisu – a great dupe for MAC’s Whirl. I finish off my look with a slick of lipgloss – either Revlon ColourStay Moisturising Stain in London Posh, or for a more long lasting look, MUA Lip Lacquer in Halcyon.
The Boyfriend is confused as I try and find the best lighting, and stands sulking in the corner when I tell him I don’t want him in the picture.
A sweep of powder and it’s time to go. It’s only taken the best part of three hours, but I’m looking presentable and feeling ready for the night ahead…