A Guide to Savvy Shopping: Part Three – Makeup essentials

I’m going to start with a confession, makeup essentials are definitely not my area of expertise. Those who know me will be sure of that so I’ve called in the professional for this week’s blog post in the form of Deborah Harper, owner of the amazing Deborah Harper Makeup and Beauty in Helen’s Bay. If you are treating yourself or someone special to you look no further than DHMB. Think Day Spa at salon prices, beautiful surroundings, wonderful treatments and lovely therapists. Need I say more?

Anyway, makeup, when it comes to makeup I’ve been known to get it wrong, not least in my youth when a few questionable makeup purchases led to looks not dissimilar to this one:

As Britney Spears was big in my day I also fooled myself into thinking that I too could look like her by smearing myself in bright green eye shadow:

Needless to say nobody ever mistook me for Britney on the streets of Belfast, bad times! So due to my clueless efforts at buying the right, affordable makeup I’m handing you over to Deborah for our first ever guest post on wisdom and pennies.


I first met Deborah about seven years ago through a mutual friend and I’ve enjoyed getting to know her better of late. As clichéd as it sounds Debs oozes beauty from the inside out. Having watched her in action many times I can tell you that she has a gift with people and the ability to make them feel special and of great worth. In short, she is a treasure. But I’ve said enough, time to hand you over to the girl herself for some real wisdom in this area:

Hello all of Lisa’s blog followers!

I have loved makeup since I was far too young to even be allowed to wear makeup.

I can still remember finding my Mum’s only lipstick in very retro red and white packaging and being totally mesmerised! This was the start of a long-term passion for makeup.

My style is for makeup that enhances. That makes you feel good about your skin, your complexion, your colouring. My mantra being everyone can wear every colour – just not every shade. For example, I love red lipstick but it is a very specific red that makes my blue eyes pop, my teeth look white and my skin look bright. The wrong colour leads to my lips looking thin, my eyes look tired and a general shady/greyness to my complexion.

So be excited. makeup is fun, experimental and doesn’t have to cost the earth.

I treat my makeup bag like my wardrobe – have a few key investment pieces, like a classic winter coat that will last you many a season but accent it with a scarf or hat that didn’t cost the earth and you can change your look depending on how you feel.

So my investment pieces are my foundation, blusher and mascara

Why? These you will use every day. I like a BB cream with an SPF and I love good coverage so i choose Jane Iredale’s Glow Time in number 5.

I choose to invest in my blusher as I seem to react to a lot of highly pigmented products. So again Jane Iredale’s Barely Rose or Dubonnet are beautiful. They have no chemical dyes and potentially irritating ingredients – so are safe to use on the most sensitive skin types. If you find you have red blotches or spots around the area you use bronzer or blusher – this could be the reason why and a makeup change could be the answer.

Senna’s Voluptulash (£16.50) is just my all time favourite mascara. It is creamy enough to keep layering and reapplying to get a really dramatic effect but it is also pleasant to remove and doesn’t mean you rub half your eyelashes off at the end of the day!

My accent/fun/experimental pieces are basically everything else!


Everyone should have a signature nude lip colour. Mine is Barry M’s No. 154 (£4.95) and for a wee treat I adore Senna’s Affair (£14.50). I keep both in the car for handiness – it is easy to throw on a nude shade without needing to use lip liner or really even a mirror. Definitely check out Rimmel for the Kate nude shades. There will be a perfect one in there just for you. Key is – don’t go too pale or it will just look like you’ve just put concealer all over your lips!

My other love is for all things coral. I love a colour that lifts my face – especially if I am not doing much with my eyes, Entry VIP by Bourgois is fab. (Boots, £7.99)


Ok so this isn’t really a budget product but it will last you forever (well, a long time anyways). Any of the Naked pallets are wonderful. It contains multiple perfect ‘day’ looks with darker shades that take your makeup effortlessly into an evening look.

The 90s are making a come back – for me brown lips and cheeks would be too draining – but my eyes will love all the mocha/latte shades (Naked 1 for this!).

My top tip is to buy at the airport (normally £9 cheaper) or check out www. beauco.co which is a fab comparison site for all things beauty.


Here is where you can have lots of fun. This spring summer saw a trend return – the brightly coloured liner. With a simple sweep you have have a blast of blues/greens – check out Rimmel’s Scandaleyes – the colours are fab! I loved this on the upper lid with lots of mascara, keeping the rest of the makeup quite fresh with a little pop of colour using a lip stain (Crazed by Jane Iredale is gorgeous).

But coming into autumn/winter I will be sharpening up my chocolate brown eyeliner for a rich but less harsh look than my usual black liquid flick. Sable Brown by Rimmel is lovely and soft – good for smudging and creating an effortlessly smokey/smudgy look.


Not all of you will be super sensitive with blusher so also feel free to play about with colours and textures. I have loved using Max Factor’s Miracle Touch Creamy Blush in pink on lots of my brides this year (the bronze shade looks gorgeous too).


For me, I have got away from wanting my skin to look matt…I want it to have a glow and natural dewiness – mostly because as I get older I miss how my skin used to look. So cream blush will work on a cream based foundation (not so much on a powder base such as Bare Minerals/Amazing Base by Jane Iredale).

Contouring and strobing have been around for as long as makeup existed. Just because they have got new cool names doesn’t change the technique.

My tip for contouring – keep it matt, blend it so you cannot see a harsh definition. Yes, be inspired by the online help guides but your face and contours will not be the same as the image before you. So play about and see what looks best on you!

Strobing is highlighting – in the same places that it has always looked best to highlight. The high point of your cheek bone is most common, but also don’t forget your forehead (just above the arch of your eyebrow) and down the centre of the nose (if you want it to look thinner – don’t do this if you are already concerned with having a long/thin nose). But again, play about so you know what works and not just before you go out to that special occasion.

I think that would be my final piece of advice – play about! Check out Pixiwoo, Wayne Goss and Lisa Eldridge online, all of whom do fab makeup tutorials and will give you lots of top tips on application.

At DHMB I also do makeup lessons. You can come in with your own makeup bag and just simply say – INSPIRE ME!

(Jane Iredale foundation (£35) and blusher (£22) and Senna mascara are all available to buy at DHMB)

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