The four makeup staples I can’t live without | Makeup

How many makeup products do you use in a day? A recent industry presentation declared that the mean figure is four per woman – and I was shamed by my own lack of restraint. While I’ll happily wear no makeup at all, I can’t remember the last time I made up using only four products. Still, the idea complements the pared-back fashion of the moment, so I wondered what the hardest working four would be.

A foundation stick is already a handbag staple for me, since its solid, layerable texture means it can be blended all over the face as dressed-up foundation, or dabbed locally as concealer wherever more coverage is desired. Bobbi Brown’s Skin Foundation Stick (£39) offers the best shade range and I’ll love it for ever, but in the past year I’ve also enjoyed Merit Beauty’s The Minimalist (£40), mainly because when I wear it, someone unfailingly compliments me on my skin, rather than on my makeup. It’s non-greasy, sheer and natural as a foundation, robust as a concealer and feels like nothing on the skin.

I already knew that L’Oréal Paris’s Infallible 24H Longwear Soft Matte Bronzer (£12.99), a non-creasing, long-lasting powder, works brilliantly as both bronzer and nude eyeshadow, so that sailed through to the final four.

For casual, fresh-looking lips and cheeks, one multipurpose tinted cream allows for a lighter load. Chanel has just increased the shade selection in its persistently sold-out No 1 Lip and Cheek Balm (£38), meaning there are now nine shades that are near impossible to buy, rather than only six.

My favourites are Healthy Pink, which is exactly that, and Vital Beige, which is nothing of the sort (it’s a flattering brown-red), and I can assure you that a small child with one hand stuck in a sweetie jar could apply them with no problems – just dab on with a finger and smoosh outwards for an instant perk-up.

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They’re among my most-used spring/summer buys (and yes, I have bought several, despite my job). Even brow and lash products can legitimately be condensed into one. British makeup artist Ruby Hammer has doubled up, putting a peptide-rich gel brow fixer at one end of her very good Mascara & Brow Duo (£28), a black, non-clogging, smudge-resistant mascara at the other. Which, I concede, is technically two things, but recovery is a series of small wins.

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