My Make-Up Kit Secrets!

Louise Connor Make Up Tips, Make- Up

I often get asked about the products I use in my kit so here are some of my favourites!


A primer is the key to your make up looking great and lasting so I am always trying these out to find the best. It’s good to choose the correct one for your own skin type but my favourite right now is Illamasqua Hydra veil, it’s a clear gel like texture, amazing to look at and fantastic at providing hydration and a great even smooth base for foundation. Use a small amount and blend on to the skin with fingers or a brush. I always allow a primer a few minutes to absorb before applying foundation.

My choice of foundation depends on the skin type I am applying it to do here a few of my favourites based on skin type. The one thing I always do regardless of the foundation type is to use a foundation brush. This gives a really blended finish and you use less product too!

Normal to dry skin
Daniel Sandler Invisible Radiance foundation and concealer
This is a gorgeous creamy texture and looks quite thick when you first look at it but it provides the most natural but covering finish with a lovely dewy finish, hence why I avoid it on very oily skins who generally prefer a matte finish. The beauty of this product is that it had a concealer in the lid so takes the pain out if choosing the right colour concealer to compliment your skin.

Combination skin
Clinique Extra help
I love the cover this foundation gives; it really evens out skin tone and can be applied lightly for a natural cover or layered for a medium to full coverage.

All skin types
Illamasqua Skin Base
I had to include this as it’s my first choice for using on shoots. Easy to blend, it creates a perfect complexion, Suitable for all skin types, it smoothes, softens and conditions your skin whilst providing natural, buildable coverage.

Oily skin
I look for a foundation that is oil free so avoiding adding more oil and shine to the skin. Also oily skin tends to lose foundation throughout the day so my favourite is Estée Lauder Doublewear. This has great longevity, gives a semi matte finish and a great colour range.
It also now comes in Doublewear light if you prefer a more natural finish

There are so many choices when it comes to concealer and can depend what you want to cover, dark under eyes, blemishes, scars etc.
I always choose a yellow toned concealer, on dark blue under eyes it helps neutralise the colour whereas pink based concealer can make this are a look grey and on blemishes you want the redness toned down so yellow works well on these areas. I also choose a concealer that covers not highlights, there are lots of well-known brands that have key under eye products but beware that you use this after concealing the problem area first or you will draw more attention to this area.
My key concealing products are Bobbi Brown corrector and concealer. The corrector is pink or yellow based dependent on your skin tone and corrects and neutralises darkness. It’s extremely effective if you suffer from very dark under eyes .Then you can apply the concealer on top to lift and brighten. It’s so effective for covering blemishes etc. and are all yellow tones.

A Lot of people avoid powder due to finding it sits on the skin and doesn’t look natural. Many formulations are now very refined, super smooth, invisible finishes. I use a loose powder to set makeup this ensuring it lasts longer and a pressed powder when out and about for ease of use.
My choices are both from Mac, Prep and Prime Finishing loose powder is white in colour but goes on the skin invisibly so can be used on any skin colour. It’s very lightweight and sets without leaving any trace.
On the move I use Mac blot powders, they come in colours from light to dark and are perfect for using to control any shine as they don’t add colour to the skin and are very lightweight so avoid that powdery build up.

I also use an amazing product for under the eyes. I would mostly avoid using powder under the eyes as it can accentuate any dryness and lines but using Laura Mercier secret brightening powder instantly lifts the eye area. It’s a transparent white colour that lightens and brightens without settling in fine lines.

Eye primers
Again a key product in my kit, a good primer will ensure your eyeshadow stays put, looks fresh and doesn’t crease. I avoid using foundation on the eyelids as the formulas tend to be too fluid to hold onto eyeshadow. My favourite is a new brand called Lola, available exclusively in select M&S stores. Its flesh toned so gives cover to any visible redness or pigment on the eyelid, meaning your eyeshadow stays colour true. It ‘holds’ onto the eyeshadow ensuring it lasts and doesn’t crease. I apply with a concealer brush and then pat it in with my fingertip.

Eye shadows
I change according to colour trends; new formulas etc. but I love Mac for colour choice, Maybelline 24 hour colour tattoo cream shadow for cream formula with great staying power and Dior for the sumptuous textures in their palettes.

Despite trying many over the years I always go back to Max Factor, a really reliable mascara and now available in many different formulations. My favourite is Masterpiece as it separates the lashes without clumping giving nice length for a natural finish and is easily buildable to give a more dramatic look. It also doesn’t flake and lasts really well.

I tend to use a brow powder in preference to pencils as I prefer the softer look powder gives and it’s also easier to blend. My choice is Oriflame eyebrow kit. It’s 2 brow colours and a fixing wax so really easy to custom blend the correct colour and then set with the wax for lasting power. The kit also contains 2 angled brushes to use with the powder to create a really soft natural brow. My key to using this is to apply a little at a time and build up the colour. Also only apply where you need to fill in or thicken the brow shape and avoid using all over if not needed.

Eye liner
I like different liner formulas for different effects, a pencil can be softened for a natural or smokey look and a liquid is great for that classic vintage winged look. I like a pencil that is waterproof so it doesn’t disappear half way through the day or night! My choice is Daniel Sandler velvet liner, it comes in a range of colours and is waterproof so doesn’t run or smudge. It’s really soft so glides over the eye easily which means it doesn’t drag the delicate eye area. If you want a smokey effect blend it as soon as you apply as it really does set and won’t move if you leave it too long!
Liquid liners are notoriously difficult to master and set quickly so are more difficult to get right and correct any mistakes so I suggest using a gel liner, easier to use and master and more easily moveable so mistakes can be corrected! I like Mac Fluidline and also Maybelline Gel liner.

My favourite blushers tend to be cream and liquid as I really like the finish they give more of a natural glow and leaves the skin looking slightly dewy and fresh. I like Stila convertible cover; it’s a cream finish and can be used on lips too. My other favourite is a liquid blush, a unique formula that is surprisingly easy to use but use very sparingly and build the colour as once applied it will stay put. I use Daniel Sandler Watercolour blush available in a variety of beautiful colours, there is also a specially shaped brush to use with it which makes it really easy to apply and blend
However there is a powder blush I do adore as it’s so versatile it really suits so many skin tones and is a lovely soft blendable texture, its Nars powder blush in Orgasm.

A big mistake when using bronzer is to apply all over the face with a big brush. The best way to apply is to add the colour where the sun naturally hits the face first so apply to the high points of the face like the bridge of the nose, tops of the cheekbones, the forehead and temples. This ensures a really natural effect and doesn’t lose the contours and shape of the face by applying all over. My choice for bronzer is Estée Lauder bronze goddess as it’s not as shimmery as some bronzes which I like to give a more natural finish.

I tend to use a natural coloured lip liner as it’s so versatile to use with many different lip colours, a new range just launched by celebrity make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury has a great nude liner called Iconic nude, it’s also great to use to also reshape and balance the lip shape.
My choice of lip colour depends on colours mainly but brands I like are Mac, again for colour choice which is huge, L’Oreal Prive range ,limited edition nude colours and I also use Clinique, Bobbi Brown and Illamasqua
Lip gloss is very much the same but brands I use a lot are Mac, Laura Mercier, Nars and Bobbi Brown

Louise Connor Makeup Artist - Photography by Sarah Lancaster