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Trinny’s guide to creating the perfect base

Trinny Woodhall is famous for her age-defying glow. Here the beauty entrepreneur helps us navigate the skin-perfecting minefield and reveals the secret to acing your base.

All about the base

The very first thing I want to say here is: own the colour of your skin. Whatever your natural skin colour is, it is beautiful. You do not need to try to change it. Take it from someone who spent much of her teens caked in fake tan mousse in an attempt to hide her acne. Not a good idea.

Trying to alter your skin tone – with fake tan, bronzer or a base the wrong shade – will put that essential relationship between your skin, hair and eyes out of whack. You’ll likely have a slight line around your hairline where the skin is a different tone. It will also dull your face.

What you choose will also depend on whether your skin tends towards oily or dry. Those with oily skin will probably prefer not to add more shine with a heavier weight product. Those with dry skin will want to lean towards adding back some glow.

In order of weight, from low to high, these are products we can use as a base:

A skin perfector is not much more than a light moisturiser with a small amount of pigment.

A tinted serum contains active ingredients as well as giving you some light coverage. It provides another opportunity to address a skin concern in addition to your skincare products.

Tinted moisturisers offer some level of hydration alongside coverage, though not usually much in the way of actives.

Sheer coverage foundation is the lightest kind of foundation. Radiant coverage foundation is formulated to give a very dewy look and is hydrating.

Satin coverage foundation sits in the middle of radiant and matt, in terms of how much glow it brings to your complexion.

Matt coverage foundation lacks luminosity and the product tends to feels thicker. This is the least light reflecting foundation that will give most coverage.

It’s important to say that you don’t have to wear any base at all. You might just dab on a bit of concealer and be good to go. Or you might wear a light base when your face is feeling a bit tired.

Less is more here. If you are someone who is used to wearing a heavy foundation then it can feel exposing to wean yourself off but I promise that a lighter base with a focus on the natural tones and light in your skin will feel more comfortable and more freeing. Thick foundations can flatten the face and take away character.

How to apply your base

Stage 1: Start by applying your base where you most need it. For the majority of us, this will be in the middle of our face, around our nose. Don’t cover up your best skin first or you’ll end up putting on twice as much as you actually need.

Stage 2: Blend it outwards from there. The aim is to give yourself light coverage using only as much base as you need to even out your skin tone. Blending is so important for this and will also help it to sink into your skin rather than just sit there. Which gives you a good canvas for whatever you want to add next.

Note: You might find that all you need is a small amount of coverage around your nose and chin, blended well over the top of a tinted serum that you have first put on all over.

Note: Go easy under the eye – particularly if you are applying a heavier product and you have reached that stage on the path of life where the skin there has become slightly crepe-y. Under-eye concealer is the best thing for the job here.

Getting the right colour base and concealer for your skin is so important. And of course this may change slightly or a lot, depending on whether it’s summer or winter, just as your skincare concerns change with the season. There are many ways to buy makeup online and get a colour that’s right for you. If you are shade matched in a store, always go outside to look at it in daylight and decide for yourself if it’s right before you buy it.


Extracted from Fearless: Style. Beauty. Life by Trinny Woodall

(HQ, HarperCollins).


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