Laura Mercier, Bobbi Brown, bareMinerals: which is the best natural-looking make-up?

In the hunt for the make-up that best enhances our youthful good looks, beauty editor Fiona Embleton and High50’s Rosanna trot down to Selfridges to put three brands to the test

The makeover: Bobbi Brown

The problem: “Revive my eyes! My eyelids can look saggy and my lashes disappear,” says Rosanna.

The solution: Make-up artist Amalie Russell cancelled out any blues and greys under Rosanna’s eyes with a pink-toned Corrector (£18.50), used at the inner corner between her eye and bridge of the nose. She followed this with the yellow-toned Tinted Eye Brightener (£19.50) concealer to bounce light away from crow’s feet.

Next, Amalie swept Longwear Cream Shadow in Heather (£18.50) over the lid. “Cool-toned shades really make the blues of Rosanna’s eyes pop,” she explains. “As you want to see the colour when you open your eye, take the shadow above the crease.”

Amalie then swept Longwear Gel Liner in Black Mauve (£17.50) close to Rosanna’s lashline, just where the lash and lid meet. “You don’t want the skin here showing,” she says. “By filling it in you make the lashes look thicker.”

She then lined three-quarters of the way along the bottom lashline and finished with two coats of Smokey Eye Mascara (£22). “Wiggle the wand at the roots to give the lashes lift,” says Amalie. “And always choose black: it gives the eye stand-out by making eyes look whiter.”

Face: Rosanna’s sunkissed skin was a bit on the dry side so Amalie layered on Extra Repair Serum (£62.50) with a BB Cream SPF35 in Medium To Dark (£29) on top. Using a foundation brush, she swept it around the nose where Rosanna needed more coverage due to enlarged pores (pores naturally get larger with age).

She then sealed it with a little loose powder: “Use a brush rather than a powder puff and pat on to the skin to stop the powder looking too heavy and settling into lines,” says Amalie.

Cheeks: Rosanna’s skin is quite tanned but the Bronzing Powder in Medium (£27) dusted on to the forehead, hairline and a bit under the cheekbones gave her overall complexion more warmth. Amalie used a foundation brush to sweep Rouge for Lips & Cheeks in Calypso Coral (£19) on to the apples and tops of Rosanna’s cheeks, blending it towards the hairline. “Use the side of the brush without the blusher to soften the edges,” says Amalie.

Lips: Creamy Lip Colour in Italian Rose (£19). Our natural lipline fades with age so apply lipliner (in Pink Mauve, £16) after lipstick, as “then you can see where you want to define and line around the edges without it looking severe,” says Amalie.

Rosanna’s verdict: “I really liked the way this look made my eyes the focal point of my face, without them looking too ‘done’. The lilac shade was a revelation! There are a lot of steps to this so I would do it on a morning when I had a bit more time on my hands.”

The makeover: bareMinerals 

The problem: “I want to even out my skin tone after a holiday in the sun,” says Rosanna.

The solution: Mineral make-up is made from crushed rocks mined from the earth. They contain none of the preservatives, fillers or binders required to make regular cosmetics so the idea is that it will enhance your skin’s natural glow. Make-up artist Aoife Reilly started with a sweep of Prime Time Brightening Foundation Primer (£21) over Rosanna’s face. It contains the glistening mineral mica to optically ‘blur’ the appearance of wrinkles and makes the shadows created by pigmentation less obvious.

“To get a natural finish, the trick is to apply the mineral foundation – which is a powder – correctly,” says Aoife. Using the Original SPF15 Foundation in Medium Beige (£25), she tipped a little powder into the lid of the pot and dipped in the brush. “Tap the excess off on the rim of the lid, then buff the powder in circular movements of 8 (a bit like polishing a table),” explains Aoife. “The more you buff, the better your complexion and the more even your skin tone will look, as the minerals warm with the skin’s natural oils, making the powder feel like a cream.”

Cheeks: Aoife worked the Warmth All-Over Face Color (£19) in a ‘figure 3’ from temple to cheekbone, along the jawline. You lose plumpness in your face with age so contouring with harsh racing strips low under the cheekbone can make you look gaunt. A little swirl of the Blush in the coral shade Beauty (£19) on the apples adds a fresh rosiness to Rosanna’s skin. A dusting of Mineral Veil (£20) on top seals in the colour.

Eyes: Dark circles can often be a telltale sign of ageing, so Aoife applied bareMinerals Stroke of Light Eye Brightener in Luminous 3 (£22), with light-reflecting minerals, on Rosanna’s undereyes.

She then used the fine tip of the Frame & Define Brow Styler in Dark (£13) and, working with feather-light strokes, started defining from the arch to the outer end of the brow before concentrating on the thicker inner corner of the brow. “Brows can become sparse with age so this is a great way of framing the eyes,” says Aoife.

Brown eyeshadow has yellow and red tones in it, which can make eyes look tired, so Aoife opted for more flattering taupe (Shimmer Eyecolor in Light Taupe Beige, £14). Two coats of black Flawless Definition Volumizing Mascara (£16) finished the look.

Lips: Marvelous Moxi Lipstick in Get Ready (£16) applied with a make-up brush. Its sheer, hydrating texture is perfect for plumping up lips that are starting to thin with age.

Rosanna’s verdict: “This involves too much buffing and mixing of powders, which I know I won’t stick to. I can see that mineral make-up would really benefit younger complexions, especially those with spot-prone or sensitive skin, but on me it just looked cakey. The brows were way too heavy. I just couldn’t wait to rub them off! And though I really liked the colour of the eyeshadow, the texture started to emphasise the creases in my lids as the day wore on.”

The makeover: Laura Mercier

The problem: “I want to look dewy and fresh-faced without looking shiny and greasy,” says Rosanna.

The solution: “Good skincare is the basis of flawless make-up,” says make-up artist Rose Angus. “Choose an oil-free moisturiser such as the Oil-Free Day Lotion (£77.50) as it hydrates but won’t leave a greasy film behind on the skin.”

Rose started by using her hands to sweep the Foundation Primer in Radiance (£19) over Rosanna’s skin. “It’s water-based and contains no silicone, which means it won’t leave a powdery finish,” explains Rose.

Next comes a layer of Tinted Moisturiser in Tan (£34). “Foundation would be too heavy for Rosanna’s skin – all she needs is a bit of concealer (Secret Camouflage in No5, £26.50) on the chin, around the nose and over the nose-to-mouth lines to make them less obvious.” Everything is set with a light dusting of Invisible Loose Setting Powder (£29), which is colourless so won’t alter the shade of your base.

Cheeks: Matte Radiance Baked Powder in Shade 2 (£24) is swept over Rosanna’s cheekbones and under her jawline. “Sparkly versions look too obvious whereas this is a next-to-natural tan,” says Rose. For blusher, Rose chose the Second Skin Cheek Colour in Spiced Cider (£20.50), a red rather than pink-based coral shade. “If your skin tone is warm like Rosanna’s, pink may clash,” she explains.

Eyes: “High Coverage Concealer in No3 (£23) used only in the inner corner of the eye, by the nose, where the darkness is most visible,” says Rose. “Don’t take concealer all the way to the outer lashes as it is more likely to settle in fine lines.” Rose curled Rosanna’s lashes close to the roots to open up her eyes, then swept a fine liner brush loaded with Crème Eyeliner in Espresso (£19) on the waterline underneath her top lashes. “You’re essentially colouring between the lashes to make them look thicker,” explains Rose. She then lined the outer edges of the top and lower lids. “The closer you take your eyeliner to the inner corner of your eye the more you close it up,” says Rose.

A wash of Matte Eye Colour in Fresco (£19), a shade close to Rosanna’s skin tone, over the lids added definition. “Applying eyeliner before your shadow is a great trick if you want to control the amount of definition you give your eyes and don’t want them to look overloaded with make-up,” says Rose. Finish with mascara, concentrating on the tips of the lashes to keep the look natural.

Lips: The edges were lined with Lip Pencil in Plumberry (£17.50) then the lips filled in with Sheer Lip Colour in Baby Lips (£17.50), two shades that are as close to Rosanna’s lip shade as possible.

Rosanna’s verdict: THE WINNER! “This is what I think of as the perfect ‘no-make-up’ make-up look. I look fresh-faced and feel 100 per cent comfortable – and confident – in my own skin.”