Making It Up: First Base

Let Motley’s Fashion & Beauty Editor, Laurence Keating, teach you how to get your bases sorted for the college year.

From Freshers Week to graduation you’ll undoubtedly be spending hours searching for the perfect make-up for every occasion but not knowing how to do the perfect base can make any look fall flat. Something appears tricky is actually is much simpler than it seems. You just need to be willing to try a few tips and invest some more time and an extra few euros to get the best results.

Getting your base (foundation, concealer, powder or any mixture of the three) right can really help to solve most people’s make-up woes and you’d be surprised how even the most diligent full-on-TOWIE aficionado can do an about face when they are shown that you don’t need an entire factory line of make-up to look your best. It really all starts with good skin care. Cleanse, tone and moisturise sounds woefully old fashioned but a three-step routine morning and evening will really work wonders. Failing that, those same three-steps will work just as well before when getting ready to go ou. Once you’re all scrubbed up, the first step depends on your skin type. If you have oily skin, you can go with a primer with the best being Laura Mercier’s (available in Brown Thomas from €41) as it really shows results especially considering the high price tag. Another great one is Benefit’s Porefessional Primer (available Boots and Debenhams, around €34) which really helps to blur larger pores meaning your foundation won’t emphasize them.


With dry and combination dry skin, an issue that can raise its hideous head is the dreaded flaking. Yes dry patches with foundation applied over the top can look like paint on shredded paper; however there are products that will help. Firstly, a good exfoliating cleanser topped with your favourite moisturiser should remove the offending areas but they tend to reappear as once the moisturiser begins to dry, the problem areas harden again and flap right back up. End result: Upsetting. Most primers merely exacerbate and draw attention to this, but luckily Illamasqua has created the fantastic Hydra Veil.

Neither moisturiser nor primer but a bizarre jelly like texture that settles back to its original form in the tub. This product can be used after your moisturiser has absorbed and before your foundation. It glides on, feels slightly cooling and a little odd at first but your foundation will apply beautifully over it and the dry patches will be kept at bay. While it will work with all foundations, it was specifically designed to be used in conjunction with Illamasqua’s Skin Base Foundation (,,,around €32.29) which is one of the best foundations for creating a flawless-actual-skin look.

This innovative formula, based on the Beauty Balm trend but with much, much better coverage that can be worn sheerly by applying with fingers or medium to full coverage when buffed in with a brush. Another fantastic foundation with a real skin look available from most pharmacies is Maybelline’s Fit Me Foundation,  which also comes in a huge range of shades running from cool to warm. The coverage is sheer to medium but you can buff on a little extra in places you feel need it and it also looks well over Hydra Veil. The easiest way to apply both  is with a Real Techniques Expert Face Brush (Select Boots Nationwide €13.29). This amazing multi-tasking brush is firm and dense but still extremely soft allowing for a smooth, streak free application of liquid, cream and gel products. It’s also shaped in such a way that it can get into the under-eye area easily with concealer.

On to concealer now and one cult classic, which happens to be affordable too, is Collection Cosmetics Lasting Perfection Concealer (available from Boots €6.49) an amazing product that genuinely works better than many high-end alternatives. Most concealers are best applied under eyes with your ring finger though a brush is the more sanitary option when dealing with blemishes.

Finally, on to powder, essential if you have an oily to combination oily skin, and one to use only if truly needed with drier skins, powder holds the whole face in place and most often mattifies everything. Rimmel’s Stay Matte Pressed Powder is fantastic for the price and handbag friendly, Using a large fluffy powder brush, such as Real Techniques’ Powder Brush (available from Boots, around €16.99), you can get an even all over application and then change to their setting brush for a more targeted application. all over application or a smaller fluffy brush for more precise powdering.

So there you have it, how to get the perfect base. If you’ve any make-up conundrums feel free to send on your questions and queries to Making it Up at