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Invest in complexion products, full stop. "The quality of the foundation is the most important part of your makeup," Julie Cusson, Chanel makeup artist. "If you have the right foundation - if the base is there, you have the most important part of the job done." Before you shop, Cusson recommends asking yourself: why do you want to wear foundation? Do you want full-coverage to hide discolourations? To add moisture? Or do you want an overall glow? When you know why you want, it makes it easier to find the finish you're after.
ELLE Canada pick: Chanel Perfection Lumière Long Wear Flawless Fluid Makeup, available in 12 shades, $64, available at The Bay.
Concealers need to look as close to skin texture as possible to cover imperfections. Spending a little more on the formula will give you smooth and seamless coverage. Go one shade lighter than your skin tone (this can be helpful in giving an overall brightening effect to the eye area). "I like textures that have some "tack,' [creaminess rather than being overly fluid]" says New York-based Troy Surratt, makeup artist and founder of Surratt Beauty. "These types of concealers tend to have better adherence to the skin resulting in longer wear and less need for touch ups."
ELLE Canada pick: Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer, $34.
The reason it makes sense to invest in powder blush: you get more believable, buildable colour thanks to powder pigments that are more finely milled so they look silky on the skin. "Even though I love cream blush because it's dewy, youthful looking and hydrating on the skin, I'll still recommend a powder blush to a woman that asks me what to buy," says Vanessa Jarman, Toronto-based makeup artist. Tip: For cheeks, small-to-medium blush brushes work best. Lay the flat of the brush on the apples of your cheeks to size ‘em up so you're not overdoing colour on the cheek, adds the pro.
ELLE Canada pick: Nars Dual-Intensity Blush in Fervor, $45. narscometics.ca
To get the best, longest-lasting and crease-proof colour, invest in a premium eyeshadow formula. Not only will you need to use less to get the desired effect, but the colours will be truer and the finishes will be more refined - whether it's shimmer, satin or matte (aka - no chunky sparkle).
ELLE Canada pick: YSL Couture Colour Mono Eyeshadow, $34. Available at The Bay.
Budget-friendly lipstick has come a long way - older formulas were waxy with little colour payoff. New versions focus on conditioning and colour together-blending ingredients like shea butter for moisture and pigments that stay true all day. "The only time I support a splurge on lipstick is for what I call ‘editorial colours,'" says Jarman. "It's usually a shade maybe something you would see in the pages of a magazine - before seeing it on a woman walking down the street." (remember Rooney Mara kick-starting goth lipstick?)
ELLE Canada pick: CoverGirl Colorlicious Lipstick, $10.99. Available at drugstores.
Hands up if you've ever finished a bottle of nail polish? Nah, neither have we. While your colour du jour seems fresh for the first few manis, over time it can become goopy, thick and hard to get a great result (not to mention, it's boring to do the same shade time and again). Keep it fresh with budget-friendly formulas that you don't feel guilty about tossing after a few months, even if the bottle is half-full.
ELLE Canada pick: The Body Shop Colour Crush Nail Polish, $6. Thebodyshop.ca
As we know, mascara has the shortest life span of any makeup product (it dries out and flakes after just a few months, plus since you're using it around the eyes, it's the safest bet to toss it to minimize any risk of infection around your eyes). For less than $10 you can achieve, glossy, fluttery lashes. And at that price point, have a few in rotation at all times (one for day, one for night, one for top lashes, one for the bottom lashes...).
ELLE Canada pick: Rimmel London Wonderlash Mascara with Argan Oil, $7.99. Available at drugstores.