Just the thought of a trip to the make-up counter can be enough to scare even the most product-savvy women these days, especially when it comes to primers. ‘CC’, ‘BB’, ‘resurfacing’, ‘illuminating’, ‘strobe’ – hearing the claims that such-and-such cream will make you look de-stressed and more radiant is enough to stress you out and drain your face in the process! Plus, if you wear some form of foundation – whether it’s fluid, stick, an all-in-one compact foundation or a tinted moisturizer – it’s easy to think why bother?

Well, the answer is: primers prepare the face by evening out discolouration, reducing the appearance of fine lines and enlarged pores, reducing excess shine and adding warmth, and as well as giving your foundation a base to prolong it’s staying-power, clever use of primers means you need to use less foundation and maybe skip foundation altogether! And one thing I regularly hear from women is that they don’t really like the feeling of foundation…                  

Here are my simple steps to creating a flawless complexion:

1) Start with a moisturizer – I always use Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentre as it is perfect for every skin-type from the oiliest to the driest, and it is fragrance-free and completely hypoallergenic so it is ideal for even the most sensitive skin.

2) With fingertips, apply a mattifying primer to the t-zone, i.e.: forehead, nose and chin. Great mattifying primers are Laura Mercier Foundation Primer or L’Oréal Paris Studio Secrets Smoothing Resurfacing Primer (my favourite!). These primers will specifically combat oiliness and open pores, so if your skin I drier apply sparingly. If your skin is excessively oily, you may want to apply to the apples of the cheeks too.    

3) Now it’s time to apply a CC or a BB Cream. Whatever any sales assistant tells you, there is no difference between the two! ‘CC’ stands for ‘colour corrector’, ‘BB’ for ‘blemish balm’ or ‘beauty balm’, BUT THEY DO THE SAME THING! There are a hundred different makes on the market, but the absolute best I have come across are by Erbrorian, a Korean brand which is available at Space NK or from various online retailers. Erbrorian do an incredible product called ‘CC Crème HD’ which is a white when squeezed from the tube but changes colour when applied to leave skin looking like it has been airbrushed. And it has a 25 SPF. If I had a pound for every time a model or celebrity has asked me ‘What is this? Where can I get it?’ then I could retire! ‘CC Crème HD’ can look too warm on ultra-pale skins though, but Erbrorian do ‘BB Cream’ in different shades, although I recommend ‘Nude’. Erbrorian ‘CC Crème HD’ isn’t suitable for very dark skin tones though, and for Afro-Caribbean skin I adore ‘CC Cream Multi-Action’ by Black Up. Apply your BB or CC Cream with fingertips over the entire face.

4) If you feel you still need more coverage, apply your regular foundation over your ‘primed’ skin either with fingers, brush or sponge, however you prefer. You will be amazed at how little foundation you need!

5) Finish off by applying concealer under the eyes, then set concealer and foundation with your preferred powder using a large, fluffy brush such as MAC’s Duo Fibre Face Brush.

This might all seem like an awful lot of effort but it only takes a few minutes, and if you ‘prime’ yourself properly you won’t have to waste time retouching your make-up all day! And no matter what age you are, these five simple steps are equally effective: the model in the photo below left is twenty-three, and the right-hand photo is my mother who is seventy-four.