My make-up must-haves


I have been asked to list, of the thousands of products I use and test, what are my make-up must-haves… which is very hard!

Living on a farm in the country, at home I don’t always wear make-up but I will always guarantee to put on UltraSun SPF50 Anti-Pigmentation Day Cream as a base to safeguard and treat pigmentation and long-term ageing.

Gayle Hayman Lip Lift is always with me at home, work and abroad in various stages of emptiness and use because I’ve used it for 25 years before even QVC started and it allows my lips to survive my outdoor lifestyle with never any problems of peeling or cracking and I love the now improved formula which on top of the collagen, vitamin E and aloe vera, now also contains Maxi Lip which is one of my ingredient addictions because it helps to plump up the look of the lips naturally and I always smother it over the lip line too to soften age lines. At this very moment, there is two in the kitchen – an easy place to grab them, one next to my bed, one in my make-up bag and one at work.

If I am doing this in order, it would have to be Philip Kingsley Brushes which I have in all the sizes and I especially love the mini one for make-up bags and handbags. The large paddle to blow dry with (that has dog tooth marks in as they like pinching it!) because this brush, on my fine, fragile and easily damaged hair that I probably over-brush, doesn’t rip or cause split ends and is brilliant at detangling and I have one on me 100% of the time.  There is even one in the tack room and the horse box for when I take my riding hat off.

Lip Gloss! As far as I am concerned, you can never have too many. For daily use at home and many times at work, my favourite is Bareminerals Moxie Lipgloss because they last a long time and they are very moisturising, and I use them both in the stables and out and about to feel a little more dressed and add moisture. There is always one in my pocket and my purse! Especially at home or a horse show, I have been known to apply my ‘London lips’ if I have been working too much, and I get a funny look and I know I’ve got to say ‘have I overdone the gloss again?’ and take a bit off! Before, and it has happened many times when I am riding the horse, a fly gets stuck to my lip gloss! Not an attractive look!

Mascara – being very fair with pale lashes, mascara can be a must. I have to say that I probably have at least 10 brand mascaras on the go because, not only are they some of my staple favourites like the Bareminerals for home and the Mally for work, there is also so many that I’m testing to see what type of finish and performance they give. Also, if my lashes are in poor condition, Tarte’s mascaras are fantastic!  I think with all of their treatment compounds and free-from formulas I can get lash growth when using this mascara without even using a lash serum because one is built in. If I am feigning complete naturalness at home I love the Perricone No Mascara Mascara which also has a sneaky lash tint in it which builds up to give natural definition if you keep using it.

Foundation – natural quick complexion at home is easily achieved, for me, if my skin is feeling dry with Bareminerals Complexion Rescue and if its feeling normal or has any oily patches then Laura Geller Balance n Brighten – I love this one on holiday also – as it’s in a compact it’s so easy to travel with. If I am having an allergy or reaction to the numerous products I have to test, being a very allergic person I always depend on the Bareminerals Original Foundation and have both the regular size and supersize permanently at home and work and it is definitely my rescue.

Colour application – which I might add to any of the above to go to work is often most easily done with either one of the great Tarte palettes or just a blush colour used on my cheeks and eyes.

Absolutely essential for me at the moment is Laura Geller Matte Maker and Benefit Porefessional Agent Zero Shine. These are the only two products that, if I’m perspiring in a hot studio or out in the sun, absorb shine on both naked and made-up skin without causing a build-up or a breakdown of your complexion products.

Dry Shampoo – I go through about 3 or 4 cans a month! This is the greatest invention for time-saving. The ones that work best for me are Philip Kingsley’s One More Day and Percy and Reed Invisible Dry Shampoo. I use them in three different ways. Firstly, if I have run out of time and can’t wash my hair, which I mainly do daily – then these dramatically improve my look to such an extent that I can go to work and go on-air. Secondly, I apply them when I’m at a horse show or after I’ve ridden to counteract sweat from underneath the riding hat to make me look half human, and finally, even on clean hair at work (this is a trick that Percy and Reed taught me ) I use it in the roots to add texture and volume, and I do this almost every time I go on-air and it gives the look of more fullness.

Brow – as fashion has increased the look of our brow, my hairs have decreased, and whereas once I only needed to use a brow product occasionally on-air at work, now I need to define them even at home for a very natural day to stop me looking so tired, as it lifts the face. Whilst at work with the full make-up I love the artistry of all brow techniques. At home, for a natural look I love the simplicity of a skinny pencil type product such as Benefit Precisely My Brow Pencil or Bareminerals Frame & Define Brow Styler, both of which have a spooley brush on the end which is crucial for quick application.

So those are my absolute make-up must-haves! What are yours?


  1. Sarah W September 20, 2016 at 10:42 am -  Reply

    Mine are definitely Ultrasun Anti Pigmentation face cream, Bare Minerals Original and Bare Minerals nude lips!

    These are my desert island must- haves!

  2. Susan C September 24, 2016 at 9:35 pm -  Reply

    Alpha H factor 50 moisturiser. Bare minerals neutralising primer, Doll 10 cream blush, BM Bare pro foundation, Mally poreless face defender, BM well rested concealer, Laura Geller blusher (all shades are fab), Bare Minerals brow definer, BM eyeliners, Benefit roller lash mascara, Laura Geller Tahitian glow, Bobbi Brown lipstick and Doll 10 glosses. QVC addict!

  3. Embp September 26, 2016 at 10:32 pm -  Reply

    BM original foundation, P Kingsley PK4 capsules and elasticiser, Ultrasun face 30, Mally mascara, Gatineau peeling expert, Perricone moisturiser,Gale Hayman lip lift, Wen hair cleanser( at the moment). I could go on, yes l am a bit of a product junkie, but i recently retired at 60 and nobody would believe my age.

  4. clare October 6, 2016 at 8:01 pm -  Reply

    hi Alison, I am getting married next May and I want my skin to be in tip top condition. Do you have any tips?

  5. Helen Wallington October 13, 2016 at 12:21 pm -  Reply

    Mally mascara, Precisely my Brow (brilliant for shape) BM original foundation, Doll 10 purple gel eyeliner with brush but need to know best primer than doesn’t add extra shine?

  6. Urmila October 13, 2016 at 3:16 pm -  Reply

    Hi, Alison I’m a big fan of u and always follow your advice you give us. I’m 26 years old and I’ve dry skin . Now I’m trying bareMineral serum foundation which I bought 1 week before from qvc.I’m very pleased with its great smooth coverage but my only problem is whenever I apply it ring round flaky dryness pop into my makeup! This dryness is my only skin problem and dark circle Ofcourse ! So could u please suggest me which base or primer or Skin perfect or should I use with this serum foundation to look my skin smooth , silky and nice! I’m thinking about bareMineral complexion rescue or orginal primer! But I really don’t know and need ur perfect advice please. I’m using bareMineral serum foundation natural shade or use mainly nude shade of maybellon matte foundation

    • Amber October 18, 2016 at 4:28 am -  Reply

      Urmila, you need to treat your skin first. Decleor neroli oil day with hydra floral and neroli balm night to get your skin rebalanced.
      For dark circles etc use the studio 10 correction palette then the time bomb glory day as a primer.

  7. Anne McCleary October 20, 2016 at 1:08 pm -  Reply

    Never having had a spot in my life, once I hit 50 I started getting these tiny red pinprick size “spots” , every few months. I blamed various products, and developed a cupboard full of things which I blamed, but were expensive and I couldn’t throw out. It happens out of the blue, and can be anything from 1 or 2 which clear in a few days , to a “rash” of them which can take 2 weeks to clear. One well known beauty emporium told me it “was the impurities coming out” , and a chemist wondered if it was mild rosacea. It takes me 2 weeks to get an appointment with a GP , so I haven’t tried, and I don’t know of any dermatologists in Belfast who are beauty oriented rather than more medical. They could be hormonal , or allergic, or ? The most recent batch were for some reason all around my eyes…. if you can imagine, the area behind my glasses? Is it blocked pores ? Ive no idea what they look like, but sometimes I wonder if its connected to sweat not escaping. anyway , Id be hugely grateful for any advice!

    • Anne McCleary October 21, 2016 at 4:52 pm -  Reply

      I should clarify … these are like tiny pin pricks, which don’t “come up” to anything . They might be slightly raised, but they don’t come to a head as such . There doesn’t seem to be any kind of ooze. They can be itchy , but that might be just because I think about them!

  8. Yvonne October 20, 2016 at 2:42 pm -  Reply

    Hello Alison – I have my 58 birthday tomorrow and it seems that over the past few months the lines around the sides of my mouth and jowls have really become pronounced which has really shocked me. I am using Decleor night balm which I am very happy with and am trying Dr Perecome but don’t seem to be getting any results from so will probably send it back. Could you please let me have your recommendations regarding a firming product that will address my concerns.

    Many thanks

  9. Hefina November 2, 2016 at 11:52 am -  Reply

    Alison I had a facial as a gift the therapist said I had small blocked pores under my skin only on my forehead they were to small to do anything about them because you could only feel them they were under the skin can you recommend anything I am 69 my skin is quite good thank you

  10. Pamela December 25, 2016 at 5:05 pm -  Reply

    I’m Afro Caribbean with a combination skin and an oily t-zone. I have blackheads on my face, particularly around my nose. I have tried Elemis and Liz Earle but they No longer work. Do you have any suggestions for getting rid of scarring and blackheads.


  11. Shirley Tyrell January 8, 2017 at 2:07 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison , I am 70 years old always had quite good skin very sentive eyes, have tried Gatinue products in the past but found then very expensive without getting the wow factor, been very stressed and unwell this past year, do you this the Flora Mare is a good item to purchase or please can you help. Kind regards Shirley

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