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The desirable dozen

Twelve foolproof makeup products for women over 40

MaybellineIn the interests of not wasting money on crap, here are my Top 12 picks for makeup products.

I favour simple, quick make-up appication, preferably with my fingertips, using reliable products and these are the items I find I use the most in my makeup armoury. Cheap or expensive, they are all worth their money, do the job and stay put. 

1 Smashbox Photofinish skin primer. The most impressive makeup product I've found in years, this colourless silicone-based primer glides on over your skin and provides a fabulous, smooth base for applying makeup. Used alone, it makes your skin look 'finished', but as a make-up base, it's simply wonderful - no more dragging, pulling or tidemarks.

2 Diorskin Airflash foundation. This  spray is extremely light, resulting in a perfect matt but not chalky finish. You're meant to apply half a dozen squirts at a distance of about 15cm, but I find two squirts mixed with one squirt of skin primer mixed on the back of my hand is a better bet, then apply it quickly with the fingertips.

3 Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse makeup. For days when your skin's a bit blotchy, this heavier foundation works very well. It's a little too heavy and matt for my tastes to use every day, but this means it also works as a concealer - to use it this way, I apply it with one of those tiny makeup brushes you get in an eyeshadow palette. 

4 Yves St Laurent Touche Eclate. An all-in-one highlighter and concealer that is like photoshopping your face. Gets rid of thread veins, dark circles, the little draggy bits round your mouth. Fabulous product - never go anywhere without it. 

5 Maybelline Dream Mousse blusher. Incredibly light texture and a natural appearance, with just a tiny hint of sparkle to give you a glow. Also works well as an eyeshadow or under-eye concealer.

6 Dior pressed or loose powder. Loose for use at home, pressed for on the go. Foundation and powder are two areas where quality really shows, and Dior powders are very light and mattefying without ever looking chalky.  Refills are available and the compact closes with an expensive click that is very pleasurable.

7 Couleurs Nature Metalgrow Cream Eyeshadow in gold from Yves Rocher. A fabulous gold liquid eyeshadow that looks great every day. I would also have recommended Avon's creme stick eyeshadows for their nice texture, no drag, and good colours - and, importantly, a low price - but sadly they seem to have discontinued them and nothing in the new range looks remotely as good.

8 Revlon Wet/Dry Eyeliner in Chocolate Bar. Buy it if you find it - it's also been discontinued, due to some idiocy at Revlon's end. This eyeliner was THE choice for professional makeup artists for over a decade and I've been using my one stick (carefully sterilised) for at least 12 years now.

9 Boots No7 Extreme Length mascara. A friend gave me a free sample of this and I can't believe how good it is for the money. I usually spend about 28 euros on a high-end French mascara, but this budget brand gives a bright, clear eye with no clumping or flaking. 

10 Couleurs Nature lip pencil in Rose Poudre, from Yves Rocher. A useful lipliner in a shade just slightly darker than natural, and with a brush at the opposite end. On 'natural' days, I use it as a lipstick also, but as a liner, it goes with any lip colour.

11 Chanel Rouge Hydrabase cream lipsticks. Great colour and staying power, and I just love the click they make when you put the stick back in its case. 

12 Vaseline petroleum jelly. Let's not forget the humble Vaseline, which is a chapstick, lip gloss, eyebrow tamer and moisturiser all in one. I also use it as a night cream and on vicious winter days I wear it as a moisturiser outside. For dry, cracked hands, just rub it in like handcream and go to bed wearing plastic gloves, and if your heels are dry or sore, rub in Vaseline, slip on a pair of plastic bags and then socks and your feet will be transformed by morning. Magic.

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