Forget multiple brushes and fiddly sponges, this season your hardest working tool is your hands. Here’s how to apply like a pro
To contour cheeks
Use the heel pad
The ‘heel pad’ (between the base of your thumb and your wrist) will contour cheekbones better than any brush. “This part of the hand sits perfectly within cheek hollows,” says make-up artist James Molloy, “while the heat of your hand will melt the product to the skin for a soft contour.” Try Illume Sheer Colour Trio in Hourglass, £54, applied under cheekbones using a push and roll motion – it’s ultra-sheer making it mistake proof.
To perfect skin
Use the palm
Hands are great for getting foundation into all of the nooks of the face and mitigating the risk of streaky jawlines or patchy areas around the nose. Moisture-rich liquid foundations work best. Extra Rich Cream Foundation, £65, SUQQU, contains reflexion oils that – when warmed between the palms – acquire a buttery texture that melts flawlessly onto the skin. Apply using an upwards sweeping motion, working from the middle to the outside.
To curl lashes
Use the pinky finger
No eyelash curlers? Try your pinky finger. “Apply mascara then look down and hold your lashes back for a couple of seconds using the inside part of the finger,” advises make-up artist Neil Young. Particularly wet, waxy formulas like False Lash Epic Mascara, £11.99, Max Factor, work best: as the mascara dries, it sets the lashes in this upward, curled position without flaking.
To brighten eyes
Use the ring finger
The ring finger has the weakest tendons, making it ideal for applying make-up to the delicate skin around the eye area. Using light pressure, gently pat concealer over dark circles being careful not to rub or pull the skin. Thin, silky formulas like Radiant Creamy Concealer, £15, Nars, will give you luminous coverage without needing heavy rubbing, plus they won’t cake in the creases.
To smudge shadow
Use the middle finger
Struggling to build the perfect amount of smoke in a smoky eye? Put down the brushes. “You need less product than a brush delivers,” explains Young. Using your middle finger lightly pat a whipped, cream formula like Liquid Moondust, £15, Urban Decay, along the lash line. Clean your finger and then use it to blend across the eye socket. This delivers a buildable wash that blends seamlessly across the lids.
To apply lipstick
Use the forefinger
If you struggle with precision when applying lipstick from the bullet, Lancôme UK Make-up Artist Ambassador Alex Babsky suggests using a fingertip to push colour onto the lips. “The curve of the finger pad prevents the colour from being applied outside your lip line.” Matte formulations have too much drag so opt for an easy to apply satin finish like Color Drama Intense Lip Paint, £4.99, Maybelline.
To flush cheeks
Use thumb and forefinger
Gently pinch the cheeks to show where you naturally flush. Apply a cream blush like Royal Blush, £5.49, Rimmel London, over the top of the flushed area with your thumb using a dabbing motion for a natural finish. Then use your forefinger to diffuse the edge.
Words: Annie Davies