In her latest column, the Makeup Maniac is going cold turkey in a bid to find out whether less really is more

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Last week I signed up to do something very scary. For me, it was up there with skydives, bungee jumps and confronting spiders head on. Bank statements, the dentist and public speaking all pale in comparison on my ‘fear-o-meter’ to the terrifying prospect of the ‘makeunder’. Nevertheless, the lovely folk from bareMinerals convinced me to strip off (strictly makeup wise...nudity in Central London can probably be added to the panic list). I steeled myself, bid my liquid liner adieu and made my way to bareMinerals’ Covent Garden boutique with a heavy heart.

I needn’t have mourned my makeup however, as I discovered when I met Natalie, bareMinerals’ Beauty Ambassador and pacifier of makeup maniacs. She looked fresh, glowing and glamorous, despite having been up since 4:30am. My makeunder confidence was bolstered. I sat down somewhat shakily and bit the barenaked bullet.  After much buffing, brushing and subtle beautifying, I was transformed. No statement red lip, no cat’s eye flick, no smokey eye, just a flattering, elegant smattering of cleverly applied makeup. Here’s what my makeunder taught me.

It all starts with the skincare

Prep and prime my friends, prep and prime. A squeaky clean base is key, as bareMinerals international makeup artist Sarah-Jane Froom highlights:

“For stunning, dewy skin and the perfect ‘no makeup makeup look’ start by exfoliating skin twice a week’

Once you’re all scrubbed up, hydration is key. I’d been using a facial oil and while it left my skin smooth and plump come morning, Natalie explained that I needed to combine it with a water-based cream, gel or serum to maximise moisture uptake. Once you have hydration covered, a flawless makeunder requires perfect priming. In store Natalie smoothed on bareMinerals Prime Time Brightening Foundation Primer , £21, which according to Sarah Jane “has a pretty apricot glow to it and will add luscious layers of natural light to the skin”. Sounds…delicious. It looked pretty fantastic too - my dull skin was instantly perked up and redness receded.

Prescriptive, troubleshooting primers make a minimalistic makeup look all the easier to pull off. Clinique’s range of  ‘superprimers’ , £20 each, address almost every skin concern going, while Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer  ,£52, makes anything that glides on top of it look and feel like silk. To up the wattage, try superstar makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury’s Wonder Glow , £38.50. It’s like soft candlelight lingering on your features all day. Don’t forget to prime the eyes either- a good eye primer can make the difference between creased, smudged shadow and smooth, subtle shadow.

MORE GLOSS: Makeup tutorials

You never need as much foundation as you think

I’m guilty of getting somewhat trigger-happy with the foundation pump, but as Natalie demonstrated, you really only need the most miniscule amount of product to achieve an even finish. An airbrushed result is all in the application, as makeup artist Florrie White emphasises:

“Start blending foundation into the nose and outwards from there- this will stop you using too much product on edges of the face, where you rarely need much coverage”

Modern, weightless formulations such as Lancȏme Miracle Air de Teint , £29.50, make light-fingered application a breeze. For more coverage  Chanel’s new Perfection Lumiere Velvet , £33, is as soft as satin, while bareMinerals powder foundations , £25, create an invisible veil to blur imperfections.

Groomed, defined brows work wonders

Given that my eyebrows spend most of their days camped under my gigantic fringe canopy, I don’t pay much attention to them. Once Natalie had delicately filled them in and brushed them in the right direction however, I realised what pinnacle face framers they really are. I just looked…better. Much less ‘meh’. I also learned that the little brush on the end of a brow shaper is called a ‘spooly’. I’m going to slip this word into my daily vocabulary as often as possible. The bareMinerals pencil , £13, is brilliant, and for an instant facelift Benefit Brows a-go-go , £28.50, ticks all of the brow shaping boxes- it comes complete with shading powders, long-lasting wax, a brightening eye pencil, a liner and all the tools you could need to achieve exquisite eyebrows. Even the professionals love it- brow Queen Jenna Treat  is never without this kit.

A little contouring is good. Totally reshaping your face is not

That super sculpted Kim Kardashian look really only works on camera, and sometimes even then it’s pushing it. Harsh contouring looks more alien than alluring in real life, but a little definition can add polish to an otherwise minimalistic canvas. Natalie swept  All Over Face Colour in Warmth , £19, in a figure ‘3’ motion over my temples, cheekbones and jawline. The result was refined and quite a revelation - I saw cheekbones, not cosmetics. All you need is a matte bronzer (I love Topshop Bronzer in Sandcastle , £9) and a steady hand.

MORE GLOSS: How to contour like a pro 

Blusher is brilliant

Okay, so I preach about this all the time. I was already more than familiar with the lifegiving properties of a rosy flush before I braved a makeunder. To tell you the truth, my main fear was that Natalie would omit my beloved blusher. Happily, she didn’t, she just applied it sparingly with a fluffy brush to the apples of my cheeks. All was well, and I went home safe in the knowledge that a touch of natural-looking blush is perfectly makeunder appropriate. For a lowdown on the best powder blushers out there, why not check out this week’s blushtastic Gloss Report? Or sit tight and wait for my encyclopaedic lowdown of the best shades and formulations out there in a future Maniac column. Once I’ve got that out of my system, I promise I won’t mention blusher again for at least a fortnight.

bareMinerals ‘makeunders’ complimentary in-store. For more details visit .