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Mary Greenwell’s favourite buys for eyes

April 13th 2020 / 0 comment

We sat down with Mary Greenwell (over Instagram) to talk all about eyes - from the creams, eyeshadow palettes, liners and concealers she has her kit to weaning Princess Diana's off her heavy blue eyeliner

It’s not often you get unbridled access to a bonafide makeup legend, but as we’re all on lockdown we were able to pin down iconic makeup artist Mary Greenwell for a chat - via Instagram - to discuss everything she knows about eye makeup.

There’s so much to learn from the woman who has painted the faces of everyone from Kate Moss, to Princess Diana to Naomi Campbell but the main thing we took away from the chat (aside from bundles of product recommendations, see below) was that there’s no such thing as doing your makeup “wrong” - we’re all trying our best and seeing what works for us and it was reassuring to hear from Mary that she never thinks someone has made a “mistake” with their makeup - we’ll remember that next time things go awry with our eyeliner.

With more time than ever on our hands to experiment with our eye makeup, here are the products that Mary Greenwell currently has in her kit.

Mary Greenwell’s favourite eye creams

As we kicked off our chat Mary was quick to point out that eye cream is the best base for eye makeup and should be used both day and night.

Don’t be shy with how to apply eye cream; use it around the entire eye and don’t forget the corners as this is the area of the eye that reveals age the most.

Eye creams also come in handy when it comes to concealer - you can lighten your concealer by adding eye cream underneath.

Mary also sings the praises of illuminating eye creams (Medik8’s offering in particular) and was in Paris with YSL launched the iconic Touche Eclat, the ultimate light giving under eye makeup.

Sisley Black Rose Eye Contour Fluid, £97.20


Chanel Le Lift Firming Anti-Wrinkle Eye Concentrate Instant Smoothing, £62.10


Medik8 Illuminating Eye Balm, £32


Mary never begins her makeup application without first applying a day cream, currently favouring 111 Skin's Y Theorem Day Cream, £150.


While it doesn't suit some people's skin, Mary sings the praises of coconut oil at night. She applies it after all the rest of her skincare to lock in the serums and oils.

Mary Greenwell's favourite concealers

Mary says there's no right or wrong answer to the age old question of foundation or concealer first, though when working on eyes she personally prefers to apply foundation followed by concealer.

People sometimes suggest applying concealer last of all is a good idea as it stops eyeshadow dust falling into it, but Mary has another method. She chooses never to go straight from palette to brush to eye, instead tapping the brush after dusting it with eye shadow to get rid of any excess before applying to the eyelid before applying it in a windscreen wiper motion to the eye.

Mary also tackled the subject of covering eye bags, commenting that these are actually much harder to cover than dark circles. She recommending applying lots of eye cream to the area first to plump it out and make sure to apply tenderly. Find a non-creasing concealer for this area and be sure never to apply a concealer lighter than your natural skin tone.

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer, £24


Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Concealer, £34.50


Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay Flawless Concealer, £24


Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer Palette, £30


Surratt Perfectionniste Concealer Palette, £54


Mary's favourite eyeliners


One of Mary's most famous makeup stories is that she cause Princess Diana to completely change her eyeliner style. The Princess of Wales was famed for wearing blue eyeliner in her waterline, but Mary believes that blue eyeliner in the waterline kills the colour of blue eyes and convinced Diana to bin this look in favour of a subtler style.

When it comes to wearing eye liner in the waterline Mary loves the look on younger eyes but tends to advise against as we mature as it can be ageing. Rather than dark eyeliner on the waterline try white liner to open up the eyes.

Mary favours a creamy, non-dragging eyeliner formula such as Dior's Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil, £19.80 and Giorgio Armani's Eye to Kill Pencil, £18.90. For liquid liner you can't go wrong with the iconic double-ended one from Tom Ford, £46 - pricey but worth every penny.

MORE GLOSS: Best liquid liners to buy in 2020

Mary Greenwell's favourite brow products


Mary uses a trio of products when it comes to brows - Laura Mercier Brow Pencil, £20.50, the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Kit, £34 and a brow mascara to set them - normally the Hourglass Brow Gel, £27.

Mary Greenwell's eyeshadow palettes


When it comes to eyeshadow palettes Mary doesn't play favourites, showing off her extensive collection on camera, with highlights including Huda Beauty's New Nude, £56, Shiseido's Hanatsubaki Street Nightlife, £34.20, and EYN's Bright Matte Palette, £23.

She also has palettes by Suqqu, Kevyn Aucoin, Surratt, Charlotte Tilbury, Smashbox and Urban Decay, to name but a few.

When choosing an eyeshadow colour, Mary advises more mature makeup lovers opt for matte shades as shimmer can be an issue, highlighting even the tiniest of creases. She recommends a more subtle approach as we age.

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