I'm No Makeup Expert, But These Are the Easy-to-Use Products I Swear By

I was never particularly good at art when I was at school. In fact, I’d say I was rather bad at it. I couldn’t tell my Monet from my Cézanne, I had absolutely no talent when it came to colour mixing, and my eye for light and shadows was virtually nonexistent. Fast-forward to now and I’m ashamed to admit that, even as a beauty editor who spends over eight hours a day playing with makeup, my practical creativity when it comes to art is still somewhat lacking.

Granted, I haven’t had to endure an art class in well over 10 years, but masterclasses with some of the best makeup artists in the world are part and parcel of this job, so you would have thought I’d learned something at least. And sure, I’ve picked up a few basic tips along the way, like nailing a winged liner(ish) and mastering simple contour techniques, but when it comes to complexities such as a smoky eye or a dewy but full-coverage base, I like to leave it to the experts.


(Image credit: @OLANTHAMORAN)

Don’t get me wrong. I do love playing with makeup, and I know a great product when I see one, but when I compare my results to those of someone with a little more artistic flair, I find myself deflated and somewhat disappointed. And this is by no means news to me. I have been aware of my shoddy makeup skills since the early stages of my career. The minute I found myself surrounded by editors whose eye shadow looks could put even the greatest YouTubers to shame, I knew my place.

So in a bid to find my niche in the often-crazy world of makeup, I started focussing my attention on makeup launches that most appealed to me on a personal level. Forget bright eye shadow palettes and complex contour kits. I started educating myself in makeup that anyone can use. You know, the kind of products that you really can’t go wrong with. And after many years of rating makeup products on not only their results but also on how easy they are to use, as my own makeup bag has become more refined, I would say I’m finally in a place to share my findings.

If you too long for makeup that looks like you’ve spent hours on it, when actually it was more like minutes, keep scrolling to discover the easy-to-use products I swear by for expert results. 

CC Cream


(Image credit: @JOANNACOOPS)

Quite frankly, I find making full-coverage foundation look glowy and natural rather difficult. No matter the formula, I usually struggle with blending and always find foundation clings to areas I’d rather it didn’t. So when I don’t have the time to spend hours perfecting a full-coverage base (which is 99% of the time), I reach for sheer, easy-to-blend CC creams that work to even out tone and give skin a healthy-looking glow.

Brow Gels


(Image credit: @CHAMPAGNEMANI)

My brows are naturally very dark and unruly, so I have always struggled with brow products. Filling them in with pencil only accentuates their severity, but they do still need a little bit of a helping hand. Because I am, frankly, useless with a brow pencil and the idea of having to get to grips with a pomade or powder makes me want to run for the hills, most days I use tinted gels. Not only do they deliver natural-looking colour for those with fairer brow hairs, but they also keep strands in place all day long, which is great if you love a feathery finish like I do.

Cream Blush


(Image credit: @ALYSSAINTHECITY)

I must admit I have never been much of a blush kind of girl. If I had to choose between bronzer and blush, I’d reach from a glow-giving bronzer every time. However, more recently, I’ve discovered that actually, blush is a great way to quickly (and easily) tie your makeup together and breathe some life into a flat base. The mistake I was making? Powder formulas are just too tricky to get right. Instead, a sheer, cream formulation adds a bit of glow and a barely there pigment that is virtually impossible to get wrong.

Cream Eye Shadow


(Image credit: @AUDE_JULIE)

Everyone that has ever taken a look into my makeup drawers knows that I have a thing for eye shadow palettes. I absolutely love to collect them. Using them, however, is another thing altogether. When it comes to blending and shimmery powder accents, I’m totally useless. Instead, when it comes to eye makeup, I like to opt for cream products that I can quite literally scribble on and blend out with my finger. The key is to ensure they’re matte enough so that they don't settle in creases, but still creamy enough that they’re easily blendable. Luckily, I’ve tried them all.

Matte Bronzer


(Image credit: @MISODAM)

I really love looking bronzed and, although the application process of bronzer is easy enough to get to grips with (high points of the face for a sun-kissed look, around the hairline and under the cheekbones to contour), I find that the majority of formulas require a bit more skill if you want them to apply well. Mostly, I’ve discovered that the more matte the finish, the more natural-looking they are and the less obviously they sit on the skin. And while some do contain a little bit of shimmer, I’ve found the following three products barely require a mirror for application.

Next up, I have sensitive skin, and these are the hard-working products I swear by.

Freelance Beauty Editor

Shannon Lawlor is a renowned beauty journalist and has contributed to Who What Wear’s beauty content since 2020. As a leading beauty editor, expert and brand consultant, she has over eight years of experience working for some of the industry’s most esteemed titles, including Who What Wear (of course), Glamour UK, Stylist, Refinery29 and Fabulous. Having also worked behind the scenes with some of the industry’s biggest brands and retailers, Shannon has a unique insight into what people really want from their beauty routines. Understanding that beauty lovers seek honest, open and responsible advice, she has it made her mission to demystify the intimidating world of beauty, taking a no-frills approach to the most relatable topics. While Shannon is the first to admit she doesn’t hold the answer to every beauty question out there, she is dedicated to sharing her expert insights in a bid to help. As a self-proclaimed lazy girl, Shannon has an affinity for easy-to-use, foolproof beauty products and has made it her mission to scope out the best of the best. When she’s not working, Shannon is likely soaking in the bath or giving no-holds-barred beauty reviews on Instagram from her bathroom floor.