Best of: Charlotte Tilbury

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We’ve all been there. Emerging from a sweaty office/the rain/the gym/a plane only to remember that important engagement happening in half an hour that you’d tossed in the brain-bin because you so cannot be arsed.

In my case, it was post spin class - a time where I am ‘Baba Yaga in her chicken leg house’ levels of hideous and unapproachable. I had received a text from a good friend, who apparently ‘couldn’t wait to see me!’ and hoped I would enjoy it.

‘WTF is ‘it’??’ I panicked. Then remembered I had promised to attend the theatre press night for the show that good friend was in. Also that I had missed that good friend’s birthday a month before.

The stakes were high. Thankfully I had showered (not always a given) but had no make up on or with me and was horribly aware that tonight, as with every press night, there would be:

  1. cameras, and

  2. Pretty much everyone I knew.

I decided to do what any self respecting woman would. Run in to the nearest make up shop, pretend to be browsing, ask a few inane questions, get them to do all my make up then get out of there without buying anything REALLY awkwardly.

Foolproof. One snag though. The nearest make up store was Charlotte Tilbury. And there is something about Charlotte Tilbury, the store trussed up like Dame Shirley Bassey’s dressing room at the Palladium, that makes me want to buy shit. And the minute I walked in the joint - they could see I was a girl of distinction, a real big spender.

So buy shit I did. I rocked up to that press night with a backpack full of products and sweaty active wear but serving Bassey pizazz.

Some products have lasted the distance, others fallen slightly short. But hey, if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. Here are my favourites:


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There are 3 foundations at Charlotte T:

Light Wonder: clue’s in the title. It’s light. It contains SPF 15 but I reeeaaally would advise getting a tinted moisturiser with SPF 50 (something like Kiehls CC cream or Maybelline’s new Dream Urban Cover)

Airbrush Flawless: The newest one, which they will peddle to you. It’s heavy. So very heavy. Frankly for me, it’s intimidating.

Magic Foundation: somewhere in between.

I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t coveted the Magic Foundation for a while. It gives the loveliest smooth finish, like an egg and stays on for ages. It’s buildable too, so you’re in charge of how thick it gets (seriously, I just can’t believe how thick that new Airbrush Flawless is it’s like Dulux). I get the Magic used on me a lot on television sets, my latest make up artist claiming that it’s the best foundation she’s come across. Its not an every day one for me, but on top of an SPF for an evening or when I have to look special, yes.

Well done also Charlotte, lots of different shades for different skin colours. Should be the norm, but weirdly isn’t.


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Remember when I did that interview with my teenage cousin last December, and she to me for Christmas she wanted a pink eyeshadow palette? How I LAUGHED! ‘Pink eyes?!’ I said, like the square I am. ‘You’ll look infected, or like one of those blind rabbits!’

Well who’s laughing now. Pink eyeshadow is my favourite thing, it’s beautiful and fresh and perfume-advert-in-a-field romantic. None more so than this palette which is subtle and beautiful. I actually think Tilbury palettes are the best out there; I’m huge on The Sophisticate also as it’s the only palette I’ve ever found where every single colour is daytime appropriate; which is to say they’re all subtle, buildable and not full of sparkly crap.



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I enjoy this so much I’m totally prepared to overlook the name ‘Peachgasm’, which obviously doesn’t work on any level. Really was not expecting to leave with this, but on one application I couldn’t resist. It comes in a tube with a bingo dabber at the end, and all you do is dot it along your cheekbone and blend in. The corally colour is such that on a summery day it’s enough to wear alone, without blush, and totally achieves the rare ‘I’m not wearing makeup I just always look like this’ effect. Like a lovely lady snail has crept across your face while you slept. I adore everything about it.

Well. Almost.

The packaging is full on useless. I don’t know what it is about highlighter but for some reason we are yet to master exactly how best to to contain a product so messy and potentially disastrous. This one you’re meant to unlock at the top, then squeeze until you see a bit of the product seep out (like touché le clait). The problem is there is ALWAYS too much that seeps out. Then you have to lock it back up, and put the lid on. The problem is the lid ALWAYS comes off in your make up bag.

This packaging is also employed for Charlotte T’s Hollywood contour - a disaster of a product that’s genuinely best likened to to smearing chocolate angel delight around your face. The first time I opened my make up bag after purchasing & using this, every single one of my products & brushes looked as though I had carefully inserted each one up my bum.

Moving on.


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Everyone loves these and I’m no exception. Soft, non messy, sweet smelling & with the appearance of your favourite serial killer. Won’t help you in a hurry but a lovely product that will really imbue you with confidence if you’ve got time before a big interview etc.


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We love this nude shade. Glides on and feels smooth and nourishing. What’s interesting about it is it looks totally different on everyone, but suits them all the same.

Which leads me on to something else. In Charlotte Tilbury there are a lot of pictures of products - rows of photos featuring close ups of pouts & the same model made up with different ‘looks’ (I like to think of her as the Daniel Day Lewis of the make up industry). In principle, I think this is very good. It’s important to know what the product looks like on, and in situ.

In practise the colour & shade never look like they do in the pictures. Seriously. As evidenced most clearly with Pillow Talk, which on the picture seems pinky & fresh and matte. On me, a white person like in the picture, it is more brown toned and glossy. Absolutely weird. It’s the same for lots of the eyeshadow and blushes. It leads me to think that perhaps there is a lot of airbrushing & filtering going on with these pictures in the frou-frou shops. It would leave a slightly sourer taste if the products weren’t so good, but my concern is that we’re veering into ‘style over substance’ territory.

Just flagging it up.

But don’t mind me. I always enjoy Charlotte Tilbury far more than I remember. I foresee it going the way of Benefit; extremely zeitgeisty branding that could feel stuck in a time warp once we’ve all got accustomed to it & calmed down a bit. But for now, it’s coming up with the goods.

Rebecca Humphries