Ask a beauty expert

Every week assistant beauty editor Ingrie Williams answers your questions

I have a hard time picking out lipstick colours. How can I tell in the store if I will like it when I get home?
With so many colour variations out there, finding the perfect lipstick is like finding the perfect pair of jeans: it takes a lot of trial and error and you just have to keep trying different ones. Unfortunately, the lighting in many department stores and beauty retailers does not make picking out the right shade any easier. Natural light is always best because what looks light pink indoors can appear brown or orange outdoors. So, take the shade to a window for a more accurate assessment. It’s also important to take the natural pigment of your lips into consideration: if your mouth is naturally pink, a darker pink shade might not be what you’re looking for. If you can’t find a pre-packaged colour that works for you, a lip palette allows you to mix and blend your own shade. Try Revlon Skinlights Custom LipColors in Mother of Pearl, Rose Quartz or Topaz, $15.

I’m a stay-at-home mom who will be entering the workplace again. What quick tricks can I use to look presentable in the morning?
Follow these five easy steps to look polished in minutes:

  1. Apply concealer under your eyes, around your nose and on any blemishes.
  2. Follow with a lightweight foundation, such as Almay Nearly Naked Touch-Pad Liquid Makeup SPF 12, (15 grams/$13), or a tinted moisturizer to even out your skin tone and make your complexion flawless. 
  3. Define lashes with mascara. If you’re fair-haired, skip black and try a softer-looking brown shade. 
  4. A little blush goes a long way and makes you look awake, even if you’re barely so. 
  5. Enhance the natural colour of your lips with lipstick or gloss to finish the look.

I have acne on my shoulders and back. How can I get rid of this problem?
Body blemishes can be embarrassing and stubborn, but you should treat them the same way you would any imperfections on your face. Start by using products with acne-fighting ingredients including beta hydroxy acids, such as Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash, (250 millilitres/$10). For more exfoliation, use a gentle loofah sponge or washcloth. And just as you shouldn’t exercise with a full face of makeup, you should shower immediately after your workout and not hang around in damp sweaty clothing that can trap moisture against your skin and clog pores. Contact a dermatologist if none of these solutions work.

How do I stop eyeshadow from forming creases on my lids?
Nothing lasts forever and creasing makeup is something you’ll have to learn to put up with, especially if you have naturally oily skin. There are, however, a couple of preventative measures you can take. Before applying makeup, make sure lids are dry, with no damp traces of moisturizer. Next, apply a light dusting of translucent powder to give the shadow something to stick to. Use powder eyeshadows as they last longer than cream formulas. Finally, be ready for midday touch-ups with blotting papers, pressed powder and another light swipe of shadow if necessary.

Come back next Monday for another problem solved!