When some of the side saddle ladies including Ciara my side saddle friend and mentor recently declared that lipstick for side saddle showing should not be red, I was relieved. I have nothing against red lipstick but it simply doesn’t suit me. I either end up looking like a child in their parents make up or a lady that should be on a street corner somewhere. I won’t profess to know a whole lot about side saddle but thanks to being a complete makeup junkie I know a bit more about make up. After a chat with Ciara on what make up we should be wearing while riding aside I was able to pick out what exactly I need from my makeup stash.
Neutral shades, matte textures, weatherproof and smudge proof make up.
Frost/shimmery eye shadows, bright red lipstick, orange foundation or bronzer, clown blusher
Bright shades of eye shadow, glitter (let’s be clear, no one 100 years ago had glitter on their face while on a horse), tide lines, panda eyes.
Getting the base right:
For side saddle riding the main purpose of foundation or base is simply to even out the texture, avoid blotchiness and to give a bit of life to pale skin when covered by a veil. Aim for a foundation that is close to your natural skin tone and that has a matte finish. My personal favourite at the moment is L’Oreal Eau De Teint which feels like water going on as it is so light but gives an even soft cover. If you prefer something more heavy duty, it is hard to beat Estee Lauder Double wear which comes in a standard and light option. Double wear is pretty much smudge proof and will stay put all day. It also will cover pretty much anything. My advice if your skin is at all on the dry side would be to apply a primer underneath Double Wear as the formula can be drying when left on for hours. Primer wise I would recommend Laura Mercier primer or L’oreal studio perfect. If you prefer to go without foundation a BB cream or tinted moisturiser can give a bit of life to your skin. I love Borjois bronzing BB cream for summer and Garnier BB cream year round.
Mineral make ups will also give a matte natural finish. If you have oily skin and are worried about shine use a product such as NYX shine killer. Whatever base you choose ensure to blend down onto your neck as well at least as far as your stock will reach.
If like me you suffer from dark under eye shadows, concealer is a necessity. I apply Nip & Fab eye fix below any BB cream or foundation and follow with a light reflecting concealer. My favourite is Lancome long lasting softening concealer. It is slightly expensive but a tube lasts forever and it is the only thing that really works for me.
Look for neutral matte shades that have no frosted or glittery finish. Pallets such as Urban Decay Naked Basics are ideal. When applying shadow, be careful of applying too much shading on the outer corners of the eyes especially if you have deep set eyes or suffer from dark shadows under your eyes because the veil you will wear will mute the light falling on your face a bit anyway.
If you find that eyeshadow tends to fade or crease on your lids try an eyeshadow primer such as urban decays primer.
I have sallow skin so without a touch of colour I look like death warmed up. A touch of bronzer is fine but stop as soon as you even remotely look like a cast member of TOWIE or before you end up with a chest that looks like a different nationality to your face and neck.
I find it hard to find a bronzer which adds a natural glow without looking orange. My favourite, as you can tell from the battered packaging is Cabana Mama by The Balm which gives a deep rather than orange look. Bare Minerals warmth also gives a lovely glow to skin. Both of these products come in various shades for different skin tones.
Spare your blushes:
The thing about blushers is the product is designed to reflect how we look when slightly flushed. The problem is, if you actually get flushed on top of applying a shed load of blusher you are in danger of looking like a beetroot with go faster stripes.If you will be riding in a habit in hot weather or spending hours out hunting chances are you will end up pretty flushed by nature so go easy on the products.
My favourite blusher is Nars in shade orgasm which is designed to give a natural flushed look! Products such as benefit benetint are great as they can be used to give a subtle flush of colour to both lips and cheeks.
Browsing for compliments:
I have an issue – I love eyebrows. Well groomed and shaped eye brows make me happy. Your eyebrows frame your face. If the eyes are the window to the soul the eyebrows are they curtains that accessorise them. To get good brows in the first place either look for a tutorial on youtube if you feel confident or if you are nervous have them professionally waxed / plucked once and maintain them yourself as they grow back. To enhance brows apply a brow lifter or a matte light neutral shade of eye shadow underneath, some wax on the brows and if needed, colour on top. My eyebrows refuse to naturally stay the same shade as my hair so I use coloured powder followed by a slick of wax.
There is no need to spend big money on a brow kit – the versions produced by budget brands Catrice and Wet n Wild are fantastic value for the few euro price tag. The latter contains a tweezers, applicator, two powders and some wax and cost me under a fiver.
There are some people that would discourage you from wearing mascara side saddle. To me that’s a bit like wearing a fancy dress and going barefoot, I feel wrong wearing make up without it. To avoid lashes getting caught in your veil either aim for a curling mascara which will lift lashes away from your face or use a regular mascara and an eyelash curler. If you will be out in the elements you can avoid panda eyes by opting for a waterproof mascara which should survive mud, rain and sweat. My favourite is NYX Le Chick Flick or Doll Eyes waterproof mascara which is inexpensive but stays where you put it.
Less is more. Cat eye flicks, thick statement lines, extended lines and coloured eye liner are not the look to go for. Gels and liner pens are at risk of smudging from sweat or the weather. The only liner pen I have ever used that didnt smudge (and god help me I should be banned from Boots I have tried a LOT of them from different brands) and lasted ages was Soap & Glory Supercat. For gel liners I would go for Mac Fluidline as it stays put. Kohl pencils are less likely to wear off and smudge. Barry M kohl liners are great. I also love Urban Decays 24/7 eye liners which are in a pencil form but have a gel type texture.
If you have fair colouring choosing brown shades of eyeliners and mascara can look less harsh and more natural.
Back to the first point – no red. Not fire engine red, not sexy red, not ‘but it’s Chanel’ red. Choose a colour that is natural and compliments your skin. Glosses and glossy lipsticks / crayons / hybrids are painful as everything from hair to veils will stick to them and they will wear off.
Aim for a lipstick that is long wearing and has a matte finish. I am not confident with bold lip colour at all so neutral is right up my street. My favourite lipstick for showing is soap and glory naked Beige which is a deep matte pink. If you are nervous about lip colour full stop try a product like Loreal Universal Lip Glow which goes on clear and will change to give a subtle natural flush to lips based on the wearers natural lip colour.
Prepare lips by exfoliating the night before (don’t go all fancy just give them a quick brush with your tooth brush and then apply the likes of eight hour cream or carmex overnight). Apply lipstick with a lip brush to get a precise long lasting application. Lip liner will help avoid lip colour feathering but choose a colour that actually matches your lips! Absolutely no one should ever look like the wife from ‘Breaking Bad or Lauren Godger!
Once you have finished applying it – put your index finger in your mouth, close your lips around it and pull it out so that any excess lipstick is now on your finger and none is or will be on your teeth.
Contouring: Step away from the contouring kit! You are an elegant lady, not a Kardashian. There was no duck face in the 1900s!
Go into the light: If you will be riding / hunting / showing during the day make sure to apply your make up in a room with a natural light source. This will help you to see how your make up will look. Applying makeup in a badly lit or dark room can make it hard to see what you will look like outside during the day.
Don’t forget your spf: Wearing a veil won’t offer complete protection from the weather. Protect your skin from damage or aging by making sure that either your face cream or your foundation / BB cream have spf protection.
Thank you to Ciara O’Connell for her help with this post.