1 To make sure you select the right colour foundation, choose three shades that you think are about right and streak each one overyour face and underyour jaw line. Only one will completely disappear on your skin and that is the colour you should buy.

2 Ignore out-of-date taboos – when it comes to colour, anything goes. If you want a natural look, stick to shades traditionally associated with your skin tone (warm tones for yellow-based skins and cooler ones for pink skins), but if you really want to make an entrance, chose the opposite extreme. Redheads, for example, will make a far bolder statement in a cool aqua eyeshadow or a piercing pink lipstick than in an earthy brown.

3 Hair is a slightly more complex equation, as your skin tone will always limit your results. Blonde hair against a very olive skin can leave you looking nauseous, while raven locks on an English rose will look more gothic than alluring.

Thanks to modern technology, we can all rest assured that our eyeshadow W will not flake, our mascara will not clog and our lipstick will not budge. However, what counts is notjust whatyou wear but the way that you wear it, and any girl worth her Chantecaille foundation knows that without exactly the right sponge between her fingers, the result will never be as good as it could be. So refined are colours and textures these days that there is no reason why, given a few handy hints, the canny customer should not always look as if she is going to the Oscars. If we get it wrong, it is usually not our make-up that is at fault, but rather that we have used the wrong kit to apply it. So remember that when it comes to poor make-up application, a bad workman really will be right to blame her tools.

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