Make up Lesson with Zoë Clark

When I heard Zoë Clark was coming to Edinburgh for work I thought it would be a good opportunity to have a one on one lesson. Zoë Clark is one of Ireland’s leading professional make-up artists. She began her career in London in 1994 working for M.A.C Cosmetics. She returned to Ireland in 1995 launching herself as a freelance make-up artist. Since then she has built up an impressive client list working in many areas of make-up including fashion and television, and now runs her own Make-Up School in Dublin.

I love buying new make up products, but have never been very good at actually applying it lol! I have taken part in group make up lesson’s before, but never came away with many tips specifically for me, and a bag of new products (most of which I didn’t need!). The attraction of this lesson was you bring all your own make up, its not a sales pitch but make up tips to create a look to your own personal taste. Zoë did suggest some new products, which she is not affiliated with, that she felt would suit me better or were missing from my make up bag.

The lesson was in Zoë’s sisters house, so it is not a fancy studio vibe, but homely with many cups of tea, biscuits and good chat! If you are into heavy Instagram style make up this is not your thing. However I found the lesson really useful, Zoë also wrote everything down in case I forgot anything, so I can look back at my notes (complete with diagrams for eye looks)

I thought I would share the main things I took away from the lesson.


Zoë advised the colour I am using is too dark for my skin tone. Day to day I wear Nars tinted moisturiser in Alaska, this has a yellowy base which suits my skin tone well. I recently bought a foundation from Armani, Power Fabric foundation, and I wasn’t completely sure if the colour was right for me. Zoë advised it was more of a pinky base and definitely not the right shade for me. When you get a colour match done at a counter it can be different depending on the staff member who assists you. This has shown it can be wrong, which is so annoying when you have spent a lot of money on the foundation. Make sure you are happy before you buy, as I know sometimes I can feel pressured and it really can be a waste of money!

If the base colour is correct but the shade is a little dark, (which can happen if you like to self tan but have not had time to apply), then Zoë advised the M.A.C Studio Face and Body Foundation in shade white is useful to mix in with your usual foundation. I am going to try this and like the idea of mixing the two to get the perfect colour!


I realised I have many shades which contain sparkle but not many matt shades. Zoë demonstrated an every day eye look which I loved, which was mainly made up of matt shades. I have so many individual eye shadows in different colours which I don’t use very often, so I decided to purchase a M.A.C pro palette eye shadow insert with 6 basic shades.

I purchased a beige base shadow “Blanc Type” (this is currently out of stock, a great alternative is shade “Brule”), a soft brown “Cork”, a chocolate brown “Espresso”, a taupe brown “Concrete”, a dark plum “Corduroy” (great for hazel/green eyes), and lastly a matt black “Carbon”. To add a little sparkle, which is essential for the festive season, I love Bobby Brown Sparkle eye shadow in “Ballet Pink”. Simply add shimmer to the centre of the eyelid and it will make the eye pop!


I discovered I was applying bronzer and blusher quite low on my face, which was dragging it down. Also I wasn’t applying eyeshadow correctly on the socket, more on the crease of the eye. My take away was to move upwards!! But I have noted Zoë’s top tips in more detail below.

Dark colours recede and light colours push things forward. Therefore, when choosing your bronzer, don’t go for anything too dark in comparison to your skin tone. Where you put your brush first is where the product will be darkest, so take a blusher brush and start lightly sweeping a little of the bronzer around your hair line on your forehead blending the product inwards and downwards. Then apply a little of the bronzer onto your temples (and I mean a little!!). Then dip the brush into a little more product, and starting at your ear, sweep the product inwards on your cheekbone following the bottom of the bone towards your nose. All clever contouring should look soft and natural, so don’t go absolutely under the bone unless you want your face to look longer! Also be careful not to be too heavy handed otherwise you will achieve a very fake stripy look.

Where you place your blusher is very important depending on the shape of your face. I often explain the placement of blusher like this: any warm pink or red colour will make things come forward e.g. think of a spot..When it’s red it looks bigger.. When you conceal a spot it looks flatter.  Therefore most of the time I will aim my blusher brush on to the apple of the cheek (remembering that where you put the brush first, the shadow will go on stronger). This will lift the face and give a healthier more natural look.

When you are applying your eyeshadow on to the socket, circle your brush around the orbital bone, only hugging the crease of the eye (as opposed to hiding the shadow in the crease), starting directly under the high point of your eyebrow, making sure that the shadow can actually be seen on your socket when your eye is open!

Every day Essentials

Everyone has a few products they can’t live without, the ones you really don’t like to leave the house without applying!! Zoë approved of my current daily lifesaver products and informed me of some other great options. I have noted all below:


  • Nars Tinted Moisturiser
    Nars Tinted Moisturiser
    Light 2 Alaska
  • Clarins Instant Concealer
    Clarins Instant Concealer
    Shade 01
  • L'Oreal La Touche Magique
    L'Oreal La Touche Magique
    Shade Ivory Beige
  • Laura Mercier Secret Camoflage
    Laura Mercier Secret Camoflage
    Shade SC-3
  • Charlotte Tilbury Bronze and Glow
    Charlotte Tilbury Bronze and Glow
  • Tom Ford Brow Sculptor
    Tom Ford Brow Sculptor
    Shade Espresso
  • Benefit Roller Lash
    Benefit Roller Lash
  • Creme De La Mer The Lip Balm
    Creme De La Mer The Lip Balm



Images sourced from Pinterest

I am hoping to spend more time perfecting my technique by sitting down with a cosmetic mirror at a table, ( I don’t know when I will have the time for this lol!), but in the mean time I will be making small changes that Zoë suggested to subtly change my look.

If you would like to book a make up lesson or a party look with Zoë please contact her at

Claire x

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