Cream beats powder colour when you’re on the go

It’s nearly as rare as the UK winning Eurovision, but sometimes I leave home without my makeup bag. No great hindrance to most, of course, but a minor disaster for me as someone who invariably leaves the house bare faced (my default setting at home) and gets ready on the train to a beauty-related work meeting. It can also present an opportunity – recently, it gave me the impetus to go into Superdrug at the station and grab two terrific bargains I’ve worn almost constantly since.

My rule with any makeup: if you have little time or few products to play with, skip powders and go for creams. You can have greater impact with fewer shades, application is faster, simpler (and more achievable for glasses-wearers) and way more forgiving than hastily blending together several eye shadows with a brush. So, having failed to find a Maybelline Color Tattoo 24Hr Shadow (reliably good, bafflingly missing from the counter), I went for Revlon’s Colorstay Creme Eye Shadow (£6.99), which turned out to be better. The formula is perfect – silky, dense, blendable and very long-lasting, only with plenty of “playtime” for blending before it sets. It comes with a not terrible applicator integrated into the lid, but I used a proper eye brush from the dinky Zoeva Voyager Travel Brush Set(£22) that lives permanently in my bag.

Second, run – don’t walk – towards the e.l.f. No-Budge Shadow Stick, which I bought for definition with the best £5 I’ve spent this year. This is a cruelty-free, vegan crayon that’s fat enough to whack on as eye shadow (over the lid to just past the socket line so it’s still visible when eyes are open. Blur the border with your fingertip), but thin enough to use, as I did, as a soft, smudgy liner on the upper and lower lash line (draw on, then buff the lines with a clean brush). It layers brilliantly over powder or cream without bleeding into other shades. Its staying power is superlative – as good as any I’ve tried at four times the price (true story: a senior luxury beauty brand representative asked me this week what eye shadow I was wearing and pledged to go and buy this immediately). My only complaint about both products is that the colour selection is too limited. Frankly, it’s a good job I like brown.

• Last week Sali was awarded the Johnson & Johnson Outstanding Contribution to Beauty Award.