How to bust yourself out of a make up rut

Do I prime my primer? Is DD cream a thing yet? Will coffee shimmer lipstick have a comeback, or did it happen already and I missed it?

In this vast landscape of endless new formats and colourways and must-haves with mysterious acronymic names, it's not unsurprising how many of us run away singing “lalalaa” with our fingers in our ears, find one set of make up best friends and stick with them for life. Same eyeliner, same mascara, same foundation, going on in the same order each day; bulk-bought and lined up in the bathroom cabinet like the cosmetic version of Marge Simpson's wardrobe.

It sounds creepy, but the uniformity is comforting. Those best friends see us through good, bad and indifferent days with an almost identical face, until, one bleak day, we discover they've been discontinued and weep snottily on a sales lady.

But there is another way. Play the field! Slap around! A change is as good as a rest - according to someone's mother, once, in the 50s. So to ease you gently out of the rut, here are some new things to do with your face in 2018.

Give up eyeliner 

No, don't scream.

Perhaps you're at the point now where you think un-lined eyes give you the look of a sickly Dickensian character in need of a fainting couch. Maybe you tried it once and halfway through the day were horrified to catch sight of your reflection in a shop window; just a round, blank balloon where your features used to be. You might have enough built up residue to last you a good three days before you need to re-apply anyway.

But hear me out. Skipping liner will make your lashes look supremely long. It gives you the fresh, wide-eyed look of an ingénue from a perfume ad. Plus, with all the extra time you'll save not having to get the thickness and angle of your flicks to match up each morning, you can finally write that screenplay.

And if your rut doesn't currently include eyeliner… start using eyeliner! It's awesome.

Dial down the mascara

This is sort of the opposite of above, and the idea may be equally terrifying to you. “But won't my eyes disappear, like piddle holes in the snow?” you might well shriek.

The answer is: well yes maybe, but you don't know till you try! Leaving mascara off the lower lashes can give you a beautifully almond-eyed look and avoids all that spidery smudging; likewise a sweep of liquid eyeliner on a clean, lash-less lid can be a total revelation. My friend Jo came out without mascara once, and it was one of the most elegant things I've ever seen.

Don't frown at brown 

It took me 25 years to see brown make up as anything other than a drab waste of a cosmetic opportunity. “Muted browns flatter blue eyes!” the magazines would trill, and I'd turn over with a vigour otherwise reserved for mentions of plain white shirts or nude tights.

But then I saw a few photos of Jennifer Lawrence doing beautiful, molten copper eyes on the red carpet, and finally reconsidered. Clinique's Chubby Stick for Eyes in Fuller Fudge was my first foray into brown, and now I'm hooked on its gentle bronze shimmer (the khaki-gold Whopping Willow is divine on darker skin tones).

Crayoned on and smudged in round my sockets, it makes me feel classy. Like a lady who orders black coffee and doesn't even dunk the complimentary biscuit.

Give blusher a chance

At this time of year, and particularly if you've abandoned eyeliner, mascara, or both, you might need a bit of a perk-me-up. Something to convince your mother you don't need to be sent care packages from Holland and Barrett. That something is blusher.

You might be haunted by memories of bad blush from dance exams, school plays or those brick-red stripes that signalled your mum was on for a big night in the early 90s, but we've come a long way, baby.

From girlish petal pink to a punchy neon coral (especially gorgeous on black or olive skin), flushed cheeks can be a defining look in themselves. The famous rose gold Orgasm by Nars is an excellent place to start, or try a cream formula if you're suffering from central heating dry-out - and load on slightly more than you feel comfortable with, for that just-been-romping-on-the-Heath glow.

That said, you don't need it on the days you're already running a fever. A tip for winter flu season, there.

Embrace a bold lip

Look, nobody said this was going to be easy. But if you've never mastered bold lipstick before now, give it another go. Beauty guru Sali Hughes says it takes three days to stop feeling self-conscious in bright lippie, and she's right – stay the distance and you'll soon get used to it. A bit like learning to enjoy Campari. Or kale.

Even better, lip stains with pen applicators have banished the worry of teeth smudges - try Max Factor's Lipfinity Lasting Lip Tint, which goes on like a felt tip and looks slightly reminiscent of when you used to lick a red Smartie and paint it on your mouth. What could be less scary?