Thursday, 3 November 2011

Tricks Of The Trade

(Dear Dadjokes and mankind in general. Prepare to be bored on a par with me having to watch back to back football while there's perfectly good The Hills reruns on MTV)...

Its nice to feel useful. Even though I write for the UK's biggest selling fashion weekly, proffering tips and tricks on everything beauty, I sort of don't believe anyone reads them. I've been sat on the tube beaming at someone who's reading my Tried & Tested page (there's a picture of me on it every issue), thinking they'll recognise me and maybe even compliment me on my expert knowledge/black and white photo. Hasn't happened so far, and since that photo is decidedly out of date and resplendent with flowing brown waves, I'm not holding my breath it'll happen any time, well, ever.

So the Look Good...Feel Better editors day was, aside from lovely, tiring, charitable, a bit tough in parts, (not least on the old vocal chords) also something of an ego boost. People paid money to come and chat to me. Ok so they got an amazing goody bag pay off, and maybe that was (majority) incentive for most, but still, a whole twenty minutes of me chewing their ear off about double cleansing and where to put their eyeliner was I hope twenty quid well spent. I realise the Irish one off the X Factor will be able to add at least a zero on that figure for her PA's, but I'm on the cusp...

I met 15 (lovely) women, and I said the same things to a lot of them, at their request, so it seems you lot have common concerns. Since not all of you could get to London in September, I may as well repeat myself one more time. And for free too! It is almost Christmas after all...

A Lesson In Liner:
When my lashes fell out, my face saviour was eyeliner. Varying between black liquid when there are some still there/growing back, to grey or khaki soft kohl or gel when nothing at all. Having worn glasses till age 27, I am resolutely rubbish at doing my own makeup. Glasses wearers who don't own those hotel magnifying mirrors will understand. So here's my trial and error trick:
Start in the middle of your eyelid. Groundbreaking, I know. Hold your lid taught, hold your liner brush almost parallel to your lashes, and draw a line from the middle to the outer corner. Its MUCH easier to control shorter strokes.
The inner corner is harder, so instead of drawing a line, press one instead. By this I mean open your eye a tiny bit, hold the brush along your lash line (or lack of lash line in my case) and press it onto the skin. Repeat till you reach the middle and voila, a perfectly linered eye line. (see how I sound like a beauty editor?)

Double Cleanse
It doesn't matter what face wash you use - and I can't recommend one for everyone since we all have different skin needs - wash it twice. I think of it like the first round cleans off the dirt and the second round cleans your newly exposed skin. Whether this is scientifically correct doesn't matter, it works. And although its an extra step to add to your already boring before-bed routine (I treat mine like a child who has to eat their broccoli), my skin has gone from unpredictably hormonal - I blame the Tamoxifen - to back to it's juicing, chemo bonus glory. Since you ask I use Ren Purity No 1 Cleansing balm when my skin's feeling dry, and Olay Daily Facials Cleansing Milk when its really dry. Yes dryness is my post treatment legacy.

How To Fake An Eyebrow.
Flicky lines. The trick is flicky lines like you're mimicking actual individual hairs. Remember how yours used to grow and draw them in that direction, starting from the top of your nose. Try very hard not to make my mistake and underestimate the distance from eye to brow. I spent my brow less months of chemo with a   very serious expression, born of nothing but my own artistic doing. Not only was it a surprise to see my brows grow back half a centimetre above my best estimate, I finally could express that sentiment too. The wonder of eyebrows...

Skip The toner
Unless you have serious grease issues - which I challenge anyone on chemo drugs to maintain - toner is the evil best friend to your skins needs. It dresses up as a positive influence in your skincare life, but secretly its sapping all the goodness out of everything. Adding is better, so either go for a nourishing spritzer like Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic, or even a serum like this one which may sound faddy and unnecessary, but will actually prep your skin to make moisturisers work harder and your face look all round better. Which is what we're going for lets face it.

Blush Is Best
For everyone, I don't care how old/fun/makeup shy. Blusher is face Viagra. It is basically the key to faking good health and my ticket to avoiding consolatory stares in the IPC elevator for the last 9 months. Something with a very slight shimmer, and a colour that's not too pink or too bronze is best. I just so happen to have developed the perfect one in our LOOK makeup range. Handy that. There was an opportunity, I took it... Look Beauty Make Me Blush in Flush.

OK men, you can tune back in again now...


  1. Quiet Dadjokes, us girls wil find this very useful!

  2. Thankyou for the eyeliner section! I just bought my first liquid eyeliner and always end up with it smeared all over my face. Thanks! x

  3. I didn't have chemo but I'm on Tamoxifen & Zoladex still & I swear I still look a bit battered & worn out! Good excuse for me to pop to Superdrug tomorrow for a nice new blusher, he he! Thanks Sophie! xx