Let me tell you now, this is a long one with no photos. If you’re not interested in make up, don’t bother with the blog today 😉 Please forgive me, a passion I rarely blog about is beauty and make up and once I started, I couldn’t stop.
I have noticed two big changes since I turned 40 last August. One is hangovers – there must be some explanation but I’ve felt near death the next day every time I’ve had a smidgen too much to drink. The other is my skin – it’s gone funny. I suffered from terrible spots and sweaty skin as a teenager and have always thought that the decent skin I’ve had as an adult was my compensation. No longer.
I have had to up my beauty game and add some new products to my arsenal as well as swapping from some old favourites to new things.
Me and my sisters are huge fans of Sali Hughes. I think she is honest, I like her style of writing and we have similarly dehydrated skin so I can be confident that the things she recommends will generally (not always!) work. She’s friends with one of my best friends too which only increases my fondness for her.
Before I buy anything make up and beauty wise I do two things; google the product and Sali to see what she thinks, and ask my All Worn Out Originals mates who are beauty geniuses for their opinions. This is kind of a disclaimer – I can take little credit for the products I am about to mention.
Skin first. For reference, I have reasonably sensitive, dehydrated skin with some of sun damage, a strong smattering of melasma which increases in the sunshine, bad crows feet around my eyes, one deep 11, quite dark crepy skin under my eyes and a wrinkled forehead.
I have been changing my routine a bit to see what works best but am now set on this. At night I rub this Argan oil into my face which melts off make up and wash off with a warm damp flannel (I use a clean one of every day) then do the same with Aurelia Miracle Cleanser as a double cleanse (once to remove make up/day, once to clean the skin) I use Caudelie Cleansing Water on cotton wool to remove the mascara residue.
I’ve been using Alpha H Liquid Gold on alternate nights for the past month and I am impressed (I got mine from M&S with 20% off but this is the best value I can find atm) It goes on cotton wool, a swoosh around the face (not eyes!), neck, decollate and hands and that’s it. You can put a night cream or serum on top but it’s more effective without that. I don’t know how but my skin doesn’t feel dry the next morning and it is making my skin visibly tighter and brighter. (On a scale of change I want to point out that this is something I notice, my sister and best mate might notice, the rest of the world might not!)
On the alternate nights I use Clarins Blue Orchid face oil, Darphin Ideal Resource Night cream (I adore this product) and a Marks & Spencer eye cream. I’ve decided to use the Alpha H Liquid Gold twice a week instead of three now as my skin is starting to feel dehydrated and I don’t like the tightness. It is an acid so you have to use a 50SPF the next day which isn’t always that simple either so twice a week will suit me better.
In the mornings I use the Aurelia again. I’ve been increasingly disloyal to day creams. Eucerin suited me for quite a while and I liked it, but then started to make my eyes water. I was convinced by a shop assistant to go back to the Clarins Multi Active Day Cream I used years ages ago and it’s good but not amazing. I’ve recently enjoyed trying the free sample of Elemis Marine cream that came with a magazine and am weighing up getting a few more magazines (hoping they’re still available!) rather than paying nigh on £100, or going back to the day version of the night Darphin that I love (not cheap but lasts ages) Anyone used the Elemis longer term?
Now for make up.
I have been using Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation for years (with some By Terry in the middle) I like a full coverage foundation and the fact is lasts all day has always had me hooked. Until recently I have worn Pure Beige in winter and Tawny in summer but my skin must be unusually white as I’ve had to go down to the Cool Bone shade which matches my jaw line but makes me look pale and unwell. A few weekends back I realised the foundation was becoming A Problem when I appeared from the bathroom ready to go out and looked at the three shocked faces waiting for me “What have you done to your face?” “Have you been sick” etc.
So, the perfect time to try the highly praised Giorgio Armani Power Fabric! I went to the Armani counter in Selfridges first thing on a Wednesday morning to get colour matched and they were really helpful and gave me lots of samples of other things I might like. I meant to get a tester of the Power Fabric to try at home but I liked it so much, I bought it (here’s Sali on Power Fabric) I have shade 5 which is a perfect match for my pasty winter skin.
Initially I loved it. 10 days in, I’m not convinced. Firstly it is not full coverage unless I’m applying it wrong. I’ve tried putting it on with a foundation brush, my fingers and a beauty blender (the best I’ve found is to put a very small amount on at a time blending quickly with fingers)
Unhappily it settles into my pores as soon as I put it on and just doesn’t make me look like I want my foundation to. My skin looks patchy and flat, my pores are highlighted and I don’t feel good. Without the primer (see below), it’s quite hard to blend and though not using the primer made my t zone less shiny, I just couldn’t blend it well enough to not use it (even using my Beauty Blender)
Would I reccomend it? No, I don’t think I would. The Double Wear sits on the skin, not everyone’s cup of tea but I like it. When I wear a full coverage foundation that’s what I want. I want it to make me look smoother, brighter, better. That’s what Double Wear does and it lasts from morning application until bedtime, no problem.
I have been using Laura Mercier primers for years. I bought this one a few months ago and it was an expensive mistake as it bobbles unlike any of the other ones in the range (the hydrating and original ones are best) I tried this Giorgio Armani Maestro UV Skin Defense Primer with the foundation and was smitten. It feels like rubbing liquid satin on your face and I can see a difference where I have used it. Importantly for me it has a SPF of 50. Using the Alpha H Liquid Gold means I need a daily high SPF and this is a joy to use under make up. The MU in Selfridges recommended using it on its own on holiday / mainly make up free days. I also got a tester of this Luminous Silk Foundation ( again in number 5) which they suggested I dab on my cheeks over the Power Fabric for a more dewy finish (apparently the Luminous Silk doesn’t have half the lasting power of Power Fabric) It also smells lovely, Italians will immediately notice the striking scent similarity to Infasil! So, the Armani primer I do recommend.
I have been struggling with blusher recently too. I bought a Charlotte Tilbury one which looked great in the shop but not so good in really life (I have Ecstasy). As much as I try, I am a bit kackhanded with makeup application and it really shows with the blusher. The Giorgio Armani woman very kindly suggested I wasn’t making the most of my face with the blusher I had on and showed me how to apply this Fluid Sheer Skin Illuminator. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been had when I get home from trying on new make up and you realise you’ve spent a fortune on stuff you didn’t need. Not this time, with the blusher at least. I totally get what the MU meant about the liquid blusher “lifting” the matte texture of the Power Fabric foundation. I have shade Amber which is apparently a wedding favourite for the lasting power and naturalness of the colour.
A decent creamy concealor is a must for me and I am pretty happy with this from Hourglass. I’ve been using it for a few months and it definitely makes me look less tired. It lasts almost a full day too which is pretty good going.
I have my monobrow/eyebrows threaded every 4-6 weeks and use this Hourglass eyebrow pencil every day. It’s the best I have ever tried. I occasionally use the Mac Brow Gel in Dirty Blonde (with this brush) and think I like it but then I see a photo of myself and think it’s too over the top for my taste.
I am really into lipsticks. My favourites are the perfect bright orange red crayon Nars Red Square, bright pink Mac Relentlessy Red that lasts forever and a new Charlotte Tilbury Amazing Grace. I was worried the Amazing Grace would be too pink for me but it isn’t, it’s a flattering shade that’s easy to wear and can be bolted on for a very natural look or layered to compliment smokey eye make up. I tried Charlotte Tilbury’s Tell Laura which I’d almost bought on line (I have a habit of doing this and then not being happy with my purchase) The colour swatch is far pinker than the actual shade which is better represented in the photo. I am pleased I tried it as it’s almost identical to the Nars Red Square so I saved myself another expensive mistake. (I have CT’s Love Liberty too – I think it’d compliment Black skin far more than mine and it’s also bled the times I’ve worn it) The Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk lip pencil is fast becoming an iconic product, I use it all over my lips under a dab of Eve Lom Kiss Mix for a natural colour and as a lip liner for almost any lipstick shade (the Kiss Mix is also great on its own)
Mascara is the next thing on my list. I was using this Kevin Aucoin one for most of the summer and autumn and really liked it but decided I wanted something more dramatic and switched to Lancome Hypnose. I think it is a bit too dramatic for me for every day and my lashes are feeling a bit spidery for my liking so I’m going back to Kevin.
I’ve mentioned my love for Tom Ford eye pallets before. They’re eye wateringly expensive but they are so beautiful and last ages. My favourite is Last Dance. These Charlotte Tilbury Eye Shadow Pencils are very easy to use – blend quick if you want an all over lid effect though as they dry fast. I have Bronzed Garnet which is for green eyes and really does make them “pop” 😉
I am appalling with hair. No matter what I try my hair is totally straight and lacking much body. Best I have found is a few squirts of this, blow dry upside down for 4 minutes and go.
Ending as I began, I am no expert on beauty matters. I have my mates and Sali to guide me and these are just some of the things I have tried and liked or not. Any great suggestions, please do let me know. You can follow Sali here and if you haven’t got them already, her two books are great (this is a lovely present and this is like the old school make up bibles I used to dream of possessing as a kid)
Or you can watch this.