As a beauty editor who has been writing about the subject for many years, I am so often touted as an expert. The reality, however, is that much of the beauty knowledge and knowhow I put into practice on a regular basis has been inspired by some of the amazing women in my life – from my mother to my favourite makeup artist – who have shared their tips and tricks with me. And now I am sharing them with you.
Mind your décolletage
Long before neck creams became a thing, my mother always highlighted the importance of treating your décolletage (that space between your chin and your chest) as you would the skin on your face. Although I was barely into my teens, she made a (daily) point of making sure I had meticulously washed and moisturised my neck and chest. She was adamant that if I didn’t do this, the texture and hue beyond my chin would start to look significantly different to the one on my face. It was exhausting having this relentless mantra sounding in your ear. As a young girl, taking care of the skin on my neck was the least of my priorities. Decades later, however, my mother’s advice has paid off; she spoke the truth. It is a beauty step I follow to this day, and I now tell everyone who cares to listen, because it is never too late to start.
Wear the right foundation – and look after it
I regularly have mammoth conversations with makeup artists about the efficacy of beauty products, especially foundations. Choosing the right foundation can feel like a search for the holy grail – yes, even for a seasoned beauty editor like myself. The finish, the texture, the undertone, the shade range, the weather … there are so many factors to consider. Clinique’s Beyond Perfecting Foundation is unusual in that it ticks so many boxes – it is long-wearing (24 hours – yes, really. Of course you may never need to wear it for that long, but it’s comforting to know that it can stand the test of time!); it provides full coverage that still resembles skin; it is humidity- and sweat-resistant (essential in summer); and it thankfully comes in a plethora of shades (28 to be exact, which match 98.5% of skin tones). As a woman of colour who normally struggles to find her shade, this makes me very happy.
So far, so perfect. But what happens when, one day, you look in the mirror and for some strange reason your perfect foundation doesn’t look quite as perfect as it did before? “Don’t blame it on the foundation,” says my long-time makeup artist friend. She believes a myriad of reasons could affect the finish – your hormones, change in season (every girl needs more than one shade to accommodate this), lack of sleep … “It’s all about how you store it,” she says. Most people keep their foundation in the (humid, steamy) bathroom, or in their bedroom, where it is exposed to the sun and direct light. All of this oxidises your foundation, which affects the colour, texture and its appearance when on your skin. The trick to keeping your perfect foundation perfect, she reveals, is to keep it in the fridge. Trust me, it works.
Apply concealer after foundation
My younger sister is a huge beauty fan, but she doesn’t work in the beauty industry and by no means would she ever even call herself an expert. And yet I learn some of the most wonderful tricks and tips from her. She is the one who first introduced me to the joys of concealers. From her I learned that applying your foundation first and your concealer second is a much better way to ensure you don’t overdo it and end up with a cakey finish halfway through the day. I love a concealer that feels lightweight but provides full flawless coverage, such as the Clinique Beyond Perfecting Super Concealer, but when I apply my foundation first, I find I don’t need to use half as much – everything blends much more seamlessly and it stays that way all day.
Supercharge your beauty routine with hyaluronic acid
One of the benefits of my job is that I get to meet women who are doing incredible things in the beauty industry. One of my favourites is a prolific dermatologist who works with some of Hollywood’s most famous faces. She was one of the first skincare experts I heard extolling the benefits of hyaluronic acid, which holds 1,000 times its weight in moisture. It has become my skincare mainstay. My dermatologist encouraged me to blend it into my foundation and powder highlighter before applying – this gives you the dewiest skin ever. She also advised mixing it into powdery or glittery eyeshadows – it is kinder to the eyes, goes on the lids without dragging and the end result is a much more silky, modern-looking finish, with major skincare benefits.
Top up your SPF with clever mists
Facials are quite possibly my favourite beauty treatment. I tend to battle uneven skin tone, so a good facial complements my skincare regime, which is infused with brighteners, acid exfoliators, vitamin C and a good SPF. Without sun protection, UV rays exacerbate my hyperpigmentation issues. And so I have long been religious about using a high SPF every day. What I didn’t know, however, was that I was doing it all wrong. My facialist taught me that my SPF is only effective when it is constantly topped up (ideally every two hours). This, of course, poses a dilemma: how on earth do you keep applying SPF throughout your working day, while you still have your makeup on? She introduced me to the idea of sunscreen mists and makeup-setting sprays that have SPF in them (some pressed powders also have SPF in, and can be brushed on during the day). Not only are these mists brilliant for dealing with the heat and refreshing your face and providing protection, but you can also spray them right through the day without it ruining your makeup.