When I was young (I’m beginning to sound more like my old nan every day) I used to jump out of bed, have a shower, comb my hair, slap on a bit of makeup and be ready for the day ahead – looking good. Nowadays, if I try that nonchalant routine, I look baaaaad (and that’s not teen slang for looking good. I look terrible.) I just can’t pull off the fresh faced, 5 minute beauty routine anymore – it takes time for the pillow creases down the side of my face to re-plump and the hoods of slack skin over my eyes to lift a little – before I can see properly, yet alone step foot outside the front door without scaring the neighbours. And talking of the neighbours, I don’t want to add to the horror they must already go through with Mean Teen belting out Broadway show tunes at all hours, My Boy rolling in with hoards of drunken friends in the early hours and Little Angel’s tap dancing practice. Could be worse I tell them when apologising for the noise… I could play the drums. They don’t laugh much.
Anyway, back to beauty regimes. There’s no getting away from it, we have to have one and if you’re anything like me (lazy) it has to be snappy, easy and effective. I know the eternally youthful and glamorous Joan Collins would recoil in horror at what I’m going to say next, but ladies, there are short cuts and time saving tricks to looking good thanks to the plethora of quick fix products now available. Follow these tips and you’ll be looking fit in a flash (well, put it this way, you won’t scare the neighbours anymore.)
Colour up: There is no excuse to go out of the door with the complexion of a corpse. Farrow and Ball might come up with all kinds of trendy ways of saying ‘white with a hint of grey’ (ie, Elephant’s Breath!) but at the end of the day, it’s a shade that I’m contemplating for my new kitchen, but not my face. So, for clever coverage with colour it’s worth investing in one of the handy new BB creams that are all the rage. BB cream stands for blemish balm and claims to be a moisturiser, sun-block, foundation and primer in one. Developed by a German dermatologist to calm and improve the look of patients’ red, uneven skin after more aggressive treatments like facial peels, they’re big news and available in most major beauty brands. My favourite, Garnier’s BB Cream, is also one of the less expensive.
Blushing Babe: If you’ve never hit it off with blusher then it’s time to give it another try – a little pop of colour on the cheeks can really lift your look, making you look fresher, younger and more awake. If you’re over 40, your skin will probably be more suited to a cream or gel blusher that will give the skin a sheer wash of a tint rather than a powder that will further dry the complexion and settle in lines and wrinkles. New formulas like the Clarins Instant Light Blush, £19 or YSL’s gorgeous (and expensive) Voile de Blush, £28,
only take a few seconds to apply – and they’re foolproof so you won’t wind up looking like Aunt Sally…
Eyes Open Wide: Ok, take a deep breath because here’s a reality check that you probably knew but didn’t want to be told: As we age, our lashes get sparser and lose their pigment and so our eyes are less defined. Add to this happy fact, that they’re also just not as sparkly as they used to be, then, without a little bit of makeup, first thing in the morning you (and me) probably look a little bit like a mole. Remember, don’t listen to our Joanie, it doesn’t take hours of makeup trickery and set upon set of spidery false lashes just to make your eyes look fairly decent. One of the best – and quickest – ways I’ve found of adding some oomph is to line eyes with a soft mid/dark brown pencil liner close to the top and bottom lashes, then smudge. I stumbled upon this clever eye opener when I was a beauty journalist and had to do an early morning shoot with a model who turned up hungover and bleary eyed. The makeup artist worked wonders with a little bottle of Optrex and a brown pencil. My makeup tool of choice is The Body Shop Carbon Eye Definer, £9, that has a nifty little rubber at the end for softening the liner. Finish off with a sweep or two of your favourite mascara and in the blink of an eye, you’ll have peepers that Joanie would be proud of.