Monday, July 14, 2008

Digital Doom

There's been a lot of talk about photo retouching recently. And I do think it is deeply wrong to give cover girls and models in ads perfect pore-free skin and twiglet arms. It is completely unrealistic and makes the rest of us feel inadequate compared to something that is fiction. It's like comparing yourself to a Manga cartoon or a Barbie doll.

However, after years of holding off, I have just purchased my first digital camera and suddenly a bit of retouching seems sensible. Come back Photoshop - all is forgiven. Man I never knew I was such a troll. This baby has pushed my magnifying mirror into the ha'penny place. I can see things when I zoom in on a photo that aren't even visible to the naked eye. The fatal combination of zoom, flash and teeny weeny megapixels picks up details that the eye and brain frankly don't have time for. Seriously, things I can't even see with the magnifying mirror are now on my 'things to fret about and find a treatment for' list. Which, dammit, is already long enough.

Now, if I can just find a nice sheer stocking to stick over the lens, all will be soft focus loveliness...

Monday, July 7, 2008

The London Look

I have the Handsome Man driven demented with my Kate Moss impression every time I put on my mascara. I turn to the mirror, and then, having applied, swing back round waffling in a terrible Mockney accent about how I've just got the London Look, and isn't it amazing how mascara can make you look exactly like her.

Obviously not, but one thing is for sure, for a budget mascara, Rimmel Glam'eyes mascara truly performs. The 'sexy' packaging is totally gick, but if you can get beyond that, it's a winner.

Disaster Aversion

You know when you're in a rush, and you're nearly ready. You sweep on some mascara and somehow it ends up all over your face, you flutter your lashes and it sticks to the top lid. Arrrrgggh. Don't cry pretty baby. Those nice people at Revlon have invented a Make-up Eraser Pen to make it disappear. So no more faffing around pouring teeny tiny drops of foundation onto a Q-Tip. This little magic marker makes it all better.

The Dream Team

If money was no object, and you could have the cosmetics shelf/drawer/suitcase of your dreams, what would it be filled with?
I think I've finally decided that less is more, after working as a beauty journalist and being full of the greed and fickleness for the latest and greatest potions and paints to land on my desk. Too much is definitely a bad thing, but you can't help trying yet another novelty - who knows what might become the next cult classic? Something I disregard could be the next Clarins Beauty Flash Balm or Lancome Juicy Tube. Stress! I've only got one face and I can't try everything, much as I'd like to.
Perfect base
At the moment my Lotto-winner 'dream team' would have to be La Prairie Advanced Marine Biology Cream, the most perfect example of moisturising perfection I have ever come across, and Creme de la Mer SPF 18 Fluid Tint which makes me feel like bursting into a chorus of 'I feel pretty, oh so pretty' the minute I put it on. Drrrroooool.
What? Two isn't a team? Well, I've never been the sporty type, darling. All the sweating in public is terribly un-chic and going red in the face will give you broken veins.
Let's talk some other major players in the league then. The aforementioned Beauty Flash Balm isn't a bad place to start. Put it on before an event to make your make-up sit tight on your face all day or night; put it on the morning after to make you look vaguely human again. Genius.
But the wondrous Flash (ah-ah-aaaaah) must be kept for special superhero emergencies. For an everyday primer I am l.o.v.i.n.g. Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch (or Lisse Minute Base Comblante pour mes amis francophones). It does exactly what it says on the little red pot. Smooth. Perfect. Instant. Oui, oui, oui.
Benefit's Brow-zings is a must for me and my straggly brows and it is a source of great grief to me that meanies at airport security take tweezers away. What do they think I'm gonna do? Threaten the pilot with overplucking? Oh, okay, that is pretty terrifying...
The French Paradox
And finally (because this is a basketball team, football is soooo uncouth) Guerlain's powders are a constant source of wonder to me. Parure Compact Foundation with Crystal Pearls (ahem, yes technically a foudation, but I see nothing wrong with putting it on over a liquid foundation) got me hooked and now I'm in love all over again. The gorgeous one is named Meteorites Poudre de Perles Illuminating Perfecting Pressed Powder. Mmm, snappy name I know. It is a compact of the famous Guerlain Perles. The light of my life is the shade called Beige Lumineux which has light and dark pearls as well as a lilac colour corrector to brighten the skin. The French Paradox - it mattifies, because it is a powder, and yet it gives radiance, because it is AMAZING. Words fail me. I'd ask it to marry me if I wasn't afraid of scaring it off. Play it cool, play it cool.
Now that's the dream team. You may have noted the lack of shadows, blushes, lippies and glosses. That's the fun stuff. You can play around with it. The dream team consists of the serious core products, the ones you should spend money on. After that you can swap substitutes in and out to add a little colour.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Policy Statement

I suppose if I'm going to get you to join my political party (it goes on all night, woo yeah) - then I'd better come clean about past scandals, and set out my current policy and thinking on the issues that count. Let's get the scandals out of the way first. As a child of the eighties, the influence carried through into my teens. So along with those mid-nineties terrible twins of Constance Carroll blemish stick and Rimmel Heather Shimmer lipstick (cult classics of their time), I still thought, for a long time, that when it came to blusher, more is more, and a stripe was the way forward.

Then came the poverty-stricken student years when I took a leaf out of Sophia Loren's book - literally. In her 1984 classic Women & Beauty she details how, when she was just starting out she dyed all her clothes black so that she would always look matchy-matchy elegant. Not that I did a dye-job, I just bought black. And I wore it with a brazen red lipstick and a pasty white puppy fat face. Sure wasn't I only gorgeous.

Baby, I've come a long way. I've learned the most valuable lesson of all - gentle skin care. For years I believed the aggressive approach was the way forward with problem skin. But oh no, it's a case of softly, softly, catchy monkey.

I've also accumulated too much make-up. And I really think more than you can fit in a make-up bag is too much. But I'm doing this for you folks. Too much is a bad thing because you never finish it, it goes off, needs to be binned...and you're just throwing money away.

We all get suckered in by the claims and the pretty packaging. You have to experiment to find what's right for you, and one woman's saviour is another woman's waste of money. However there are some cult products, and a few personal faves, that I'll let you in on next post. For now though, it's late, girl needs her beauty sleep you know.