I’ve made some little tweaks to my makeup routine and committed them to video: one of the changes involves my eyebrows, and you might already know about that one, but the other four are relatively new and snazzy. I know that the suspense will be killing you, so let’s get cracking.
My first makeup tweak is so puny and weird that I’m almost embarrassed to be writing about it, but seeing as though social media’s USP is people sharing things so mundane it makes you want to lobotomise yourself with a corkscrew, I’m going to go right ahead. The makeup update, if you could even call it that, is that I’ve only been putting foundation or tinted moisturiser on the centre of my face rather than all over it.
See, I told you it was fascinating.
It’s more of a convenience than a tweak and it has evolved from my habitual wearing of roll-neck or high-necked jumpers. For who wants foundation all the way down their neck when their neck is going to be smothered in wool? Equally, who even wants foundation on their chin, when their chin is permanently rubbing on the woollen roll-neck? Not I.
So I use the face base sparingly and lightly and only in the central part of the face rather than right up to the edges which, in truth, is the only place that tends to need foundation anyway. Facial perimeters rarely have a lot of bothersome bits going on.
This approach to skin-perfecting is best done with a sheerer foundation or tinted moisturiser, something forgiving and ultra-blendable. If you try to do it with a longwear opaque base then you’ll probably run into trouble. My tint of current choice? Still ILIA Skin Tint (I use shade ST7) with it’s mega-glow. You can find it here online*.
My next little fancy twist to the makeup tale is using blusher on my eyes. I know! What’s come over me? I saw Katie-Jane Hughes (amazing makeup artist) do it on Instagram to tie her eyes in with the blush and it was just so easy and fun and fresh, and the pink isn’t actually directly around the eyes so you don’t look like a rabbit from Watership Down… It’s just a quick bosh with the brush at the outer edges and then blend – watch the video below to see this in action.
You can use whatever’s left on the brush from doing cheeks. Doesn’t matter particularly whether it’s a cream or powder blush but I used the amazing Freshfaced Cream Blush from Beauty Pie here*. (Remember to use RUTHSENTME if you’re a new customer signing up and you’ll get a bit off the membership.)
Not even a tweak, so I’m starting to feel as though this entire exercise is a lie, but I’ll plough on. It’s just a clumsy, crayon-y splodge of dark eye colour at the outer corners in an upwards-facing wedge, blended in, to lift the eyes and make them look less tired. All this does (and again, you need to watch the video for the how-to) is bend the lashline upwards so that the outer corners look as though they sit a few mm higher than they did before. Tiny, subtle change but it’s vastly effective. If you want a stronger optical illusion then do it with a solid line of eyeliner but it’s trickier to get right than the splodge-of-wedge-and-blend-it method. I used the excellent suit-all Vieve Eye Wand in Coffee, here*.
I genuinely can’t even remember what this was and have to go back and watch the video. Please hold. I only had five bloody things to remember! I’d be rubbish at Kim’s Game now. Used to be almost champion-level.
OK the fourth tweak is the gluing of the eyebrows using Brow Freeze. You know about this already, if you’ve read the previous makeup post but you must watch them being laminated and waxed and glued into place in the video. This Brow Freeze stuff is amazing – my eyebrows end up about half an inch further up my face! Some might think this is a bad thing, I quite like it for a change. It’s a bit like when you move your bed to a different wall and it’s as though you don’t even know who you are anymore. But reordering your facial features instead. Facial Feng Shui.
You can find Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Freeze here* – I would, and I surprise myself here, recommend getting the dedicated applicator that you have to purchase separately. Because my way of dunking the brow brush at an awkward angle is not massively convenient.
The gloss in a stick. Apparently these Revlon Super Lustrous Glass Shine lipsticks have gone viral on Tiktok. If I could use Tiktok without crashing Tiktok, having to log out of Tiktok and having to then reset my Tiktok password each and every time, then I’d spend a lot more time on Tiktok, but as it stands I just don’t have the energy for it. I’m constantly told I need to use it and upload videos there but it’s just so…chaotic. And noisy. Everyone is pointing at things on the screen, or talking loudly, or dancing. It feels like being stuck in an arcade game.
So I’ll take everyone’s word for it that these lipsticks are the new craze – it also makes sense, because they really are excellent. As glossy as a gloss but without the stickiness, they actually do properly plump and shine the lips without any effort whatsoever. And they’re moisturising. Genuinely. I felt the effects long after the colour had slinked away.
My favourite shade is the Strawberry one – find it at LookFantastic here* and just about nowhere else because everywhere seems to be out of stock!
Marvellous, we raced through those tweaks didn’t we? Now you just have the video to watch. Get to it…
I have my hair cut and coloured at The Suite in Bath (not an ad, I have always paid, just like to give them a shout-out and I always get asked!).
My pink jumper was a kind present from my friends at Scamp & Dude
I fully realise this isn’t the sort of debate that will change the world but it’s a question I’ve been pondering for the last week or so, since the weather has been sub-zero again, and it is this: which is better, frost or snow?
People go crazy for snow, don’t they? At least they do in the UK. I don’t know the specifics for your particular geographic location; I imagine if you’re in Norway or, I don’t know, Alaska, then snow isn’t any great shakes. More a fact of life – something you tolerate because it is there for so much of the year.
But here in the UK, a forecast of snow is met with an almost unanimous sense of unbridled joy and excitement. (Apart from those working in the emergency services or those who have to travel to work, no excuses.) Snow turns nearly every adult into a child again and I will admit that there is something magical about waking up to a world that has been completely transformed, overnight, into a pure white canvas.
It is mandatory to take photos of this new pure white canvas – and don’t kid yourself that this is a new, social-media-fuelled phenomenon either: sifting through some old pictures at my Mum’s, there were dozens of yellowed photographs of “snow in the eighties”. Not even picturesque landscapes, either, just “the back wall in the snow”, “car on bricks, in the snow” and my favourite, “small children very far away with their backs turned to camera, in the snow”.
Snow has National Treasure status in the UK. It’s like Dame Judi Dench, or Sir Trevor McDonald: snow can do no wrong. Almost any full appearance by snow is celebrated and newsworthy and even if it is massively inconvenient it is still considered a thing of wonder.
The smooth, undulating curves of deep snow sitting atop thatched rooftops, like fondant icing. Flawless fields stretching featureless into the distance. Narrow streets in the City of London suddenly picture postcard perfect; the roads around Spitalfields turned instantly into the setting for a Dicken’s novel.
But I’m going to throw something out there: frost is better. Both visually and practically. Bear with me before you blow a gasket with fury; I know how revered Snow is and that I’m walking on thin ice, but I’m going to take you through an analogy that will explain my slightly outré assertion. It’s not a perfect analogy so you’ll have to be tolerant.
Imagine you have a beautiful face. (That’s the landscape. I realise not all landscapes are beautiful but just use your imagination. I told you to be tolerant of my analogy.) Wouldn’t it be a shame to completely obliterate that face beneath an entire, thick layer of completely opaque foundation? Yes it would.
(I can see this analogy collapsing in precisely twenty seconds yet I can’t seem to stop writing.)
Imagine you now have a makeup artist of supreme ability. They take out their brushes and they do a little gilding of the eyelids here, a dusting of some sort of light-blurring powder there. They lightly conceal and they daintily add the faintest hint of shimmer and when they are finished, the face is a masterpiece. Different, changed, but still – essentially – the face.
(Someone stop me, for the love of God!)
I think you’ve probably guessed what I’m at, here: snow is heavy foundation, frost is the magic touch of a makeup artist. I told you it was tenuous.
Look: snow is great. But it’s a big old clumsy blanket of whiteness dropped from above. There’s no nuance. It’s an absolute obliteration of the picture. Look at someone’s photograph of “the park in the snow”: it’s a plain white rectangle. Maybe with a tree trunk striking a knobbly scar through the middle. Frost, on the other hand, is nature’s artist. Glittering the tops of fence posts, gilding every tiny leaf and stone. Not only does it put a sort of filter over the world, desaturating it and adding a hint of very pretty ice-blue, it blurs and prettifies every single feature. Cars become sugar-coated churros, rooftops sparkle, the green is taken out of gardens and the grey is taken from the roads so that everything is a uniform silvery version of its former self. You can see what’s underneath, but it’s like seeing it all through a dream…
vs snow, which has just one dimension. Which is to throw a sheet over it all and be done. It’s lazy and it has no skill. If Frost is the meticulous magician then Snow is a caveman, just trundling along shouting “white! White! White!”
On a practical level, snow is an absolute bastard. Especially if you live out in the sticks, but it also seems to stiff the city-dwellers too. If Snow visits for longer than day, you really know about it. You want him out by day two, once you’ve had the sledging fun and had a snowball in the face. He’s like the “crazy friend” who comes to visit, the one you met in Magaluf in the late nineties who drank pint glasses of tequila and had “knob” tattooed on his head. Fun for a few hours and then it’s just one almighty pain. Takes ages to get rid of, too. Melt….melt….melt….for f*ck’s sake just get on with it! Go home!
Frost is welcome almost any time. Frost arrives quietly, brings cake, has a cup of tea with you and then leaves by lunchtime. And even if she doesn’t (ha! Note that Frost seems to be female here), even if Frost has come for a little mini-break, then when you need to get on with something important she sits in another room and reads a book and you barely even know she is there. She doesn’t stop you driving, like Snow. Snow turns your car into a Death Mobile. He might feel solid and crunchy underfoot when you’re trampling up the sledging hill but don’t be fooled: he’s three pints of tequila followed by a twenty minute ride on a banana boat.
So, “Frost is better than Snow: Discuss”. I know that this will flare some tempers so let’s try and keep it sweet.
My Mum was horrified when I showed her my newly acquired Finishing Touch Facial Hair Remover.
“You can’t shave your face!” she cried. “Why can’t you just use nail scissors like everyone else?”
Pause for effect.
Can we please get a show of hands from anyone – anyone at all – who uses a pair of nail scissors to stay on top of their facial hair? I thought not. She couldn’t have picked a more impractical tool. It’s like going to battle brandishing a chainsaw – there’s more chance of maiming yourself than winning the fight.
“I just hold the scissors like this,” she said, her head back and her chin thrown high, “and snip as close to the root of the hair as I can.”
“You can’t even see where you’re snipping,” I said, ‘you’ll end up cutting off something important!”
“Well I use a mirror, obviously.”
Mum’s snipping method is flawed in many ways: firstly the risk of injury is high, even with the use of a mirror. Perhaps especially with the use of a mirror, because we all know how even the simplest of tasks becomes impossible once you’re relying on your reflection to guide you.
Then there’s the fact that you’re not even getting to the root of the problem, just cutting off the visible part. It’s a bit like weeding by pulling off the top bits. Does my Mum go around the garden strimming over the dandelions? No she does not. She goes about on her knees, pulling the whole thing out.
And finally (though I can probably think of many more problems with the scissor method), how bloody long must it take to de-hair an average chin and moustache area? Days! I’d be tempted to open out the scissor blades and slide them along my skin for speed’s sake, old-fashioned cut-throat razor style.
“God I don’t do my entire face!” said my Mum. “You just do the longest hairs, you daft thing. The ones that are a few centimetres or very dark.”
This is why we have different removal methods, then: attitude towards facial hair. Mum: happy with the usual facial fuzz. The stuff that we’ve all had, probably from a young age, but that 4K HD TV and hi-res phone cameras have gradually made me hyper-aware of. She only irks at the longest, blackest of hairs – the rest is just considered normal, like having eyes, or legs.
“You wouldn’t shave those off.”
My problem is that I look at my face in detail nearly every single day. It’s part of my job. I should disclose here that I’m not a particularly hairy person and my colouring is quite fair, but because I test makeup and skincare I do spend a lot of time staring at zoomed-in photos and videos of myself. And when it’s not photos and videos it’s the bloody magnifying mirror, aka The Portal of Doom, checking whether or not a new foundation that I’m testing has crept into fine lines or migrated into the oilier patches. And so not only do I see the longest and blackest of hairs (though mine tend to be white, like Father Christmas) I also see the plush thackets of peach fuzz, so dense they’re like velvet.
I left the peach fuzz for a while because it did seem like overkill to start taking that off; I plucked at the longer hairs with my tweezers (definitely my recommendation over nail scissors) and I ignored the fuzz. But then I started plucking the slightly longer bits of fuzz as well as the hairs, especially in the side tache area, and before I knew it I was plucking all of the peach fuzz out with my tweezers. It was taking ages and was actually quite painful after a while….
…hence the new Finishing Touch shaver. I haven’t actually charged it up to try yet, such was the ferocity of my mother’s reaction to it. I think she has visions of me doing a full shave routine, using one of those badger brushes to lather my face up, leaning in towards the mirror like Desperate Dan. White vest, gun belt slung over the towel rail, ten gallon hat resting on the shelf above the sink.
But I’ve started with the mass-tweezing and so now there is no retreat. The moustache hairs come back slightly sharper, so that when you’re watching TV you can find yourself stroking your stubble – for that is what it is – wisely, like an old sage about to make a pertinent statement.
The only way forward is to continue with the total eradication technique – but with my new shaver it will be like (hopefully) using a lawnmower rather than a pair of long-handled secateurs. Speedy. Efficient. Painless.
I’ll keep you all updated, if only to horrify my Mum.
The Flawless Touch gadget is online here (ad-affiliate link) and costs £29.99. I have to say, it feels very light and cheaply-made, for the price, but since writing the above I have tested it properly and it works well. If you have other suggestions then let me know!
First post of 2023 and it’s straight in with my current makeup routine and some incredible new makeup discoveries. I don’t use the word incredible lightly, either: some of these products have completely changed my makeup routine and had my husband asking questions such as “what have you done to your eyebrows? I mean, why are they pointing upwards like that? Like bird’s feathers stuck on?”
“It’s the fashion,” I replied.
And it is. Or was, at least. Feathery eyebrows: I have grown to like them. Just in time for them to seemingly slide back out of fashion in favour of the nineties groomed-and-narrow brow. I like that the featheriness takes the weight out of the brow and lifts my eye area but equally I can see why that’s not for everyone. But that is the beauty of makeup – you can simply change your mind and do something different the next day.
New discoveries then – and do watch the video at the bottom of the page to see these in action. Very briefly.
I don’t think I’ve ever had so many compliments on my skin since using this tinted moisturiser (for that is what it is). It has such a heft of illuminator in it that you cannot fail to glow. The coverage is light but capable, making skintone look more even and the finish is dewy and feels comfortable and flexible on the skin.
The ILIA skin tint is massively hydrating and I apply straight over serum (ironically, because this is also called a serum) for a one-stop daytime low-key look. A bit of cream bronzer and blush over the top and a lick of mascara and I’m good to go, if I’m after the bare minimum. The skin tint really does give a superstar sort of finish that looks perfect, but real, but glowier than real, but also undone, but still polished. I suppose what I’m saying is that it looks effortless but is actually working really hard on the light-reflecting front.
If you have lots of fine lines or quite crepey skin then be aware that illuminating products tend to also illuminate lines (usually not so much of a problem with dedicated highlighters as you would apply them both sparingly and in targeted areas) but I’ve found that a bit of pore-filling primer on the forehead and around the eye area does wonders. (Benefit Porefessional is always a good one.)
This Skin Tint sits at a premium price-point – it’s £46 at Sephora here* – but I’d say that you’re absolutely getting a premium product. This is the sort of face base you can rely on to always look good and make you look fresher and perkier. I’d say it’s slightly better for drier skin rather than oily as it doesn’t set completely and I do get a little movement in the t-zone if I don’t powder but you could always use a primer, as mentioned.
If I had to compare it to another product then I’d say that it’s quite similar to NARS Tinted Moisturiser with perhaps less coverage and more glow. I’m not mad-keen on the pipette dispenser but it’s so good that I forgive that.
Find ILIA Skin Tint here* – there are 30 blendable shades (this isn’t the sort of face product that requires an identical tone match) and I wear ST7.
Let’s return to the feathery brows and this, the Anastasia Brow Freeze, is the ultimate product to make them with. It’s a wax but also a gel – sort of like one of those eighties hair gels that came in the big sticky pot – and it coats the brow hairs so that they are instantly shapeable and moveable. If Dali had seen this stuff he’d have been in his element – God only knows what his tache would have looked like. He’d probably have been able to shape whole words out of it. Sentences!
You’re supposed to use a special applicator but I don’t have that and I don’t feel I need it. The wax does clog up all of my brow brushes but a quick wash in boiling water melts it off and leaves them as-new. Ish. Maybe I should get the applicator!
I haven’t found another brow product that can shape and hold like this one; it’s like using glue, but a friendly one that won’t make your brows clump together and then fall off. On my very fair brows it gives them massive definition without needing to add any colour and I love the way I can feather the hairs upwards so effectively – I’m a big promotor of using hairspray on brows for a quick fix and I stand behind that tip… but honestly, Brow Freeze takes things to a new dimension.
You can find Brow Freeze online here* – it’s £23.
Every time I mention the Kajal eyeliners from Victoria Beckham I get asked if there are dupes. And understandably, because the price is pretty punchy for an eyeliner. (£26 at VBB here.) Yes there are other soft liners that hold fast (one of the best is the Avon one in my opinion, Gel Paint Eyeliner here*) but if you’re after the on-trend shades that VBB brings out then it’s more difficult to find them on the high street, especially with the right texture and staying power.
I’m using Copper in the video below and I think that it’s a really lovely alternative to plain brown if you want to add some sparkle and zing. I don’t think that it looks over the top as a daytime effect, either. The Kajal is really soft and so you get enough time to blend the lines out if you want a smokier effect, but it’s not out-of-control smudgey and it sets fast without budging until it’s time to remove it. The Olive shade is also marvellous and slightly more unusual, FYI.
New from the ever-expanding Tilbury makeup empire: Pop Shots. These are more about the glimmer than imparting lots of colour – think of the glittery “top coat” you get in her eye quads that you press onto the lids as a final light-reflecting hit. That’s what these are, but without the rest of the quad. I use Sunlit Diamond which is a very warm, coppery gold and slightly more modern than the classic yellow version. I thought that these would have limited appeal after the festive season was finished (and they are limited edition) but I’ve been enjoying adding something fun and frivolous to my makeup routine. You have to get your kicks where you can in January.
Find Hypnotising Pop Shots online here*.
Final new find: Ruby Hammer’s Lip Serum Balms. They’re utterly beautiful. Buttery soft and spreadable and comfortable and you feel the effects even when the colour has disappeared. Possibly Red isn’t the wisest choice for a soft and buttery balm – it can be a disaster on the teeth! – but I couldn’t resist this one. It’s glossy and rich and such a true, true red – you wouldn’t want to wear it for kissing under the mistletoe as it would be everywhere but you’ve missed that boat anyway. And for all other situations, it’s just cheery and great. You can blot it down to a more muted lip stain if you like, but it’s just such a good shade I think it’s a shame to clip its wings.
Ruby Hammer Lip Serum Balm is £18 at Sephora here*.
Right, here’s the vid (if you can’t see it then you’ve managed to land on this page whilst it’s uploading!). I also used Charlotte Tilbury Cream Bronzer in Shade 1 (here*) and Beauty Pie brown mascara and red lipliner (here*). The cream roll-neck jumper is Wyse London but seems to have sold out!