The Seven Secrets of Ruby Hammer

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Ruby Hammer MBE is one of the UK’s top make-up artists, with a career spanning 25 years, and is mother to a grown-up daughter, Reena. She began as an assistant to a make-up pro at London Fashion Week, and after that apprenticeship went on to work with the world’s most famous hairdressers, art directors, stylists and photographers, and went on to create the Ruby & Millie make-up line. Always apparently calm, always perfectly groomed and elegant, here’s what gets Ruby through the day – as Jo discovered for Waitrose Weekend

1. I love serums. Serum formulations pack a heavy age-defying punch, while still being lightweight. They sink straight into skin, allowing it to breathe, and allow for more powerful concentrations of age-defying ingredients than creams. (You then add moisturiser, over the top.) Currently, I swear by Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum, £43 for 30 ml, Eve Lom Intense Hydrating Serum, £75 for 30 ml, and Liz Earle Superskin Hand Serum, £17.50 for 75 ml.

2. Traditional Thai Massage. They call this ‘cheat’s yoga’, because the masseur does the stretching for you. It’s done lying down and the Thai Masseur uses acupressure techniques, and pulls and stretches the limbs for a fantastic workout. I’ve always been very flexible but every year, my body gets more stiff and tight, so this really helps. (I keep meaning to take up Yoga itself, but at the moment my main form of exercise is walking everywhere I possibly can. And paddle-boarding, but only when on holiday in warm seas!)

3. Being grateful. Nobody in this life is without problems and issues – but the way you deal with them is what separates you from others. My late father was a doctor and had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. I was upset and angry, but his graceful response was, ‘It could be worse’. This taught me that being grateful helps you accept the situation and rise above negativity.

4. Eating slowly. I never rush my food. I eat when I’m hungry and eat till I’m full, but always without rushing. I think this contributes to my good digestion and is more important than ever now: due to hormonal changes I’m aware of a slight expansion of my mid-section, which I never had to worry about before! But mindful eating means I don’t deny myself anything. I am just careful not to indulge myself as I might have, in my youth.

5. Cleansing and nourishing the skin are equally important. Scrub your body: I use a friction mitt and shower gel (anything that smells nice, like the Balance Me range). It wakes up your body, and the smell’s uplifting to the senses. For the face, I use Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, £13.25 for 100 ml – because whatever you put on your face or your body after cleansing and exfoliating just sinks in and does its job better. (Right now for me that’s Clarins Double Serum, £55 for 50 ml.)

6. Use concealer! A girl’s best friend: hides spots, dark circles, blemishes, lack of sleep. Simply use your fingers to blend. (My favourite is Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, £26.50).

7. Be kind. Compassion what’s really counts in this world, and it’s much better than being right! I simply believe in treating everyone the way I’d like to be treated myself.