Ruby Hammer's 7 Secrets of Wellbeing (updated)


We’ve never done this before. But just as Desert Island Discs occasionally invites someone back for a second time, when we met up with Ruby Hammer recently – to see her looking so vibrantly healthy and generally fab – we thought it was worth asking her secrets. (Not least because Ruby’s now experienced menopause, and a lot has changed as a result.)

Just to recap on Ruby’s background: she began as 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. Later, she founded the innovative make-up line Ruby & Millie (with Millie Kendall), and has just launched a new Ruby Hammer collection, starting with one of the cleverest make-up brushes we’ve ever used. (Read our Fab Find of the Week review, here.)

1. I (still!) 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 SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier Serum, £85 for 30 ml, and Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum, £44 for 50 ml.

2. I swear by 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! I have started training with a personal trainer too, from HIIT to boxing to doing weights. I have come to this late, but I really understand the value to my long-term health and wellbeing.

3. It’s so important to be 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. I have since lost my adored mother to lung cancer. Again, I am grateful that we were all there for her as a family. As the cancer moved to her brain, I was told she didn’t suffer - this is a consolation.

4. I always eat 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 when I was younger! 

5. Cleansing and nourishing the skin are equally important. I love a scrub; I use a friction mitt and shower gel (anything that smells nice, like the Aromatherapy Associates range or REN). It wakes up your body, and the smell’s uplifting to the senses. For the face, I use CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, £9.50 for 236 ml, in the mornings and a cleansing balm for make-up removal and deep cleansing in the evenings, or at the end of the day. There many brands out there now, and I try to sample as many as possible to be up to date. Exfoliate regularly but gently, because whatever you put on your face or your body after cleansing and exfoliating just sinks in and does its job better. I am currently sampling The Cream, £205 for 50 ml, the cult moisturiser from Augustinus Bader - so far, so good. 

6. Concealer is a girl’s best friend. It hides spots, dark circles, blemishes, lack of sleep. Simply use your fingers or a mini beauty blender to apply. My two personal favourites are NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer, £24, and Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, £28.50. For work, I am thrilled that the Clé de Peau Concealer with SPF25, £54, is now available in the UK - I no longer have to ration it! 

7. Be kind. Compassion is what 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. To help me gain the right balance, I try to meditate most days - which is not always successful - but when I am regular in this practice I am more compassionate. Then my emotions are not all over the place, and I can rise above most things!