Slicked on a gloss and don’t like the feel? To remove an extra-stick gloss, swipe lips with a damp washcloth dipped in olive oil. (Also brilliant for eradicating dark lipstick, BTW.)
If you’ve bought a mascara and your eye make-up remover isn’t even beginning to take it off, try removing it with a warm, wet washcloth. It may be what’s known as a ‘tubular’ mascara: a technology which originated in Japan, but which forms polymer tubes around each lash. They certainly stay put for longer, but these tubular mascaras only dissolve with warm water.
Might sound counterintuitive, but if you suffer from greasy hair that’s dry at the ends, you need an oil massage. (Stay with us, here.) Blend 10 drops of lavender or tea tree essential oil (or a mix of the two) with an ounce of jojoba or sweet almond oil and use as a pre-shampoo treatment, massaging into scalp for five minutes.
Concealer that’s too pale can turn pigment under the eyes a corpse-like shade of grey, making eyes look older than they are. Another concealer no-no: applying concealer too close to the lash-line; stay ¾ of an inch away from lashes to avoid making eyes look smaller.
To minimise damage to delicate eye skin, Laura Mercier recommends a gentle touch: 'Use the fourth finger – the weakest – to pat concealer in place from the outer corner of the eye inward. 'That way you won't tug or pull the skin unnecessarily.'
Bothered by your nose? Wisdom, as ever, from Bobbi Brown here. 'Distinctive noses can be a powerful element of beauty – and even though you think your nose is big, chances are that other people don't think so. If you really do feel that you need to do something, don't try to hide your nose by shading or changing it with make-up – that will only make your face look like it's smudged with dirt. Instead, focus on the features that you do like about yourself. Try using make-up to play up your eyes or lips.'
You should never need more than two coats of mascara (more than that can create spikiness or 'crispiness'). If the effect isn't dramatic enough, opt for a more lengthening or volumising formula. And – always worth repeating – never, ever curl your lashes after applying mascara; this can damage the lashes and even pull them out.
Herbalist Brigitte Mars, author of Beauty By Nature (which has long had a place on our natural beauty bookshelf) believes that a bath is one of the most relaxing things we can do for ourselves. 'When you shower, you have to stand up – and that's not relaxing,' she observes. Fill the tub with water, allowing the steam to fill the room, and add a few drops of your favourite essential oils. Or create a bath tea by filling a cotton sock with a mixture of dried herbs, tying it at the top and letting it soak in the water while you wait for the water to cool a bit.
Stress can have a huge impact on skin ageing by causing a free radiacal-inducing inflammatory response in the body that can add years to your skin, over time. The easiest counter-attack is yoga: even a few inverted postures a day – forward bends or legs-up-the-wall – stimulate circulation and oxygenation and reduce stress.
As we move towards the season of slightly heavier, more groomed make-up, are you on Team Brushes or Team Fingers? For Chanel make-up artist Lucia Pica, it's all about the fingers. 'To me, using fingers is more organic and instinctive. The moment you use a brush, it becomes too precise, too "made-up." I like to use different fingers for different techniques; the thumb is ideal for sweeping colour from the inner corner of the eyes, along the crease; the ring finger is best placed for applying concealer under the eyes and is also the perfect shape for highlighting cheekbones. I use the index finger to apply shimmer onto the eyes; it has a tendency to drop when applied with a brush.'
Many of us look to meditation as the perfect way to start the day, clearing the mind for all we have to do. But evening meditation has been shown to be very powerful for helping prepare for sleep. Apps like calm.com and Headspace are great places to start. All together now: zzzzzz....
Discoloured or yellow-tinted nails? Switch to a sheer white base coat instead of a clear one, to counterbalance the discolouration.
When applying eyeliner, make-up pro Trish McEvoy suggests looking into a mirror above your head, to ensure you're getting as close to the base of the lashes as possible. 'If you're shaky, you can rest your elbow on a countertop,' she advises.
Numerous studies have shown that how much time you spend sedentary is a risk factor for ill health. The benefit of a morning run will be wiped out by sitting for 10 hours. So get up and move every hour, work from a standing desk and be a life-long exerciser.
‘Over-clean hair is the enemy of a good updo,’ New York hairstylist John Barrett once told us. ‘I always tell brides or celebrities not to wash their hair on the day of a big event. Any style will last much longer if their strands are a little dirty.’
We’re all for hitting the gym. But be aware that the addictive nature of stair-climbing machines can provoke overuse injuries like tendinitis. To stay healthy, never increase the duration, intensity or frequency of your workout by more than 10% at a time.
If you have coarse, wavy hair, beware of complicated, multi-layered styles because they’ll turn your hair bushy and shapeless. Likewise, avoid the opposite extreme of blunt cuts, which can make thick hair hang around the face like a heavy, unflattering veil. Your best bet is a style that falls either above your ears or below your shoulders, to capitalise on your hair’s tendency to curl. For example, a few judicious snips can create a frame for the face, while angling along the bottom can create some flip at the ends. This is a definitive case for discussing with your hairdresser what will work with you, rather than heading salon-wards with a cutting from a magazine of your ‘dream’ style.
For a D-I-Y skin softening milk bath, take a cup (or a mugful) of full-fat powdered milk, two tablespoons of almond meal and two tablespoons of oat flour, together with a few drops of rose essential oil. Add two tablespoons to a bath, lie back and relax. The blend will keep in a glass jar at room temperature for a couple of months (though do always beware of glass in bathrooms, of course).
Love this, from our old friend Bobbi Brown: ‘The fewer clothes you wear, the less make-up you wear.’
Looking forward to an extra glass or two this Bank Holiday weekend, to celebrate the last of the year before we all ‘go back to school…’? It’s well known that if the stomach is empty, alcohol passes straight to the intestines, where it’s absorbed at an accelerated rate. The higher the blood alcohol level, the more devastating the hangover. But not all foods are created equal, in terms of hangover prevention. Best bets are protein-rich or high fat foods like meat, fish and dairy, which the body absorbs more slowly.