Posted by: jowanderer | July 7, 2008

The power of make-up

July 6, 2008

The power of make-up

Cosmetics can be essential for women. Everyone has attractive features that they should draw attention to


My love affair with make-up began when I was 13. I have fair eyelashes, and it was at that age that I wore mascara for the first time. Everyone around me commented on how radical the change was and how good I looked, and I loved the appreciation.

I realised early on the significance of maximising your best bits and playing down your less perfect ones. I was the Trinny and Susannah of my boarding school, constantly telling my friends how to dress and how to fix their hair and make-up to accentuate their best features and improve their looks. Everyone has attractive features that they should draw attention to. It is just a matter of making the most of them and accepting that a little effort is a small price to pay when the results can be so dramatic and rewarding.

I started my career as a make-up artist as Mary Greenwell’s assistant during the supermodel era, which was a huge influence. I would go on shoots where the models were 6ft 4in Amazons, with legs up to their armpits, impeccably made-up and so glamorous. They knew how to make the most of themselves. Linda Evangelista was amazing at doing her own lip liner using Mac Lip Pencil in Spice, and she would often turn up at shoots with make-up on and her hair done. This lavishness all but disappeared with the advent of grunge in the 1990s, as women fully embraced the “just rolled out of bed” look. The plus side of grunge, however, was that it forced make-up manufacturers to produce better textures for that “no-make-up make-up” look. They also integrated skincare into the formulas, giving a finish far superior to the caked-on approach of the 1980s.

High-end fashion magazines have been championing the return of glamour for some time, and I firmly believe that all women can embrace this look with aplomb and integrate it into their everyday lives. Celebrities and models are extremely aware of the advantages and the impact of make-up — and with a few simple tricks and techniques, you can turn around the way people look at you and maybe even the way you look at yourself.

According to a recent survey, 68% of women who earn more than £43,500 use foundation. By wearing make-up and making an effort to look your best, you ooze confidence — essential in the workplace. You will also instantly feel more beautiful and people will be drawn to you. The importance of looking good can translate to every part of your life, and you can doubtless achieve a lot more just by wearing a tiny bit.

Seeing the effects of make-up is one of the best parts of my job. Transforming someone — making them look their best — is incredibly rewarding. To give an example, eyebrows are the pillars of the face. I remember Agyness Deyn on her first Armani shoot: I plucked her eyebrows and elongated them, a simple procedure that gave her eyes such a lift, it drastically changed her entire appearance. Then, with the fabulous photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott taking the pictures — boom! A supermodel was born.

For me, make-up is not confined to my work life. I grew up in glamorous 1970s Ibiza, and this has rubbed off on me, so I make an effort to look my best at all times. My signature look is a smoky eye: it suits my features and, equally important, my personality. I even wear make-up to bed. I take it all off, then put a little bit back on. Why would I want to break the illusion?

A version of this article appears in House, the magazine for Soho House members, which can be viewed online at


– Start eye make-up by curling your eyelashes. It opens up the eyes, which instantly makes you look younger. Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers (£18) give the best result. Look down and clench the curlers as close to the root as possible. Repeat a couple more times, gradually moving the curlers further out along the lashes.

-The most universally beautifying make-up product is mascara. It intensifies, defines and brings out the eye. My favourites are Chanel Inimitable (£18.50) for long, defined lashes, and YSL Faux Cils (£20). Apply to the top and bottom lashes, dragging out at the outer corner of the eye for a sexier look.

– A cream blush will give a fresh, healthy summer glow and is perfect for the beach. For best results, smile and apply to the apple of the cheek, blend well, to avoid any lines and edges, then build up colour to the desired effect. Try Mac Blushcreme in Posey, Laid Back or Liliscent (£14).

– Bobbi Brown Eye Brightener (£21) is my favourite for the under-eye area, as it smoothes over any shadows. You will instantly look more awake and youthful. Blend in well with your finger. Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder (£18), applied with a small brush, is the final touch for a fresh, no-shadows look.

– Light-coloured lipsticks and glosses make lips look bigger. Chanel makes gorgeous glosses in pretty, juicy shades. My favourite is Lèvres Scintillantes in Praline No 46 (£16). The texture is so good that it slides onto the lips and stays on without feeling sticky. I also love the Les Nudes lip gloss selection by Bourjois (£7).

– Dark colours on the lips define and look glamorous — ideal for the evening. Before you apply the lipstick, use a lip pencil in the same shade to outline the lips. Or simply apply with your finger to achieve a soft, stain effect, which is so hot at the moment. Try Lipstick Queen’s range (£15; ). They come in two textures — one sheer and one full pigment.

– I swear by Paula Dorf’s range of top-of-the-trade make-up brushes (from £13.50; 020 8997 8541). The bristles are soft yet firm, and the brushed are helpfully named, so you know exactly what each one is for.


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