My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

My week started in a glamorous gothic fashion when I went to the opening night of The Rocky Horror Show in Glasgow. I may have been disappointed in the show but enjoyed the references to 1930s horror movies as I loved all those films – Bride of Frankenstein especially – when I was a teenager.

I’ve only met a handful of genuine stars among the many celebrities I’ve interviewed – and I’ve probably only interviewed one bona fide movie legend: Fay Wray (left), the actress who was dangled over the Empire State Building in King Kong back in 1933.

When I interviewed Miss Wray in 1998, she was already on the wrong side of 90 but before she would let me start firing questions, she insisted – in a distinctly non-diva-like way – on applying some lipstick. The still striking nonagenarian realised that she had no mirror and asked if I had one. I lent her my Bobbi Brown compact and she proceeded to apply a shocking pink lipstick.

A couple of weeks later, I spied a compact with two mirrors – one of them a magnifying one – in a shop near my office. I bought it and sent it to Miss Wray at her Trump Towers home. Imagine my surprise and delight when she wrote back to thank me … The power of lipstick and a compact – unites all women!

TUESDAY

And speaking of horror movie legends, that was one of the subjects of conversation over a dinner at the elegant Blythswood Square hotel in Glasgow on Tuesday. The occasion was to celebrate the arrival of Giorgio Armani Cosmetics at Frasers in Glasgow.

I was sitting next to Frederic Letailleur, who has the impressive title “international face designer”  for Giorgio Armani Cosmetics, and we discovered that we had much in common – notably a passion for old movies, and, especially, movie music. Frederic is also a fan of old horror movies and actually began his career doing the make-up for monsters and aliens on stage and screen. (Perhaps that should have rung an alarm bell when he offered to do my make-up, but he was so charming that it didn’t.)

We all had a great time – indeed, at one point there were so many animated conversations going on round the table of glamorous people that I felt I was in the party scene of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Right down to the fact that I was sitting next to a Fred. Luckily, nobody’s headgear caught fire.

After a considerable amount of champagne (bubbles like company, I find), I really could not be bothered with the palaver of washing my face with my usual rinse-off cream. Instead, I turned to what is currently my favourite beauty short-cut, Clarins Water Purify One-Step Cleanser (£17.50; www.clarins.com), pictured above. This gorgeous-smelling liquid cleanser removes all traces of make-up in one fell swipe, and leaves the skin feeling soft, smooth and refreshed. Hope they do a travel size…

WEDNESDAY

I was reunited with Fred on Wednesday for the promised makeover.  The new Giorgio Armani space in Frasers’ beauty hall is impressive – large and elegant – and I was able to have my make-up done fairly discreetly, which is always a good thing if you don’t want passers-by spying you with a naked face..

What was striking about the Armani makeover was how fast and effective it was. Fred used a wonder cream, called Crema Nera (£180) to prepare my skin. This luxurious moisturiser calms redness and evens the skin tone. Then, before it had completely sunk in, he was applying Fluid Master Primer (£32) to mattify and ready the skin for the utterly gorgeous foundation, Luminous Silk Foundation 2 (£32) which he brushed on. Of the various aspects of the makeover, I think it was the base which impressed me most – Fred gave me a glowing, healthy-looking complexion by using a dash of bronzing liquid.

He said: “I mixed Fluid Sheer 10 (£28) in to the foundation to give you an added touch of warmth, then I dabbed it with a blusher brush over the cheekbones and along the hairline. This builds the warmth on areas which would be exposed to the sun but in a more natural manner than any powder bronzer could achieve.”

On the eyes, Fred used two eyeshadows, 13 and 14 from the new Eyes to Kill collection, plus the vampish, Excess Mascara (£23)  fromthe same range.  The coppery colour palette matched my leopard print beret a treat!

THURSDAY

If you aspire to femme fatale eyes a la Joan Crawford (right) but can’t afford the Armani price tag, treat yourself to 17 Wild Curls Mascara (£5.99; www.boots.com) in Wildest Black, the latest budget wonder wand.

It certainly gives good lash – plenty of flappability and come-hither potential but, as with the last under-a-tenner mascara I tried out, it left me with smudges under the eyes. If you’re prone to panda eyes, avoid this mascara – but if not (lucky you!), I’d highly recommend it for the party season when black lashes are as essential the little black dress…

FRIDAY

Joan Crawford would probably have scratched my mascara’d eyes out to get her mitts on the lipstick in Clarins’s limited edition Christmas collection. Clarins Rouge Prodige in Barocco (£16) is a beautiful deep claret shade which is a terrific alternative to the dark purples that are around just now – especially if you fnd that that shade can drain you.

Not only does it look good on the lips – though those of us with dry lips may need to stick some balm on first – but it also looks drop dead fabulous in its rococo tube and would be a lovely present for anyone who loves old-fashioned Hollywood glamour…


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