My Week in Beauty


I’m not ready for summer to be over but now that jazz festival season is finished – it’s time for me to look ahead to the autumn. And, frankly, the new season colours from Clarins and Chanel are making the idea a whole lot more palatable.

It’s all about the eyes with the Clarins Colour Definition autumn 2011 collection (available mid-August) – as the photo shows. The French company is introducing a new Clarins Eye Quartet Long Lasting Mineral Powder Palette (£30; in six gorgeous colourways. I’ve not been able to get past the Rosewood collection of pinky brown shades – a very easy-to-wear palette with colours that do indeed last extremely well – but this photo has persuaded me to try the Graphite quartet for my next night out. The model is wearing it with Instant Definition Mascara in Intense Black, Rouge Prodige Lipstick in Rosy Coral and new 3D Radiance Face Powder.


So apart from my coup de foudre for midnight blue nails, my other big beauty passion during last week’s jazz festival was for a nail colour that is being revived soon: Chanel Le Vernis in Pirate (£17.50; from late September).

The picture doesn’t do it justice. This is a gloriously vampy, pinky-red which fits in perfectly with the femme fatale feel of the new lipstick the company is launching in the autumn: Rouge Allure Velvet. You could easily imagine Lauren Bacall wearing this as she gets her claws into Bogie in The Big Sleep or To Have Or Have Not..

I’m pretty sure it’s part of the reason I found myself being approached by a 20-year-old girl in the street on Saturday.. There’s nothing like a compliment from another woman to give your spirits – and confidence – a lift: this student told me she loved my style..  Bizarrely, she too was wearing a long black dress, short denim jacket and had her blonde hair in a high ponytail. But she didn’t have the Pirate polish .. Perhaps if she had, then she too would have found herself sufficiently emboldened (though the two glasses of rose just prior to this may have helped) to run across the street, stop the American singing star Curtis Stigers, and tell him how much she loved his performance in Glasgow last year of The Heather on the Hill …


When I was a little girl – way before I could blame it on my hormones – I used to end up a sobbing emotional wreck after pretty much every episode of Little House on the Prairie. Each week my mum would say: “Why do you put yourself through it?”. But I always went back for more. It was a similar story on Wednesday, when I attended a press screening of Sarah’s Key, a new movie starring Kristin Scott Thomas as a journalist who discovers a personal link to a particularly shameful atrocity committed in Paris during the Second World War.

I sat in tears almost from the off. I kept going to leave but was pulled back into my seat by the story which is compelling both emotionally and intellectually. And they really nailed the obsessive feeling that you get when you start investigating an aspect of history that has a personal connection. My own quest for the story of my Hollywood ancestor took over my life for months.. The only bit that didn’t ring true was when Kristin didn’t either tear open a box containing many of the answers to her questions – or sit and stare at it for hours, savouring the anticipation. No, this being Paris, she went for dinner..

Anyway, it may seem fatuous to say it but Kristin ST looks radiant throughout the movie. Sadly, by the end I certainly didn’t: puffy eyes and mascara tracks right down to my chin. Not to mention the red nose. My new beauty hero, Clarins Advanced Extra-Firming Eye Contour Cream (£35.50) – a delightfully soothing, firming and moisturising balm – had to work extra hard on Wednesday night.


I am already a big fan of the Hypnose mascaras so really didn’t think Lancome could improve on perfection. But their new Lancome Hypnose Doll Eyes (£20.50; ) is a stunner.

Clearly, the French beauty company was determined not to rest on its lash laurels: they have spent seven years developing the conical brush which can get in to the smallest, trickiest lashes and which does a brilliant job of separating, lengthening, curling and volumising  – everything you could ask for, really. The formulation of the mascara is such that it holds the curl and gives the lashes a glossy sheen, while stretching them beyond belief.


I went to get my hair colour seen to on Friday – and turned out a bit blonder than expected. No matter what I say to my hairdresser, I never know how it’s going to turn out.. why is that?

Luckily, I think I like it – consequently, I have decided that, since it coincides with the return of scarlet nails and matte red lips, my beauty icons for the next wee while  (or as soon as it’s appropriate to ditch the summery wardrobe) are the femmes fatales of film noir, particularly Kim Basinger in LA Confidential (a colour version of noir heroine Veronica Lake) who could have stepped straight out of the ad campaign for Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet.

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