My Week in Beauty

Meryl - and her seldom-washed hair - in the wonderful 1979 film Manhattan

I love Meryl Streep – and was delighted that she won her Golden Globe on Sunday night. I wasn’t sure about the country ‘n’ western lapels on the dress she was wearing on Sunday night but loved the Margo Channing-style dress complete with pockets – which I adore on dresses and skirts.

Apart from her exquisite looks (those cheekbones! that radiant complexion! the intelligent sexiness she exudes!), what I like about our Meryl is the fact that she comes across as quite human and fallible – and completely unthreatened by all the younger actresses. And she seems to be surprisingly down-to-earth.

Once asked by a journalist for one of her beauty secrets, she replied: “I don’t wash my hair often. My record was three weeks.”


Weirdly, I was reminded of Ms Streep on Tuesday when I met with two of the PR team from Guerlain – Helen, with her long fair hair could easily have passed for one of Meryl’s daughters, or Meryl herself, circa Manhattan.

The Guerlain girls were in Edinburgh to show the beauty press some of the French company’s latest launches – though the guys at the table next to us could have been forgiven for thinking that I was being recruited as a secret agent, and being shown the latest spy gadget. Why? Because the tantalising item of beauty hardware which was being demonstrated was Guerlain G Noir (£35; available from Harrods now, and nationwide on Feb 1), the new, refillable, mascara inspired by their phenomenally successful Rouge G lipstick which comes in a bullet-style case complete with pop-up mirror.

The G Girls took me by surprise by presenting me with a belated birthday present – of three of my favourite Guerlain staples: Orchidee Imperiale Exceptional Complete Care Cream, Meteorites and Precious Light, the best eraser of signs of tiredness under the eyes that I have come across – and believe me, in recent months, insomnia has guaranteed me plenty of opportunities to test them out!


Apart from going to see Grease at the King’s Theatre in the evening (brilliant, escapist fun – just the antidote to the January blues), the highlight of Wednesday was lunch with the Estee Lauder girls at Le Chardon d’Or in Glasgow to hear about their latest launches. These include a gorgeous, light, anti-ageing foundation – Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup – which I’ll be trying nearer its February on-counter date, and some beautiful-looking new blushers, Pure Color Blush, which are due out in the spring.

But first comes their jewel-like Estee Lauder Pure Color Cyber Eyes (£19;, extremely shimmery and vibrant shades of individual eye shadows – which would have been perfect for Christmas. Luckily, I have a glamorous, 1930s Shanghai-themed banquet to attend this weekend –  here’s hoping I end up with pretty Cyber Eyes and not messy panda ones….


I had my first treatment of the year at the Clarins Spa in Frasers, Glasgow, on Thursday and it was just what the doctor ordered. I slept like a baby for the first time in weeks – not, unsually, during the “chill-out massage” itself, but later on. At bedtime..

While I was in the spa, I sussed out some great promotions that they’re currently running. One is the Clarins Moisture-Rich Body Lotion is currently on sale in a 400ml size (double the normal size) for the 200ml price of £29 – while stocks last. Also, until February 5, you will receive a special size night cream plus a mini mascara when you buy any Clarins Face Treatment
Oil (the praises of which I was singing last week) or day cream.


I’m having a domestic day today – gutting my study (I feel such a sense of accomplishment whenever I throw something out – or reclaim a bit of floor space) and pondering the sartorial possibilities for Sunday’s 1930s Shanghai banquet… Since we’ve been asked to wear frocks with a Chinese flavour, I figure this dress code should extend to the beauty choices I make too.  So it’s lucky that Helen and Sophie from Guerlain gave me a bottle of Guerlain Shalimar Parfum Initial L’Eau (from £37, available from Feb 5) a new, light and refreshing twist on one of the original orientals (from 1925). I’ll try it out over the next couple of days and if I don’t take to it, then I may give its younger sister, Vol de Nuit (from 1933) an outing – as she is a longstanding favourite of mine … and was probably all the rage in 1930s Shanghai.

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