Make-up and me, we go back a long way. I fell under its spell when I was 13 and, out of pure curiosity, decided to apply a frosted pale blue eyeshadow (very Abba) to my lids one dull evening as I looked at my dull self in the living room mirror. Hello, brave and bright new world. BE (Before Eyeshadow), life had been all about ponies and running wild (not that I gave up either), but make-up brought a new dimension – potential, glamour, magic.
Skincare came next, at 15 when I tried my first Cucumber Face Mask. It was soothing, comforting, and the results astonished me as I noted the clear, glowing face gazing back in the mirror (mind you, I probably hadn’t washed my face properly for years until then).
I studied make-up and skincare very seriously (if only there had been an A-Level in it). I continue to do so today. When I go out shopping for anything (clothes, groceries, cat litter), it’s only a matter of time before I end up in the beauty section, checking out what’s new, trying on the back of my hand, patting, sniffing, swirling, spraying and spritzing. I have always spent more money on make-up, skincare and fragrance than I have on fashion, because they never disappoint, always uplift. The same cannot be said of trying on clothes in so many of today’s unforgiving changing rooms.
As a beauty writer, I have met some of the best experts in the business and learned from them. I find out about new products and developments every day and the business continues to fascinate me. I have many tried and tested favourites, although I do like to vary and experiment too. I am always on the lookout for the latest miracle anti-ageing cream, lotion or potion, and the improvements in quality and effectiveness of make-up products continue to astonish and delight me.
Anyway, on with important stuff … here are just a few of my favourite beauty products. This is my first post on the topic, but I look forward to returning to it with way more joy than is probably good for me (we all have our passions, don’t we?). So here goes:
Stephanie (PS I’ve pinned more favourites on our Pinterest)
1. Jo Malone White Jasmine and Mint Cologne. See my picture (lovingly taken in my back yard, at the top of the post) and marvel at the beauty of the bottle alone. I adore Jo Malone fragrances, but this is my favourite for daytime special events. It blends a little light intoxication of jasmine (usually associated with heady evenings, but here given an intriguing fresh twist) with clarifying mint for a soft yet distinctive scent that lasts and lasts (it’s still there when you get undressed). It’s £39 for 30ml and £78 for 100ml at Jo Malone boutiques in the Victoria Quarter Leeds and Stonegate York and www.jomalome.com
2. Greenwood Organics Juniper and Papaya Facial Exfoliator
Based in Halifax, Greenwood Organics is a real find, creating gorgeous natural skin care products. This smells divine and feels luxurious, with natural fruit acids, papaya extract, jojoba and bamboo peeling grains for an organic and gentle exfoliating cream. It really brightens the skin (just like that first Cucumber Face Mask) and leaves it feeling smooth and conditioned. It costs £20 from Ella Georgia in Boroughbridge on www.ellageorgia.com and from www.greenwoodorganics.co.uk
3. Bobbi Brown Rose Shimmer Brick
An absolute classic, this shimmering, banded blend of pure gorgeousness is an all-year make-up hero, brilliant at Christmas and fabulous on summer holidays, illuminating in spring and glowing through autumn. I like to sweep a powder brush across all five shades and then dust lightly on my cheeks, chin and forehead, picking up a little more of the lighter shimmer for tops of cheekbones, tip of nose and bow of lip. Looks both natural and radiantly youthful, and it works for daytime and night. It’s £32 on Yorkshire’s Bobbi counters and at www.bobbibrown.co.uk
4. Classic Lipstick in Red Hot Red by Besame
A gorgeously matte lipstick from Marilyn Monroe’s brand of choice, with a super-intense natural pigment to give retro-glam luscious appeal. Very rich, very dense colour, so use with care. Issued in a 1940s’ style bullet-shaped case and red pouch, it’s enriched with vitamins A, E and C, aloe and green tea. It costs £24 and it’s available from the fabulous Huddersfield-based 20th Century Foxy on www.20thCenturyFoxy.com
5. Tom Ford Nail Lacquer
As a very special treat, I love any make-up pieces from Tom Ford, but especially the Nail Lacquer, which is so incredibly luxurious and glossy, lasts for ages thanks to its bendable coating and comes in heavenly shades very season. This gold was limited edition (I am not letting it go), but there are other gorgeous ones right now like Toasted Sugar and Mint Brule. They cost £26 each on the Tom Ford counters at Harvey Nichols Leeds and select department stores.