Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Cosmetics & Beauty News May 2011

Be Outspoken with the Black Eyed Peas
Following the successful launch of Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie's first Avon fragrance, Outspoken, last August, her newest, named Outspoken Intense, is due out this summer. Fergie says, “I had so much fun developing and launching my first fragrance with Avon, so for my second fragrance, I really wanted to add a little more edge.  Outspoken Intense is a provocative blend of sexy confidence and daring femininity that captures the thrill and excitement of being centre stage.  You feel an instant electrifying rush—a feeling like no other.”

Updo in two
Never sure what to do with your hair? Look no further - esteemed hairdresser Andrew Collinge has launched a hairstyling app for your phone named Two-Minute Up-Do, which showcases two-minute videos that show you how to do everything from chignons to plaits, and of course allow you to pause and rewind so that you can master the techniques. With each video costing £1.19, all proceeds go to the charity of which Andrew is a patron, Design For Life, which aims to transform the lives of those with learning difficulties. Debenhams have also launched their free Beauty Club iPhone app recently, which provides expert advice, hints and tips as well as allowing you to shop online and scan barcodes in store for instant product reviews.

Getting fresh 
Just for summer, L'Oreal Paris has added a range of new colours to its lipsticks, giving you plenty of fresh and tropical shades to choose from for the sunshine. As well as cocktail-inspired colours that remind you of ice pops, the lipsticks also contain vitamins C and E, so that your lips can be protected as well as glamorous. Starting at £7.65, they're affordable as well. Myface.cosmetics has also released new jewel-like nail varnish shades which include shades entitled 'pink champagne' and 'tequila sunrise'.

Vegetarian Society approved
Life as a vegetarian is not easy, whether it comes down to putting in those extra hours at the stove, coping with people's withering stares and comments, or just REALLY REALLY wanting a Haribo. But life just got a little bit easier, as the Vegetarian Society's list of approved cosmetics companies is beginning to grow - the Organic Pharmacy can now flaunt its anti-animal-testing and animal-ingredient-free policy by using the official VegSoc logo. Hats off to a brand that is supporting a sustainable, healthy and cruelty-free lifestyle.

Wedding fever
Summer approaching means not only getting your body bikini ready (perhaps with Boots' bestselling £18.95 NIP + FAB Tummy Fix) and sorting out a tan, but also quite likely a lot of weddings to go to. A perfect accompaniment to your new wedding handbag is Lanvin's aptly named Marry Me, which contains jasmine, sweet peach, magnolia, and Tunisian bitter orange. At £61 for 75ml it's not exactly cheap, but you'll definitely give Kate Middleton a run for her money wearing this. For men whose girlfriends still haven't come down from Royal Wedding fever, there's always Ralph Lauren's new POLO Red, White and Blue, which contains apple, lavender and cucumber scents along with musks and white woods (£41/75ml).
Handbag essentials
Impulse and Barry M have teamed up to create a trio of indispensable trousses for the summer that pair luscious lip glosses with much-loved scents. Into Glamour comes with a vanilla clear lip gloss, Very Pink is for fans of strawberry, and Tease completes the collection with a nude caramel gloss. Available at a bargainous £3, you can pick up yours at Tesco, Superdrug or Boots from now until June 6th.  

Find a beautician right from Bianca's Beauty Blog
Betterfly, the largest directory of beauticians in the US, has just launched a widget which allows my US readers to find a local beautician right from this site - look to the toolbar on the right. There's no UK version yet, but keep your eyes peeled and fingers crossed.  

And the winner is...
Among the many recipients of the latest CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women) Awards - the Oscars of the beauty industry - is Liz Earle, for the brand's Botanical Shine Shampoo, as well as winning the Best British Brand Award and being finalists in the Best Classic Beauty Product: Prestige (Cleanse & Polish), Best New Bath & Body: Prestige (Energising Body Lotion), and Best New Skincare Treatment Product: Prestige (Superskin Eye and Lip Treatment) categories. The company's Try-Me kits give you the chance to test all these in perfect travel sizes, just as another set goes on sale - Ellis Faas' Summer Gift Set, which for €65 gives you Bronze Light E303 for eyes, Bronze Blush S303 for cheeks, and Glazed Lips L309. Available from June 1st. 

Chocolate, coffee, sex, or...lipgloss...

U.S. women say they would rather give up coffee, chocolate and sex for one week than their favourite beauty product, a survey indicates. The TNS survey of 1,321 U.S. adult women, commissioned by L'Bel USA, indicates U.S. women are more likely to let airline security take a pair of beloved shoes and/or jeans than give up their favorite skincare and/or makeup item. Seventy-six percent of women report they carry a make-up/skincare related product in their purse regularly and 63 percent say they carry lipstick/lip gloss regularly. Sixty percent of women say their "must-have" beauty product when they go out at night is lipstick/lip gloss, while 17 percent say lotion, 12 percent say fragrance, 9 percent say foundation/concealer and 6 percent say mascara. However, when women want to pamper themselves, 25 percent say they would use their paycheck to splurge on fragrance, 12 percent say foundation/concealer and 10 percent say lotion.
Summer miracles 
Summer is most definitely my least favourite season - if you're too warm there's so little you can do about it compared with being too cold, you have to concentrate so much more on making sure you are always waxed to perfection, and you can barely sleep at night due to the heat and light. But to make the season more bearable, you can get rid of mosquito bites with the £4.99 Zap-It!, which uses mild electrical impulses to help fight the urge to scratch by reducing histamine flow; going for £5.99 GOSH semi-permanent eyeliner at Superdrug for eye makeup that won't come off after a swim and is fashionable too (Extreme Art comes in ten shades, including glittery varieties); and keeping the oatmeal, shea butter and eucalyptus-rich First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream on hand for all possible mishaps (the cream, from £8, can be used as a facial moisturiser, as an antiseptic, and as an antidote for shaving or nappy rash as well as dermatitis and eczema). 

Take it like a man
And it's not only women who need to bother keeping themselves looking and feeling good come summer: there are so many decent men's products out there that there's really no excuse. One such range is Manatomicals, which will be available at Waitrose and Boots from August and whose ever so slightly witty packaging stops the whole proceeding from getting too serious. Life's serious enough as it is - why should the bathroom be?

Monday, 30 May 2011

Carmex Strawberry Lip Balm SPF 15 Tube

RRP: £2.69/10g

--What does the promo say?--
"A favourite with celebrities and make up artists all over the world, Carmex now comes in a new juicy strawberry flavour! Not only does this fruity balm heal dry, cracked lips, it also acts as a sunscreen with the added protection of SPF 15."

I can't say I find it especially appealing: while the vintage-style fonts are cute, the fact that the tube is yellow means that it is distinctly reminiscent of a certain well-known superglue brand, and the lid just.would.not.come.off. I tried just using my hands. I tried running the lid under hot water. I tried wrapping an elastic band around the lid for extra grip. Not even my husband could get the lid off unassisted. He ended up getting out a pair of pliers (or some other blokey implement from his toolbox) and literally wrenching off the lid. After that initial breakin, the lid seemed to work fine, but the problem is that the plastic that the tube is made from is too soft, meaning it is quite liable to just bend when you try to turn the lid, rather than working with you. Bad times. The only good part is that the application tip is precise and easy to control by squeezing the tube.

Once you've got the accursed thing open, squeeze out a small amount of lip balm and spread evenly over your lips; thankfully, no problems here.

The balm is a creamy colour that appears transparent on the lips, giving a very natural look overall.

Sorry, I just did not like this. While it did smell strawberryish, it seems that this is only in the most artificial of capacities. This perhaps should have been obvious to me from the outset by the fact that the strawberry scent comes only, according to the ingredients list, from the suitably vague 'Flavour'. The menthol and camphor in the ingredients, however, are also detectable in the smell - this is not unpleasant but sadly it does not compensate for the superficiality of the 'strawberry' scent for me.

--Texture, consistency and sensation--
A very smooth lip balm which is not sticky at all. The menthol and camphor also makes your lips tingle in a really pleasant way which makes you feel like it is really working.

--Effects on the lips--
Makes lips smooth and soft, but not miraculously so. I suppose it comes down to how long you can stick the scent for as to how long you can keep applying it and thus see maximal results.

--Value for money--
I suppose this works well enough, but for me the value for money is diminished by the horrible scent and sheer uselessness of the packaging. For this price range, I would be more inclined to plump instead for Dove, Blistex or Burt's Bees lip balm - but perhaps once I have tried the mint tube my opinion will change.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Cosmetics Contemplations: being the belle of the ball

With the summer drawing in and exams coming to a close, the party season has found its natural partners. Balls, barbecues and parties will now start to roll in with gay abandon, but there's arguably one type of party that is harder to dress for than any other: the fancy dress ball.

Regular parties can require any sort of dress from shorts and a t-shirt to a full ballgown or tux, but these are all easy enough to achieve, even if you don't have hundreds of pounds to throw at the thing: you only have to walk into Monsoon or Moss Bros and you'll be set. But the fancy dress ball requires costumes, or masks, or for you to do something to your hair or your face, or maybe even all of the above. So much thought! So much effort!

Fear not, though. Whether you require a Supergirl costume or a cowboy suit, most fancy dress shops will be able to help you. And even if you're not into dressing up, you can always put something together from what's in your own wardrobe with a little help from your friends, and tart it all up with extra wigs or accessories. For some, being invited to a 60s,70s or 80s themed party can induce a state of panic or catatonia. But it needn't: see below for plenty of helpful hints and tips on how to get your hair and makeup just right for the occasion.

Firstly, whatever party you're headed for, get yourself down to your nearest branch of Savers, Wilkinsons, Boots, Superdrug, or whatever you have, and find yourself the biggest, cheapest makeup compact you can find, which will usually contain insane numbers of eye and lip colours. Whether you are male or female, this will be guaranteed to be able to make over your face in the wildest, wackiest and messiest of ways for fancy dress parties for years to come. While you're there, get yourself a cheap bundle of hair elastics and grips. If you're going to splash out on anything, make it hair gels and spray-in colours; unless you work in certain industries you probably don't want to still be going into work on Wednesday with purple hair.

For the 60s fancy dress party, you can probably breathe a sigh of relief. Girls can get away with a loose plait, while for guys it's the perfect excuse to grow a beard and not cut your hair for six months. Makeup for males is just not required in this scenario, although should you want to write "flower power" across your cheeks with an old lipstick, be our guest - nobody's stopping you, man. Makeup for girls will be very simple: think sunkissed glow and a hint of lipgloss. Girls also have other options: go for the Mary Quant look and you can make things more edgy with black eyeliner and a pale base (but don't go too Gothic, now). The internet is also replete with videos showing you how to get the Holly Golightly look from 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany's - like this one, for instance:
In short, the 1960s philosophy seems to revolve around playing it cool: keep the look simple, and you'll wow the room (or possibly blind them with all those tie-dyes you're presumably planning on wearing).

If you've been invited to a 70s fancy dress party, don't be deterred: all you have to do is break out a pair of platforms from your Spice Girl days and make yourself a dress or a pair of trousers from your gran's old curtains. Bold patterns and flares were the order of the day back then, and fashions always come back round, so many shops will still be stocking similar things today depending on where you look. You could even just raid your own wardrobe (or, alternatively, your mum's). Abba fancy dress costumes are also not that hard to come by, and if disco's your thing, there's always glittery tat aplenty to be found in Claire's or Poundland or other equally fine establishments. Hairstyles were getting bigger and bolder (try an afro, or a burst of Farrah Fawcett style curls), so get yourself a decent hairspray that will brush out easily when you decide you no longer want to look like a Charlie's Angel. If the rollers just aren't tempting you, break out the straighteners and a forehead band for another classic 1970s look. (Boys can carry on growing their hair long, by the way - looking like a Bee Gee was all the rage, as evidenced by the photos of my father's haircut at his wedding to my mother in 1979.) 

Makeup was mainly a continuation of the tanned natural hippy look, with big smoky eyes and natural eyebrows but nude and matte elsewhere on the face. So if you're not a great makeup aficionado, you can still get stuck in: create a neutral base with concealer, foundation and powder (including on your lips) before using an eyebrow pencil the same natural colour as your brows to pencil in and accentuate what you already have. Use a brown eyeshadow all over the lid and onto the brow bone before going over the lid again with a black or dark grey shadow. Emphasise again with black liner and mascara. Feel free to use a nude lipstick or gloss if you must. (Guys: glam rock had not yet arrived, so no need to nick your girlfriend's eye makeup just yet.)

For an 80s fancy dress party, however, you can really go to town: the time of Mr Motivator, Michael Jackson, Madonna and mullets meant that big hair, bright colours and lots of glitter were all the rage for men and women. As well as going wild with the eye makeup, blush was another big fashion statement. Electric blue eyeshadow, usually with a completely opposing contrasting colour (see below), is synonymous with the Eighties, so feel free to slap it on.

Luckily, in the 1990s and beyond, we seemed to calm down a bit in our dress senses - but that's probably what makes our bodies and faces so much fun to dress when it comes to a fancy dress ball. We can become something we're not, and even something we would secretly like to be (yes - we all know just how much you wanted to dress as a member of the Village People), just for one night. Such powers of transformation, as well as being fun, can even be liberating as well.

So throw that masquerade ball mask away and get stuck into these various fancy dress themes with abandon and enthusiasm - for it's amazing, really, when we put our minds to it, what we can make ourselves become with just a little bit of innovation and creativity, and a lot of cheap glittery eyeshadow and hairspray. Follow a few of the tips above, and you too can be the belle (or indeed beau) of the fancy dress ball, walking out of the door for the night with a sense of anticipation and excitement rather than awkwardness.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Lancôme Color Fever Gloss

RRP: £18

--What does the promo say?--
"In Spring 2011, Dancing Queen turns into a Disco Ballerine with a selection of adorable pastel tones inspired by ballet slippers. Magnify your lips with a dazzling shine. The ultimate Color Fever Gloss has ingredients that are 96% of natural origin. Enriched with sweet almond oil and provides hydration. Lips are generously plumped with moisture. And the perfume... delicious lavender - 100% natural of course!"

A slightly curved clear plastic rectangular prism suspends the violet gloss for all to see, topping the ensemble with a dark silver shiny lid and a small version of the Lancôme flower logo. All very pretty and in keeping with what has gone before within the company's lip product division.

The heart-shaped applicator is supposed to ensure perfect application every time, allowing light or heavy results to be achieved and perfect contours to be drawn. However, this paraphrased bumpf from the Lancôme website is just making gloss application sound more difficult than it actually is, surely?

The gloss I have (pictured above; #385, Lavande Ballerine) looks very violet in the tube, but on the lips gives a much paler, barely-there effect, which may be disappointing for those who were expecting something more full-on. However, its near-invisible shimmer can certainly be enhanced by wearing a light and similarly-coloured lipstick underneath (I use a Guerlain KissKiss lipstick with this).

Simply gorgeous; the price tag is rendered worth it for the scent alone, which for the Spring 2011 range (Beige/Rose/Lavande Ballerine) is a full, rich and totally natural lavender scent which transports you straight to the fields of France. Divine!

--Texture and consistency--
Nothing special or different compared to other lip glosses; it is a little bit sticky, but generally light and not bothersome.

Holds up well against food and kisses; no complaints, but nothing miraculous either.

--Value for money--
£18 seems a little steep, but can seem acceptable given that you are buying into a world-renowned brand and given that the product is not scented artificially but with genuine lavender. However, if you want to make a small saving, Mistrys Pharmacy (online) sell it for £15 (£17.50 including delivery).

perfect partners
Butterflies Fever Mineral Blusher, £32.50
Ombre Magnetique Long Wear Eye Shadow, £23.50
Ink Artliner Gel Eyeliner, £19.50

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Sonia Kashuk Hidden Agenda Concealer Palette

RRP: $9.99 at Amazon.com and Target (if you are resident in the US); $20 on ebay (if you live elsewhere)
--What does the promo say?--
  • Create a nearly flawless face with this exclusive quartet of concealers by makeup master Sonia Kashuk
  • Includes 2 shades of concealer,1 neutralizer and 1 translucent powder
  • Also includes 2 applicator brushes, 1 nylon and 1 sable
  • Sleek case boasts a small mirror and fits neatly into a purse or cosmetic bag
  • Used For: Concealing
  • For Use On: Face
  • Cosmetic Palette: Light Tones
--About the brand--
Most famed in the UK for its makeup brushes, this brand was founded by Sonia Kashuk, a makeup artist who used to work for Aveda, upon entering a partnership with American superstore Target in the late 1990s. It retailed also for some time at SpaceNK in Great Britain, but for some reason is now no longer retailing in the UK at all, so inspired UK buyers will have to ferret it out from elsewhere.

The white, ELF-style packaging is not particularly inspiring, but at the budget prices at which it is being sold by Target, this is forgivable. This concealer quad also comes with a mirror and a couple of brushes (half decent ones too; no more scratchiness for me), although you are of course still free to get in there with your fingers if the mood should thus take you.

Use the brushes or your fingersto apply the neutralizer (I think it's the darker colour on the bottom row) before applying your foundation. Apply one of the two concealers (or a mixture of the two) after your foundation and then set with powder (one is included in the set, but it is rather small, so you will need to supplement it with another). Some great information and advice on neutralizers and concealers can be found here. While I'm not sure I"ve exploited the neutralizer to its full potential at present, it's already a very easy palette to use to achieve amazing effects and I can't see that changing.

I used this palette for my wedding, and even though, as I mentioned above, I don't think I used it to its fullest capacities, I still got so many positive comments on how flawless my skin looked - so it's certainly true that for me and my skin the shades provided were a perfect fit, covering blemishes 100% in conjunction with foundation and powder, and giving a totally natural, non-caked-on effect.


--Texture and consistency--
The concealers blend in beautifully while still providing heavy-duty coverage, and the powder is incredibly light and controllable. Full marks all round really.

--Value for money--
This is a tricky one. In the US it is sold as a budget brand, whereas when the brand launched in Great Britain at Space NK, prices skyrocketed (this same palette was selling there for £21, as opposed to the $10 it goes for in the US). So clearly for $10 it is amazing value - professional quality at layman's prices. For £21 (the UK recommended RRP), things become less clearly cut. However, it's still absolutely worth your while to hunt it down - I'm glad I did.

perfect partners
Sonia Kashuk Lip Palette (RRP £25; see ebay)
Sonia Kashuk Freshness of Spring Face Palette ($13.99 + shipping on Bonanza.com)
Sonia Kashuk 7 Piece Brush Set with Case (RRP $30; see ebay)
Sonia Kashuk Hidden Treasure 7 Piece Brush Set (RRP $30; see ebay)
Sonia Kashuk Liquid Foundation ($8.99 on ebay)

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturising Lip Colour Balm

RRP: £14/2g

--What does the promo say?--
"Super-nourishing balm is loaded with mango and shea butters. Just what dry, delicate lips need to feel comfortably soft and smooth. Eight mouth watering lip tints in all, each with a subtle sheen."

Differentiated from other lipstick pencils on the market by the silvery lid and end (you twist the end to get more stick when required). At the same time, though, it fits in well with Clinique's overall image of being glamorous yet easy to use. The lid is also 100% secure, with it fitting well onto the end of the stick and not falling off in your makeup bag or handbag (meaning no ruined lipstick, and no ruined bag. TOP.).

Just slick it on as with a normal lipstick, twisting the end for more stick if needed. The pointed 'pencil' of the stick also means you can apply the stuff with total precision. No mess, no fuss.

The colour I was sent (Graped Up) is not as brown as it looks on Clinique's website; in fact, it has an incredibly natural and classic feel to it, blending brilliantly with my English-rose complexion and matching the natural colour of my lips while still making me look like I've made an effort. The stick colour itself also looks natural with a slight shine, although the overall effect on the lips is more matte; a slightly unusual effect for a balm, therefore. The emphasis is definitely on colour rather than shine.

None - so good if you're picky about this. The mango and shea butters are undetectable, then - to the nostrils of us mere mortals, at least.

--Texture and consistency--
It's perhaps not as super-nourishing as some dedicated balms, but you can't argue that it does make your lips feel soft and smooth. For a lipstick/lip balm lovechild it does amazingly well, and it's light and non-sticky to boot.

Colour bears up for at least four or five hours, maybe even six; if you eat or drink anything in that time, however, you can expect this to be reduced, as like most lip products, it doesn't fare tremendously in standing up to the onslaught of a cup of tea.

--Value for money--
As expected, this balm competes in the same ring as Clarins, Estée Lauder, Décleor, and Philosophy, as well as lesser-known brands such as Lab Series and Primavera. However, its sheer wearability and total lack of stickiness is probably what makes it stand out ahead of some of these other products, which even with their price tag and reputation will leave you washing and picking lip gloss out of your hair.

perfect partners
Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturiser SPF 15, £21
Liquid Facial Soap, £13
Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion, from £15

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Betty Hula Body Moisturisers

RRP: £14.99/120ml

--What does the promo say?--
"Here at Betty Hula we believe in honest, natural beauty. All of our products have been handmade using traditional techniques and the finest quality, fairly traded natural ingredients. This stylish range is laced with a selection of delicious and exotic Hawaiian inspired scents to stimulate your senses as your body is pampered. Traditional values with a contemporary twist. Delicately applied every day your skins youthfulness will be brought to life. Good for relieving signs of stretch marks, scarring, dry/sensitive skin, combination skin, oily skin and for soothing sun burn."

The Hawaiian theme of this brand is pretty, cheeky, feminine and exotic, as well as being very different to other brands currently on the market. But don't mistake this for some wishy-washy brand: the pots' bold colours also pack a punch (orange for Champagne & Spice, green for Kiwi & Lime, and pink for Rum & Blackcurrant). The sample sizes I was sent didn't feature these, but the screw-top lids look secure and durable.

The Betty Hula website advises "[applying] delicately to your body after a shower or bath or as part of your nightly routine." This is not only easy enough to do but the strong scent also relaxes you in time for bed, too.

And speaking of which, the scents of these body butters are not only distinctive and authentic but true-to-life too: what you see on the packaging is definitely what you get, with the Champagne & Spice being my clear favourite as well as the variant that strikes me as being the most unusual. The least true-to-life is possibly the Rum & Blackcurrant scent, with the rum not coming through as clearly as I had thought it would. It's also unclear where the scents come from; given Betty Hula's philosophy, I'd like to hope these come from natural sources such as essential oils, but this is only going to go so far (when's the last time you walked into a hippy store and found a rum essential oil on the shelf?) and so it would be nice to have the origins of the different scents made more transparent to go with the basic composition of the body moisturiser (which, FYI, is made up of shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, aloe vera, and vitamin E).

All of the moisturisers are an off-white colour, which sinks invisibly into the skin.

--Texture and consistency--
Not at all greasy or slippery; thick and luxurious while still absorbing quickly and well.

--Effects on the skin--
Keeps skin soft and smooth; I haven't had a beautician complain about my dry body skin for months, which is something I used to hear quite frequently. Would definitely consider this as a long-term maintenance product for between waxes for use around the legs and arms, as well as on the bust and stomach as a luxury product.

--Value for money--
We are really in luxury territory here with this being more expensive than any body butter you will buy on the high street for the same ml. However, to my mind it really is the perfect product, combining effective body improvement with the feeling of a luxury at-home spa experience. Would definitely have that Champagne & Spice smell filling my bedroom any day of the week.

perfect partner
Betty Hula 'The Secret' Anti-Ageing Oil, £15.99/50ml

Royal Wedding makeup

Having only just come down off Planet Wedding after getting married myself on April 29th, it's got me thinking about not only my own look, but also Kate Middleton's, who of course was married on the same day (although I still pipped her to the post by a couple of hours).

(I'm on the left, chief bridesmaid on the right!)
Base: No7 Shine-Free Makeup Base, Sonia Kashuk Hidden Agenda Concealer Set, Lancôme Teint Idole Foundation, Arbonne Sheer Pressed Powder, Lancôme Blush Subtil
Lips: Guerlain KissKiss Lipstick , Lancôme Color Fever Gloss in 385 Lavande Ballerine
Eyes: Benefit Lemon Aid Corrector Eyelid Primer, MAC Pigment in Naked, Jerome Alexander Magic Minerals Lash Extending Mascara, Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner
Nails: American gel nails put on by Blush salon, St Germain en Laye
Perfume: Hugo Boss Femme

All great for coverage, long-lastingness, and radiance.

I think that Kate Middleton and I had the same aims in mind for our wedding makeup - a natural look that would stay in place no matter what. We also both did our own makeup (although she had training from makeup artist Arabella Preston, while nobody's ever shown me what to do). It's not known exactly what she had put on her face, but it's rumoured that high-performance mascara by Revitalash is an official Royal favourite. It costs about £16, so is not out of reach for everyday princesses the world over.

Essie Allure
There have also been whispers on the wind of Lancôme's Hypnôse and Bobbi Brown makeup being royal faves - so it looks like I'm in good company having also used these brands myself on my own special day.

For her nails, manicurist Marina Sandoval blended Essie's "Allure" and Bourjois' "Rose Lounge" for a feminine feel, while I went for gel nails, which you'd need a chisel to break through.

So would I recommend doing your own wedding makeup? In short, yes. While it would have been one less thing for me to do on the morning of my wedding, I know I felt more confident in my own hands than in someone else's - someone else who doesn't know me or how me or my now-husband like me to look. I suspect the now-Duchess of Cambridge felt the same way. The main criticism I've heard of the new Royal's look states that the eye makeup was too heavy and "evening-y", which certainly appears to be the case close up, but from far away looks just fine. When you consider the number of people and cameras watching her, this is stage makeup on the grandest possible scale, so the demands will be different. I equally feel that I met the standard required for my event.