Saturday 20 January 2018

Ultimate secrets to looking great

Many stars are unrecognisable without their make-up, you too can learn to 'airbrush' yourself if you want a more glamorous image

I'm a complete beauty junkie, and love the transformative powers of make-up.

It's one of the reasons I enjoy those features full of photos of celebs with no slap on. They're a nice reminder that celebs are real people, too. I mean, even Eva Longoria doesn't look like Eva Longoria before she puts on her slap.

Lip service

Himself can usually tell what kind of a day I've been having by looking at my lips . . . and not just to see whether their corners are pointing up or down. A slick of bright lipstick or gloss can really lift your mood, so a big pink or red pout is a sure sign that I've needed cheering up!

Eye spy

The eyes are definitely the windows to the soul, and while it's not particularly pampering or glamorous, eyelash perming is one of the best beauty treatments I've tried. When I don't have the readies to spend on getting the lashes permed, I DIY my own heated eyelash curlers by giving a pair of metal eyelash curlers a blast of a hairdryer on a low heat setting (or leaving them on top of a warm radiator) before using. Just remember to always test them on the inside of your forearm before going near the eye area!

To get the most from my mascara, I first wipe off any clump-encouraging excess from the brush. Then, holding the wand horizontally, I get the brush right in at the base of the upper lashes, and give it a wiggle at the roots to create the illusion of thickness. I apply mascara to the rest of the lashes in a zig-zag, left-to-right motion to coat and separate individual lashes. Keeping that wiggling motion going as best I can, I twirl the brush while drawing it up and back through the lashes -- this helps to create and hold curl.

Base camp

Having heard that international make-up artists snigger behind their brushes at the foundation tide marks sported by Irish women -- and knowing that it's a beauty faux pas I've committed in the past -- the fear of that tell-tale stripe along the jaw is strong in me. To combat it, I blend foundation slightly down onto my neck and use a damp cosmetic sponge to further blur the line.

Hair necessities

My hair secret is purple- tinted shampoo -- it's great for keeping brassiness at bay in blonde, grey, or highlighted hair. John Frieda, Lush, Wella, Revlon, and Redken all have versions, as do Joico, whose Color Endure Violet Shampoo is €13.81 from feelunique.com.

Shop 'til you drop

Like a lot of women, I have a real soft spot for shopping, but for some it's never a pleasure, always a chore. If the thought of rifling through rail after rail of clothes makes you feel a bit faint -- or you just fancy a new look -- why not try enlisting the services of a personal shopper to do the legwork?

A quick Google search will attest to the fact that it's a service which many stylists and image consultants offer for a fee, but several shops actually provide it in-house free, gratis and for nothin'. A large department store is the best place to give personal shopping a whirl: it means you'll have access to the biggest selection of brands, products, styles, and sizes.

Call Clara Halpin at Arnotts, (01) 804 5842 or email personalshopping@arnotts.ie


The concept of disposable fashion bewilders the eco worrier in me. Just because something is cheap doesn't mean that it's necessarily junk -- or that it's ok to wear it once and then chuck it out, proffering the excuse that "it would have fallen apart in the wash anyway". Penneys, H&M and alwear are my go-tos for on-trend pieces at sensible prices, and I have clothes from all three that have inexplicably survived multiple washes.

Some trends, such as leopard print, pop up with incredible regularity, and I think they're the best ones to buy into. Lace is huge yet again this autumn/winter, so I've snapped up one of Penneys' lovely lace dresses with contrasting, bejewelled collars for a decidedly reasonable €17.

Military is another perennially popular winter trend, and having a good jacket or coat with military detailing is pretty much guaranteed to see you fashionably through several seasons.

While still in college, I shelled out the guts of €100 of the wages from my part-time job on a knee-length khaki military coat from Mango in Arnotts, which was an awful lot of money to me at the time. It's been on-trend every winter since, though, and I still get compliments when I wear it.

Tight squeeze

Opaque tights are a winter staple: if you don't own a few pairs, even just plain black ones, you're missing out. They can seriously increase the possible permutations of your wardrobe, transforming skirts and dresses from suitable for summer only to wearable year-round.

Check out Oasis or Topshop for tights that are accurately sized, fit really nicely with no gaping around the ankles or back of the knees, and hold up really well in the wash.

Back to black

To say everyone should have one fabulous little black dress in their wardrobe may be boring, but it's so true. An LBD that can be pulled out for weddings, parties, events, and black-tie dos makes easy work of last-minute invites.

To be sure it'll stand the test of time, opt for a classic style rather than one that's super-fashionable. Black can drain typical Celtic skintones if worn close to the face, so avoid high necklines, thick straps, or full sleeves. Reveal more skin on the shoulders, neck and even arms to avoid stark contrast in one area.

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