What makes you beautiful?

HA. Never did I think the day would come when i'd subtly reference a One Direction song in a blog post title, but it felt relevant and I actually can't stop listening to Zayn et al's perky tune. Embarrassing as that is. Well... I never once said I was cool.

So what makes you beautiful ladies (and gents)? Is it your vivacious personality and sparkling wit? Your confidence? Your all-out flawless genetic composition? Your long legs? Your modesty (pah)?... Or is it your make-up bag, choc-a-bloc with primers, gels, lotions, potions, glosses, glazes, liners, crayons, pigments etc. I know which category I fall into... and the majority of women would agree.

Yes boys, it's all well and good to be a "decent" guy and proclaim that you love a "natural girl", that all women look better without make-up, but get real. When you think she's wearing none, she's probably layered up a primer, a tinted moisturiser, Touché Eclat, loose powder, blush, subtle layers of mascara and a little dewy lip balm... Trust us, you wouldn't fancy us if you REALLY saw us sans-make-up. What men tend to mean when they say they prefer us without make-up, is that they prefer Kelly Brook all glowy and wholesome, to Victoria Beckham all high-maintenance and pristine. They don't want any spidery eyelashes, or orange foundation, but they want constant prettiness... it ain't easy lads! Sorry to break it to you!

Sure, there are natural beauties out there who require minimum effort and still look a million times better than me, even when i've crammed in an hour-long make-up regime. I suppose that's where I get back to the point- the beauty of the beauty industry is that everyone, and anyone, can be beautiful. In the eye of the beholder and aw that.

I recently took a little trip to the famous Blue Fin building- home to Marie Claire, Look and- much to my Dad's excitement- Decanter magazine. The media mecca was housing yet another Marie Claire "Inspire and Mentor" event, this one about how to get into the beauty industry. While i've always been a dedicated follower of fashion (from Regent Street, to Leicester Square... how apt.), I still devour the beauty pages in magazines and love the notion that you can take your best features and play them up, or your worst and play them down till you feel truly happy with yourself... I am also a total girly girl who loves nothing more than a facial or hair mask when i'm feeling low.

After a little pre glass of Champagne, a group of us were ushered into a large hall where a panel of three beauty industry experts were sat- Lisa Oxenham of Marie Claire, Anna Rozelaar (a beauty PR) and  Alan Pan (the global make up artist of Estee Lauder)... Now, the event was affiliated with Estee Lauder, so it was a bit of a sales pitch at points, but if- like me- you scanned over that part, it was full of highly beneficial advice and tips for anyone interested in either pursuing a career in beauty, or just making themselves that little bit prettier... and one step closer to One Direction dedicating a song to you (I would say writing... but it's One Direction...).

So here is my edit of the day, with all the little bits of advice to get you looking and feeling fabulous, or planning a career in the small but ever expanding beauty industry:

Lisa Oxenham of Marie Claire
For the budding beauty journalist:

* Fancy finding yourself backstage at various fashion shows, fawning over models as they have their faces painted by the masters of make-up artistry, picking up on little beauty trends that could filter all the way down to the Rimmel departments and straight into our make-up bags? Always flick to the beauty pages in various magazines, ready to read about latest innovations in skincare or make-up? Constantly pottering around department stores trying products out for yourself, even blogging/writing about it? Do you fancy interviewing celebrities about their favourite beauty must-haves? Or reviewing all the latest health and beauty miracles? If you find yourself exclaiming "yes, yes, yes!" to any of the above, beauty journalism is calling you my love!

* Lisa Oxenham, the beauty editor at Marie Claire (previously at More- which has a fantastic beauty section, so kudos to Lisa!) took an unconventional route into her job. She studied History of Art, something which she says various beauty editors study- primarily because beauty really isn't all that different from art and one must understand colour and references. She then found herself in a job in fashion and realised that she was more interested in the beauty side of things, and then took the reigns at More magazine heading up a team of four. She acknowledges that there is no course for beauty journalism, but a broad degree can offer you the same basic knowledge to move into beauty and lifestyle! So, beauty is quite a small department in journalism, so you need to be good, but if you have the passion then you can definitely get your face known and build up contacts (ALL ABOUT CONTACTS!)

* So what are Lisa's words of wisdom to succeed in beauty journalism?
- Work for free! It's so obvious, but the more experience you have, the better you will be and the more employable you will be.
- Build up contacts. This industry is competitive, but get yourself known!
- Know about the experts. You must read, read, read about who's who in the beauty industry. Know your Pat McGrath from your Aaron de Mey (if that's gobble-ty-gook to you, maybe you shouldn't bother...).
- Collect images and cut-outs that you like, compile mood boards and collages, and follow your favourite journalists!
- Investigate new products and breakthroughs (try the new BB by Garnier- i'm dying to know what it's like!) and understand the technology of beauty. 
- Build up a profile. This really is key, as Lisa would never employ anyone who hadn't shown their passion on whatever platform they can. She said you must get involved in blogs, twitter, webzines, facebook. It's where it's headed guys!
- Employers want to see your passion. Build up your own "world". Review products in blog form, or video blog posts. The world is your oyster!
- Choose the one field that interests you- health, make-up, catwalk, whatever. Find your niche and stick to that- she hints that health in the young is an area that's not always touched upon- so if that interests you, go for it!

For the budding beauty PR:

* Are you outgoing, friendly, professional and love the beauty industry? Can you see yourself promoting a brand you love to magazines and potential buyers? Sounds like you may be well suited to pursuing beauty PR. PR is a rather glamourous industry, not quite as much as Samantha in SATC, and it is hard work and hard to succeed in, but here is Anna Rozelaar's advice from the top of her game.

*She started out at LCF doing Fashion PR (because all the best go to LCF, ok?), and was able to specialise in beauty. Fashion and beauty are obviously interlinked, so it's good to understand both. She again, notes the paramount importance of interning. She started out filling the shelves for free, but everything like that is surprisingly important so you can't turn your nose up at little duties like that- you need to work from the bottom. She says it's important to try things out through internships to make sure you are following the right path- nothing ventured nothing gained!

*Anna's top tips for getting ahead in beauty PR?
- You have to love your product, people can see right through you and if you don't believe in the product, it's not going to happen.
- You have to love what you're doing! You need a passion because otherwise it will be an unconvincing pitch.
- You must be well read and know exactly what is going on in fashion and beauty, read magazines and blogs daily. She always asks potential interns that if they could describe the Estee Lauder brand as a magazine, what one it would be. That way she can understand how much they know about Estee Lauder, and how much they read in terms of magazines.
- It's worth getting to know various brands, go to the counter and get a complimentary make over before applying for a placement. Understand the products!
- A passion for beauty is crucial
- "If you have the will, the skill will follow!"

And the beauty trends for AW11?

* I'm sure you'll know various beauty trends for AW11, but these are the ones pinpointed by Lisa Oxenham for wearable looks you can try yourself to keep your look fresh and up to date!

1. Androgyny.
Just as in fashion, it's all about looking sexy and strong. Take a power lip to get your androgynous tux looking fierce and still subtly sexy. Red is the easiest route as at Giles, but you can take a different route with something like Damson or Wine. It's all about precision of application to keep the look edgy and powerful. The lipliner is key- get your line precise and an almost pointed cupids bow and you are on the money.

2. Sexy metallics.
A wearable and fresh update comes courtesy of pewter and gunmetal eye shades, as seen at Chanel, it's the perfect way to update an evening look and works very well with this season grungy androgyny as well as the fetish look.

3. Top knots.
Supposedly FROW at LFW, every other fashion editor was sporting a minimalist bun. It's an easy look to achieve and adds a slickness (very on trend) and polish to a look. Very Celine. Try using a donut to bulk up fine hair- this was  the trick at DKNY. Also, blow dry your hair upside down using mousse and texturiser to get a relaxed finish.

4. Navajo braids.
Couldn't get your hands on Isabel Marant's coveted tasselled boots? Aw... me neither! Well, translate this look into your hair by getting nice and creative with braids. Keep it simple with a loose braid hanging over one shoulder with a tasselled biker, or plait random strands of hair for a bohemian slant on an evening look-  very Cara Delevigne.

Inside tips for DAY:

* Think you know all there is to know about beauty? Well Alan Pan of Estee Lauder begs to differ, here are some of his little tips to make getting your daytime beauty look that little bit easier.

* 20 Second Foundation: Add a couple of drops of serum to your foundation then swirl a basic brush over face. DON'T PAINT IT ON. Swirl it subtly over your face and you have a flawless, almost invisible finish.

* Perfect eyeliner, every time: Work from the outside to inside, and for day just go a quarter of the way along your bottom lashes, extend it for a more dramatic look to translate your look from day to evening.

* Perfectly smudgy eyes: Press eyeshadow over your liner rather than moving back and forth. This keeps it in place and softens the look.

* Natural curled lashes: Press mascara into root of eyelashes and push upwards. Don't paint the mascara on during the day!

* Perfect contouring: Using a darker colour along the cheekbone, brush from your ear to the outer corner of your eye and then flick. Work a lighter colour above as a highlight. Flawless cheekbones in an instant!

Alan Pan of Estee Lauder
Inside tips for EVENING:

*Scared to stray away from your classic evening look? I certainly am! But here are a few tips for getting a nice dramatic look favoured by celebrities for a smouldering night time look!

* Eyebrows are your framework: No matter what you do, don't forget the eyebrows (as I always do). They provide the structure to your face and bold brows are essential for dramatic eyes! Have them shaped and enhance them with an eyeliner pencil. A strong eye with light eyebrows just looks bizarre.

* A touch of gold goes a long way: Eyeshadow looking flat and dull? Add a touch of gold shadow, or a molten ginger hue, to enhance the colour and give a gleaming finish that will catch the light and thus catch a few eyes!

* Made a mistake?: Nobody's perfect, and we all make beauty mistakes, especially when applying darker shadows. If you make a little mistake, leave it to dry and then use a cotton bud, dabbed in eye illuminator, to lift the smudge up. Worked a treat!

* Beautiful bronze: Work a 3 onto your face. Sweep over temples, down along your cheekbone then over your jawline- naturally where the sun hits for a subtle glow.

Comments are welcome and hope you enjoyed this feature!

by Shona Wallace

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