Beauty Bits

This blog is primarily about fashion, but as the party season gets into full swing (where’s my invite…) some of us need a little bit of a beauty mix-up to make that special night out feel, well, special!

Supposedly, as economic times become increasingly grim, we are less inclined to splash our hard-earned cash on flimsy dresses that become a one-wear wonder, and we would much rather spend our pennies on investment pieces. Out goes the full-length, one–shouldered gown dripping in sequins, and in comes the plain black shift that would work for day or night depending on accessories. Boring, I know, but desperate times and all. This year it seems we would rather treat ourselves to a Miu Miu handbag to last a lifetime, as opposed to four spangly dresses to last a wash before snagging/shrinking.  Let’s not forget that a shrunken dress post-mince pies is NOT a nice thought!

How does this relate to the girly paradise of the beauty world? Well, it appears that as the going gets tough, the tough get to MAC and buy a Ruby Woo lippy. A new lipstick has a charm that boys don’t always understand. I used to spend Christmas mornings playing with toys and new computer games, but now I spend hours pampering myself, layering this lippy with that gloss, painting my nails, and again, before dousing myself with perfume.  Make-up is a great for both escapism and reinvention, and lipstick is the pinnacle. The powdery scent is charming, and the buttery texture is just delicious. It’s a lovely way of treating yourself without recession guilt.

It’s also cheap, cheap, cheap.

Maybe you’ve been shying away from buying the December/January issues of your favourite magazines through fear of depressing yourself. There is nothing worse than seeing “The 20 Best Party Dresses” when you know that you just can not treat yourself to another one, and will- shock horror- have to make do and mend with last years! No girl wants to hear “didn’t you wear that last year?” at a party, and it certainly depletes the excitement of getting ready when you know everyone’s already seen it at least once.

So why not reinvent your dress with a bit of beauty magic? I’m not going to pretend I’m Pat McGrath or Nick Knight, and I’m pretty rubbish at painting nails, but I do know about the trends and how to achieve them… Even if I’m too cowardly myself.

I ask you to refrain from tearing out your hair as you hear “A STATEMENT LIP” for the fifth year running, and please do bear with me. It’s easy as 1-2-3 or L-B-D in fashion terms. Whether it’s bright, matte red by Chanel, or the lustworthy Tom Ford burgundy shade, this is a look that can work on anyone. The secret is to use a lip liner to keep it precise, and a little bit of lip balm to keep the texture creamy. You don’t need to go all-out and buy a matching liner, just a basic Rimmel one should do the trick! If you are blonde try a cool red shade, or a deep berry shade with a black dress. This paired with a fluttery eyelashes and a peachy blush will be a dramatic twist on last year’s look. Brunettes can go for a lovely, vivid pink without having to worry about looking too ‘Barbie’, or can take a warmer red. Redheads look stunning and striking when wearing a very dark shade of lipstick, the Tom Ford deep purple is perfect!

I promise not to offer you another version of a smoky eye, though I sort of want to, I shall refrain! This year it’s all about metallic from the glitter on your Miu Miu * cough * Topshop pumps to your false eye-lashes, if it ain’t sparkly it just ain’t on.  Eyes are a great way to get a bit of glitz into your party look. A creamy, glittery eyeshadow is an easy approach. Just smudge a metallic shadow over your eyelids and follow with your basic liner and LOTS of mascara before dusting with a nice bit of glitter (Chanel and Barry M do lovely glitter). Up the glitz factor with a sparkly lipgloss- my current obsession is a nice NARS lipgloss, a nudey pink with a lovely texture and staying power- and a bit of warmth via bronzer (my pick is the Bourjois chocolate delicé bronzer, purely because sometimes an Advent Calendar isn’t enough chocolate for one day!). If you prefer a bolder look, head to Boots and take your pick of some of the most glamourous eye-lashes around! Pair with glittery eyeliners in beautiful shades of peacock blue and emerald and let your eyes do the talking. No one will care what you are wearing when your eyes are so captivating.
What about nails, you cry?! Well since moving to London, I have become a self-confessed clean freak, rarely without my hand sanitiser. This has also led me to stop biting my nails and I now have pretty nice nails, and am more than a little partial to a manicure (or three, as has been the case during my first term at LCF, I’m such a rubbish student!). Nail art is in a league of it’s own at the moment, as kick-started by the fabulous WAH nails salon in Dalston. I got myself a little Christmas manicure at WAH in Topshop, a gold Models Own base with little holly leaves sketched on- adorable! You can try it out yourself by buying a Models Own by WAH nail art pen in either black or white for just £5.99. Designs can be very tricky, but I’ll give you a few ideas with a rating of how steady ones hand must be from pretty unsteady at *, to steady as a rock at ****:

Cruella De Vil (*)
Just paint your nails an opaque white polish- mine is Barry M- and dot on some little black splodges- as regular or irregular as you want! Easy-peasy, and the perfect way to add interest to a look.

Candy Cane (**)
Paint your nails a nice vibrant red, possibly the Barry M/Nails Inc glittery red if you’re feeling very festive, and simply paint strips on with a white nail art pen. It’s a bit tricky to get regular stripes, but it’s worth it!

Leopard (***)
Paint your nails a nice metallic gold, then dot on a deep bronze polish before accenting with a black nail art pen. It sounds a little easier than it is, but the effect is a great way to make your look much more interesting and on trend for the party season.

Snowflake Shower (****)
Paint nails in a nice deep navy, perhaps a sparkly navy, and wait to dry. Then, using a white nail art pen, draw on individual snowflakes. It’ll probably be pernickety and a little painstaking, but your talons will be envy-enducing!

Hair is not my strong point, especially as mine is pretty tragic at the moment due to poor diet and winter weather. However, a nice way to style your hair this season is to embrace two hair trends at once. A nice top-knot has been a fashion editor’s must for a few seasons now, and it’s the easiest look to adopt- just invest in a donut. Slick your hair back, and now add a little bit of interest with a decorative hair band. Liberty do the prettiest, closely followed by Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, but the high street are catching on. It’s a simple look that remains striking and very classic. Princess-perfect for the party, plus a beautiful way to show off those gorgeous new earrings.

If anyone has any requests for a beauty blog, just tweet me at @SWfashion_ or comment below, as I will definitely get back to you!

And any other ideas and tips are welcome and encouraged! Tweet me @SWfashion_

I’ll be waiting! Have yourselves a pretty little Christmas now, ladies!

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