Beauty is a very subjective thing – what works for one, might not work for another. It’s also – forgive me for sounding like an X Factor contestant – a bit of a journey. You may need to try several moisturisers before you discover your forever brand.
You might accidentally come across the ultimate shampoo at your hairdressers. Or perhaps you’re still searching for that must-have product? If that’s you, check out the products Andrea and the rest of the team are loving and the ones that haven’t made their forever list…
Eyelash glue: I have to be really careful with this, I think it’s the latex in some brands that I’m allergic to as I swell up like a Halloween mask if I use the wrong one! I have to stick to (ha ha) the free little containers you get with lashes as I don’t react to them.
Any brand of solid foundation: I’ve not found a single one that works for me. I look like a pantomime dame when I wear it, as it seems to sit on top of my skin rather than make it look dewy and natural. There is nothing pretty about a thick, nasty cover-up!
Spray on root cover: I am yet to find a brand that doesn’t dribble onto my face in brown blobs when I’m trying to disguise my grey. It drives me beyond insane.
Portrait of a Lady by Frederic Malle: This is my favourite perfume because it’s dramatic and sexy – everything my alter ego would love to be! It always gets commented on when I wear it.
Sanctuary Spa Classic Air Whipped Crème Souffle: I moisturise all over every day, and I hate gunky lotions that take ages to soak in. My time limit is how long it takes to brush my teeth – anything longer and it’s chucked! This is my favourite; I keep coming back to it.
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish: This is my go-to polish because it’s easy to slap on and it STAYS! Perfect if you can’t be bothered to sit still for a mani-pedi.
No7 Protect and Perfect Facial Sun Protection: Oh, how I’ve tried to persevere with this! I absolutely love the serum in the same range, so I thought this would be a fab way of getting all those anti-aging benefits while skipping the sun cream. But alas, the minute I get slightly sweaty on holiday or swim in the pool, it stings my eyes to excruciating levels. I’ve given up. Sorry Boots.
Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon: I was so excited about this eye shadow pencil. After reading rave reviews, I thought it was my route to the sacred smoky eye. Finally! But nope. Not for me, anyway. The colour seems to set the minute you paint it on, so I’ve never been able to blend it. I just end up frantically rubbing my eyelids so I look less panda-like, but then I’m left with red-raw peepers. Not the sultry look I was hoping for.
Any foundation in the world: I seriously feel like I’ve tried every foundation on the planet. Again, one of those beauty rules about turning 40 dictates I should probably be wearing it. And I’d love to – but I’ve got a fair few freckles and foundation seems to kind of cover them up, but kind of not, if that makes sense? I also have a darkish skin tone and am yet to find a shade that is neither too pale nor too orange. Again, not great looks for me, so I’ll just skip it. And this fits in with my lazy, rule-breaking self!
Chanel Long-Lasting Eyeline in Cassis: I treated myself to this for my wedding day five years ago and I haven’t been without one since. Now I’m 40 I think I’m ‘supposed’ to go easier on the eyeliner, but I just can’t! It’s my warpaint and I love it. And this purple-black shade gives definition without being too harsh.TOP TIP: It’s the same price everywhere, but if you order online directly from Chanel, you can pick two lovely sample treats. Winner! The mini mascara is wonderful.
Nivea In-Shower Cocoa Butter Moisturiser: Now this has saved me, since becoming a time-poor mum. And it really works! I slather it on towards the end of my shower and seconds later I’m totally moisturised. Doubles up as a shaving cream too.
Benefit Posie Tint: I wish I was one of those mums who could just leg it out of the door for the school run wearing absolutely no make-up, but sadly I’m not. I just don’t have the confidence for a naked face, but I’m also very lazy, so this little pink bottle is brilliant for a super-quick sweep of colour on my lips and cheeks. Done!
False eyelashes: I long for fluttery extensions or even a doll-like strip lash, but for someone who’s prone to eczema around their eyes and rubs their peepers like a baby when tired, I just can’t get on with any other than my own. Flutter what your mama gave you, I guess!
Lip liner: I know it will help my product to stay put, but good-quality lipsticks and years of practice at defining my lips has meant I’ve not needed to ‘outline’ with a liner. Okay, so half true… whenever I try to overdraw my lips or even draw around them, I end up looking like IT’s sister.
Eyeshadow: It’s simple, I know, but eyeshadow just doesn’t suit me and I can’t ever seem to get it right. I either look like I’ve got an eye infection (attempting the fiery palette trend) or like I’ve been punched in the face (smokey eye fail). I’ll stick to an eyeliner wing, thanks.
Benefit Bad Gal Bang Mascara: There truly is no greater mascara, I’ve searched high and low. For someone who can’t wear falsies or extensions, it gives me thicker, longer lashes and best of all – it doesn’t result in clumping or debris down my face.
The Organic Pharmacy Sweet Vanilla Dry Oil: This is my ultimate beauty multi-tasker. Formulated with tons of natural ingredients and antioxidants, it’s not only high-performing but also good for you. It smells amazing and can be used on the face, body, nails and even hair. I spray mine onto wet hair for a glossy shine and amazing scent once dry.
Chanel Soleil Tan De Soleil: The holy grail of bronzers. This is no ordinary bronzing product, in fact it’s so good you might find it’s pretty hard to get hold of (it’s often sold out). The creamy mousse can be used as a base or for contouring. Perfect texture, perfect application. I’m obsessed.
La Mer Crème de la Mer: Over the years, thanks to my job, I’ve been lucky enough to try out many great beauty products for free. One day, a very small pot of this much hyped moisturiser landed on my desk. As it normally costs £125 for a 30ml pot, I was soooo excited to try it out, especially as celebs like Kate Hudson and Chrissy Teigen rave about it. Fast forward two weeks and my skin looked terrible – I was spottier than I ever was as a teen and it looked super dull. It taught me never to lust after a product, just because a celeb uses it! Our skin types are so unique that not everything will suit everyone.
Jean Paul Gaultier 2: This isn’t in the ghoul section because I hate this perfume, it’s my favourite scent EVER, however, it is ghoulish that it’s been discontinued. It’s a unisex fragrance that just smells right on me – not too flowery or sugary, not too strong. I’ve got allergies and many perfumes make me sneeze, so I was pleased to find this one and wore it continuously for years. Not anymore. Now I’m reduced to buying expensive tester sprays on eBay before it vanishes, ghost-like, forever.
Any fake tan: I’ve tried them all – the expensive ones, the cheap ones, the cult ones. Nothing works for me. I don’t know whether it’s my skin tone or whether I’m just rubbish at applying it, but I always look slightly jaundiced, rather than tanned, when I use it. Admittedly when I’ve had a professional fake tan, it looks better, but I just hate the fall out – brown sheets are never cool – so I guess I’m destined to just be pale and interesting
Eyeko Black Magic Liquid Eyeliner: Until I found this eyeliner I could not, for the life of me, do winged eyeliner. And I felt bereft. In my head, I’m a ‘60s chick, riding on the back of a mod’s scooter, so liquid eyeliner is a must for me. I tried everything and then this beauty arrived in a monthly beauty box that I’d forgotten I’d subscribed to. It’s everything. Easy to use, small enough to carry everywhere and pretty long-lasting, plus it also encourages lash growth. My dreams of becoming Twiggy edge ever closer…
Bleach London Reincarnation mask: The other woman I’ve always aspired to look like is Marilyn Monroe, so it probably comes as no surprise that my hair is bleached platinum blonde. I can’t be doing with wishy-washy highlights (and the time it comes getting them done). I want dramatic hair, but it comes with a drawback – breakage, damage and candyfloss like hair, none of which remotely say ‘sex kitten’. Thankfully this conditioner has saved my hair. I use it as a mask and also as a regular conditioner when I feel it needs something extra. It makes it feel super silky and adds a much-needed shine, plus the tube lasts forever.
Living Proof 5-in-1 styling cream: Hairdressers tell me I have the dream hair texture – not too straight, not too curly. I disagree – it never seems to do what I want it do, perhaps because I’m not a whizz with the hairdryer. That was until I met this tube of cream. I don’t know what’s in it, but it works wonders – there’s no frizz, my style stays pretty much the same as when I leave the house and it makes my over-processed hair feel like silk. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s so worth it.