Gill South calls on the help of a makeup artist for top tips on how to look her best.
I love it when a journalist writes in celebrity profiles, "She greets me at the door without a scrap of makeup, she's even prettier in the flesh." Yeah right, agrees my makeup artist for the morning, Renee Rigden, that's probably a male journalist.
Renee, a sales manager at Shiseido and a former makeup artist, has come to my house to work wonders with me. There are days when I can't tell if I've put on makeup or not, which for a non-celebrity like me can't be a good thing. I've chosen Renee because she regularly helps out at the charity Look Good Feel Better, which helps women going through cancer treatment restore themselves with free makeover workshops. Renee has many tricks up her sleeve.
One of the best things she can do for someone like me, she says, is to accentuate my eyebrows, fill in the brows' shape. She does this with an eye pencil. I like this, no nasty eyebrow plucking. With deep set eyes, I shouldn't use dark eyeshadow, it will make my eyes look duller, she says. Apparently, most European women have deep set eyes.
Renee suggests I use a more enriched moisturiser for my daily routine in winter, when my skin is dryer. I am hoping she is going to give me the secret of how to make my lipstick stay on, but she just laughs and says she has the same problem. Blotting with a tissue a couple of times is the best she can offer. She reckons if you talk a lot, eat and drink, you are likely to have trouble keeping lipstick on. Yep, that's me. Lip liner is something I should think about, she tells me. And don't be one of those women who wears the same lipstick colour for years, she says.
We talk about the importance of using primer before putting makeup on. Yes, gents, putting our makeup on is increasingly becoming like a paint job. Foundation, brushes, filling in - all DIY lingo we women use.
Renee and I have the debate about liquid foundation versus mineral powder. Renee says she prefers the liquid but hasn't really used mineral. I find myself going through my mineral powder in no time at all, and half of it ends up on my clothes which is a bit of a downside. Renee tells me to put concealer on last when you see which bits need filling in - and to mix the concealer with the liquid foundation so that I don't look patchy.
I ask if I should use concealer in one of my problem areas. The makeup expert says she hadn't even noticed it. Women often get fixated on their faults which others don't see, she says.
Renee corrects my blusher application. I am to smile and apply the blusher on the apple of the cheeks, then go up up, in the shape of a Nike tick. She doesn't like my bronze-coloured blusher and uses a pretty shade between pink and peach today. I look like Snow White - but a natural Snow White.
Where am I going with my new face, you ask? To a ball perhaps?
Get real, a trip to the supermarket and the library is all I have planned. But I've tucked away some useful tips which I try out at a wedding on the weekend. It's all about using the right brushes.
Struck down with a headache that just will not go away, I head off to the osteopath as I suspect I've overdone things on the gym front, acting like a 25-year-old.