Beauty, Betsy Loves

Sali Hughes – the make-up list

So here it is, as promised, Sali Hughes’ picks and recommendations for make-up.


This is what she regards as a ‘basic’ make-up kit:

Foundation or tinted moisturiser, concealer, powder, a matte ivory and shimmery brown eyeshadow, mascara, blusher (powder or cream), and a nude lipstick.

If you want a bit more, then add:

A nude lip pencil, brow pencil and gel, dark brown eyeliner, bronzer and some chunky eye crayons. 

Here are her brand picks:

Sheer foundation – look at Armani, Revlon, Becca, Dior

Liquid foundation – Armani, Bobbi Brown, MAC

Powder foundation – Stila, Clinique, MAC

Tinted moisturiser- Origins, Laura Mercier, Nivea, Becca, Nars

Concealer – Nars, MAC, Laura Mercier, Clarins, Bobbi Brown

Powder – Bobbi Brown, Bourjois, Max Factor, MAC, Nars, Charlotte Tilbury (You might think powder is old fashioned, but Sali (and I!) swear by it to blot the shine. Avoid the cheeks if you don’t want to look too matte)

Matte ivory and shimmery brown eyeshadow – Bourjois, Bobbi Brown, MAC, Dior, Chanel, Nars, Clarins, Sleek, Charlotte Tilbury

Mascara – Lancôme, L’Oreal Paris, YSL, Maybelline, Dior, MAC, Charlotte Tilbury

Blusher powder – Nars, Bourjois, Bobbi Brown, Smashbox, Chanel, Charlotte Tilbury

Blush cream – Clarins, Bourjois, MAC, Max Factor, Bobbi Brown

Nude lipstick – Creme in your Coffee from MAC

Lip pencil – MAC, Estée Lauder, Rimmel, Bobbi Brown

Brow pencil – Lancôme, Sleek, Bourjois

Brow gel – Benefit, MAC, Nars

Dark brown eyeliner – Clinique, Elizabeth Arden, Charlotte Tilbury, Bourjois

Bronzer – Aerin Lauder, Bourjois, Bobbi Brown

Chunky eye crayon – Barry M, Charlotte Tilbury, Smashbox


In the past, Sali has mentioned Clarisonic facial brushes positively, but surprisingly, apart from a brief mention as a gimic to get teenagers to clean their faces properly, they didn’t appear. However, she is a big fan of Shu Uemura‘s eyelash curlers (who isn’t?!), Mason Pearson hairbrushes, make up brushes from Models Own, Real Techniques, Eco Tools, and Space NK, the Parlux Compact hairdryer, Babyliss Big Hair, Tweezerman tweezers, Kent pocket combs, and dippy nail polish remover.

Nail Varnish

YSL if you have the budget, otherwise Revlon.


Opt for Eau de Parfum (strong) or Eau de Cologne (weak), but never Eau de Toilette (insipid…)

I know I’ve missed things out, but there’s probably too much information here anyway! Just in case, here’s a link to Sali’s list of Top 50 Beauty Products –

Beauty, Betsy Loves

Sali Hughes – the skincare list

When I bought Sali Hughes’ book Pretty Honest last month, I was expecting to be interested and informed, but not obsessed, and yet that, ladies and gents, is precisely what happened.

I already rate Sali for her no-nonsense, no-advertising advice (she only recommends products she actually likes), but I was really impressed by the level of detail she went into in her book. Essentially it’s a series of beauty essays (gosh, doesn’t that sound tedious?!), but they read incredibly easily, and range from Teen Skin to Mature Skin, to Bridal Make Up to Make Up Essentials and Skincare. There aren’t many pictures (which I do think is a shame) but I’m still thinking of gifting copies to friends for Christmas and birthdays.

If you don’t have the time to read through the book, I’ve picked out all of Sali’s top picks (I love making a list…). I’ll give you skincare today, and make-up tomorrow.


First up, she talks about your skincare routine.

For the day, most women should be cleansing (she recommends cream cleansers even if you have oily skin, but more on that later, and swears by using a flannel to give your skin a proper clean), a skin-specific day serum, day cream, suncream (spf15 in winter and spf30 in summer), primer (if you fancy it) and then your make-up (if you wear it).

For the night, you should start with an eye make-up remover if you wear waterproof mascara or liner, then cleanse, then exfoliate (she recommends an AHA or BHA liquid with salicylic or glycolic acid and absolutely hates ones with microbeads or grains – you should always do this at night to protect your skin from sun damage, and 2-3 times a week), then on goes a serum (this might differ from your day one, e.g. anti-ageing instead of mattifying), then a night cream or oil (or both if you’re quite dry), followed by a spot treatment if you need (high concentration salicylic acid just dabbed on the spot itself). You can choose to use a face mask once a week as well.

So there you have it – your day and night routines. Some of you might notice an absence of toner; Sali believes they’re a waste of time and money offering little in the way of results.

What do you think? How do you measure up? I’m ok on the cleansing. I’ve always been a toner kind of gal… And then I pop on a moisturiser. As the years have gone by, I’ve upgraded to a day moisturiser with an spf and a specific night cream. I’ve also got an anti-ageing serum I use at night, and a night oil which I like to massage in (it smells divine!). I also swear by primer to keep make-up on my greasy skin! I’m conspicuously missing an exfoliator, but I’m definitely looking to invest in one.

So now you know what you should be doing, what brands should you look for? Don’t worry; I’ve also got lists of this!

Here goes:

For cream cleansers, look for Clarins, Ren and Elemis

Liquid exfoliant – Clarins, Pixi, Elizabeth Arden, Ren

Serum – Estée Lauder, Clinique, Olay, Nivea, L’Oreal Paris, Vichy, Clarins

Moisturiser – Neutrogena, Estée Lauder, Clarins, Ren, Olay 

Oil – Clarins, Decleor, Neal’s Yard, Trilogy, Balance Me

Suncream – Clinique, La Roche Posay, Estée Lauder (make sure they protect you against UVA and UVB)

Primer – Laura Mercier, Smashbox, Dior, Revlon, Clinique, Estée Lauder

Lip balm – Clinique, Kiehls, Korres, Lanolips

Face masks – Origins, Ren, Estée Lauder, Soap and Glory

Got that? A little extra on moisturisers, Sali suggests looking for a day cream with antioxidants in (while they haven’t been proven to help anti-ageing, she figures they can’t hurt!). Also, those desperate for some moisture should look for creams with hyaluronic acid in, and retinol is what you should be keeping your eyes open for for visible anti-ageing results. Hyaluronic acid in your lip balm will also plump up and moisturise nicely.

Beauty, Betsy Loves

Hunky dory

I’ve raved about Topshop’s Sheer Lips in the past, and I’ve just got my hands on the shade Hunky Dory. It’s the best nude out there. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Alibi, but this is altogether sexier, with a slightly darker nude shade and a subtle shimmer. Plus it seems to stay around a look longer. If you’re after a nude lip for this winter, you can’t go wrong with this.


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Beauty, Betsy Loves


It’s not a new concept – in the 60s, my mum used a lipstick called Tangee that did the same thing – but Barry M are doing it very well.

And what is this concept? Alkaline lipstick. They’ve done it before with their Touch of Magic, but Genie is the new improved formula.

The lipstick comes in a hot pink and neon green tube, the colour of the paint itself is neon green, but once on your lips, it reacts to the alkali there and develops into a lovely pop of berry pink. And because people have different levels of alkaline in their lips, the colour is different from person to person. It also has a waxy balm-like finish that almost stains your lips, so it lasts for the whole day. For under a fiver, I’m not complaining.

I love the pink colour I get; it’s sort of a vamped up version of my own lip colour and makes me look fresh and healthy. Even Mr T likes it.

If you’re remotely intrigued, I’d say give it a go. You might even find your new favourite lipstick.


Beauty, Betsy Loves

The scent of a woman

When your latest perfume (or aftershave) has reached the dregs at the bottom of the bottle, I can not urge you enough to pay a trip to your local Jo Malone store.

Some say that a woman should find her signature scent and stick with it, so that whenever there is a waft of Shalimar or Poison, people will know she’s around, or be reminded of her. Other people swear by different scents for different seasons, moods, and outfits. I’m sort of a mix of the two. For years and years and years, I wore Jo Malone’s Pomegranate Noir and nothing else (well, apart from clothes, obviously…), and then one day I decided to branch out, but not far, to another of their perfumes, Vetyver. Every now and then I add another one to my repertoire but always Jo Malone. Always. Why?

Gosh, so many reasons! In the first instance, I was lucky enough to be treated to some vouchers for there many years ago, and purchased, after much consideration, sniffing and advice, a bottle of their Pomegranate Noir. It was my first proper grown up scent and I’ve always treasured it.

Then there’s the simple elegance and sophistication of their branding and packaging. Ok, maybe that’s shallow, but come on, most people buy into a brand, and I’d rather buy into gorgeous glass bottles that arrive nestled in scented black tissue paper encased in sturdy cream and black cardboard boxes (which are absolutely lovely to have around the house as well as being useful!) and tied with matching ribbons. You can keep Nicki Minaj’s latest ‘fragrance’, thank you very much. To sound like a snob, Jo’s range is simply incomparable to the synthetic vanilla, rose and chemical garbage that’s on display in Boots or Superdrug.

And finally, there’s the way I feel when I wear one of the perfumes – sexy or refined, refreshed or musky, invigorated or full of lust – quite simply, whatever my mood, they make me feel like a complex and sophisticated woman who can take on the world. And who wouldn’t want to feel like that, really?


Pomegranate Noir has practically taken on cult status and was inspired by a red silk dress. It’s the sexiest perfume I’ve worn, and I love it. It’s described as ‘ruby-rich juices of pomegranate, raspberry and plum spiked with pink pepper and laced with Casablanca lily and spicy woods. A dark and enigmatic fragrance.’ How could you resist that? Every woman wants to be considered enigmatic.


Vetyver is fresh and invigorating, and I love spritzing it on when I need to get my head down. The company describe it as a ‘harmonious blend of vetiver with bergamot, nutmeg and cedarwood. A contemporary interpretation of a spicy, aromatic classic. An elegant and enduring cologne.’ I feel elegant when I wear this; I really do.


A few years later, I discovered their Cologne Intense range, and in particular – Dark Amber and Ginger Lily. Wowsers! I take back what I said about Pomegranate Noir; this is the SEXIEST scent I own. Comprising ‘black cardamom, ginger and water lily’ in packs an intense punch of pure sex and lust. This is a grown up perfume and used sparingly, I adore it.


Most recently, I’ve been lusting after their Earl Grey and Cucumber, with ‘ a burst of bergamot, distinct to Earl Grey, and the cool succulence of crunchy cucumber. Counterpoised with a sweet base of beeswax, vanilla and musk. Reviving and refined.’ This is so light and refreshing, perfect for a spring day.

All of the Jo Malone fragrances are yummy, and there is something for every nose. I guess it sort of sounds like I’m writing a promo for them, but I’m not – I promise! Although if they’d like to send me a freebie, I’d be happy with that…

Honestly, pop in one day, have a spray, and if you don’t leave with one of their beautiful elegant cream and black embossed gift boxes, then I’ll eat my hat!

Beauty, Betsy Loves

Barry M Limited Edition Nail Paint in Bikini

Nail varnish is brilliant. It’s a great way to update your look at very little cost. And if you’re as fickle as I am, you can change the colour every day if you fancy. Get in.

I’m also a fan of Barry M. I know it’s a big favourite of pre-teens (and drag queens) and it’s a bit naff but it’s cheap and cheerful.

The other day in Boots I noticed they were displaying Barry M’s new limited edition summer nail paint range. I didn’t give the orange a second glance (sorry, orange), but the blue, well, it called to me from the very first second.

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The photos don’t really do it justice but it’s a beautiful cornflower blue-y purple. I’ve already told Mr T that I’d like it as my wedding colour (!)… I always use a base and top coat (just a bog standard one from Rimmel, I think), and with two coats of this baby sandwiched in between (and left to dry for at least five minutes between each layer) and my nails were ready and looking FAB U LOUS.

I think this colour is only available in Boots (Superdrug has its own two limited edition colours), and you can’t buy it online, so I’d absolutely recommend you pop to your local Boots and snap up a bottle (or two).


Beauty, Culture, Fashion, Health

Apples and pears – do body shape ‘rules’ help or hinder us?

Rulers, inverted triangles, hourglasses. So many labels that are meant to help us (‘us’ being women; guys, you don’t have to deal with this crap) in our quest to look and feel better, but actually end up inhibiting and restricting us.

I’m a pear (or occasionally an hourglass if I’m feeling generous towards myself). Us pears are pretty popular, well, maybe not popular but prevalent. For a while, in an attempt to ‘dress better’, I sought out every fashion and style book out there. I would flip to the inevitable pages on ‘pears’, and then I would try to follow the rules diligently.

Just three of the books that grace my shelves include The Fashion File by Janie Bryant (costume designer on Mad Men), How to be Gorgeous by Nicky Hambleton-Jones (who used to front How to Look 10 Years Younger), and Lauren Conrad’s Style.

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Janie identifies four body types – apple, pear, ruler and hourglass. As a pear, my ‘objective’ is to ‘detract from the hips’; my ‘wardrobe staples’ are A-line or full skirts, flat-fronted trousers with wide legs, polonecks, wide-collared shirts, boat neck or strapless necklines, and bootleg jeans. This is all very well, but I really don’t feel comfortable in skirts and dresses, and I don’t want to wear bootlegs. In fact, most of my options sound unappealing.

Nicky H-J adds a fifth body type – strawberry – and once again, as a pear, I’m directed to tops with detail around the neckline, hip-length tunics, tuxedo jackets, high pointed court shoes, flat-fronted trousers, bootleg jeans; and told to avoid skinny jeans, boxy jackets, clingy dresses, and prints on my bottom half.

While Lauren doesn’t have a specific section on body types, she does write that if you want to downplay your thighs you should opt for an A-line skirt, and avoid skinny jeans, while you can balance out your hips with a wide top half or embrace the 1950s pin-up girl look. Now, I adore the pin-up girl look; it’s absolutely gorgeous, but it’s not me.

I suppose I should be grateful that most of these experts recommend the same items of clothing to wear, and the same ones to avoid; but instead, I find myself frustrated and more body-conscious than ever. Some of their suggestions I’m happy to take on board, but others I feel uncomfortable in. For me, bootleg jeans seem mumsy; I love my skinny jeans and pull on a pair every day. So, do I, in actual fact, look bloody awful? It’s a depressing thought.

Another piece of advice I stumbled upon recently was to identify your body shape (check), and then find a celebrity with the same shape. Usually this celebrity will not only have their body in its peak condition so you can get a realistic idea of how your ‘best’ would look, rather than trying to compare yourself to flat-chested pre-pubescent model, they will also have access to the best that the fashion world has to offer (and more importantly a personal stylist to show them how to wear everything) so you can see how trends might work on your own figure.

One pear-shaped celebrity is the above-mentioned Lauren Conrad. And she wears skinny jeans, and looks great, so that’s something to take heart from.


And then, I have Momma P, or, more specifically, Momma P when she was my age. Surely if she can look fabulous, then I (carrying 50% of her genes) can also look cracking? Huzzah, we have light at the end of the tunnel, but do we? Because both Lauren and 27 year old Momma P are a good 30-50lbs lighter than I am. And now, finally, we find out what it all really boils down to – are you fat, or are you skinny?

If you’re the latter, lucky you, because whatever your shape, you’ll be able to wear every single trend going and look wonderful; if, on the other hand, you’re chunky, you have to think twice before you put on that crop top. Or at least, that is what Western society has brainwashed people into believing – so what if a girl with beanpole legs looks ultra-skinny in her skinny jeans? Surely it’s better than that fat chick who’s ladled herself into the same jeans and has a muffin top and fat bulges all over the place? Right?…

At the end of the day, style rules for body shapes are invented for those of us with less than perfect figures, and even then, they’re only really helping us achieve a sort of patch-up job. I have the most enormous respect and envy for any woman (or man) who can embrace their body – thin or fat, apple or pear – and think f*** it, I’m going to wear that crop top, and I’m going to rock it. But I will never be that person because I’ve spent too long reading, absorbing and worshipping the ‘fat is bad, ugly, lazy and stupid’ myth, but only when applied to myself.