Beauty, Betsy Loves

The 10 looks of Charlotte Tilbury

I love make up. I love discovering new make up. I love discovering new make up brands. I love it all, ok? I was already aware of Charlotte Tilbury, after all, she’s hung out with Kate Moss and co. and then last year she launched her eponymous make up range and she went global. For good reason. Here’s why:

Charlotte had already masterminded Tom Ford’s brilliant make up range.

She branded brilliantly with glamorous gorgeous 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s inspired packaging. What woman wouldn’t want to whip out a rose gold lipstick bullet? Or a gold compact that harks back to those inlayed with enamel? Genius.

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She’s created a range of foolproof eye make up that works with your eye colour, e.g. two eye crayons for blue eyes, two for brown, two for hazel and two for green.

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She’s appealing to the busy woman with multi-use products, e.g. Filmstars On The Go – a compact with two cream shades – one for eyes, and one for cheeks and lips.Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 21.09.10

But the biggest seller for me are her ten looks. In a nutshell, she’s created ten distinct make up looks (a wardrobe of looks, in her words) from the rock chick to the ingénue, each with their own toolkit you can buy to recreate the looks, and each with options to play down the look for the day or ramp it up for the evening. Now that really is genius. Genius marketing that is. And a genuine brainwave.


In a video interview with Sali Hughes (sorry, I know I bang on about her, but she is good) she lets viewers behind the scenes, and even in her own dressing room, she has a drawer with ten labelled make up bags, and depending on her mood, her day, the weather, you name it, she picks her look, opens her chosen bag and wham bam thank you mam, she’s sorted. It’s such a clever idea, and let’s face it, you don’t always want to wear the same make up day in day out, and sometimes, if you do, five years down the line, you realise your look is ageing and passé.

If I had the money, I’d buy every single look Charlotte Tilbury has; actually, that’s a lie, I’m not a fan of The Glamour Muse (I didn’t include the picture so you’ll have to hunt for that one I’m afraid) with its dramatic purple eye shadow, but all the other ones, yes, please. My favourites have to be The Rock Chick (centre) and The Ingénue (top left), but I’m liking The Uptown Girl (top right) too.

However, until I can afford those lovely bags, I’ll continue to consult the look cards that her make up stand cleverly stocks and do my level best to recreate the looks with the make up I already have. And as soon as something runs out in my current make up bag, I know where I’ll be heading.

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Beauty, Betsy Loves

In search of thicker fuller hair

I have a dream. A dream of having Blake Lively’s hair.


Not her actual hair because that would be weird, creepy and stalker-y. But an identical version attached to my own head. Thick, lush, long blonde hair that screams for a shampoo advert and lots of hair swooshing. Her hair is the stuff of dreams. Oh, wait. I’ve already said that. The sad thing is that’s exactly where it’s going to stay. I’ve done my best to emulate this hair and have failed on so many levels. I even resorted to VASTLY overpriced hair extensions which resulted in my graduation photos featuring a Malibu Barbie version of myself and a very stressful camping experience, and ended in Momma P and I pulling them out with pliers. Really. Don’t judge me too harshly. It was a long time ago, ok?


I’ve now finally resigned myself to the fact that I will never have the hair of my dreams, but I can still work with the hair that I have. And to do that, I need products. Really good products.

In the past I’ve used Bumble & bumble’s Thickening Spray, and actually it was pretty good, although perhaps it added more texture than volume, but I feel that’s half the battle, however, it’s not cheap so I was looking for a more affordable option.

1197940_fpx.tifMy beauty guru, Sali Hughes, recommended L’Oreal Elvive’s Fibrology Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner. They also do a masque and a serum. And they’re easily purchased from Boots and aren’t too expensive. Excellent. And from first use, they appeared to have good results. Not Dolly Parton-esque poofy hair. Not crispy bouffant hairsprayed hair. But bouncy, soft, bigger hair. But then I noticed that after a few washes, when I brushed my wet hair, quite a few strands were being left on my comb. In fact, more strands than usual. I did some googling, and apparently I wasn’t the only one. So that was the end of that. I’m not saying that it will make your hair fall out. I’m not even saying that it was making my hair fall out. Maybe it was a coincidence. But that’s not a risk I’m willing to take.


Another recommendation came in the form of Swell Advanced Volumising Shampoo, Conditioner and Root Complex Spray. I was lucky enough to be gifted a travel size set and I confidently toddled into the shower clutching my booty (no, not that booty!). But yet again, I was doomed to failure. The products smelled delicious, but you’re advised to use very little, and I found I wasn’t getting the lather that I like from my shampoo. I’m sure lather is actually caused by chemicals that are terribly bad for you, but hey, I like a lather, ok? Also, I can’t say I noticed a great difference. Not really.


And so on to another ‘drugstore’ (what is the English equivalent to this? Pharmacy? High street?) buy – John Frieda’s range of Luxurious Volume. Take your pick from shampoo, conditioner, mousse, hairspray and blow dry lotion. I know. That’s a lot of products. I plumped for shampoo, conditioner and the lotion. The result? I got the lather I wanted. And I guess I got a bit of volume, but nothing to write about (except, wait, oh…).

2013_LV_LineupI was chatting to my hairdresser, and she recommended L’Oreal Professionnel’s new range – Serioxyl Fuller Hair. It’s actually formulated for hair that’s thinning or even dropping out which I don’t actually need (no thanks to you, Elvive!) but obviously thinning hair needs volume, and so fine hair can benefit too. I bought the kit which had a shampoo, conditioner and mousse, and let me tell you, they smell AMAZING!!! Like seriously super duper amazing. And they have an option for coloured hair. And they lather. And they seem to work. Again not intense insane 80s power volume hair; not a really dramatic effect but a noticeably thicker swishier effect. And did I mention they smell amazing? So far, I’ve been using them for a week, and I’ve not been picking any more hair from my comb either, so that’s a win. It might not be the holy grail, but I’m happy to stick with it for now.

712eo1Vq4YL._SL1358_But let me just say that nothing, and I do mean nothing, beats good old fashioned drugstore cheap-y mousse. Formulas have changed a lot since the 80s, so you’re not going to get a crispy look, I promise. Well, not unless you use a whole can in a single session. So don’t do that. But a single pump into one palm, a gentle clap of the hands to distribute the mousse between the two, and then run your fingers through at the roots. Avoid the ends. It’s not a permanent fix. And it’s not necessarily a glamorous fix, but it is an effective fix. I’m currently using TRESemme 24 Hour Body Amplifying Mousse.


When I want even more texture, I use VO5’s seriously good Give Me Texture Dry Texturising Spray. Another great smelling product, I suppose it sort of acts like dry shampoo texture-wise. It gives me (and you too probably) that really sexy bedhead look, without looking like you’ve actually only just woken up.


Other notable products include the Beauty Editor favourite – Bumble and bumble’s Surf Spray – however, I find if I use this every day my hair gets a bit crispy. Not a fan of that look. So it’s a once in while whenever I fancy it and see it nestling in the back of my drawer sort of product.


So while my quest for permanent glossy thick locks continues, in the meantime, on a day to day basis I’ll continue using my Serioxyl shampoo and conditioner, and finish with a dollop of bog standard mousse. How do you get the hair of your dreams?

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.

Betsy Loves, Culture

Love to Read? – September’s Book Picks

I adore a good book, and this winter, it looks like I’ve got a cracking selection to plough through. Here are my top picks for September:


The Monogram Murders – Sophie Hannah

Released September 9

I’m really dubious about this, but I have to read it anyway.


The new Hercule Poirot novel – another brilliant murder mystery that can only be solved by the eponymous Belgian detective and his ‘little grey cells’.

Since the publication of her first book in 1920, Agatha Christie wrote 33 novels, two plays and more than 50 short stories featuring Hercule Poirot. Now, for the first time ever, the guardians of her legacy have approved a brand new novel featuring Dame Agatha’s most beloved creation.

Hercule Poirot’s quiet supper in a London coffee house is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified, but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done.

Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at the fashionable Bloxham Hotel have been murdered, a cufflink placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim…

In the hands of internationally bestselling author Sophie Hannah, Poirot plunges into a mystery set in 1920s London – a diabolically clever puzzle that can only be solved by the talented Belgian detective and his ‘little grey cells’.


En Brogue: Love Fashion. Love Shoes. Hate Heels – Hannah Rochell

Released September 11

Hannah is Features Editor at InStyle and, as the title of the book suggests, hates heels. I couldn’t agree more.


Do you know the difference between a derby and an Oxford? Tassel loafers or penny loafers? Do you know why brogues have holes in them? From brogues to boots, pumps to penny loafers, slippers to sandals, En Brogue honours forty styles of shoes with beautiful hand drawn illustrations, quirky photographs and fascinating facts about the history of our favourite flats. En Brogue dips a (well-clad) toe into the world of fashion, and will get everyone sharing their love of comfy, chic and stylish flat shoes! This book will make the perfect gift for all your friends and you’ll be hoping to find a copy in your own Christmas stocking.


The Taxidermist’s Daughter – Kate Moss

Released September 11

I’ve loved all of her other books. I don’t need another reason!


Sussex, 1912.

In a churchyard, villagers gather on the night when the ghosts of those who will die in the coming year are thought to walk. Here, where the estuary leads out to the sea, superstitions still hold sway.

Standing alone is the taxidermist’s daughter. At twenty-two, Constantia Gifford lives with her father in a decaying house: it contains all that is left of Gifford’s once world-famous museum of taxidermy. The stuffed birds that used to grace every parlour are out of fashion, leaving Gifford a disgraced and bitter man. The string of events that led to the museum’s closure are never spoken of and an accident has robbed Connie of any memory of those days.

The bell begins to toll and all eyes are fixed on the church. No one sees the gloved hands holding a garotte. As the last notes fade into the dark, a woman lies dead.

While the village braces itself against rising waters and the highest tide of the season, Connie struggles to discover who is responsible – and why the incident is causing memories to surface from her own vanished years. Does she know the figure she sees watching from the marshes? Who is the mysterious caller that leaves a note without being seen? And what is the secret that lies at the heart of Blackthorn House, hidden among the bell jars of her father’s workshop?

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The Sunrise – Victoria Hislop

Released September 25

I really loved Victoria’s The Island, I quite enjoyed The Return and that’s enough for me to give this latest offering a try.


In the summer of 1972, Famagusta in Cyprus is the most desirable resort in the Mediterranean, a city bathed in the glow of good fortune. An ambitious couple are about to open the island’s most spectacular hotel, where Greek and Turkish Cypriots work in harmony. Two neighbouring families, the Georgious and the Özkans, are among many who moved to Famagusta to escape the years of unrest and ethnic violence elsewhere on the island. But beneath the city’s façade of glamour and success, tension is building.

When a Greek coup plunges the island into chaos, Cyprus faces a disastrous conflict. Turkey invades to protect the Turkish Cypriot minority, and Famagusta is shelled. Forty thousand people seize their most precious possessions and flee from the advancing soldiers. In the deserted city, just two families remain. This is their story.

Pretty Honest. The Straight-Talking Beauty Companion – Sali Hughes
Released September 25
I read her Guardian column and tend to listen when she recommends something so this is also one for the basket.

A witty, wise and truthful beauty handbook for real women on what works in real life from Sali Hughes, beloved journalist and broadcaster.

Beauty books. Exquisite coffee-table affairs featuring improbably beautiful models with wholly-unachievable-to-most women looks, product review-heavy volumes which become almost instantly outdated, or tracts of holistic mumbo jumbo, like how to make an unproven face pack from organic molasses and rough-hewn porridge oats. Not anymore. In Pretty Honest, Sali Hughes draws on over 20 years of wisdom, advice and expertise to show real women how to make the most of makeup’s physically and emotionally transformative powers. Covering everything from teenage skin to mature beauty, botox to bridal make-up, sickness to good health, it’s a work that is part instruction manual, part love letter to makeup – in a writing style that combines beauty editor, feminist and painfully funny best friend.



Not That Kind of Girl – Lena Dunham

Released September 30

Even though she makes me feel incredibly inadequate (she’s my age), I’m sort of fascinated by the ‘Lena Dunham’ cult that’s arisen over the last few years.


Lena Dunham, acclaimed writer-director-star of HBO and Sky Atlantic’s ‘Girls’ and the award-winning movie ‘Tiny Furniture’, displays her unique powers of observation, wisdom and humour in this exceptional collection of essays.

“If I could take what I’ve learned and make one menial job easier for you, or prevent you from having the kind of sex where you feel you must keep your sneakers on in case you want to run away during the act, then every misstep of mine was worthwhile. I’m already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you, but also my future glory in having stopped you from trying an expensive juice cleanse or thinking that it was your fault when the person you are dating suddenly backs away, intimidated by the clarity of your personal mission here on earth. No, I am not a sexpert, a psychologist, or a dietician. I am not a mother of three or the owner of a successful hosiery franchise. But I am a girl with a keen interest in having it all, and what follows are hopeful dispatches from the frontlines of that struggle.”



The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher – Hilary Mantel

Released September 30

I just love the title. It’s pretty ballsy!


A brilliant – and rather transgressive – collection of short stories from the double Man Booker Prize-winning author of ‘Wolf Hall’ and ‘Bring Up the Bodies’.

Hilary Mantel is one of Britain’s most accomplished and acclaimed writers. In these ten bracingly subversive tales, all her gifts of characterisation and observation are fully engaged, summoning forth the horrors so often concealed behind everyday façades. Childhood cruelty is played out behind the bushes in ‘Comma’; nurses clash in ‘Harley Street’ over something more than professional differences; and in the title story, staying in for the plumber turns into an ambiguous and potentially deadly waiting game.

Whether set in a claustrophobic Saudi Arabian flat or on a precarious mountain road in Greece, these stories share an insight into the darkest recesses of the spirit. Displaying all of Mantel’s unmistakable style and wit, they reveal a great writer at the peak of her powers.