A simple look isn’t as easy as you think

Simplicity. That is what this look from Valentino AW21 embodies. Except there is a lot more going on than you would assume. That said, it is not impossible to achieve. A finely milled face powder that gives you a matt finish without deadening the skin is essential. Brows need a clear gel run through them (or you can cheat with a microblading or a brow-laminating treatment for a fuller fluffier look). A little highlighter wouldn’t go amiss in the corner of the eyes and along the nose. And then, the pièce de résistance, a winged eye. A modern party look if ever there was one.

  1. Laura Mercier Light Catcher Setting Powder £33.50, lookfantastic.com
  2. Too Faced Better Than Sex Eyeliner £18, boots.com
  3. Eyeko Brow Gel £18, eyeko.com
  4. Hermès Poudre D’orfèvre Face and Eyes Illuminating Powder £75, hermes.com
  5. Trish McEvoy 24-Hour Shadow & Liner Pen £24, selfridges.com

I can’t do without… A facial massage and treatment to revive skin
At social occasions, people, even those I know well, always want to have long conversations with me about beauty. It’s not so much a ‘conversation’ as it is a Q and A where they do all the questioning (what’s the best type of sunscreen?) and I do all the answering (anything that doesn’t leave you chalky, sits well with makeup and won’t clog your pores or the environment). I recently attended a dinner where, for once, I came away with someone else’s recommendation: Sophie Carbonari. This Parisian facialist is the secret weapon of fashion’s glitterati and models. Unsurprisingly, it is notoriously difficult to get an appointment with her. Fortunately for me, though Sophie is primarily based in Paris, she now comes to London every month and recently had a last-minute cancellation. There is no menu or list of facials presented. You simply go in and she looks at your skin in a very kind, upbeat, non judgmental way; which is just as well as my skin – following a punishing work schedule and minimal sleep – was not in the rudest health. While she does all the usual things you should expect in a facial – a deep cleanse to unclog pores, a mask to loosen debris, resurfacing and brighten – the magic really lies in her incredible deep massage technique. It makes a slightly disconcerting clicking sound – she is basically smoothing out the tension in your face – but it wakes up the skin so that everything – lymphatic drainage, collagen production, circulation – begins working much better. Your now tension-free face looks less angry and your skin looks clearer, healthier and less dead. Weeks later, I can still see the benefits. The downside is trying to get another appointment. It’s not cheap but it’s a waiting list worth getting on. Facial with Sophie Carbonari, from £300. sophiecarbonari.com

On my radar… Balm by name and nature – potions to soothe
Clean and clear This balm-to-oil cleanser is brilliant for oilier skin tones – not only does it get rid of clear dirt, SPF and makeup, it hydrates, helps reduce sebum production and loosens blackheads. Alpha H Melting Moments Cleansing Balm, £34.95, cultbeauty.co.uk

Moisturing mango Blending aromatherapy with African botanicals (the name derives from the Yoruba word for ‘moisture’) this is enriched with cocoa and mango seed butter to hydrate. Liha Orinrin Cleansing Balm, £32, lihabeauty.com

Bobbi’s balm While this brand is famed for its makeup, the skincare products are also worth trying. This orange oil- infused balm lifts dirt and debris from skin, smells incredible and is also refillable. Bobbi Brown Extra Balm Rinse, £35, bobbibrown.co.uk