Make-up as medicine

Bobbi Brown BronzerIt’s been a Lemsip Max-and-tissues weekend, coinciding with my (lovely) mother-in-law’s pre-Christmas visit. Hence, I couldn’t face squeezing into the body-shapers mentioned last Friday, but watch this (tight) space. Whilst spluttering into gear, I’m more grateful than ever for that nonstopmama beauty staple, a great bronzing powder. Genius for cheating a livelier look, Bobbi Brown’s original Bronzing Powder (those by Maybelline New York and Bourjois are fab, too) comes in a choice of five, natural-looking tones. I go a shade darker than I probably should – Medium, whereas Pastier-than-pasty is more like it. (Read more.)

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Alice Hart-Davis Interview

Alice Hart DavisNonstopmama confession time: my earliest experiments with make-up involved sneaking the Abba-blue and emerald green eyeshadows from my Girl’s World hair and make-up doll and applying it on myself (nice). Later, advice came courtesy of my older, impossibly glamorous cousin’s Jackie annuals. Today, thank goodness, help is at hand in the form of  age-targeted beauty books which mamas and daughters can share, such as Be Beautiful: Every Girl’s Guide To Hair, Skin & Make-Up, by award-winning journalist Alice Hart-Davies and her daughter, Molly. Alice, who writes regularly for The Daily Telegraph and the Evening Standard, is passionate about making those first forays into make-up, skincare et al about enhancing a teen’s natural beauty and, equally important, having a great time in the process. The book covers teen-specific skincare, hair styling and less-is-more make-up tips – whilst showing older girls how to approach stronger looks – to what makes beauty products ‘green’ and healthy eating. Refreshingly, Be Beautiful features Molly and her friends, rather than models, which only adds to its real, fun spirit.

As a mother, was it important to you to produce a book that encourages teens to make beauty all about enhancing their looks, rather than feeling their face has to ‘fit’ a certain look?

Yes, absolutely! Young girls are all terribly keen to have a go with make-up and it’s a really tricky area because most of the time, they need no enhancement whatsoever and even a small amount of make-up can completely wrong. But if you tell them that, they roll their eyes and say that you, like, SO don’t get it. What I’d love to encourage girls to realise is that the only real trick when it comes to make-up is that it should be a minor enhancement, a confidence-booster if you like, because we all feel better about ourselves if we think we look good. But that aspect of it tends to get lost in the rush to have smoky eyes like all the models in the magazines. It’s one of the most difficult things to learn about growing up; that there is no need to fit into any mould – the best thing of all is to be yourself. (Read more.)

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Alice Hart-Davis’ Be Beautiful Giveaway

Alice Hart-Davis' Be BeautifulSorry, this giveaway closed at midnight 6 December, 2009.

Interviewed on nonstopmama, award-winning beauty journalist Alice Hart-Davis wrote Be Beautiful: Every Girl’s Guide To Hair, Skin & Make-Up with her daughter, Molly.

Alice says: ‘When my daughter Molly started asking me about everything from moisturisers to mascara and whether she should shave her legs, it wasn’t too hard to give her answers. My job is writing about beauty and health, and over the years, I have worked out what works best. One question led to another: how to deal with spots, how to blow-dry hair, how to choose the right things to eat … When we put them all together, this book began to emerge. Be Beautiful is about getting to grips with the basics of skincare and discovering the fun of make-up. It’s also about learning to do all this in a way that isn’t going to cost the earth – and that’s not too grown-up. As Molly puts it, ‘If you look good, you feel good. And isn’t that what we all want?’

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New Look Sparkly DressIn a moment of suddenly-it’s-party-season madness (we blame temporary sequin dazzle), nonstopmama dived into New Look to try on this dress (£35). Surprisingly forgiving length (with trusty black opaques), yet, while fully lined, a little more help required in the ‘mummy tummy’ region. Now on a mission to test the latest, state-of-the-art ‘body shaping’ (as in mama lumps-and-bumps-smoothing) kit, courtesy of Spanx and M&S. Will report back next week, and try not to cut off my circulation in the process …

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Cup of comfort

Cath Kidston Star Crush MugSo little Zzzz, so much tea needed today (poorly boy, mummy on floor with mysteriously deflating airbed). A good mug makes stoking-up all the more therapeutic. Scoring full marks for cradle-ability and all-important depth – at times like this, we’re looking for that bottomless-well-of-caffeine feel – Cath Kidston’s Star Crush Mug scores full marks. And it would make the perfect Secret Santa treat …

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    Jenni Baden HowardA daily one-stop bloggy shot of busy mama beauty, fashion, fitness, food and family, edited by Jenni Baden Howard. More.

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