Rachel Fiddes, an amazing beauty journalist who has written for the likes of Vogue, Glamour, Elle, Daily Mail and In Style, and is a regular contributor to Independent.co.uk, is joining Wear & Where as Beauty Editor.
To say that Natasha and I are beyond thrilled would be putting it lightly. Not only has Rachel years of invaluable experience (we all met at In Style many moons ago), but she’s also one of the loveliest and most respected people in the industry. As a mother of three young children, she knows exactly what it’s like to love beauty, but be tired, time-poor and unable to indulge yourself as much as you wish and need to. From July, Rachel will be writing her new monthly Beauty Insider column for Wear & Where, bringing you (and us) up-to-date with the latest products, classic must-haves, amazing treatments and brilliant tips from the beauty world.
To make the most of Rachel’s knowledge, we have created a whole new Beauty section featuring our beauty-related interviews, make-up tips, product reviews and of course, Rachel’s fantastic new column. As a Beauty Editor, Rachel has spent years fine-tuning her skincare and make-up routines and so we thought that the best way to introduce her would be to quiz her about what she uses day-in, day-out – and the products that she’s tried and fallen in love with over the years that make up her essential Beauty Uniform. Get ready to be inspired..
Have you always loved beauty?
Yes, yes yes! I used to cut out magazine articles and pictures when I was little and put together folders of features about make-up, skincare, fragrance and hair styling. My mum has used pretty much nothing but soap and water all her life, so I’ve no idea where I got it from!
Please can you tell me a bit about how you started being a beauty journalist and who you’ve written for?
I wrote to all my favourite magazines while in my second year at university doing English Literature, to ask for work experience and got one placement – it was Vogue! I worked for them in the summer holidays before my final year and they asked me to get back in touch when I graduated, and offered me a job two months after I left university. I started working on GQ Active, which was the sporty spin off to GQ, then moved to Vogue after that. I later went freelance and have written for Glamour, InStyle, Elle, Now, The Daily Mail, The Independent and independent.co.uk.
Is your ‘look’ something that you’ve had for years or do you update it regularly?
I wouldn’t say I have a look – I hardly wear any make-up! But if I am wearing make-up it’s a simple swirl of translucent pressed powder, a strong kohl and mascara eye, a pop of colour on the cheeks with a hot pink blush, and a pale glossy lip. For more than 15 years I’ve been trying to find a matte red lipstick that suits me, the hunt is still on. So for now it’s a pale glossy lip.
Are you trend-led at all when it comes to hair, beauty and skincare?
No not at all! I write about trends in beauty, hair and skincare, but I’ve worked out over the years what suits me and I stick to it. Having said that I love seasonal nail polish shades – neon, coral and navy blue are my current favourites. I get totally over-excited about trail-blazing innovations in skincare. And I’ve had my hair almost every colour, length and style over the years.
As a busy mum who loves beauty, do you find it hard to find time to dedicate to yourself or do you just ‘make’ the time because it makes you feel better?
I always look my worst at the school gates – getting three noisy, crazy children ready for school for 8.30am, leaves me zero time for hair or make-up. I prefer to get an extra 20 minutes sleep! If I’m feeling super energised and get up early then I might manage a slick of mascara and gloss and a fast blow dry. But mainly, it’s a big pair of sunglasses in summer and a beanie hat in winter to hide the lack of hair and make-up effort in the morning!
What skincare products to you swear by?
Elemis is pretty much unbeatable for my skin and I swear by Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream for day, Pro-Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream and Pro-Collagen Eye Renewal. I’m currently using the new Elemis Pro Intense Lift Effect Night Cream and Eye and Lip Contour Cream, which are superb. I do have to try lots of other brands in order to do my job, but nothing makes my skin glow like Elemis. I also swear by their Skin Bliss capsules every 6 months, particularly when the season changes and my skin needs an extra boost.
I have recently discovered an amazing new British brand Oskia, and their Bedtime Beauty Boost is out of this world. The morning after using this night cream, my skin is heavenly – all peachy and plumped up. About 6 months ago I started using a toner that doesn’t strip or dry out my skin, it just leaves it super soft and nourished – Nars Multi-Action Hydrating Toner, it’s the best I’ve ever found. I also use Botanics Organic Softening Cleanser (which takes off even the most stubborn waterproof mascara), and for an overnight treat Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Facial.
What’s your daily skincare routine?
I always cleanse, tone and moisturise morning and night – no matter what time I fall into bed, make-up comes off. I also use a serum under my moisturiser in the day – Elemis Pro Collagen Quartz Lift Serum is incredible – and an oil under my moisturiser at night. My two favourites are Oskia Restoration Oil and Bobbi Brown Extra Face Oil. And I always follow with an eye cream – laughter lines I love you, but I’d just like them softened a little! I’m using Chantecaille Nano Gold Energizing Eye Cream at the moment, which is terrifyingly expensive, but the results are extraordinary.
Do you have regular facials? If so, why do you think these are important and who can you recommend?
Before becoming a mum I was constantly reviewing salons and new beauty treatments, but finding the time when you’re a full-time stay-at-home mum is virtually impossible. A few years ago I discovered a wonderful little spa in a hotel on the Suffolk coast where we holiday with the in-laws. The owner, Natural Health Practitioner Tanya Bradbury (Priya Spa 07779 583123, The Swan Hotel, Southwold) is an undiscovered beauty genius. Her Dr Hauschka facials and aromatherapy and ayurvedic massages are definitely some of the best in the business. So every school holiday when we’re at the beach I disappear off for a couple of hours to have a tiny bit of much needed beauty pampering.
In the summer, do you add sunscreen to the mix or do you use this all year-round?
I think the skin benefits hugely from a little sunshine on it and sunscreen 52 weeks a year is too much for my pores. But I always use it on sunny days and on the beach – and nothing less than SPF30 all over. I’ve recently started using Ole Henriksen Protect the Truth SPF50, which is fantastic on the face – not a clogged pore in sight! And Lancome Soleil Bronzer SPF30 on the body. For the kids new Soltan Dry Touch is brilliant – it’s sand resistant, so they don’t get sticky and covered in sand as soon as you put it on.
How important is ‘skin’ to your look?
Skin is hugely important to my look, mainly because I just don’t have the inclination to apply make-up every day and if my skin is bright and glowy, I can just about get away with a bare face! I really like skin to breathe and look real and I prefer the glow and slight shine of nude skin. Charlotte Tilbury, one of my favourite make-up artists, has launched her own range of incredible products to help you get that natural glow. Her Magic Cream is a moisturiser that treats and transforms skin and her Wonder Glow gives you a a lit-from-within, radiant flawless finish – something us busy mums struggle with! So when the glow doesn’t come naturally, I use one of those.
Do you use foundation, bb cream or concealer?
I don’t use foundation, but I might occasionally wear Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser, or a swirl of Bourjois Healthy Balance Matt Finish and Natural Healthy Glow translucent powder to take the shine off in summer. In winter I sometimes wear Chantecaille Compact Make-up in Shell for slightly more coverage.
Do you have any tips for hiding dark circles or blemishes?
Rather than hiding dark circles and blemishes, which is actually quite hard to get right, drink drink drink more water and try your hardest to get more sleep. No matter how expensive your skincare and how beautifully you apply make-up, dehydrated and tired skin will always look dull. I’m so guilty of staying up finishing a feature way past my bedtime and I have to remind myself that three little rascals will be jumping on my bed at 6.30am or earlier! But if all else fails, This Works Perfect Eyes Recovery Cream is amazing for cooling, reviving and brightening tired eyes, plus treating dark circles, not just covering them up.
Do you use blush or bronzer?
I don’t use bronzer, I prefer a little sunbathe to get some colour, but in winter when I’m pale I love blusher. I like a creamy finger-dipping pot of something hot pink on the apples, blended over the cheekbones and up to the temples, for a brisk walk-by-the-sea rosy cheek look. Nothing makes you look more polished than beautifully applied blush. I’ve used Stila Convertible Colour in Petunia for years – it’s pretty much my perfect pink. But have recently discovered Clinique Cheek Pop in Berry Pop, and Butter London Cheeky Cream Blush in Pistol Pink, which are both fabulous and so easy to apply.
What do you use on your eyes?
I love a strong smokey eye, which I only discovered about 5 years ago. My eyes are light, so a strong black around them makes them really pop. I run MAC Eye Kohl in Smoulder along the inner rim under the top and bottom lashes and join up in both the outer and inner corners. And then lashings of mascara – always blackest black. I’m currently using Seventeen Back Lash, which is absolutely brilliant and inexpensive – go cheap and replace often, is my tip for mascara. Then I either use Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in Skinny Jeans – a beautiful slightly metallic gun-metal grey, or Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Eye Palette in The Rock Chick – 4 shades coded to take you from a soft smokey day eye, to a full-on night eye, in shimmery greys and taupes.
If I’m wearing a full-on smokey eye, then a little swish of highlighter just under the arch of my brow bone really lifts and widens the eye. Benefit High Brow does the trick.
And what do you wear on your lips?
I’m a pale glossy lips fan, which I know is not at all this season, it’s all about the matte lip – but I just can’t get my head around matte lippie. I love the youthfulness, sheen and pillowy pout that you get from a gloss and my favourite has always been the Lancome Juicy Tube Plump in Raspberry Sorbet, which I think has been discontinued recently – the Juicy Tube Pop in Candy is a good substitute though. I also wear Chantecaille Brilliant Gloss in Lucky, or fresh minty Origins Drink Up in Pink Guava – a hybrid lip balm and gloss. The new Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Grandest Guava is brand new and brilliant for lining the lips and keeping gloss in place.
Do you get regular manicures?
I never have manicures – they’re just wasted on me. Three kids (two of them boys) and I’m constantly digging for worms, building things out of bits of wood, or climbing over fences to retrieve balls, pretty nails would be ruined in less than 24 hours. I will still spend out on a pedicure, as they last longer when done professionally, and it’s so lovely to be forced to just sit and read a magazine for an hour! I love Nails Inc pedicures and their fashion forward colours. Thea Green who founded Nails Inc was a fashion editor in the same building I used to work in and our paths crossed many years ago, and with a background in fashion, her shades are always bang on trend.
My hair is the bane of my life. It’s fine and mousy, so needs a lot of work to look half-way decent. I have regular trims to keep the ends blunt and heavy and highlights to brighten it up (and cover the grey I’ve discovered has appeared since having baby number 3!). My hair throws out loads of red and can look very yellow and brassy with highlights, so I go for exceptionally cool ash tones – and it’s rare to find a hairdresser that can get it the cool-toned shade I like. But I have recently discovered an amazing colourist at an Aveda salon out of London who works some serious magic with her highlights – best blonde I think I’ve ever been (Jeanette Burrows at Eden Hair in Bishops Stortford – 01279 758050). I use Color WOW Color Security Shampoo and Conditioner – deeply conditioning but specifically for fine hair so doesn’t weigh it down at all. A real find in a conditioner! And every week or so I use Lee Stafford Bleach Blondes Shampoo – a bright purple shampoo that knocks out any yellow brassiness to keep the blonde ashy creamy and cool. I swear by Aveda Dry Remedy Daily Moisturising Oil – 2 or 3 drops on brittle dry ends each day, and once a week I smother my hair in it at bedtime and wake up with lustrous nourished locks. Fine hair is so tricky to blow dry and retain any bounce, but Lee Stafford Breaking Hair Detangling Spray has revolutionised my blow dry – faster and easier to dry and it holds so much more body for longer.
After 30 we should exfoliate twice a week, but realistically it’s only when I realise how rough my skin feels that I actually get down to business! I use Caudalie Crushed Cabernet Scrub in the shower, followed by REN Moroccan Rose Otto Body Lotion or Emma Hardie’s Amazing Face Super Rich Body Butter. Emma is an incredible beauty expert, she has a clinic in Mayfair and her body cream is out of this world. At night I use a body oil, either Neal’s Yard Remedies Detox Toning Oil or Mio The Activist Firming Active Body Oil (I used their pregnancy range Mama Mio Tummy Rub oil in all three pregnancies and amazingly came out the other side with no stretch marks – so they know what they’re doing when it comes to their oil blends!).
I went off fragrance when I was pregnant with my first baby and then had two more in quick succession so I got out of the habit of wearing scent every day. But, if I’m going out I’ll always have a spritz. I’ve worn Narciso Rodriguez for Her and Stella by Stella McCartney for years now – they’re beautifully rich and heady. But for summer I love a citrus-based scent and Jo Malone’s are my absolute favourite. Lime, Basil & Mandarin and simple Grapefruit are two of the best zesty scents I’ve ever found.
Finally, as a beauty insider, are there any new types of product or brand coming on to the market that we should be aware of?
I’m really interested in new formulas in make-up that treat the skin at the same time, for example Charlotte Tilbury‘s range. Also look out for Oskia, Orico, Estelle & Thild and Skyn Iceland – four beautiful new niche brands that have some exceptional skincare products in their ranges. And finally, Aromatherapy Associates are the best in the business for oil blends – Deep Relax Balm and Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil are what keep me sane and chilled with three kids around. Their founder, aromatherapist extraordinaire Geraldine Howard, has launched a new inexpensive range in Sainsburys called Aroma Actives. Like a little sister to Aromatherapy Associates, its price is attainable, but it hasn’t compromised on the natural active ingredients and essential oils. A brilliant high street version of Aromatherapy Associates.
Thank you Rachel! Can’t wait to read your first Beauty Insider column in July!