It’s a welcome back for our Beauty Uniform today. Alex and I were chatting about this, and we realised that – much as we love asking industry insiders about their beauty know-how – on a day-to-day basis, it’s our friends we turn to for beauty tips: how do you get your skin looking that good? How on earth are your limbs that silky-smooth? What’s the elixir of youth? That kind of thing.
With this in mind, I knew exactly who I wanted to ask/badger into revealing her secrets: my friend Camilla Marsh. We become friends when she and her husband Tom moved opposite us (we won the neighbour lottery that day) – and then she had her gorgeous little girl, Matilda, not long after I had my little boy. So, much of my maternity leave was spent hanging out with these two girls – and not once have I seen Camilla look less than immaculate. Part of this is innate (I’ve seen her mum – ditto on the immaculate front); part of it is down to her being lovely on the inside, too (it definitely counts); and part of it is her job. Camilla has worked for two of the biggest beauty brands in the world). As I suspected, her advice is brilliant. Read on to discover her secrets – including the one product she recommends that everyone falls in love with…
“Growing up, I was surrounded by beautiful women – my gorgeous mum and two stunning younger sisters. My mum ultimately wanted us, first and foremost, to focus on making ourselves beautiful on the inside. That was her priority as a mother, and I want to instil this same message into my daughter. She also wanted us to be comfortable in our own skin and she understood the power of make-up – and always tried to show us how to highlight our best features, rather than hide our true self. She is a natural beauty and a true inspiration!
As a teenager I suffered with acne, and although it was mainly on my back as opposed to face, it made me very self-conscious about my skin. This – teamed with a mother who tried to encourage me to adopt a more natural look – led to me rebelling and covering my face in inch-thick orange foundation through my late teens. It was only when a friend at university pointed out that I left face marks on his phone that I started to question my approach to makeup and beauty as a whole.
As I moved through my jobs over the years, I have seen the transformative power of good skincare products, which has led me to a regime that gives me glowing, healthy skin. (Most of the time!) Naturally, there is a lot of scepticism around the promises made by skincare products, so I think consequently one’s relationship with skincare has to be built up over a long period, where results are consistent and long lasting.
I see the latest skin care products before they hit the market and it is very tempting to want to try everything, but I strongly believe that you will only see results when you start tailoring your skincare routine to your individual needs and focusing on your biggest concerns. It has taken me years to find a solution to my combination skin, occasional rosacea and acne, plus hyper-sensitivity. It would confound most people, but I’ve found my dream products and now I never sway!
Cleansing: It is so vital to clean, clean, clean – especially if, like me, you’re a city dweller. For years I used wipes all over, but they turned out to be a culprit for my rosacea, so now I only use them to remove eye makeup. I am a huge fan on Johnson’s Face Care Refreshing Facial Cleansing Wipes: they’re really moist so you don’t need to scrub and they smell gorgeous. Having ditched the use of wipes on the rest of my face, I use pads and these clever little capsules – La Roche Posay Toleriane Eye Make up Remover – to get rid of my makeup and then the Physiological Cleansing Gel by the same brand to wash my face with.
Moisturising: Vichy Normaderm Hydrating Care has a lovely cooling feeling, and keeps oil, pores and spots at bay. It is hypoallergenic and non comedogenic so it’s really gentle on my skin. I am hugely disloyal with eye creams and serums, but my mum and all her friends swear by Lancôme Visionnaire Serum as their weapon of choice against wrinkles and bags!
For the occasional skincare treat (rapidly becoming less occasional since becoming a mum!) – I love a face mask every couple of weeks to give my skin a deep cleanse. Lancôme Hydra Intense Hydrating Gel Mask leaves your skin feeling really smooth and plump. Also after a dry winter’s day, I use Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Daily Youth Restoring Serum Capsules which leaves my skin feeling hydrated.
I am religious about moisturising my legs daily after the shower. I slather on Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Balm. I then spritz on L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Nourishing Body Oil. It gives your legs a beautiful shine and there is not a person I have recommended it to who isn’t a covert.
I am – not a word of a lie – excited by make-up on a daily basis. I find it really intriguing: the way it can subtlety draw attention to your best features; make a statement; amplify your personality; cover up things you don’t want people to see; make you feel more confident… I’m very aware of the flip side: it would be naive not to be wonder if the increasingly early use of makeup has an impact on girls’ inner confidence. But however you view it and use it, I do believe that it is a positive tool to express yourself as you chose.
My personal look is very similar day to night – I just make the eyes a little more smokey and I’m ready to hit the tiles!
Everything starts with YSL Touche Éclat – it really is a wonder product. I have long been a huge fan of Teint Resist by the same brand. It literally does not budge once you put it on and delivers a lovely matt finish (and there’s a great palette of colours). I have recently changed my foundation for the first time in years in the quest for a lighter product for summer that still delivers on the durability test. My disloyalty was rewarded when I found Vichy Dermablend Fluid Corrective Foundation in Sand. It has a SPF35 factor and is non-comedogenic – so it’s gentle on my sensitive skin, but has real staying power. I add a dusting of Vichy Dermablend Setting Powder to reduce any shine. Next up, Lancôme Face Statement Blush Subtil in Rose Sable which gives a subtle touch of colour to my cheeks.
I am a strong believer that you must abide by the short skirt/low top rule and play up either your eyes or your lips – choose one! I am allergic to lip products so it is all about the eyes for me. Urban Decay Naked Palettes are the best in the business with beautiful beige, metallic and smokey colours. The white shadows are great to help create a wider eye. I then use Bobbi Brown Shadow Stick in Golden Bronze as a smudgy eye liner for the day and the darker Bark shade for the evening. YSL Mascara Volume Effect Faux Cils is my top choice for a beautiful lengthening and volumising mascara.
My favourite application tip is to use an old mascara for bottom eyelashes: it gives a touch of colour without depositing makeup on your skin. And use white eyeshadow on the outers of your eyelid, right up to your eyebrows, to widen your eye.
The only product I have ever worn on my lips without a reaction are Burt Bees Lip Shimmers. They give a delicate touch of colour and really help moisturise. I literally have all 6 shades.
I – like probably every woman in the world – am obsessed with my hair. Having spent my twenties growing it long, I now have a very high maintenance routine! I have the most amazing hairdresser who I visit every 6-8 weeks without fail. For the past few years, I have worked a platinum highlighted look, which was so hard to maintain given my natural brunette roots. Since becoming a mother, I have had a real desire to be closer to the natural version of me, so have had the colour toned down to a more honey shade.
I either use Redken Colour Extend Magnetics Shampoo with Extreme Conditioner or Pureology Strength Cure shampoo and conditioner. Both brands deliver on colour care and strengthening properties to the hair. Every two weeks I use Kerastase UV Defence mask treatment.
Before I blow dry, I apply Kerastase Resistance Ciment Thermique Reinforcing Milk. It smells amazing and protects my hair from heat damage. We need all the help we can get against our frizz-inducing weather and L’Oreal Proffesional Tecni-Art Fix Anti Frizz has holding power.
When you wash your hair, don’t rinse your conditioner out altogether, a tiny bit left in helps the hair. Plus towel dry for as long as possible – styling tools are the enemy! Use a ‘stripping shampoo’ such as Redken Hair Cleansing Cream to reduce product build up, once a month.
I own over 30 perfumes at any one time. I love changing my fragrance, depending on my mood. A particular smell can bring back floods of memories, quicker than a photo. For my wedding day, I visited the Guerlain boutique on the Champs Elysees to pick a perfume that will always remind me of the day. I chose Herba Fresca – it smells of cut grass on a summer day with almost a hint of sweet mint – gorgeous. For a night out, Hermes Elixir Des Merveilles is a winner. I have no idea why, but I receive so many compliments when I wear this one, not least from my husband! For an everyday scent, I like fresh scents, so I am currently flitting between Elie Saab Resort Collection, Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio and Annick Goutal Nuit Etoilee.
And to my daughter…
I want Tilly to grow up knowing that the most important thing is to be happy in yourself and secure in who you are, inside and out. I want her to know that she should take care of and have pride in herself and her appearance, but for this not to tip the scales into covering up who she really is or for her to develop insecurities by comparing herself to others. I’m very aware I need to lead by example and that this is hard working in the industry that I do, but my daughter’s happiness is my number one priority, so I will do everything I can to set a good example. With the constant onslaught of picture perfect social media images, I think this is a tougher ask than it was for my generation. However I think if we teach our children to focus their time and energy on others, rather than engage with the meaningless game of comparison on social media, then hopefully they will be more resilient, compassionate and secure.