The fabulously-named Nicola de Burlet is one of my favourite beauty insiders. Head of PR at Kenneth Green Associates, she is all enthusiasm and charm. She has nearly twenty years’ experience working with big name brands – you might just have heard of some of them: Chanel, Hermes, Jimmy Choo, Terry de Gunzburg, Balmain,Oscar de la Renta, Givenchy… In short, there is nothing she doesn’t know about beauty and fragrance. Plus she is seriously glamorous with envy-inducing skin. Last time we met, I found myself scrutinising her complexion, thinking, “She has a full-on, high-powered job, a son and two step-sons. How in heaven’s name does she do it?” Finally, I now have a chance to find out…
“I have to admit my first love was fashion – pouring over copies of my mum’s Vogue. I wanted to be Ines de la Fressange on the Chanel catwalk.”
Working later on in the fashion and beauty press teams at Chanel in Paris was like a dream come true for me, not to mention teaching me a lot about style and the French chic! As a result of my job, I spend a lot of time on shoots with stylists and make up artists. I am always asking them what their top must-have product is. When I came back to London I worked at Givenchy and fell in love with their vintage scents from the 1950s. I now work with over 25 luxury fragrance brands at Kenneth Green and am obsessed with smell! Ever since I was little my mother laughed at me as I am forever sticking my nose into things to see how they smell.
“Having a child makes you wonder what you did with your time before children –the mornings were so much more relaxed back then and you could spend a full 40mins on your eyeliner if you wanted to.”
Now I need fast, efficient and hard working products (like me!). I may have less time but there are some things I never compromise on and I always always cleanse tone and moisturise (morning and night) and I always use serums by La Prairie in the day and a good facial oil at night (Clarins) . My view is that if you look after the canvas, less paint is needed on the top! Guerlain’s Midnight Secret is a must and can really transform tired skin – I always give a bottle of this to friends who have recently had kids. Moisturisers – I love the Dr Sebagh products – his night cream is wonderful. Every now and again I will go to bed with a healthy lashing of Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream, my husband hates the smell, but now they do an odourless one! One thing that has speeded up my evening routine no end is my Clarisonic Cleanser (from £125)– no more soggy cotton wool pads everywhere and much cleaner skin.
“My skincare secret…”
I learnt whilst living in France, always have a facial at the turn of the season and I still do it now, when I can. I love Guinot facials otherwise Bliss are amazing, the Triple Oxygen Facial with foot massage is a huge treat.
“My make-up routine has to be quick, give good results and be long lasting”
Primers are a must (perfecting that blank canvas) and I use the make up forever one which has a SPF 50, I am trying to protect my face from the sun at all times. Then a quick sweep of mineral powder foundation (Bare Minerals) and a pale pink blusher (Chantecaille do a great one).
I learnt from make up artists that a good brow is very important, it frames the face. I get mine threaded, the result is a cleaner line – you can always pencil them in afterwards for a perfect look. By Terry do the softest khol pencils, there is nothing worse than a hard scratchy pencil. I use a bronze one, Laura Mercier also do a nice one called Black Gold, and I much prefer cream eyeshadows as they are more long lasting. I finish off with lashings of mascara, the holy grail – Laura Mercier again, it’s amazing, or Benefit they’re real is also good. Lip balm – nuxe, always handy and I use it on my son too!
“For a night out…”
Vamp up the eyes – loads of khol and a fuscia lip – not drawn on but dabbd on with a finger – much nicer and low key.
“I have become one a nail varnish girl!”
I love a dark blue – Vinylux do this amzing week-long polish which is easy to put on and stays put – priceless when you are rushing about and have to do bath-time at the end of the day!! Otherwise a good cheat is to get a good nude – it doesn’t show when it chips!
“I have also become a gym girl”
Nina my trainer is amazing, we have such fun together and I teach her about make up and perfume and she teaches me about keeping fit! One thing I always do is moisturise after my shower or bath – whatever body lotion comes to hand, but I slather it on. Once a week I do a full on body scrub.
“My hair guru is..”
Mathew Alexander. He is a wizard in hair and make up = he can do it all and is perfect if you want a new look or ideas on what hair styles and make up colours work with your complexion and style. I have very blonde hair with silvery streaks but I am keen to keep it natural and low maintenance. At home I use Wella shampoo for blonde and silver hair and an Aussie hair conditioner. I like the Kerastase oils to give a sleek finish to dried hair.
“Unsurprisingly, I love so many different fragrances. This is my ‘fragrance wardrobe'”
I love the Annick Goutal colognes , the Vétiver is wonderful to just splash on liberally throughout the day; it is a great weekend fragrance too. A brilliant all rounder is Balmain Ambre Gris, musky and delicious – I can’t stand sweet fragrances and will go for a classic every time. For night I will take it up a notch with something really sensual like the Ombre mercure by Terry de Gunzburg.
“My three desert island essentials”
1. Huile prodigieuse by Nuxe – you can wear it on your hair, body, lips everything!
2. Primer – my trusty factor 50
3. I really want the Terry de Gunzburg purse spray that is coming out this autumn – I am an absolute sucker for good packaging!!