When I was growing up, I was fascinated by my mother's beauty books, especially Frankly Feminine, which was published in 1965. Among its advice was to keep your make-up on 24-7 so you never had to subject your man to a view of your natural face.
Pretty Honest, the new beauty book by Sali Hughes of the Guardian, is a million miles from such outdated claptrap. Some elements, however, remind me of the best bits of the old-fashioned guide. Party season is under way, and Hughes is a mine of information about how to create an easy, long-lasting look for a big night out in the 21st century.
Start with skincare, and do not skimp on preparation. Cleanse your face properly with a soothing balm cleanser and follow with a moisturising mask. Sisley Black Rose or Origins Drink Up masks will plump up skin instantly. A serum, followed by a good moisturiser such as Carita Lagoon Cream or Chanel Hydra Beauty Crème will keep skin looking fresh for the entire night.
A good primer will ensure make-up stays where it should and will provide a smooth surface for foundation. Glowy primers such as Dior Glow Maximiser are perfect for dry or mature skin while Illamasqua Matte Veil will do the job for those with oilier skin.
Sali likes Suqqu foundation and Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder, while on the budget end of the scale, Bourjois Healthy Mix and (a surprising one this) Topshop Beauty's new base, The Foundation, get the nod of approval. Use a good concealer: Clarins Instant Concealer is available in three shades and will not let you down.
Charlotte Tilbury's Golden Goddess palette with four neutral shades, in finishes ranging from matte to glitter, work for everyone. Blend a defining shade into the crease line, place the golden glitter on the lid and use the darkest shade as eyeliner. Use lots of mascara and keep brows relatively natural with a product such as Bobbi Brown's Brow Kit to pull the look together.
But what about the old adage that those with mature skin should stick with matte shades? Hughes does not agree. “Light on the skin is nice, and a bit of shimmer will stop eye shadow from looking too flat.”
For those of us who break into a cold sweat at the very thought of blending and searching for crease lines, she is reassuring. "If you have no idea what to do, using one cream shimmer shadow such as Chanel Mirage will look good."
Nude lips look great with dramatic eyes. Line them with Estée Lauder Double Wear Lip Liner in Nude and fill in with Nars lipstick in Audacious Anita. Finish with Liz Earle Cream Blush in Nectar Nude ("It sets to a powder finish and is really easy to work with") and you will have a pretty party look.
SALI HUGHES’S PARTY PICKS
u Cream Frame Fix foundation
(£62, selfridges.co.uk) This creamy base from the luxury Japanese brand covers pores and will make your skin appear as flawless as possible.
Sleek I Divine Eye Shadow Au Naturel Palette (€9.99) Sleek products bat well above their weight for the price point, and this palette provides a perfect mix of high-quality neutrals.
Aromatherapy Associates Intensive Skin Treatment Oil (€53) Massage this moisturising and calming facial oil into your skin and see results by the morning.
Lancôme Hypnôse Star Waterproof Mascara (€27.50) Hughes reckons this is the jewel in the crown of Lancôme's mascara collection and I agree. It is dense and builds easily to create drama. It will not budge.
Dior Glow Maximiser primer (£28.50) Hughes loves this product and wears it every day under make-up or on its own to create a fresh, healthy look.