by ZOE FOSTER
The myth that you should spend the whole day getting ready for the races, or a big night or event is as firmly rooted and longstanding as my Dad’s love of white sneakers as dress shoes, but it’s just that, a myth.
Things usually need some time to settle in and warm up before they look their best; if by best you mean “most flattering, modern, fresh and natural.” You know what I mean, think of the morning after the event when your hair is still styled/blow-dried and your skin is looking good, your nails are still perfect, you’ve still got a tan, and you feel like a million Euro, but it’s all just a bit more…. Relaxed and natural. That’s the key. That feeling. That’s the way to go about it.
I think the two days before should be when most of the heavy lifting is done, and only makeup – and hair if it’s an updo/specific style – should be done on the day. It leaves some room for manipulation and error correction, such as a too-orange tan that needs fading, or a hairstyle that looks too perfect and ‘80s newsreader that needs relaxing, but it also looks and feels a whole lot more lived in and real. Which in turn gives us confidence, so much confidence we may well forget we chose to wear those bloody shoes that slip off our heels each step we take, and our that our shapewear prevents the lungs from performing basic function.
Don’t ever have it on the day, which sounds like a ludicrous thing to say, but there are two-hour spray tans and even 60 minute ones now, and it’s not unheard of. The day after, or even better, the day after that (advised for super big things like your wedding day, for example, although you will have definitely had a trial, right?) is much better, it means you will have had a chance to thoroughly wash off the tint, and the stink will have gone. Take it from someone who continuously looks too orange in photos. (If it’s still too dark, soak in the tub for halfa, scrub all over gently with a loofah and use a body lotion with AHAs, like Palmers skin smoothing lotion.)
2. Your hair.
Never wash and style your hair on the day you need it to look perfect. Clean hair simply will not deliver. Too slippery and shiny and fluffy. Instead, wash the night before, apply mousse or a styling balm all over, and blow dry so that it’s dry but by no means perfect. Just smoothish. The next morning spray heat protectant all over (not the roots through) and style away – either with straightener, tongs or just more blow-drying.
It will have a good base and texture, and your style – be it out or up, will hold better and for longer. I even recommend waiting til the next day for salon blow-dries. Mine will often look a bit too perfect, too bouncy, too… not me, when it’s freshly done and still glistening with hairspray, but the next morning – just perfect. It will have settled in, dropped a bit and had a bit of pillow mushing.
3. Your eyeliner.
I’m not going to sit or stand or even lean casually here and ask you to apply eye makeup before bed. (Although Kate Moss famously claimed to, which is how she achieved her perfectly lived-in, black rimmed eyes each day.) BUT. Should you happen to have a night out requiring a fair whack of black kohl or gel liner, or even shadow, you will know that the next morning, despite your best cleansing and makeup removering, your lash line will be black. This is not a bad thing. It’s a sexy thing!
You’ve got the perfect imprint of black in the top and bottom lashline, and all without a lick of work. Clean up around and under the eye, (and apply your usual foundation and concealer etc) but leave the rims alone. You can leave as is, or enhance and define a bit more by smudging on a little brown shadow over the top. Finish with mascara, crème blush on the apples of the cheeks and matte nude lips – very Brigitte Bardot.
4. Your facial.
I’ve always maintained the true sign of a good facial is not directly afterwards, but the next morning. (And with and LED lamp like Omnilux, even the day after that sometimes.) The skin will look plump and glowing, and your eyes (if your facialist uses a lot of massage, which he/she should) will be bright and clear from all the circulation-boosting.
If you want your best skin to be on show, don’t have your facial on the day. (Especially after extractions and the like – the skin needs some time to calm down and soak up all the ingredients in the masks and so on.) Day before, or day before that please. And if you’re having a peel or any kind of microdermabrasion, then have it at least 5-7 days before. You do not want to risk flaky or peeling skin.
Okay, these are actually fine to get on the day, especially if you’re having Shellac, but if you’re getting regular polish and, you know, have shit to do that day (like open things: car doors, wallets, doors, mail, packets of Twisties), then it’s just an added stress, and you can get them done easily and quickly a day/night or two before with no consequence.
Zoe Foster is an author, columnist and porridge fan. Her books include the beauty bible Amazing Face, dating and relationship guide Textbook Romance, and three novels, Air Kisses, Playing The Field and The Younger Man. Find more info on Zoe Foster here, or supervise on her daily procrastination here and here.
Please understand that Zoë Foster cannot respond to ALL your questions – but never fear, there are readers that are bound to know the answers, so don’t be afraid to ask.