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.