5 ways to get your hair/make-up/fake tan to last.

You know how sometimes when you build a house, you have to create a frame for the house, and drill steel poles into the ground to anchor the house safely, and have pixies sprinkle magical dust on the site so that you are protected from trolls?

Of course you do! This crucial groundwork and vital scaffolding ensures a strong foundation for your house so that is durable and it lasts. (And is troll-free.)

Cosmetics are no different. Although I am prepared to concede that generally speaking, there is less concrete.

Almost everything you do to your skin, body, face and hair needs to be done with proper preparation and adequate “scaffolding”, or it will fall apart as soon as it’s tested by the elements (heat, humidity, wind, dryness) or the clock, or your penchant for high-energy jazz ballet when you go out on a Friday night.

In short: You have to do some groundwork to ensure all your hard work lasts.

It sounds like a pain in the ass, but after seeing Makeup and Hair geniuses backstage manage it in mere moments, and doing it myself almost unthinkingly for many years after being taught how to by those fabulous maniacs, and seeing the tremendous pay off when I do bother to put in the extra two minutes/layer of product, I strenuously advise you consider it.

Allow a dame to illustrate with some examples, won’t you?

1. To ensure that flawless, fantastic foundation lasts:

Apply primer on top of your skin care. (If you have very oily skin or large pores, be sure to choose a primer that mattifies – will make a big difference to shine. If you have normal skin, you can use any primer.) Wait a minute and then apply your foundation. Even if you use tinted moisturiser, a product with about as much staying power as Mr. KRIS HUMPHRIES. Apply the rest of your makeup – blush, bronzer, eye shadow etc. Then with a large, fluffy brush, lightly dust your entire face with loose powder, or your mineral loose foundation, to set it all in place for the day. (If you have oilier skin, you might prefer pressed powder instead.)

2. To ensure that glorious, golden fake tan lasts:

Get into the shower, with the taps off. Fully exfoliate your body with a body scrub (make your own with two parts brown sugar, one part olive or extra virgin coconut oil and a few drops of essential oil: mix together and use immediately), going in circular motions to get rid of all the dead skin. Turn on the shower and clean it all off. Once out of the shower, dry off thoroughly, wait a few minutes, then apply your self-tanner all over. To keep your tan in good shape, you MUST moisturise, and if I am using caps lock YOU KNOW I AM NOT JERKING YOU ROUND. Use a gradual tanner every second day, and a lovely, thick body moisturiser every other day. (Self tan dries the skin out, you see.)

3. To ensure that arresting, glamorous lipstick lasts:

Apply a lip balm or treatment and do the rest of your makeup. When you’re ready to do the lips, gently, with tiny strokes, fill in your lips with either a lip liner that matches your lipstick, or – better yet – a multipurpose nude liner, which will work with every lipstick, and in fact will make their pigment seem truer. What a gas! (I like STILA in Mocha, MAC Spice and Rimmel 1000 Kisses in Wild Clover). Alternatively, colour in your lips with a new-style “lip texta” like the ones COVERGIRL, Max Factor and Revlon make. Next, paint on your lipstick with a lip brush – they’re cheap as and make a big difference. Do it. Kiss a tissue to blot, and then paint another layer on. If you have a matching lip liner, I recommend you fill in the lips again, over the lipstick – it will give you the perfect, precise line, and hold it all in place. (Fun fact: Napoleon Perdis has a new palette – Double Agent Rouge Lip Palette ($33)- with a semi-matte red lipstick, two brushes and a lip powder to set it all with. I like patting the red powder on with my finger over clear balm for a soft, modern ‘rosebud’ look.)


4. To ensure that vibrant coral nail polish lasts:

Assuming you have already removed old polish, filed and gently massacred your cuticles, remove all traces of hand creams and oils by running a damp cloth over each nail. Apply base coat to each nail and then wait a minute. Apply your first layer of colour, starting on the sides of each nail and then filling in the middle.  (Pros are convinced only three strokes are required for each nail. But what would they know? Apart from everything.) On the second coat, finish each nail with a tiny swipe across the actual edge/top/tip of the nail, to seal the colour. Wait one minute, then apply topcoat. Refresh your topcoat every second day for superawesome longevity. I like Orly Glosser Super High Shine Topcoat ($10) and also Sally Hansen Mega Shine ($14.95), which dries quick and is shiny and thick enough to mask the inevitable nudges and scrapes I acquire 43 minutes after a manicure.

5. To ensure that fancy hairstyle you love to create lasts:

You gotta start the styling when your hair is freshly-washed and towel-dried, and you gotta apply a product that will give you a framework to work with. This could be mousse. Root lifter. Thickening spray. Sea salt spray: anything that will create some hold and grip and body. ( O&M’s new beach spray – Surf Bomb ($25) – is simply magnificent for natural, non-gritty texture and gentle volume.) Next, get out the hair dryer. Heat makes prodz come to life, and gets rid of the dampness that makes your hair look greasy, so swiftly, when you let it air dry. Even if you flip your head upside down and loosely blow dry your hair, styling it with your fingers for a few minutes, it will have more texture, more body and the look will last twice as long than if you didn’t use the prod or the hair dryer. If you launch into a full-scale salon-style blow dry, the bounce and thickness and smoothness will delight. If you apply some heat protectant spray and use your styler or curling wand for waves or curls, they will hold shape and look better for days. Bring in your other styling prodz at the end – hairspray, pomades, shine sprays, hair powder etc – for finishing touches.

By now, I’m sure you’re beginning to see the importance of beauty scaffolding. But who cares about you seeing it. DO IT, for the love of long-winded blog posts, do it. Pop some mousse on your bathroom vanity so you remember to use it, and perch that topcoat next to your computer so you can refresh your nail polish as update your Tweetbook and Facespace and Flinglezop pages.


Living troll-free since 1996.