I’m often asked for my best beauty advice, and I often go completely blank when trying to come up with some, before rambling on about dry shampoo for the 683th time.
But sitting here after a strong coffee, it has come to me at last! The advice I swear by! The best kind that is widely useful! It’s Day Beforesies.
When I need my best hair and skin and tan and nails and even makeup (in some instances) I do it the Day Before. This allows things to settle in, and settle down, and relax a little. Things are a bit lived in, a bit less perfect, a bit more malleable. Also, it gives you some time and room for error, should there be any (in the way of orange wrists or over boofy blow-dries.)
Some of my Day Beforesies include:
I really swear by this one (f-word swear). My hair never looks good or behaves when freshly washed. Few people’s do. It’s slippery and boofy and silly, or fluffy and frizzy. So, I always wash it at night, particularly if I need it to look nice the next day for an event or a big trip to the post office. (The life of a stay at home writer.) Here’s how I achieve the perfect second-day hair: I wash it, then apply some root lift mousse (I like L’Oreal Professional’s Tecni.Art Volume Lift Root Spray-Mousse for its small nozzle and targeted spray, making it easy to get to the scalp/areas that need root lift, rather than spewing up a big ball of mousse you have to distribute with fingers and generally get wrong. Also, it’s soft, no stickiness or feeling like you just added concrete to your hair) on wet hair and then I dry off to 80% using high heat on my hair dryer, and my trusty Denman styler brush, taking the hair in every direction all over the head so the nozzle of my hair dryer can get in there and get that volume from every angle. (“Wrap drying” I refer to it in Amazing Face.) The drying off will give it some smoothness, but I then secure in a very high bun for more volume and wave until bed time, when I let it out.
Next morning? Lovely waves with a tonne body that can very quickly blow-dried smooth with a barrel brush, or curling-tonged and then lightly sprayed with hairspray/sea salt spritz for glamorous curls/waves. (Which will last a few days, then a few more with dry shampoo.) Try it. You’ll see. Do the work in prep and enjoy days of good hair.
This one is fairly self-explanatory. We don’t do a deep tan application (or get a spray tan) on the day we need to look tanned. We do it the afternoon or night before, so it can kick in and we don’t stink up the joint. And we always add a little bit of lotion to the elbows, knees, wrists and ankles when we’re done so as to dilute in those bits, and make sure there’s no orange makes. Then, the next morning we shower off the excess and apply a thick, fragranced body lotion, butter or balm to lock the tan in, and hydrate the skin and mask any remaining scent. If there are any little areas of build up around the ‘bends’ (elbows, knees, ankles or wrists) I use a bit of body or hand scrub (lather with water in hands, but keep the bit you are trying to stain-remove dry) and then rinse. If things are terrible and people will likely notice I have a deep cigarette butt coloured line around my wrists, I get out my Chux magic eraser and very gently, using ONLY the white side, rub it on the spot til it goes. It’s harsh, it’s not recommenced for even remotely sensitive skin, but it works when nothing else will.
In-salon facials are wonderful things, I recommend them very highly for ongoing skin maintenance and long-term results. But don’t expect to look good on the day you have one. Whether it’s a highly active facial (peels, micro-dermabrasion etc) or a lovely, nourishing, traditional facial, you will not look good on the day of the facial. You will look red and blotchy. You will look roughed up. You will look glowy but half asleep. You will have small pieces of mask sticking to your nose and hairline. It’s not good. And, furthermore, it’s not a good idea to load up with makeup after a treatment – ideally book facials as late as possible so you can just go to bed (and avoid sun exposure if you’ve had a strong peel) and let all the goodness sink in overnight. The results will be there in the morning, usually. (Some medi-peels are different, they can take a few days to kick in due to the ‘peeling’ process.)Wash that face, see how your eyes are bright and clear and your skin bounces with health. NOW you can see the results. NOW you can put on makeup. NOW you can dazzle everyone.
The exception: At home mini-facials before an event are fine to do on the day. I often exfoliate then do a quick 10-minute mask before makeup for events. My favourite pre-event mask? Elemis Fruit Active Rejuvenating Mask.
You know how sometimes after you have your nails done, they look a bit… raw?… And a bit ouchy, and if you chose a red or a dark colour and they have attacked your cuticles, or you had a shitty manicurist, your hands or feet can even look a bit, well, brutalised? Yes. Well, that’s usually (rough manicurists aside) because it’s all so fresh, and your cuticles need to settle back in against the nail, and the raw look of nailbeds that have just been filed and buffed and scrubbed and polish-removed and painted needs to be given some time. So do it the day before. This is especially true if the colour makes your skin look lifeless – you can pop on some fake tan, OR, if you had gels/Shellac and hate the colour because it makes your hands look like Aunty Edna in her casket, the poor dear, even paint over them with a coat of regular nail polish. (It can be removed again with a swipe polish remover and your gels will be perfect underneath.)
This one is a biiiit of a stretch, and probably not really worth advocating, but sometimes second day liner looks way better than perfect, neat liner. You know the kind, the smudgy, Kate Mossy kind (she was the one who kind of invented second day kohl, saying she never really cleaned her eyes and just kept adding more each day…bit gross but not terrible every now and then) where your eyes are rimmed perfectly in black, in a way that cannot be created by hand and kohl, only sleep and time. The look is best when you’ve done a REALLY smoked up eye the night before, and even despite all your best makeup removal efforts, a black frame still lines your eyes. I must admit I have on one or two occasions applied a rim of black kohl along my upper and lower lashline (and the inner lower) before bed to get this hell rock n’ roll babe look the next morning. All you need do is add mascara and a flush of sweet pink cheeks. Or, more liner, and some brown shadow just keeping it in close to the lashline, top and bottom, and heaps of mascara, and go hard out.
Another thing that kind of counts as makeup is brow tinting. I recommend going strong on tint day if you can, (eg: have no plans that night) so your tint will last longer. By the time you wash your face that night or the next morning even, the tint will calm down, and any that was on your skin, not the hair, will go, and you will look less Bert/Ernie and more Brooke Shields.
Spaghetti bolognese. It’s always tastier the second day. You know it, I know it: why fight it?