My teenage days were spent wistfully perusing the counters at Boots, with barely enough money to scrape together the required 99p for a Collection 2000 lippie. I lived in lime green eyeshadow (oh the shame), sprayed Sun-In on my hair and had horrible encounters with the Silkymit and maxipads. Thankfully my beauty routine has progressed considerably (as has my budget) but there are still lessons to be learnt from the beauty blunders that occurred in those days of yore.
In fact many of the mishaps made when I was younger could now be considered cutting edge trends- and I’ll show you how to create them for yourself. Best of all, as they all pay homage to youthful errors, they’re pretty light on the bank balance.
Stripes of hair colour
I’m not sure if it was the fault of Geri Halliwell or the launch of all those coloured mascaras but I know that I desperately wanted to have streaks of purple and pink in my hair when I was young. I did try- but those mascara never worked that well, leaving the hair gritty and feeling rather lank. Once I was in my twenties hair streaks were strictly of the highlighted kind as pink shimmering sections weren’t really suitable for my career path. However, thanks to the likes of Ashley Olsen, Kate Moss and some of the recent catwalk shows, streaks are being taken more seriously, and in a sweet whimsical way. If you’re brave enough you could go for the colour block option seen on the runway at the Alexis Mabille show, but a more wearable look is simply adding streaks to the hair. La Moss went all the way and actually dyed in gray strands as highlights throughout, whilst Olsen’s take on this trend was more of a sugar plum fairy effect, with light wefts of baby blue and lilac. If you’re not brave enough to dye just yet, try clip-ins to give you more confidence, like these good quality ones from Hot Hair here. (only £2.95).
When I was a kid wearing day glo colours on every nail was the epitome of cool, then I became all grown up and boring, and suddenly it was all about the French manicure or subtle Airbrush art on my acrylic nail extensions. Then came the rise of coral shades and lovely matte nails, and Chanel has ensured that for the last few years our nails have been indigo blue, black, green and taupe (also known as Le Vernis Blue Satin ,Black Satin, Jade and Particuliere ). However a recent return to a more youthful look on the catwalk (huge hair bows, ruffles and Minnie Mouse ears) plus a general sense of boredom with sticking to perceived ‘normal’ standards means that multicoloured nails are back in fashion again, so painting your nails all sorts of shades is cool again. I like this- I think it’s playful, easy to wear and will contrast nicely to the monochrome outfits that are regularly worn. If this look is a little to ker-azzy for you, you could opt for a more subtle approach, as seen on Edge of Darkness actress Bojana Novakovic on the red carpet recently (left image above). She opted for nine metallic nails with one coral accented finger- and I like how this colour contrast makes her otherwise blingy but safe manicure stand out.
Buying Budget Beauty Brands
Once upon a time, a maximum spend of £3 meant that 17, Collection 2000 and The Natural Collection were pretty much your only options for beauty. Back in those days the powders were flaky, the lipsticks broke open in your bag, and the eyeshadows were really lightly pigmented- meaning you’d get zero colour from what looked like a dark purple. Most of us moved far away from these brands as soon as we were salaried, however, the innate disdain that you have from your youth is completely unfounded nowadays. Whilst I don’t suggest that you give up on Clarins/MAC/Nars et al, I do suggest you rethink your stance on cheaper brands. Once the biggest hater of Collection 2000 ever, nowadays their concealer is a staple in my makeup bag and I really love their Glam Crystal glitter eyeliners for the thick coverage and long lasting quality. So go on, revisit those counters- they’re centuries away from what you might expect (though the price is still friendly!).
Thinking blusher was the enemy
When I was younger I had a rosy complexion, like seriously traffic light stopping. The merest hint of a breeze or an awkward moment would have my skin flaming louder than a Radiohead fan at a Britney Spears concert. The idea of voluntarily wearing blusher seemed like the most bizarre suggestion, as why the heck would I add extra colour to my already puce complexion? A few years later, with the addition of a good foundation and tips from makeup maestro Terry Barber, I realized red-cheeked women could still wear blush as it was a great way to contour the cheek, and that correct application would actually lessen the overall red effect. Now I don’t leave the house without it on, but recent catwalk shows (A/W 09 Dior/ Armani/ Kane) have featured models with totally matte faces- and I likey. Yes, you lose the false impression of cheekbones, buy you get an overly groomed and glossy look- and highlighter is still allowed. Maybe I was just a trend setter back then, eh?
Home hair dye Adventures
With no money for a salon procedure and a desperate need to go blonde, I bought a home kit, managed to burn my scalp, and as I didn’t use a pre-lightener my hair went a rather distressing shade of ginger. Formulas have moved on from those days however, and whilst dying your hair at home is still not completely foolproof, new developments mean that it’s a whole lot kinder on the scalp. Long gone are the days when formulations had to have ammonia as an ingredient as a new batch of products on the market are free from this irritant. Ammonia is normally used in permanent hair tinting as it swells the cuticle of the hair to allow the color pigments to penetrate deep into the hair shaft- but smells pretty icky so fragrance is added, which often cause a bad reaction. However L’Oreal Proffessionel is adding to its Garnier range by releasing ammonia free hair colourant to the UK in March (and another similar one in April) which should make DIY colour a lot less complicated. There are two ranges- called Belle Colour Luminous Blonde Collections and the Nutrisse Radiant Blonde Collections (£4.49 and £4.99 respectively) which use some other agent (not specified ) to bind the colour into the hair, and this is more gentle. There are other brands out there that are ammonia free, but they fall into the exception rather than rule category. Yay! ( I think this line is being called Inoa in the USA- but the packaging looks totally different).
The teenage beauty blunders that are gone for good
-Spraying on CKOne like it was going out of style.
-Ditto with Impusle vanilla musk- in fact often layering the two together.
-Using Tip-ex to create a fake French manicure.
-Thinking highlighting products were a good way to distract people away from spots by placing them ON the spots.
-Using a Silkymit. You know they still sell it?!