Can you give me some easy makeup advice for the party season? Jane, by email Ah, Jane, what a flatterer you are. For you to imagine, I possess in-depth knowledge about makeup is very sweet indeed, especially as you have the evidence of my pasty-faced byline photo to suggest the contrary.


Of late, my inability to apply lipstick without resembling the clown from Stephen King’s It has begun to bother me. Not as much as my inability to iron bothers certain people in my life, but a hell of a lot more than my inability to iron bothers me. So I decided to remedy the problem because, dammit, it’s annoying not being able to do something that looks like a lot of fun. To the internet!

But my determination to master le maquillage has resulted in me developing a dark addiction. I really don’t know what to say. I’ve never had any addiction problems before. I’m just not the type, you know? But this stuff – damn, it got me good. And now I find myself up at 1 am, reaching out and croaking: “Just … one … more… hit!”

I am, of course, talking about online beauty videos. I love them. I watch them, hypnotized, as women (it is largely women) fiddle-faddle about with brushes as they stare into the lens and say things such as: “Then, you just flick your eyeliner – like that! They may as well be saying: “And then you kick one leg behind your head and effortlessly do a split – like that!” Nonetheless, I find these videos inspiring, fascinating, and sometimes even helpful. So after a year’s immersion in beauty videos and tentative experimentation, I shall share what I have learned and what even those of us without opposable thumbs can manage.

First, I really love Sali Hughes’ videos for the Guardian and her beauty blog, Yes, I know I’ve mentioned these before, and, yes, I know she works for this paper, but hey, what can I say? She’s excellent and trustworthy, and I’ve never had a duff recommendation from her.

Charlotte Tilbury is made from a different cast to Hughes. Where Hughes is plain-speaking, Tilbury is all fabulous-fabulous Ibiza hyperbole, where everyone is “gorgeous” and everything is “amazing” and looking like a movie star is everybody’s aim. In the same way that I love reading Vogue, I love watching Tilbury’s videos because while she may be over the top, her makeup tips are easy to follow and useful.

Hadley‘s makeup tips

Those of us who cannot be faffed with foundation and are scared of looking like a dowager countess should use a tinted moisturizer, and the best around is by Laura Mercier. There are loads of under-eye concealers that are far better than the overrated Touche Eclat by YSL, which makes people look faintly deranged in photos. My personal favorites are Touche Veloutée by Terry and Radiant Creamy Concealer by Nars. If you want to make an extra effort, smear Smashbox‘s Photo Finish Foundation Primer all over your face, which will make your skin look airbrushed and helps when you come to blend in the concealer.