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The Ultimate Guide to SPF Sunscreen

Flat lay of sun tan lotion products in a beach scene

The world of SPF and sunscreen can be daunting, so here’s everything you need to know about sunscreen: from what it is and what it’s protecting you from, to how it works, how much you should apply and what’s best for the different skin types. We’ve got you and your family covered…

Solait Fair Model Pool.1

How does sunscreen work?

Sunscreen, available most commonly in creams, lotions and spray-on formulas, is applied topically to skin to protect it from the harmful UVA and UVB rays that are emitted by the sun. There are two types of active ingredients in sunscreen: physical blockers and chemical absorbers.

UVA and UVB explained

UVA (Ultra Violet A) rays are the main cause of wrinkles and skin ageing because they penetrate more deeply than UVB – even when the sun isn’t shining, which is why you should wear sunscreen on your face all year round.

UVB (Ultra Violet B) rays cause sunburn and have strong links to skin cancer (including malignant melanoma). Using a sunscreen with UVB protection will help prevent skin burning, which, in turn, will help protect it from skin cancer.

UVA star ratings

Sunscreen in the UK carries a UVA star rating on the packaging. The stars are numbered between zero and five, and tell you what percentage of UVA radiation is absorbed by the sunscreen in comparison to the amount of UVB. You should aim to choose a high SPF as well as a high UVA protection – so, ideally, an SPF30 with a rating of 4 or 5 stars.

What does SPF mean?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and the numbers (most commonly 15, 30 and 50) relate to the amount of UVB protection the product offers (see below). SPF15 blocks around 93% of UVB rays, SPF30 blocks around 97% and SPF50 blocks around 98%. The British Association of Dermatologists recommends using SPF30 as standard – and in addition to protective shade and clothing.

It’s important to bear in mind that using a high SPF doesn’t last any longer than using a lower SPF – the only difference between them is the percentage of UV rays that they’re blocking. No matter what factor cream you choose to use, it should be reapplied every two hours, and you should avoid being in the sun when it’s at its hottest (between 11am and 3pm).

What are physical blockers and how do they work?

Physical sunscreens block UV rays, working like a mirror that reflects the sun’s rays away from your skin. They get to work straight away, but they tend to leave a white film, which means you can see where the product has been applied. It’s important that you don’t rub it in, as this will lower its protection; you need to let it sink in instead. The protection from this type of sunscreen lasts longer than chemical absorbers, but if you’re doing activities that cause you to sweat, it must be reapplied at least every two hours.

What are chemical absorbers and how do they work?

Chemical sunscreens act as a filter to inhibit UV radiation penetration. They act rather like a sponge, ‘mopping up’ the sun’s harmful UV rays. They need to be absorbed into the skin before they start working, so they should be applied about 20 minutes before exposure to the sun, then reapplied every two hours, or after you’ve been swimming or sweating, to ensure you’re always adequately protected.

Flat lay of sun tan lotion products in a beach scene

How much sunscreen should you apply?

As a general rule, you should apply at least a teaspoon of lotion to each limb, and just over a teaspoon to the front of and back of your body – but the more you apply, the better. Sunscreen should be applied around 20 minutes before you go out in the sun, and then you can apply it again when you’re outside, just in case you missed any patches.

Sunscreen should be reapplied at least every two hours, and if you’ve been swimming or sweating, it should be reapplied immediately. Most people don’t apply sunscreen correctly. Commonly missed areas are the neck, ears and feet, and hard-to-reach areas – like the back – so make sure you always get someone to help you.

Does sunscreen go off?

Yes, it does! Check the bottle for the expiry date, ideally before you go on holiday, but always before you use it. Most sunscreens have a shelf life of 12 to 18 months after opening. Store them away from direct sunlight, too.

What are once-a-day sunscreens?

Many sunscreens claim to provide protection from the sun for up to 10 hours with one single application. However, if you’ve been active (and therefore sweating), or if you’ve been in the sea or swimming pool, reapply every couple of hours to stay protected from the rays.

Can you tan through makeup?

It’s a common misconception that your makeup acts like a shield from the sun – it doesn’t. So, in theory yes you can tan through makeup. If your makeup or skincare comes complete with SPF, you will benefit from added protection but just like when you apply sun tan lotion, this SPF will need to be topped up if you’re outdoors for long periods of time.

The same also goes for fake tan, if you have no SPF protection a fake tan alone will not shield the skin from the rays so technically you can still tan through it.

The best sunscreens for your skin type

If you’ve got sensitive skin…

Sensitive skin types should opt for oil-free, hypoallergenic sunscreens that are free from oils, fragrance and chemicals. Ideally, they should be physical sunscreens – meaning they contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide and sit on top of the skin, reflecting the harmful rays, instead of being absorbed into it.

If you’ve got oily or acne-prone skin…

These skin types should choose light, oil-free formulations that are non-comedogenic (i.e., they won’t clog up pores). Oily skin types should also never use sunscreen designed for the body on your face. Double cleanse to remove the sunscreen to prevent pores clogging.

If you’ve got dry skin…

Dry skin types should use cream or gel-based products, and those containing hydrating ingredients (like glycerin) to help add moisture to your skin.

The best sunscreen for children…

Children’s skin should be treated in the same way as those with sensitive skin, so opt for a kids sunscreen that’s hypoallergenic and free from fragrance and chemicals. As we mentioned earlier, it’s best to choose a physical blocker sunscreen because they get to work straight away.

Choose an SPF30 for your child, as well as making sure they’re suitably covered and in the shade as much as possible, especially between 11am and 3pm, when the sun is at its highest. Reapply the sunscreen often, and layer the product on thickly, making sure you don’t miss any areas that are more prone to burning, like ears, nose, shoulders and the back of the neck. Make sure your child also wears light, baggy clothing and a hat.

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How to choose the right bronzer for your skin tone

set of makeup brushes with colourful swatches of makeup powders

Even if you’re walking around like a human burrito in a million jumpers, you can still have a golden glow. Yep, you can look like you’ve just got back from a tropical vacay even in the dead of winter. How? A sweep of bronzer is a game changer. We know, we know, bronzer can be a little daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. Just find the right shade (we’ve got a guide right here – how handy?!) and you’ll never look back.

set of makeup brushes with colourful swatches of makeup powders


So how do you find the right shade? It’s simple, people! Just look at your skin tone. The secret to having the glow of your dreams is right there. First, you need to consider your complexion…

Fair: Lighter shades with pink tones compliment pale skin
Olive: Warm, golden undertones will look amaze on your warm skin
Medium: A pop of peach will totally upgrade your bronzer
Dark: Deep, brassy bronzers are the ones for you

All about undertones

Got it? Good. Now it’s time to get deep. Real deep – we’re looking at our skin’s undertones. And no, you don’t have to be a scientist to do this. It’s actually pretty simple.

How to figure out undertones

Think about when you were last sipping cocktails by the pool. How did your tan get on? If you tanned like it’s your day job, you may have warm undertones. If you tried your hardest to tan but ended up burning and as pale as ever, you may have cool undertones. If you’re somewhere in the middle, you probs have neutral undertones.

If you haven’t seen the sun in forever, dw – we’ve got you. Think about your fave jewellery. Do you go for gold or silver? If you think golden jewellery suits you best, you probably have warm undertones. If silver if your vice, you probably have cool undertones. And if you’re one of those lucky colour chameleons, you probably have neutral undertones.

What do I do with this info?

Now you know your undertones, it’s time to choose a bronzer that’s gonna leave you golden.

Warm undertones: Aren’t you lucky? Pretty much all bronzers complement you. If you really want to dazzle, golden bronzers are your bff.

Cool undertones: If you have cool undertones, getting peachy with your bronzer is your secret weapon.

Neutral undertone: Finding the perf bronzer is tricky if you’ve got neutral undertones (boo). To avoid unnatural looking faux paus, swap your bronzer for a pressed powder. If you really want to get your bronze on, opt for pink tones.

Now you know all about bronzers, why don't you get your glow on?

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The ultimate travel makeup kit

Flat lay of holiday makeup kit

Do you really need 6 shades of a nude lipstick for your week-long holiday to Marbs? How about every single makeup brush, JIC? Should you risk the baggage limit for the sake of the freestanding ring light for balcony pics? The answer to everything that might have crossed your mind is a big, fat – NO! Yes, we know it’s hard to predict exactly what parts of your precious makeup kit you’ll need on hols, but be ruthless and be honest. Here’s how to pack the ultimate travel-friendly kit.

Flat lay of holiday makeup kit

Holiday must-haves

Waterproof errrrrrrythang

It’s going to be hot. You’re going to sweat. You’re going to need extra help making sure your makeup doesn’t slide down your face and into your all-inclusive buffet dinner. So help your future self out by going for waterproof mascara and eyeliner to avoid any panda eye situations.

Lip balm queen

An oldie but a goodie. Lip balm on holiday is not only necessary for keeping your pout free from dehydration but if you go for one with added SPF it can protect them from burning too.

Blinding highlighter

Reflect that extra sunlight with the power of highlighter! And no it’s not a one-hit wonder. Use it in the usual places (Cupid’s bow, cheekbones, under brow arch) but also use it as eyeshadow, dab it over a gloss and dust it along the collarbone for bad girl Riri vibes.  

Wipes for the win

If you want to limit your risk of spillages in your suitcase and also save a bit of room too, then you need go for wipes all the way. From nail polish remover wipes to makeup wipes and also anti-bac wipes too, they will do the trick when you can’t indulge in your usual 10-step routines.

Coconut oil

Have we lost you with this one? Yes, that was kinda the plan. But, you’ll be surprised how much you can do with trusty coconut oil. You can use it in place of shaving cream, to condition your hair and control frizz, to calm down itchy bites, and to remove makeup. Remember to transfer it from that supersize container, only a small pot can do wonders!

Superdrug Superdrug Coconut Oil For Hair & Skin 125ml £2.49 Buy Now

The space-savers

From multi-tasking marvels (helloooo lip and cheek tint) to teeny, tiny travellers, stock up on these immediate essentials.

Miniature fragrances

Unless you are spraying a mist of fragrance with every step you take, then you won’t be getting through a 100ml bottle of your favourite scent. Trust us on this one. Instead, take a miniature or get yourself a perfume atomiser where you can fill a mini 5ml bottle with your usual go-to.

Perfume Pod Perfume Atomiser Pod Orange Ice £5.00 Buy Now

Brush tricks

If you don’t want to carry every single brush (do you really need a lip brush if you have lip liner, gloss and lipstick?), then just learn a few easy tricks instead. You can transform a fluffy blusher brush into a more delicate fan brush by pushing your thumb down in the middle to allow the bristles to move into a highlighter-friendly shape. Or try dual-ended and multi-use brushes, to take more options without compromising on precious space.

A killer palette

We all have that one palette that helps us in our time of need. No not the one where you only reach for that same colour and nothing else. We’re talking about THE palette where every, single pigment is appreciated for its gloriousness. Pack that one. Leave the others on home land.

All the tints

Perfect if you want to pack light, a dual-purpose lip and cheek tint will give you a rosy glow in one. Or how about a tinted moisturiser? Light coverage + instant hydration = summer skincare love story. 

Garnier Garnier BB Cream Anti Ageing Light Tinted Moisturiser 50ml £4.95 Buy Now

City break makeup kit checklist

If you're eye-rolling at our aspirational to-pack list because a budget airline luggage restriction is getting in the way of your picture-perfect glow goals, then you need to go back to basics. If your packing ultra-light and with a carry-on case (so can’t take a lot of liquids), then here is your must-have list:


 BB/CC cream




 1 x eyeshadow palette (look at your outfits and pick a palette that’ll complement every look)


 Brow pencil

Waterproof eyeliner


Double-ended ombre lip crayon

Lip balm


Small pack of makeup wipes

Dual-ended blush/foundation brush

Need more packing advice? Check out our holiday essentials checklist... 

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Your Guide To Holiday Health

holiday health
holiday health


Before flying abroad, especially when travelling to the Far East and Asia, check which vaccinations you’ll need to have to protect you against any diseases you might not have come across before. 

  • Diphtheria, Polio and Tetanus (combined booster)
  • Hepatitis A – including when combined with Typhoid or Hepatitis B.
  • Cholera

Specialist travel clinics will also other these vaccinations as well as others including Yellow Fever, Rabies and Typhoid.

Book your holiday vaccinations online with Superdrug.

On The Plane

The air in an aircraft cabin is far drier than when on the ground so your face and body is likely to become dehydrated quicker. If you can face the flight without makeup it will do your skin the world of good. Alternatively if you can't go bare faced swap your foundation for a tinted moisturiser, BB or CC cream or consider a hydrating facial spritz that can be sprayed over makeup for a boost of moisture.

If you’re on a long haul flight, travel socks are recommended as they’ll help to prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and leg discomfort during the fight. Put them on as soon as you sit down on the plane or even when you’re waiting at your gate to board your flight. It’s also important to keep yourself moving throughout the flight. Take frequent walks up and down the aisle every hour to help circulation.

Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the flight to keep you hydrated. Did you know that one alcoholic drink will affect your body exactly the same as two or three drinks on the ground? So be mindful with the booze and drink lots of water in between snacks and meals.

sun holiday

In The Sun

Whether you’re jetting away to somewhere exotic or having a lovely staycation in the UK, having the right sun protection is always important. Even if you’re sitting under a sun umbrella on the beach or sitting under a tree in a park, the ultraviolet radiation is still able to reflect off surfaces such as sand, water, grass and bounce onto your skin.

Layering up with SPF with a factor of 15 or higher is recommended as SPFs do a great job of protecting against UV rays and preventing sun burn. Sun protection creams or sprays last around an hour on the skin, as UV rays begin to break down the ingredients in SPFs which is why it’s important to top up on sun protection regularly. A good lip balm with SPF 15 or more is recommended to protect and nourish your lips from the effects of the sun.

It’s not just skin you should protect from the sun. Your eyes need protection too as sun damage to the eyes can occur anytime. Wear sunglasses that block UV rays and hats that will shade your face from the sun.

Mosquito Bites

Mosquitos are difficult to avoid when visiting a hot and humid country but there are ways to prevent being bitten repeatedly.

An insect repellent which is made to last up to 12 hours is highly recommended. Spray all over your body before getting dressed.

If you happen to get bitten whilst away, apply antihistamine cream to the affected areas as this will calm the reaction down, allowing you to feel comfortable and enabling you to continue enjoying your holiday.

Food Poisoning

The last thing you need is for your holiday to be ruined by sickness. Always wash your hands with soap and water before eating or drinking anything, to kill any bacteria that your hands may have picked up from outside. A good antibacterial hand sanitizer is always handy to carry in your handbag too.

Avoid drinking tap water in other countries, stick to bottled water instead. This goes for ice in drinks too, avoid it. With foods, opt for freshly cooked dishes that have been served steaming hot. These simple precautions will help to prevent any illness whilst away, allowing you to enjoy your holiday to the max.

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The Ultimate Guide to Applying Fake Tan

How to prep before a spray tan

Do you want to fake a golden glow in time for your night out/holiday/festival? Get a streak-free, long-lasting tan without any sun rays in sight, with our guide to applying fake tan.

Flat lay of fake tan products

How to prep before a fake tan

Exfoliate everywhere you want to tan

No one goes into a fake tanning sesh wanting an uneven finish. So minimise your chances by exfoliating the night before with a body scrub. This will remove dead skin cells and make for a super-smooth base.

If you totally forgot to do this the night before, then quickly use a buffing brush before you apply any tan and it should also do the trick. Exfoliating is a MUST and applies to spray tans too!

Remove any unwanted hair the day before

If waxing and use hair-removal creams are your preferred choices for hair removal, then make sure you defuzz at least a day before you want to apply your fake tan. These methods can take off the top layer of skin cells, so if you do just before tanning it may have patchy side effects.  

Moisturise dry areas

Don’t you just hate it when your elbows and knees give the fake tanning game away? To keep the drier areas from going patchy, make sure you moisturise all over and pay extra special attention to these problem areas. Try to leave the moisturiser to sink in for at least half an hour before applying fake tan.

The best way to apply fake tan

Step 1 - Prep your tanning mitt

Take your instant tan product in one hand (this can be mousse or lotion) and tanning mitt in the other, and squeeze/pump straight on to the mitt. 

Top tip: To spread the product out evenly on the mitt, scrunch your hand up into a fist before moving to step 2. 

Makeup artist pumping tanning mousse on to a tanning mitt

Step 2 – Apply in circular motions

Focusing on one body part at a time, apply the fake tan in circular motions – making sure you reach every inch. A common mistake is to miss out the inner parts of the body (eg inside of the arm) so make sure you apply your product to all areas - nobody wants a paler patch!

Build up the colour so that it’s even (if your product has a tanning guide this will be easy to see) and rubbed in properly and buff out any overlapping parts.

Top tip: If you’re applying instant tan, you need to work very quickly to get an even coating of tan. And if you need to buff any noticeable streaks then use a kubuki brush to blend it out.  

Makeup artist applying fake tan to model using a tanning mitt

 Step 3 – Leave to dry down

Drying times may vary from product to product so always double check the instructions and leave to dry as per the recommended time slot. After the colour has developed, if you're using a tanning lotion, you may also need to wash it off and then you’ll be good to go.

Makeup artist and model letting fake tan dry

The finishing touches

If you want to go for that Riri-esque glow on your body, all you need to do is finish with a touch of shimmering body lotion or oil.

If you’ve applied a gradual tan, then to retain the new golden glow for longer top up on moisturiser every day.

Top fake tan tips & tricks

Don’t end up with orange hands

Always use a mitt, or gloves, when handling fake tan products as you may end up with giveaway, extra-glowy hands. If you decide to brave it and go without anything covering your hands, then set a timer and make sure you wash your hands every 5 minutes.

Aftercare tips 

To prolong your tan, keep your skin moisturised and hydrated. And hot showers and baths can dehydrate skin, which leads to faster flaking and peeling. Turn the heat down and switch to cooler showers, to help lock in moisture and colour.

Apply fake tan at night

Not only will applying your gradual tan at night give it more time to develop,   but it also means you’ll have less chances of smudging it. Pjs tend to be the loosest types of clothing, so this can help you avoid any dreaded patches.

Clean up after tanning

Always wash your tanning applicator mitt after each use with warm, soapy water and leave to air dry. This will prevent a build-up of product on the mitt and ensure a clean, even tan application every time.

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How to Do a Pedicure at Home

At-home pedicure feature

Ever wondered how to achieve the perfect salon-worthy DIY pedicure? Well look no further… below is an ultimate guide to doing your pedicure at home, including everything from preparation and foot care to base coats and top coats.

At-home pedicure feature


A pedicure is only as good as the base it’s on so preparation is a must!


Begin by exfoliating the feet to remove any build up of dead skin cells. Invest in an express pedicure gadget for a super easy and quick result; it’s essentially an electronic foot file. Simply glide the micro-abrasive roller over the areas of hard skin to buff it away and within seconds, you’ll have smooth feet. Alternatively, use a foot scrub containing refreshing ingredients such as peppermint and massage it into feet, focusing on the dry areas, leave for 5-10 minutes and then wash off in the shower.

Footner Footner Exfoliating Socks/Foot Mask £7.99 Buy Now


For super smooth feet, apply foot cream after exfoliating. For an intensive moisture kick, massage into feet before bed, put cotton socks on over the top and leave overnight.

Superdrug Superdrug Honey and Almond Nourishing Foot Mask £1.99 Buy Now

File and buff

Begin by filing the nails to achieve the shape you want. Hold the file parallel to the side of the toenail; avoid pushing it right into the corner of the nail as this can cause breakage. File from the outside to the centre of the nail and repeat from the other side. Don’t go back and fourth as you risk tearing and peeling the nail. Buff the nail surface, removing any ridges. Finally, use the buffer block on the nail’s surface for a healthy and shiny finish.

Superdrug Superdrug 4 Way Nail Buffer £1.99 Buy Now
At-home pedicure 2

Ingrown toenails

If you notice the corners of your toenail are growing into the skin surrounding them, this is likely to be an ingrown toenail developing. The causes vary but when it comes to nail care, filing your toenails in the right way can help to prevent it from happening. Always hold the file parallel to the side of the nail – if you edge the file too far into the corner, you risk breakage and any remaining sharp edges of nail could pierce the skin and embed itself in it.  Or, if you file the corners of your toenails to short, it may encourage the skin to fold over the nail, leaving the nail with only one direction to grow: into the skin.

Scholl Scholl Ingrown Toenail Kit £14.99 Buy Now

Cuticle care

After filing, gently massage nail oil into the cuticles and toenails and leave for 5-10 minutes. This will moisturise and condition the nails, as well as softening the cuticles, making them easier to work with. Next, use a cuticle stick to push the cuticles back to the base of the nails and then take a cuticle nipper or gentle nail scissors to trim any excess cuticle.

Toe separators

Pop some toe separators on to prevent toes from touching one another, minimising any smudging.

At-home pedicure1

Base coat

Apply a base coat to protect the nails from colour staining and to provide the nail varnish with an even surface to adhere to, preventing any streaking. If you have a specific nail concern such as weak or brittle nails, choose a base coat that also treats the nail.

Superdrug Superdrug 3in1 Base Coat, Ridge Filler, Growth Enhancer £2.99 Buy Now


Take your chosen colour of nail varnish and apply in slow, even brush strokes. A thin layer is all you need, as a second coat will be applied. When the first coat is touch-dry (this should take about 10 minutes), apply your second coat using the same technique. Sit back and relax for 20 minutes while your nails dry.

Rimmel Rimmel Nail Polish 60 Second Coralicious 8ml £3.49 Buy Now

Top coat

When your polish is dry, apply a protective top coat for a longer-lasting, chip-resistant pedicure. Finish with a quick dry spray or drops, leave nails for 5 minutes and then remove the toe separators.

Maybelline Maybelline SuperStay 3D Gel Effect Plumping Top Coat 10ml £5.99 Buy Now

Clean up

Use an old, clean lip brush, dip it into nail varnish remover and go around the edge of each nail to neaten.

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How to Use Highlighter


Don't you love dewy skin that simply glows? Read on to find out how to choose the right highlighter and how to apply it.

Follow our guide to find out all you need to know about choosing the right highlighter for you, as well as highlighting your features.

What is a Highlighter and What Does it Do?

Highlighters are light-reflecting products, available in liquid, cream and powder form. They enhance your complexion and give skin a brighter, dewy glow as well as making cheekbones look more prominent. They also reawaken dull or ageing skin and accentuate your favourite facial features in a subtle, natural way – they’re not meant to make you look shiny or glittery, instead they bring light to an area.

How to Apply a Highlighter

  • You can use highlighter in a number of ways: Mix in a few drops with your moisturiser of choice for an all-over, radiant glow, or apply it after your foundation with a makeup brush to cover areas you'd like to glow.
  • Start at the inner corners of your eyes to open them up, then sweep it under the arch of your brows to define and lift your brow bone.
  • Next, highlight the tops of cheekbones, blending the highlighter right up to the temples.
  • You can also apply a highlighter to your Cupid’s bow, which will give the illusion of bigger lips.
Beautiful woman and how to apply foundation and concealer with color swatches. 
Isolated on white. Cut-out. For other variation, check my portfolio.

How to Get The Best From Your Features

To emphasise and get the best out of your features, use these handy tips:

  • Highlight your eyes: This will instantly light up your eyes and give a brow-lifting effect
  • Highlight your lips: Used under liptstick, this will create dimension and volume to your lips. Highlighter blended into the cupid’s bow and centre of the lips will create this effect.
  • Highlight the bridge of your nose: This will enable your nose to look narrower.

How to Blend

Blending your highlighter creates an instant radiant and even toned appearance to the skin. Once you have highlighted the areas of your face, go over each part by buffing the product into your skin using a buffing brush. Use gentle circular motions over your face and watch your makeup blend beautifully. This will create a seamless look and feel, instead of looking like makeup has been layered on top of your skin.


Revolution Baked Highlighter Matte Lights


Buy Now

How to Choose the Right Highlighter for Your Skin

Choose the shade of your highlighter to suit your skin tone. If your skin is olive, opt for golden, peachy coloured highlighter, while those with fair skin should choose rosy, silver hues.

For a seamless blend, match the texture of your highlighter to your foundation, so if you’re using liquid foundation, choose a liquid formula. However, it’s important to consider what will work best on your skin type. For example, powder highlighter may not work well on dry skin types, but oily skin may welcome its mattifying effect.

Before Using Highlighter, Apply Concealer

Before you begin highlighting your face, map out the sections you want to highlight on your face using dots of concealer one shade lighter than your skin tone. Areas to map out include the forehead, under the eyes, nose and chin. This will help to create an illuminated effect.

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Find the Perfect Mascara

black mascara wand

Eyelashes are by no means the same on every individual and that goes for mascaras too. When it comes to mascara the three most important factors are the wand, formula and shade. Each of these will give you a slightly different effect and also style eyelashes differently. Let's break down each one for you starting with the wand.

Mascara tips for short lashes 2

The Magic Trio

Mascara Wand

Each mascara wand is completely different from the next as it serves a specific purpose to the type of lashes you have and also the look you’re aiming to achieve. Some women want long and full lashes whereas others might prefer super curls, what ever your preference there's a wand out there for you.


When it comes to formulas the main difference is either regular, water soluble and water-based formulas or waterproof mascaras. The first are made from a mix of polymers, waxes and pigments which as the name suggests are will absorb moisture or water when they come into contact. The latter is a life saver in extremely humid or wet conditions, waterproof formulas contain little to no water which helps to stop them from running.

Another thing to consider with formulas is the consistency which will be either wet or creamy. Wet formulas are thinner and therefore spread more easily whereas creamy formulas are great for building volume.


Mascaras vary in colour, from blue to brown to the blackest black. The main thing to bear in mind are colour combinations, for example dark green and bronze mascara works really well with blue eyes - so choose wisely to accentuate your features.

Before Anything – Prime Those Lashes

A lash primer works wonders if you’re looking for extra length, thickness and growth to your eyelashes. The primer is applied to your lashes as a base layer before any mascara is used. Primers coat, condition and soften your lashes, as well as helping mascara stick better to your eyelashes creating added volume and length. Use a primer for that added wow factor!

For Short Lashes

If you have short lashes and want to maximise them, the first thing you should do is use an eyelash curler before any mascara is applied. Eyelash curlers will curl your eyelashes up and actually make them appear longer than they are.

Mascara Wand

In terms of choosing a mascara, go for a lengthening mascara that has a short wand with thick bristles. This will allow maximum styling and enable you to apply an even coat to your lashes from root to tip for longer length and high definition.



Mascara formulas with plenty of polymers and fiber ingredients are great for short lashes. To create a darker look you should choose a wet formula, while wax-rich formulas will thicken your lashes and give more of a voluminous effect.


Dark brown and black shades are best for adding length, but be careful not to go too dark when choosing your shade if you have blonde or red hair.

mascara wand 3

For Thickening Sparse Lashes

As women age, lashes can become quite thin and sparse. If you’re looking to create extra volume and thickness to your sparse looking lashes, a mascara wand which is large, round and packed with bristles is your go to. The thickness of the brush will mean that you will be able to get full coverage and length which doesn’t clump, creating a much bolder look for your lashes.


If you’re looking for a mascara that spreads easily across your lashes then a wet or creamy consistency is ideal, but it’s worth remembering that these can take longer to dry. From a styling point of view, they’re fantastic as you can keep adding layers and volume to your lashes.


Dark brown and black shades of mascara are most effective for thickening, but again, be careful not to go too dark if your natural hair colour is light. If you want your mascara to stay put and keep your lashes looking thicker for longer, it might be worth buying from the waterproof variety rather than the water soluble type.

Waterproof mascaras contain highly processed formulas that stop them from smudging, which is handy in the summer months when make-up has a tendency to melt quickly.

For Curlier Lashes

Some women’s lashes grow straight, which leaves them looking almost invisible.

Mascara Wand

For lashes that curl, a curved brush is ideal as it will lift and create curl to your lashes much more effectively than a straight brush would. A wand with a curved brush mimics the natural arc of eyelashes and will therefore give easier allover application .


Start by sweeping the mascara wand from the top side of your lashes, following the curve of your eyelid to achieve a curling effect. After two coats of mascara, use your fingers to push back your lashes for an even, longer lasting curl which will hold throughout the day.


For Longer Lashes

If it’s length you’re looking for then a long comb brush is ideal.

Mascara Wand

This wand will have short bristles that are spaced out in order to lengthen the lashes without over coating them. This type of wand will also create more natural looking lashes as it won’t clump due to the nature of the comb. You’ll be able to glide the comb through your lashes, separating each lash with every glide and removing any excess mascara for a natural finish.


If your lashes are naturally long, it’s better to go for a mascara with a slightly drier formula such as a powder rather than a creamy or wet consistency.


You might also want to choose a light brown or dark brown shade rather than black as this will stop your eyelashes from looking overly long and clumpy.

For Reaching Every Lash

The Spherical wand looks like a small ball on the end of the mascara wand.

It’s great for reaching every lash on your eyelash line, as its unique shape is able to coat each lash from the larger lashes to the tiny lashes in the corner of your eyes, leaving you with a wide-eyed, refined finish.

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For Natural Lashes

The classic tubular spiral mascara wand has moderately spaced bristles on the brush, allowing you to achieve a more natural look.

It’s suitable for all lash types and also coats all lashes, making your eyes look much bigger.

For Lower Lashes

If you love emphasising your bottom lashes as much as your top lashes then a bottom lash mascara wand is perfect for defining the lower lashes.


The mini brush with defined bristles is great for catching every lash on the bottom lashes without clumping or getting any mascara on your skin.

mascara wand 2
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Skin Prep Before the Big Day

Venue booking, menu tasting, dress shopping and the countless other wedding planning tasks are likely to take up alot of your pre-wedding time but taking some time to prep your skin will ensure you are glowing on the big day.

Portrait of beautiful romantic lady in a wreath of apple trees in the summer garden

The more in advance you can start your skin prep regime the better as it will allow your skin to adjust to its new regime. In a perfect world you'll start you skin prep a year before the wedding but six weeks before will give you enough time to get that glow. 

You don’t need to spend half your wedding budget on dermatologists though, most of the work can be done by yourself at home. Here you will find a guide to achieving the ideal skin prep regime leading up to your big day.

6 – 8 Weeks before

Skin Prep:

Exfoliation is key to achieving healthy looking skin. Every bride should exfoliate their skin and entire body at least three times a week during a morning shower. This will train your skin to be in great condition for the wedding day.

If you don’t already, then cleanse, tone and moisturise your face every day to clean your pores, tone skin and leave a radiant glow on your face.

If you’re looking for that perfect skin for your wedding day then getting a Glycolic Peel treatment or doing it yourself at home may be the answer. This will give you a deep clean of your pores, improve any scarring or pigmentation and leave your skin looking and feeling fabulous. The treatment will exfoliate dead skin cells and rejuvenate the new skin cells underneath, leaving you with a fresh layer of skin looking its best. The number of treatments recommended for your wedding is six, with the last treatment being done at least two weeks before your big day.

Also, if you’re looking to experiment with self-tanners for that golden glow on your wedding day, now would be the ideal time to start.

4 – 6 Weeks before:

Face prep

As well as maintaining your daily cleanse, tone and moisturising regime, use a face mask once or twice a week for the perfect canvas for your bridal makeup. Applying your facemasks four weeks before the big day is ideal as too close to the wedding may risk a breakout in blemishes.

Finish this treatment with a light moisturiser before going to sleep. This will seal the goodness from your face mask and nourish your skin to prevent it from drying. Be sure to use the correct type of moisturiser for your skin type too.

Remember to drink plenty of water to further plump your skin and leave you with a dewy glow.

2 – 3 Weeks before

Face prep – the finer details

Eyes: You don’t want to be rocking the puffy eyed look on your wedding day so make sure you keep these at bay on your big day. The skin under your eyes is the thinnest part of your face, so you need to care for this part differently.  When removing make up from this area avoid scrubbing and instead use a micellar water eye make up remover. This will dissolve makeup off with ease and prevent the need for scrubbing, which can cause irritation and inflate skin. Always apply an eye cream around the eyes after removing makeup to further hydrate and tone the skin.

If it’s the dreaded dark circles you want to get rid of, try to get more sleep! Also apply a firming eye cream every night before bed.  Dark circles are caused by blood pooling around your eyes so applying your cream will soften and plump skin and conceal the bags that are caused from sleep deprivation. Slice cucumbers into round circles and place over your eyes to de-puff and soothe skin around the eye area.

Lips: It’s important to ensure lips are left looking luscious and healthy on your big day. You will be the centre of attention with many cameras snapping away so get your pout game on point. Dehydration is one of the main causes of dry lips, so treat them as you would the rest of your skin and stay hydrated through drinking plenty of water and applying moisture. If you want a quick fix at home, mix sugar and water together, it works as a great lip exfoliator. Simply rub into lips using a circular motion to remove dried skin. A lip balm rich in vitamin E will nourish and hydrate your lips, leaving them smooth and ready for your day’s big kiss.

1 Week before - Final countdown

In the final week’s build-up to your big day, you can give your skin a bigger boost by getting in some extra hours of sleep.  Lack of sleep will disrupt all the skin prep you have worked hard on before the big day so ensure you jump into bed a little earlier than usual. This will make a huge difference to the appearance of your skin on the day, as well as how much energy you have. If you can, avoid wearing makeup a few days before your wedding day. Leaving the skin fresh and product free will mean the make-up applied on your wedding day will take better to your fresh skin and be longer lasting.

Pre wedding stress can cause havoc on your skin and the last thing you need is a breakout in spots or blemishes the week of your wedding. If pimples do erupt, don't panic. Use a concealer as close to your skin tone as possible to cover any spots. If your blemish happens to be dark then apply a concealer one shade lighter than your skin tone using a makeup brush. Do not overdo this as the point is to de-emphasise and not try to remove completely.

1 Day before

Remember to drink plenty of water the day before your wedding. This is important to maintain that healthy body and mind you’ve worked so hard on over the past few weeks. Take a long, relaxing bath and enjoy looking forward to the amazing day that lies ahead.

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Beauty Manual: Festival Essentials

festival checklist

Festival time means quirky outfits, flower headbands, funky nails and experimental makeup! It also means mud, sleeping in a tent and lack of a hot shower! Not exactly glamourous… but at the same time, you wouldn’t have it any other way.


We have compiled a festival checklist of all the essential items you will need during your time away. Let’s up the glamping game this year!

Wet Wipes

Wet wipes are a top festival essential. Not all music festivals have showers onsite and even if they do, you don't want to waste valuable time queuing. So for those times where a shower is absolutely not going to happen, turn to your wet wipes to help freshen up.

Travel Size

Streamline your rucksack by buying travel sized handy products as it will be absolutely impossible to take all of your everyday beauty items with you. Sun tan lotion and aftersun in travel sizes are key essentials even if the weather is looking overcast. Protect your skin at all times and avoid peeling for weeks afterwards.

Deodorant/Body Spray

Your camping friends and yourself will be grateful that you remembered to pack deodorant or body spray, especially when sharing a tent for three or four days without showering.

Hand Sanitizer

Portaloos carry all sorts of germs and the last thing you want is to be ill over the festival weekend. Used as a great supplement or alternative to hand washing with soap and water, a small travel size bottle of hand sanitizer is definitely an essential item not to be forgotten to be packed.

Dental Hygiene 

Dental hygiene is extremely important, even more so at festivals. It’s easy to forget about the normal health routine whilst you’re having fun. Remember to pack your toothbrush, travel size toothpaste and mouthwash. Also, chewing gum is beneficial to oral hygiene so protect teeth and gums by chewing gum in-between meals.


Dry Shampoo

Washing your hair whilst at a festival is probably out of the question. Use dry shampoo as your go-to product once a day to quickly soak up excess oils from your roots, fix unwanted shine and freshen up your hair instantly. It helps in the scent department too, leaving your hair smelling clean and fresh.

Body Tattoos

Body tattoos are a big hit at festivals. Get creative by mixing and matching patterns to decorate your body in fun and quirky body tattoos. This is a perfect way to complement your outfit choice of the day. From geometric designs to 90’s gothic, body tattoos are ideal for festivals.


Hair Chalks/Body Paints

If you want to have fun with your hair and add a little colour to it, then hair chalks are the way to go. Whether you want an ombre effect or cool highlights, there are a variety of hair chalks available for you. See the Introduction to Colour Chalks and Sprays for some more inspiration.  

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