Do you want to look great over Christmas and the New Year ... and preferably all of 2012? Here are a few suggestions: like my previous ones, they are gleaned from thousands of magazines, cosmetic experts, and make-up artists, including those who have touched royal faces, and even from someone who used to dress Joan Collins’ wigs!
If you want to look younger, avoid hair dragged back off the face, perms, and too-short hairstyles. Instead, consider a fringe, an easy to manage cut with the correct styling products, and letting hair grow below the ears to minimise the sides of the neck. The best length is onto the collarbone so you can wear your hair up if you want a sophisticated look.
To dye or not to dye? A personal choice, but if you are worried about repeated use of dark dyes, which some people consider a health risk, consider going lighter, having highlights, or using vegetable dyes.
To prolong the time between hair dye sessions, try an eyebrow pencil, slightly lighter than your hair, and, using it sideways, stroke it from root to tip on grey areas that show most, e.g. at the temples. The pencil will wash out when you shampoo. Don’t use the point of the pencil, or you will just draw on your head!
You can also disguise grey roots by using a slanted, rather than a straight parting, and by gently pushing the hair back almost over the parting, then spritzing it with hairspray, or try a zigzag parting (as the Duchess of Cornwall sometimes does).
No time to do your hair? Try this: comb hair forward right from the nape of the neck over your head. Use a light, flexible hairspray while your hair is hanging forward and leave a few seconds. Comb or brush hair back into normal style and spray again.
Always in a hurry? Keep a dry shampoo as a standby and keep a portable hair tong in your bag. Just washing your fringe gives the impression you’ve washed the lot!
To make fine hair look thicker, try the dry shampoo trick: lift sections from the back, spray each one lightly at the roots with Batiste Dry Shampoo. Leave in and lightly backcomb each section, working to the front, but miss out the fringe or front of head hair. Then gently shape the hair into place with a wide-toothed comb or brush, then use hairspray. This is a technique used on some ‘big hair’ fashion shoots. It works best with blonde or light hair.
If all fails, use a turban. Princess Michael of Kent has done this on her travels.
Skin highlights and illuminators are not expensive and last ages. The white/pink ones probably suit pale skins and the peach ones might suit darker skins; you can usually test them first. Use a drop of this pearly liquid to highlight the top of your cheekbones — find the bone below the eye and apply gently outwards in a reversed C shape.
To brighten your face and avoid a flat, matte look, add a tiny touch along the nose stopping where the bone ends.
If you want a proper makeover, consider a one-to-one session with a professional make-up artist. This is quite different from cosmetic counter consultants who will try to sell you everything from cleansers to anti-wrinkle creams.
A top artist can cost £1000 or more, but for someone in the public eye, or who wants to make the best impression in her career, this could be well spent and could save you a small fortune on buying the wrong cosmetics.