I’m the first to admit that being a beauty editor sounds like a fictional job – you get to test the latest lipsticks, lotions and perfumes and legitimately call it work.
I have spent over a decade playing with products, researching ingredients and grilling the world’s top skin, hair and makeup experts with why and how and but why, and the magic has never worn off. I still get a kick out of discovering and sharing new beauty tricks, not just on magazine pages but also in person (cue shameless plug: learn all the pro secrets in a personal or group beauty masterclass. With me. In the flesh).
Just for the record, beauty editor’s aren’t derms, or therapists or hair stylists. We’re writers with a fabulous book of beauty contacts. Our job is to extract trade secrets from the experts so that we can pass them on to readers. We research ingredients, question claims, listen and learn techniques, and test test test until our skin screams for mercy.
We are willing beauty guinea pigs who throw our bodies on the line so you don’t have to (believe you me, there are many bumps along the way. Ask me about the time an alkaline treatment turned my complexion a rubbery, raw shade of purple. It never fully recovered).
It’s true that being a beauty editor affords a privileged lifestyle: champagne events, lunches in luxe locations, fashion week passes and all-expenses paid trips to spas and high-end hotels. But that (shiny and fun as it is) is not the really exciting part. For me, the real thrill comes from the privilege of helping women, people like you and me, boost their beauty confidence.
We can’t wave a mascara wand and magically fix all life’s problems, but there is no doubt that feeling good about yourself has a powerful flow-on effect to other areas of your life. The way you see yourself can influence how others see you, which means it can also impact everything from relationships to career opportunities. Loads of studies have been done on this and some of the conclusions are, quite frankly, gobsmacking: science says there is a link between perceived attractiveness and capability; that wearing makeup can make others think you are more credible and trustworthy; that a bad hair day can damage your self-esteem, not just your mood morning; and that the majority of women equate beauty with happiness (thankfully this doesn’t actually hold true. Things are never that simple).
We are genetically programmed to make ourselves look beautiful, but beauty really only exists in our heads – it’s something we perceive rather than something that’s definitively real. Which is an incredibly good thing – it leaves open the potential to change our attitude from critical to happily content when we look in the mirror.
The truth is, you don’t need makeup to be beautiful (and you certainly don’t need makeup in order to be competent at work). But it can be a brilliant confidence-boosting tool, a clever shortcut to helping you stand that little bit taller in your everyday life. But, as with any tool, you need to learn how to best handle it.
That’s precisely where the trouble begins for many of us. Despite (or perhaps because) of all the choice we have, even purchasing makeup can feel intimidating at times. In frustration you might turn to YouTube (a guaranteed way to induce a crisis of confidence in anyone old enough to wrinkle), or feel pressured to purchase a whole new cabinet of cosmetics.
In all honesty, you don’t need bagfuls of beauty goods to look your best, you just need to learn what works for you. Less is more is a beauty mantra I teach in every masterclass. You don’t need to invest much money, time or skill to look your best. Sometimes just a few clever tweaks to your routine can make all the difference.
I love those aha moments. Watching women experience the power that a little beauty confidence can bring is endlessly rewarding. And it’s achievable for everyone, regardless of how time-poor, routine-bound and budget-constrained you are. It’s simply about learning how to make the most of what you were born with (and making it snappy so it doesn’t become a boring daily chore).
Ultimately, real beauty is radiating the kind of confidence that signals you are comfortable in your own skin. If learning how to rock a red lip or brighten skin tone puts a spring in your step along the way, then all power to you. Have fun with it!