I’m no beauty blogger. In fact, the word ‘beauty’ doesn’t often appear in the same sentence as a description of me. My beauty regime (such as it is) consists of slapping the same make-up on in exactly the same way as I have for the last twenty years. But recently, I’ve started looking after myself a bit more and began to lament the state of my skin: bizarrely dry AND spotty (how is that even possible?). I’d like to say the spots are down to my teenage hormones, but that would be tricky, given I’m a woman of a certain age. And you can probably guess that age when I say that I apply blusher in the style of Aunt Sally. Remember, from Worzel Gummidge? Two bright pink, rosy circles on the apples of the cheeks? (What a great show that was. How easy it’d be just to apply a fresh new head each morning, rather than having to resurrect something passable amongst the lines and age spots). But anyway, if you remember Worzel Gummidge, you’re probably over 40, like me.
I’d seen an ad for Boots No7 My Match and thought it looked the least daunting make-up counter for a make-up dunce like me. I had a rare child-free day off work today and so booked a free half-hour consultation in my local Jersey branch.
I arrived, largely make-up free (it’s unthinkable that I could leave the house without concealer for those blasted spots and a bit of mascara) and met Donna, a woman who looked professionally made-up. This was a good start. I explained the time-warp I’ve fallen into and that I wanted her to wave a magic wand and transform me in to a beeeyewtee. How she managed to stop herself from replying, ‘I sell make-up love, not miracles’ is beyond me but, bless her, she spoke kindly and gave me the impression things weren’t so bad.
After cleansing and moisturising my parched, wind-burnt skin (you could almost hear my pores gasping with relief), she used a whizzo gadget, which I suspect is basically a clever camera, and placed it against my skin in various places to determine what colour foundation I should really be wearing…as opposed to what colour I think I am. Why I think I have sun-kissed Californian skin is a mystery when, in fact, I have bog-standard pale, slightly freckly Anglo-Saxon skin. Or ‘Cool Beige’ as Donna’s machine likes to call it.
So, skin analysis done, she set to work on the transformation. Asking me about my lifestyle (a contrast of rural and office-based), time (limited) and colour preferences (subtle but professional), she picked out products and colours I would have never have thought of.
Starting with Instant Radiance foundation (a ‘radiant boost for tired, stressed skin’ – I tried not to take offence!) she applied it with a brush. A brush! Is this woman insane?! Well, no, turns out a brush means it goes on better and stays where you put it and avoids the tideline around the jaw that I have sported oh so often. She then put Instant Radiance concealer on my eyebags and again, gently brushed it in. Then a nude cream concealery/eye shadow type thing (didn’t catch exactly what it was) on to my eyelids to ‘anchor’ my eye shadow. (I assume instead of it slipping off my eyelids, into my crows’ feet, but she was probably too polite to say that). Then blusher and, shock horror, it doesn’t apparently go in the middle of your cheeks, but slightly underneath so that it lifts the cheekbone and lengthens the face. Who’d have thought?! This was a revelation.
Then, she moved on to eyes. Looking at my eye colour and checking it matched my ‘pale and interesting’ Cool Beige skintone, she selected a nudish trio of pale pink, light gold and a slightly darker browny/beige. Explaining where to apply each colour, I began to think I could passably try this at home. Next eye liner – and not the jet black felt-tip pen style liner I have smeared over my lashes for an aeon. No, this was a silvery-grey, which she gently dotted along the lash line to great effect. Then black mascara and a quick check in the mirror. Who is this? What did she do with Aunt Sally? And look how smooth and blemish-free my skin looks! I could’ve kissed her.
But the real surprise came when she tackled my eyebrows. Now, it’s stretching the truth to call them eyebrows as they’re more a random collection of wispy hairs and have long-ago stopped pretending to be ‘groomed’ or ‘statement’ (other than for all the wrong reasons). Donna started feathering the eyebrow pencil where my eyebrows should be, delicately observing that what eyebrows I do have are lopsided and don’t frame my face in a flattering way. A few deft flicks later and I’ve got eyebrows to rival the Duchess of Cambridge! Get me.
I didn’t want it to end, but we finally moved on to lip colour. The My Match system is great as it suggests colours that compliment skintone and so, when presented with a colour card of lovely cherry and berry colours, I chose Rosy Ribbon. I like the sound of that, perhaps it should be my nom de plume?! Outlining my lips with lip pencil and then applying lipstick (again, with a brush – what kind of heretic is this woman?!) within the liner, it was time for the big reveal.
Looking back at me in the mirror was a woman who, whilst she still looked like me, looked a good few years’ younger and less knackered. It was incredible. But what was even more amazing was that I didn’t look ‘made-up’. Yes, you could tell I had make-up on, but my days of trying to kid the world I’m a fresh-faced teen are gone, so so what? I looked well, I looked healthy and I looked up-to-date. I wanted to hug Donna. Instead, I started choosing all the products I was going to buy to recreate this look at home. I had a slight panic as I loaded 13 products next to the till. But guess what? Boots are running a 3 for 2 offer on No7 products this week – bingo!! I got the whole lot for the frankly astonishing sum of £68. I couldn’t believe what good value that was. I suspect you’d barely get a couple of things at one of the glitzy French make-up counters for that. But the fact it cost me so little to get such great results makes me feel even better.
So, whilst I may be no beauty blogger, I wanted to share what an amazing experience I had with Boots and its No7 Match Made service. It’s just the thing for make-up novices or those stuck in a rut with their look. The half an hour and the £68 spent with Donna have left me feeling great and looking, well, modesty prevents me from saying great, so let’s just say a much better version of me…