I am 37 years old, pregnant with my third child and, quite honestly, I look knackered. So much so that I have started to dread catching a glimpse of myself in reflective surfaces. Before hitting my mid-thirties I blithely assumed, with all the arrogance of youth, that ageing is something that happens to other people. Since then, the darkening of circles, deepening of grooves and the emergence of a weird, crepe-like texture snaking over my skin, continues apace as Mother Nature (and Facebook’s throwback memory pop-ups) laughs in the face of the world’s most luxurious skincare.
Having spent the last four years either pregnant or breastfeeding, any intervention involving a needle is medically prohibited. Not normally one for anything that relies on kneading and stroking (I am more of the stick-a-syringe-full-of-Botulism-in-it school of thought), I was intrigued by the sound of the non-invasive ‘Botox facial’ (Margy’s Botox Effect Facial, Dhs800, Sisters Beauty Lounge). As far as spa treatments go, this one is satisfyingly high-tech, utilising ultrasonic extraction, some seriously scientific-looking algae slop and a sculpting collagen mask. True to its billing, I emerged looking smoothed, plumped and hydrated. Three nights later, someone told me I looked young and innocent at dinner (I think this may have been a euphemism for chubby, but still, I’ll take what I can get).
Bazaar’s Louise Nichol is on a mission to uncover beauty products that work
Recently, I have developed a growing suspicion that my usual approach to foundation (avoid unless there will be cameras) is scaring young children. My make-up dodging ways stem from a lack of time in the morning (fitting in exercise, family breakfast and nursery run all before 8am is manic enough without contemplating contouring). When the Temptu Air device (Dhs710 at Net-a-Porter) landed on my desk I assumed it was firmly aimed at the sort of woman who worships at the altar of MAC and Snapchats her strobing skills. Finally, curiosity (and desperation, truth be told) got the better of me and I braved the cordless airbrush device, which works by slotting in a foundation-containing pod that is dispersed in a fine mist wherever you aim the nozzle. It takes a bit of getting used to – they key is remembering to flick open a tiny valve to release the product; I missed this crucial step and spent a good 15 minutes wondering why I was blowing hot air on my face. But once mastered the Temptu is, excuse the pun, a breeze to use. Twenty seconds of vaguely wafting it in the direction of your general visage and you’re done. It’s entirely mess-free and the finish is incredibly professional-looking, even in the hands of a make-up klutz like me. The only issue is picking the right colour online. Mine came with Warm Beige 006 and I have the sneaking suspicion it leans towards Donald Trump. Nonetheless, an improvement on au naturel.
Sephora’s Color IQ device
If colour-matching your foundation is a constant battle – and let’s face it, The Donald is not a great look – then it’s worth popping into your nearest Sephora and trying its whizzy Color IQ system, created in partnership with global colour authority Pantone. An in-store make-up artist uses the handheld device to take pictures of your skin that yield a reading determining your skin’s undertone, ranging from cool red to a Middle Eastern olive, and how light or dark you are across a spectrum of 110 shades. The resulting colour codes are correlated to 353 foundations available in Sephora’s 53 Middle East stores. My code determined that my favourite Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation (Dhs239, Bloomingdale’s) in 5.75 is a good two notches too yellow for my actual skintone. So, armed with a better-matched foundation – after playing around with the highly-addictive colour match tool on the Sephora website for hours, I went for Nars Sheer Glow Foundation in Santa Fe (Dhs229 at Sephora) – I decided it was time to break out what I’d heard was every beauty insider’s secret weapon.
Color Me’s Automatic Foundation Applicator Pro (Dhs255, Net-a-Porter) is a nifty tool that uses sonic pulses to tap make-up onto the skin, promising flawless, eight-hour coverage. Described to me by Net-a-Porter’s beauty director Newby Hands as, “like having a make-up artist”, this is the kind of technology I can get behind. I use it to apply foundation at work and am immediately inundated by compliments from the Bazaar team. Due to shipping restrictions, the Color Me gadget can’t be delivered to the region, but I strongly advise you to add it to your overseas shopping list this summer. This is the closest I have come to a Kardashian complexion, and while I won’t exactly be Snapchatting the results, it’s a relief to know that mirrors are no longer such a scary place.