Sali Hughes at Selfridges Birmingham: The Best Bits

Sunday, May 18th 2014 0

A Beauty Project Event

Yesterday, Guardian Beauty Editor Sali Hughes came to Selfridges in Birmingham for a special event as part of Selfridges' ongoing beauty campaign, the Beauty Project.

The layout was quite simple. She had two sessions, each with 20 guests, during which anyone could ask her a beauty question. Luckily for me, she tackled really universal subjects such as how to perfect a smoky eye and what we need to do in the event of a breakout. 

I’m a huge fan of Sali’s (quite the understatement), so naturally I spent the duration of these sessions jotting down every last tip, trick and product recommendation that I could. Here are my favourites from the day.

On eyebrows…
Never use brow make-up with any warmth in it. “The moment you use anything warm”, she advises, “it starts to look wiggy”. You should use little feathery strokes, stop at the arch, and go down in long strokes. Then, take an old mascara wand over them; “it blends as well as grooms”. As for brow gel? “Spend no more than £3 on brow gel because it’s gross after 3 weeks.”

On foundations and tinted moisturisers…
Some of Sali’s recommended sheer foundations are NARS Sheer Glow, Bobbi Brown Stick Foundation and MAC Cosmetics Face & Body Foundation. “People need to get over the names of products,” she warns when asked about the difference between say a sheer foundation and a tinted moisturiser. “Sometimes it’s a question of shopping around.” One brand’s ‘tinted moisturiser’, for instance, may have a far heavier coverage than another brand’s ‘foundation’.

On alcohol in skincare…
To begin her answer, Sali reminds us that ingredients on the back of a beauty product are listed in order of highest quantity. “If it’s no.1 or no.2 it needs to be amazing to tolerate it.” There are exceptions to the rule, she continues, “certain products are worth high alcohol for the sake of one ingredient – an example being Liquid Gold.”

On mastering the ever elusive smoky eye…
As an everyday nude palette, Charlotte Tilbury’s The Sophisticat is her prime recommendation. For something a little smokier, she also loves the Smashbox Full Exposure Palette. “Nude is any colour that skin could conceivably be,” she continues. She favours a neutral base and insists that the key to mastering a smoky eye is to always mix shimmer and matte. And if you get a little drop down onto the face? “Powder lifts powder,” says Sali, taking a large domed brush and using soft sweeping motions to touch up her guest. When removing any drop down, “fingers will smudge it but powder lifts powder.” She tells us to sweep away any spills with a dose of setting powder on a large brush.

On brushes…
Sali always comes back to the MAC 219 brush, a tiny dome-shaped brush with a head like a miniature bullet. “Everything women think is difficult about make-up is fixed with a 219,” she assures us. “The brush is your friend – it is designed to help you. Don’t start moving arms and elbows. Look at my hand; it doesn’t move.”

On concealer…
“The Clarins Instant Concealer is THE best under eye concealer I’ve ever used.”

On counteracting redness…
“Work against the pink with peachy tones.” Her recommended peachy blushers? Bobbi Brown Apricot, NARS Deep Throat and MAC Cosmetics Peaches. With Peaches, she explains, it is very difficult to put too much on. “And Lord knows I’ve tried!”

On In the Bathroom With…
Coming up we’ve got features with India Knight, Sam McKnight and Lauren Laverne to look forward to. And if she could do ITB with anyone? “Madonna.” (If you’ve never seen ITB, it’s a series on YouTube where Sali visits her famous friends’ houses and talks through the contents of their bathroom over wine. Two of my favourite past guests include Charlotte Tilbury and Caitlin Moran.

Don’t forget to take a look at the rest of the Beauty Project schedule – there are still so many amazing events to attend and lots are free.

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