Beauty emergencies: How to fix a bad-everything day

We’ve all had them. No matter how well you maintain your beauty routine – and let’s face it, things can be erratic at times – nobody escapes a pre-party zit or hungover eyes. Or you could be like me and have it all at once at least four times a month! My skin ages 10 years, my make-up only makes matters worse and my lips look as if I’ve spent two weeks in the Arctic… forget bad hair days, these are paper-bag days. Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to rescue a seemingly hopeless situation. Here’s how to cope when everything goes wrong.

beauty-emergency-2The bad hair day

Frizzy locks? Rub a bit of conditioner on your hands and work it through to the ends. This will tame flyaway strands. In a pinch, a drop of ordinary hand cream will do the trick.

Limp and lank strands? Put on a headband so that it lifts hair up off the face. Spray hair with a volumizer; wait 10 minutes and then remove the ‘band.

Greasy hair? Rub antibacterial gel over your hands, then rake your fingers through the hair before you brush and blast it dry. The gel’s high alcohol content will dissolve build-up.

The tired face

Skimped on sleep? Looking washed out? Skip the full face of makeup. When you’re tired, blood is circulated away from the skin to boost major organs like the lungs and liver, making the complexion look pasty. This means your usual make-up will not sit very well and shall possibly even make things worse. Instead, go for moisturiser, eye drops, a light brushing of face powder, lip gloss and, if possible, a pair of sunglasses.

Baggy eyes

Still carrying around last night’s baggage? Drink loads of water to flush out the toxins. Then, gently pat either aloe vera gel or an eye mask on those puffy zones to draw out remaining impurities. Or dab on some witch hazel – diluted with double the amount of water – as it’s wonderful at busting toxins.

Panda eyes

Global makeup authority Bobbi Brown has the cure: always apply your eye cream before your concealer to hydrate the delicate under-eye skin and make concealer go on smoothly. She also suggests choosing a concealer one shade lighter than your foundation. Work it from the under-eye area up to the lower lash line and, most importantly, the innermost corner. This is the most recessed area of the face and hence appears darkest.

Acne attack

If you notice a spot developing, wrap an ice cube in a thin handkerchief and gently massage it over the blemish for 10 seconds. Repeat every hour to bring down the swelling and reduce redness. Follow with a formulation that contains 2% salicylic acid and dab some concealer for on-the-spot camouflage.

beauty-emergenciesUnkissable lips

Olive oil is a terrific quick fix for lips, especially when you’ve forgotten your lip balm. It’s a terrific moisturiser and you can find it just about everywhere. Rub it into your lips, elbows, feet or anywhere else that needs a little TLC.

Stained teeth

If red wine and coffee (or cigarettes!) have stained your teeth, avoid lipsticks with orange, yellow or beige hues. The key to making teeth look whiter is contrast. So, choose bright reds or reds with a blue base instead.

Nails not up to scratch

Mix a bit of coconut oil or olive oil with salt and baking powder. Rub this mixture all over your hands, on the palms, up to the wrists and particularly on the nails. The oil acts as a moisturiser and the baking powder releases oxygen into the skin to plump out any fine lines and increase the circulation. The salt, in the meantime, acts as a gentle exfoliant to bust dead skin and soften the cuticles.

Smelly, grungy feet

This one needs a 3-part solution:

Rather than removing chipped polish on your toes and starting again, mask it with a coat of darker colour.

If you have a pearly eyeshadow that’s all broken up and is ready for the bin, break it down even further and mix it with a little moisturiser. Rub the mixed-up lotion into your feet for soft skin that has a sexy sheen.

If you get smelly feet, crush fresh mint in a bowl of warm water. Submerging your feet in this concoction will remove any unpleasant odours.

Streaky fake tan

Ah, the joys of the self-tan. For those who’ve been well and truly tangoed, try these tips:

If it’s really disastrous, go swimming. Local pools are notorious for having lots of chlorine and this will bleach away the tan.

If you have darker knees and ankles, rub a little whitening toothpaste into the area using a circular motion. The toothpaste will gently exfoliate and the whitening agent will remove colour.

What’s your secret beauty quick-fix? Share with us in the comments box below!

Deepika Padukone’s sizzling beauty secrets

On the modeling circuit, they say there is an era before and after Deepika Padukone. One of the very few Indian models who have successfully charmed all four mediums – print, television, the silver screen and the catwalk – Bollywood’s top ranking actress wears her celeb status with ease.

And what a status that is… not only does Deepika seem to be part of almost every single Bollywood movie that has topped the box office in the last two years, she’s all set to make waves in Hollywood as well, with Vin Diesel’s xXx: Return of Xander Cage. And even before this movie is released, the 30-year-old finds herself part of the top 10 in Forbes list of the world’s richest actresses.

However, she remains “strictly low-maintenance”, charting her own path through the style aisles, rather than chasing changing trends. Here she spills her uber-cool beauty secrets.

What have you learnt about beauty?

Don’t fidget with your skin – that means don’t overdo facials and other skincare rituals; exercise regularly; and stick to minimal makeup.

What’s your favourite feature?

I love my eyes. A lot of people say that I express a lot with just my eyes, without using any other part of my face or body. This is great in front of the camera but becomes dicey in real life!

How do you make the most of them?

I highlight them with mascara and put a little liner on the edges. The latter is necessary since I have big eyes. Else you can make them look really wonderful with just loads of mascara on the top and lower lashes.

Deepika Padukone in Bajirao Mastani
Deepika Padukone in Bajirao Mastani

And your least favourite feature?

My feet are huge and ugly! I am perpetually trying to camouflage them with flats and covered shoes. And I can barely find shoes my size.

A skincare basic?

Cleansing, toning and moisturizing every morning and religiously taking off all makeup at night. Skin needs to breathe and regenerate while you sleep and this can only happen when it’s absolutely clean.

What’s your hair care ritual?

A leave-in conditioner is essential because of the weather and pollution; plus I need a heat-resistant spray to minimize styling damage during shoots and fashion shows. Once in a while, I indulge in a good head massage.

Which are your favourite makeup hues?

I love pastels and very light pinks. During the day, it’s usually a very light liner with a pinkish blush and nude gloss. Night makeup tends to be a slightly more exaggerated version of the same but still remains very natural.

Deepika Padukone in Ram Leela
Deepika Padukone in Ram Leela

What kind of fragrance do you like?

I am not a fan of overly flowery or fruity fragrances. I prefer something with a unique edge, like Issey Miyake or Davidoff Cool Water.

What’s the best thing about makeup?

It’s great for making flaws vanish! Else how would we get through under eye circles, bad complexion days and pesky zits?

Excerpted from an interview I did for Marie Claire India

How to banish bacteria and germ-proof your makeup bag (you need to do this NOW!)

Even if your makeup bag looks spick-and-span – no crumbly foundation or decade-old lipsticks – it could still be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. That’s because every time you pull out your lip gloss or mascara, bacteria descend, ready to spread nasty infections such as sties, cold sores and the flu. And surprisingly, a survey from the folks at Q-tips has found that only 34% women clean their makeup bags at least once a year. Ewww!

makeup-bag-germsPress the reset button

First of all, dump everything and clean the bag thoroughly (inside and out) using anti-bacterial wipes or baby shampoo. Allow to dry completely before replacing the contents. Next, wash all makeup brushes, whether or not they seem dirty. This is also the perfect time to take stock of what you are actually using right now and store away the rest in a cool, dry place.

Sanitise, sanitise, sanitise!

No makeup artist would be caught dead without a mammoth supply of 99% alcohol, hand sanitiser and antibacterial brush cleansers. Once a month (or after you’ve had any infection), gently swab all makeup surfaces – blush, compact powder or foundation, lipstick etc – with the 99% alcohol to de-germify. And keep a pencil sharpener handy – it’s the best way to keep your brow, eye and lip pencils sanitised.

Switch to plastic

Powders, dyes and germs latch on to cloth or canvas surfaces, making them difficult to clean. A makeup bag made from plastic, on the other hand, can be easily cleaned with a wet cloth.

Sharing is not caring

DO NOT SHARE YOUR MAKEUP. EVER! This is not being selfish – merely smart. Sharing lipsticks and mascara wands is the easiest way to spread germs. And that’s not all: do not double-task your tools. Lip brushes should only be used on the lips, and the same goes for eyes. This is not a place to mix-and-match.

How often do you clean your makeup bag? Tell me in the comments section – I promise not to judge!

June 2016: The 11 new beauty products I am obsessing over this month

After a long career in magazines, I have developed a deep distrust of that particular industry’s beauty awards, top 10 lists and best-of-the-best new launch announcements. Why? Because the unwritten rule in literally every magazine that I have ever worked for is simple: The position and number of products on any of these lists is directly proportional to the number of advertising pages bought in the magazine by the beauty brand. That ‘world’s best lipstick’ tag doesn’t sound half as authentic after that, right? Even if it comes from your favourite publication?

Here, instead, I’ve put together a list of the top beauty launches for this month that come sans payment or inducement of any kind. Hopefully, they will catch your fancy for all the right reasons – as they did mine!

kfc nail polishKFC Nail Polish

KFC at your fingertips? Now, you can have that literally, with the fried chicken chain’s limited edition nail polishes that comes in two “flavours”: “original recipe” and “hot and spicy”. Paint them on and lick your nails for a KFC kick, sans the calories. That’s what I call “finger lickin’ good”!

lipstick queen blushLipstick Queen Frog Prince Cream Blush, $24

If you’re the kind who can’t resist cool, edgy looking makeup but don’t ever end up actually wearing it (ME!), Lipstick Queen’s Frog Prince Cream Blush is made for you. Just like the Frog Prince and Hello Sailor lipsticks, this mood-ring-for-makeup blush starts off as a deep, shimmering green in the tube (like a lily pad) but turns into a soft, rosy pink on the cheeks for a natural flush. The magic is conducted by pH-reacting, color-changing technology that is both fun and functional (it also comes with natural oils, Shea butter and vitamin E for a natural, super-hydrating sheen). Call me kitschy but I, for one, never fail to be fascinated!

MAC TendertalkMAC Tendertalk Lip Balm, $20

Another mood-ring-inspired, colour chameleon product (What is this? The ’90s?), MAC’s new Tendertalk Lip Balms change colour upon application, based on your body chemistry. There are five shades, ranging from rosy pink to deep berry, and they are also chockfull with hydrators to keep your pout plump and perfect.

MAC-Pro-BeyondMAC Pro Beyond Twisted Lash, $22

Just how much can you rewrite the script when it comes to mascara wands? Quite a lot, believes MAC. After all, it’s not regarded as the gold standard for makeup innovation for nothing. The new Pro Beyond Twisted Lash mascara can literally bend in all directions – up to a mind boggling 90-degree angle – to catch even the tiniest or most wayward of lashes. Count me in!

nuxe roll on maskNuxe Nuxuriance Ultra Re-Plumping Roll-On Mask, $53

Love face masks, hate the mess? Nuxe’s Nuxuriance Ultra Re-Plumping Roll-On mask literally rolls on via the built-in metal applicator. And the metal roller also helps boost skin circulation with a mini-massage. Result: hydration and brightening sans any additional effort. That’s what I call luxury!

eucerin in shower moisturiserEucerin In-Shower Moisturizer Body Lotion, $10.99

Honestly speaking, I fell in love first with the super-cute milk jug container and only later with the actual contents. But now I am totally sold on the latter as well – after all, what’s not to like about a rinse-off body lotion that’s non-gloopy and yet balmy enough for even the driest, itchiest of skins?

Pat McGrath Skin FetishPat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish 003, $72

It’s the Holy Grail of highlighting: glowing skin sans the shimmer or metallics. Makeup maestro Pat McGrath has created what is being referred to as “pure light in a tube” and I have to agree. The kit (with a clear balm, cream highlighter, pressed gel pigment and Japanese brush) comes in two shades: Nude and Golden. Both are lightweight, buildable and will create the most realistic glow you could have ever dreamt of… like your skin but better. Literally.

essie gel coutureEssie Gel Couture, $11.50

I live off Essie nail polishes and those signature square bottles have been a fixture on my vanity ever since my mother actually allowed me to paint my nails for the first time ever (Ballet Slippers!). Now these tiny pots are getting a sleek twist – both in form and function. The brand’s new Gel Couture bottles have been inspired by dressed twirling and swirling across the runway, while the brush is wider and comes with tapered bristles to hug the nail more efficiently. Also new: A gel-like formula that lasts up to 14 days, without the need for a base coat or UV lamp. And comes in 42 new shades.

josie maran vibrancyJosie Maran Vibrancy Argan Oil Foundation Fluid, $45

It’s the Holy Grail of foundations: full coverage, long stay, hydrating and super-easily blendable, while being packed with natural ingredients that soothe even the most sensitive skin. Not surprisingly, it’s Josie Maran who checks all the boxes, with this super fluid that literally seems to melt into the skin.

simple human wide mirrorSimplehuman Wide-View Sensor Mirror, $400

The best makeup products and application techniques in the world are useless if you don’t have a proper mirror and light source on hand. Simplehuman mirrors tackle both things at once, and the latest Wide-View Sensor version pushes the envelope even further with FIVE lighting modes, including natural, sunny, cloudy and candlelight. And that’s not even all: You can take a selfie in any kind of light or location and the app will automatically program that ambience into the mirror as well. Plus, it’s wireless, turns on automatically when you approach and even has a ion-built timer counting down the minutes you have left to finish the job. Way cool, right?

Dyson-Supersonic-02Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer, $399

From vacuums to… hair dryers? Seriously? That was my first thought when I heard about Dyson’s new Supersonic hair dryer. It looks absolutely nothing like any hairdryer I have met till date. And that’s because this cool new hair tool is built nothing like any hairdryer I have met till date.

Firstly, instead of the traditional vent-and-hot-coils drying technology, it has a V9 digital motor whose 13 impeller blades are capable of 110,000 revolutions per minute. This blows out air at least twice as fast as the average blow dryer, along with a very precise width of just over an inch.

Then there is a special thermostat-microprocessor duo that measures air temperature 20 times a second to keep it consistent, thereby drastically cutting down on hair damage.

It also has a built-in ionizer to deionize hair, which effectively cuts down on static electricity. And, as an added bonus, it’s almost soundless. Dyson engineers also moved their motor mechanism into the handle, resulting in a compact and lightweight hair dryer easier to handle and orbit around the head while in use.

Dyson even tackled blow-dryer attachments. Instead of forcing them onto a plastic nozzle, each one attaches via a magnetic ring. They attachments don’t even get hot thanks to air channels built into each one of them that sucks in cool air as the hot air blows through the center.

As expected, a product this coolly innovative doesn’t come easy: Dyson spent four years and $43 million developing this ‘dryer in a special laboratory dedicated to studying the science of hair. of this, $60,000 was spent just on 1,010 miles (MILES!) of real human hair for the testing process, which created a global shortage.

What’s your favourite beauty find?