You can look gorgeous without spending a small fortune when you invest in these staples.
The beauty spy: beauty on a budget
With the hint of cooler, breezy nights around the corner, I'm saving for a new Christian Louboutin fur clutch and some ridiculously expensive Chanel Sublimage cream. This divine blend - like someone squeezed out the gooey fondant of a Patchi chocolate, whipped it with silk and poured it into a gorgeous pot - is worth every dirham. Though I adore luxury brands, there are other beauty buys that I'm happy to economise on. And there's nothing that makes me more deliriously smug than discovering a bargain that works just as well as its expensive cousins.
Serums are vital in my daily skincare cream, and the new Guerlain Orchidée Impériale Longevity Concentrate has me sold on name alone. Its capsule bottle with lavish gold-and-blue packaging contains an elixir made from three species of orchid. As it promises to regenerate skin cells, I cannot wait to sleep easy at night.
Also worth investigating is the Olay Regenerist 3-point Super Serum. The lowdown is that it's as good as pricier serums and is a great anti-ageing all-rounder. I also love the high-street brand Eucerin - the hyaluronic acid in the creams and serum makes it fantastic for thirsty skin.
I never leave home without concealer. Its power to cover dark circles and sun spots prevents people from asking if you're sick. Crème De La Mer, The Radiant Concealer SPF25 smooths away almost any imperfections with its silky formula. It could be a daily staple if it weren't for the price tag. A great alternative is Clinique's Airbrush Concealer, which brightens, blurs and covers up without irritation. Also try Rimmel London Hide The Blemish. Not just for spotty teenage skin, its dense stick formula is long lasting without being cakey.
Violet eyeliner and blue eye shadow are back, but too much can make you look like your aunty in the Sixties. Givenchy's Shadow & Light Eyes in Lune Mordoree is a great starting point as it has a beautiful selection of hues. At under Dh20, L'Oréal Paris Wear Infinite Eye Shadow in Midnight Sky is a steal. Apply lightly for daywear or build up for extra colour. For lips, Maybelline New York Color Sensational in Fuschsia Fever has a creamy consistency and is bold enough not to need a liner.
But whatever your budget, choose between big eye make-up or strong lipstick - never both, unless you're Christina Aguilera or appearing in the chorus line of Chicago.
Three of the best
CRÈME DE LA MER LIP BALM, DH270 Proving there is such a thing as love at first sight - or application - this dreamy lip balm moisturises your lips, leaving just enough sheen to mix well with lipstick. Plus, Dh37 from every pot sold is donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
TWEEZERMAN SLANT TWEEZERS, DH126 A beauty staple, these limited edition tweezers with a pretty pink ribbon are a handy size for travelling and come slanted, with a hand-filed tip to ensure precision plucking. Dh11 from every sale goes to Breast Cancer Campaign.
NSTYLE PINK INSPIRATION COLLECTION, DH220 Give your nails a glossy finish with these three hot pink shades. With a nontoxic formula and chip-resistant coverage, you'll sparkle as much as the Swarovski crystal-capped lids. Polishes are sold in packs of three with proceeds going to the charity Safe & Sound.
PERFECTLY PINK With snazzy pink packaging containing three of our favourite skincare products, we at M love this Elemis Think Pink Beauty Kit. Elemis created it exclusively for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and are donating Dh60,000 to Breast Cancer Care, a charity supporting those affected by the disease. Inside the cute "Think Pink" beauty case you'll find the divinely smelling Pro-Collagen Marine Cream, Lifting Neck And Bust Treatment and Skin Nourishing Shower Cream, all for Dh250. Beauty-saving and life-saving goodies, what's not to love?
Elemis Think Pink Beauty Kit, Dh250, available at Debenhams Mirdif City Center and elsewhere, 04 231 6602
The smell of luxury In the coolest of collaborations, the world of fragrance is getting a million-dollar perfume. DKNY Fragrance has teamed with the celebrity jeweller Martin Katz to create the unique offering, and it's all for charity. The DKNY Golden Delicious Million Dollar Fragrance Bottle is carved from polished 14-carat yellow and white gold and is adorned with rare jewels such as 2,700 brilliant white diamonds and 183 golden yellow sapphires. It is being showcased on a global tour, stopping in the UAE tomorrow until October 8 and ending up on DKNY's Facebook page, where it will be available for purchase. All proceeds will go to Action Against Hunger, a global humanitarian organisation committed to ending world hunger. Plus, the scent - a blended floral mix of white rose, lily and vanilla orchid with the added spiciness of Golden Delicious apple - is available to buy separately from Dh226 at beauty counters across the UAE. To see the bejeweled beauty, visit Bloomingdale's in Dubai Mall tomorrow and Monday, Faces in Abu Dhabi's Marina Mall on Wednesday and Paris Gallery in Dubai Mall on Thursday until October 8.