x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

The beauty spy: your red carpet look

You won't see her, but she's there, in the salons, spas and shops, and she's happy to share her secrets on preparing for a big night.

Since a friend of mine told me about Duvet Days I have been longing to have one. In case you don't know what it is, a Duvet Day is a day just for you, which you can, if you chose, spend wrapped in a duvet watching re-runs of Ugly Betty. I am going to have a designated Duvet Day before the next big party I am invited to, the equivalent for me of a red-carpet event, and I am going to spend my Duvet Day preparing for it.

The mani/pedi comes first, and for this I will need to venture out - living in the UAE means there is no need to paint one's own nails ever, unless of course the salons go on strike or there is a curfew. Which is more likely, I wonder? So nails first and then it's back home to continue with my Duvet Day. Once home I will cover my hair with warm olive oil and wrap it in a heated towel. This stays on until my shower, with the towel getting quick blasts in the oven when it cools down.

The next thing on my list is hair removal. There is nothing more disconcerting than arriving at a party, raising your glass and realising there is a small hedgehog where your armpit should be. I have invested in a little gadget called a Braun Silk-épil Xpressive, which I am not saying is painless, but it is effective. Failing that, just shave, which is what we all used to do.

I might have a spot of lunch and then it is time for the best part of the Duvet Day, the massive afternoon kip. This is enjoyed while wearing a face mask; my preferred one is the Clarins Thirst Quenching Hydra-Care Mask. I love this mask, and if you're taking your beauty sleep seriously, it will all have absorbed by the time you wake up. Sleep, of course, is another essential beauty tool, as while you sleep your body (which includes your skin) regenerates and does its best to reverse the damage you have inflicted on it during the day.

Following the kip, it is time to shower and wash the olive oil from your hair. While your conditioner is working, go for some exfoliation. This will get your blood flowing and also make your skin incredibly smooth. I like the Soap & Glory Flake Away, which smells good enough to eat and does a great job.

I discovered last week that Marks & Spencer now stocks my favourite body cream, the Sicilian Lime & Bergamot Body Butter, so I spread that all over, and add a bit of toning gel to any flabby bits (it's too late to diet now). Meanwhile, my hair has been styling à la Mad Men in heated rollers and all that remains is to put my make-up on and spray myself in some Jo Malone Orange Blossoms the red carpet beckons, or at least the dinner party...



Three of the best

GUERLAIN ABEILLE ROYALE UPLIFTING EYE CARE, DH509 A deliciously fresh and firming cream that tightens the under-eye area. Brilliant for a pre-party quick fix.

CLARINS EYE CONTOUR GEL, DH188 This cooling gel glides into wrinkles and helps reduce puffiness. Useful for the morning after the night before.

GARNIER LIGHT INSTANT FAIRNESS TINTED EYE ROLL-ON, DH22 Enriched with caffeine and lemon extract, this cream will give your eyes more "zing" than your daily espresso. It's easy to store in your handbag for last-minute fixes, and the cream is tinted, so acts a concealer while it gets to work.


M loves

BEE VENOM MASK Another day, another "miracle" product promising to roll back the years. Containing bee-sting toxin, it is touted as a rival to Botox, but we were sceptical. Then we tried it. Manuka honey, shea butter and rose and lavender oils make this anti-ageing gel rich and creamy, and it almost melts into our skin. Fans include UK royalty as well as Dannii Minogue and Gwyneth Paltrow. But is it better than Botox at removing fine lines? The jury is out, but as a mask or applied twice daily under make-up, it leaves our complexion honey-soft and supple.

Bee Venom Mask by Deborah Mitchell, Dh314, available at www.heavenskincare.com