The make-up rules I love to break – and so can you

Since October 1, I have been burning a giant, festive candle. It’s the Goutal Paris Une Forêt d’Or Limited Edition Scented Candle to be precise (£83 for 300g, 

And, ye gods, it is sublime: all snow-laden pine, zesty orange and tangerine flesh, in flickering red and gold glass.

‘Stop stealing my autumn!’ screeched my boyfriend when he clocked it. ‘Put it away for Christmas.’ 

Was I swayed? Was I hell. I adore the scent of pine and — if I want it (long) before Advent — then, I shall have it. Just as I love sporting clove aromas in August, when everyone else is donning cloying white florals.

By midlife, we’re too old and too ugly to follow banal rules — while kicking them to the kerb allows for personal style.

When it comes to make-up, Hannah Betts says we must disregard conservative rules to let individual taste to flourish (stock image)

For my part, I am aware that I sport a lot of blusher; too much in many people’s view. You may find it a tad Aunt Sally. I like to think of it as a witty 18th-century moll.

Not only do OTT cheeks make my vampiric features look alive, they feel playful, bringing me enormous joy. 

Only today I am experimenting with two new rouges: Pat McGrath Labs Divine Blush: Legendary Glow Colour Balm in Fleurotique and Forbidden Fleur (£28 each,, a peony and a berry pink — plush, lustrous, plumping.

Most days, my cheeks will be loaded up with contour, powder blush, cream rouge and highlighter. And that’s merely to walk the hound. Got a problem with that? Do I look bovvered?

In the same way — should a range be broad enough — my preference is for base ever-so-slightly lighter than my natural tone.

Most women go darker, as a make-up artist once witheringly snorted. Still, young skin tends to be paler relative to where it ends up, so I’m convinced this makes me look more spring chickenish. Besides, I also like the contrast with my dark hair and eyes. My face, my call.

In contrast, my dear friend, Fitz, maintains a fabulous, all-year-round tan, amped up for high days and holidays. 

Tan-Luxe The Face Illuminating Self-Tan Drops in Light/Medium (now £28.80, is her ‘base tan’, boosted by Chanel Les Beiges Bronzing Cream (£46, I don’t even deploy bronzer. However, I love this on Fitz because it is her.

Hannah believes playing it safe spells staid. Engaging with trends, where they suit us, shows we’re still sentient, alive (stock image)

There are so many crassly conservative rules we can — and must — disregard, to allow individual taste to flourish.

‘Less is more — never do eyes and lips,’ runs the cosmetic lore. ‘And never wield glitter on more senior skins.’ Tosh, I shall be recommending all of the above come December.

‘Don’t go overboard on the eyeliner,’ preach the platitudinous bores. Tell that to former French Vogue editor / rock grandma Carine Roitfeld. 

And check out Lancome’s Le Stylo Waterproof Eyeliner (£25, while you’re at it — bold yet blendable, and my latest kohl fix.

‘Play it safe. Beware of trends,’ cry the mumsy mavens.

Balderdash. Playing it safe spells staid. Engaging with trends, where they suit us, shows we’re still sentient, alive.

That said, if you detest something, don’t feel under any pressure to try it. I relish a slicked-up eyebrow and cannot wait to try Glow Hub’s Freeze Pls Brow Sculpt (£12, 

My editor reckons this guise looks satanic and will not be going near it. Both of us are right.

Inspire’s Inge van Lotringen notes: ‘I hate nail polish and don’t have professional blow-dries, even for work and “fancy” dos, because I like myself better looking like myself. 

‘If my personal style is a bit on the relaxed side for some, then s*d them. I also use Gen Z skincare. I don’t need products marketed at my age group, thank you.’

Claire Coleman, also of this parish, reveals: ‘I love a gritty scrub, even though every dermatologist I know says they’re terrible, causing micro-scratches and damage. 

‘I figure that, at 46, I know my skin better than anyone else and that most advice is massively conservative so that an increasingly litigious society doesn’t sue.’

As women, we will be damned if we do, and damned if we don’t cosmetics-wise. We may as well enjoy ourselves in the process.


Dove 1 Minute Super Conditioner Intensive Repair 

The so-called ‘skinification’ of hair has meant its products becoming vexingly complicated of late — and beyond many of our budgets. 

Little wonder Dove 1 Minute Super Conditioner Intensive Repair (£2, Boots) is such a hit. 

A couple of quid and 60 seconds to reconstruct the hair shaft’s internal structure? Yes, please. 

£2.00 Shop


Geri Halliwell-Horner 

Geri Halliwell-Horner, 51, keeps her bedtime beauty routine simple

The star, 51, says: ‘I’m the laziest person you’ll meet in beauty care. I just want to go to bed.’ 

She cleanses with Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm (£32,, then applies L’Oreal Paris Hyaluronic Acid Serum Revitalift Filler (£16.66, and Charlotte’s Magic Cream (£52, 



Solgar Flaxseed Oil 1,250mg Softgels 

There are so many supplements that claim to be beautifying, it can feel overwhelming. I like to keep things simple.

As a vegetarian, I take iron and vitamin B; as a sun-avoider, I consume vitamin D (in spoonfuls of Linwoods Flaxseed, Bio-Cultures & Vitamin D, 360g, £6.99,

In addition, I down Solgar Flaxseed Oil 1,250mg Softgels (£20.50, These are rich in essential fatty acids which are beneficial for the heart and immune system.

At the same time, fatty acids are also face feeders: boosting the skin’s moisture and firmness, reducing wrinkles, fine lines and sensitivity. Skincare from the inside out — a winter essential.

£20.50 Shop


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