Road Test - In Which The Highland Fashionista Tests Some Industry Insider Beauty Secrets, And Makes An Arse Of Herself (Again)

I do love a glossy fashion magazine. It's genetic. My mother always has a few subscriptions going at once), and whenever I go home to visit, a chunk of time must be allotted to perusing the back issues of these glossies, and drooling over the promise of the clothes and beauty products held within.

Perhaps one of my favourite things any beauty editor can run in an edition of a fashion mag is the little blurb that allows you an inside peek at the professional "bag of tricks" that industry hairdressers, professional make-up artists, and stylists use. For their July edition, Elle UK did just that; they ran a piece titled "Secrets of the Beauty Experts", in which the inside info was provided by the UK's leading make-up, hair, and nail artists.

Not being one to be able to resist the allure of a mundane household product being re-purposed into something that will make me fabulous, I chose three of the most accessible-sounding "secrets" to trial and grade (on the cutthroat pass/fail scoring system) for you here. Today. Right now.

For those of you who are subscribers and would like to follow-along, please turn to page 162 in your Elle hymnals now.

Okay...that sounds pretty straightforward, doesn't it? I started with a bare face (gulp), slicked-back dirty tennis-court hair (again), and a healthy dose of cautious optimism.

Oh good God. Did I forget to put sunscreen on the tip of my nose again?
This is my cautiously optimistic face, by the way.  

Now the application of foundation. I used my beloved Tom Ford Foundation Stick for the experiment.

Then the technical part of the application. I was to apply my foundation as usual but leaving an egg-shaped space over my cheekbone clear of foundation, blend-down the edges (I added my Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Bisque under my eyes), slicked some Rosebud Minted Rose Lip Balm on my lips, and voila.

Hmm. Nice. I like it. Its very subtle, though. Might be nice for work. 

So this one was a winner. Although I could argue that if I were to go this natural, I might just forgo the foundation full-stop and go with some concealer and a powder, but this seems to make it look more finished. Yes, I will use this.

Final Grade: PASS

Next up....immaculate eyeliner.

Okay...this one sounded a bit more involved. Really, I think this is meant to create a perfect cat-eye effect, which is something I never actually use. I prefer a lighter-handed single stripe of liquid liner that creates a semi-doe eye without actually crossing-over into full-blown cat territory. But this sounded intriguing, and the supplies should be easy enough to come by.

Or so you might think. For someone who works in a pair of surgical scrubs all day long, you would think that I would have at least one stray role of medical tape at home. I do not. So I used this instead.

I'm pretty sure that this is electrical tape.
 I found it in my husband's "man drawer" filled with odds and ends like screws and the ends of plugs and stuff.

So after pressing the tape against my skin to take some of the stickiness away so it wouldn't hurt my skin (I actually followed the directions, if you can believe that), I decided to really go for it,  and used the tape on the top and bottom, like the article said.

Ow... Crikey...

One benefit to this technique is the absolute hysterical laughter that will ensue when you get that first glimpse of yourself all taped-up. It took me a while to be able to take this photo, and it is still not really in focus. My advice is to wait until this sentiment has passed before proceeding to the next step.

When you are confident that the hysterics have subsided, it's time to fill-in the eyeliner. I used my old standby, L'oreal Super Liner Liquid Eye Liner in black lacquer.

Use your good eye to guide you as you colour-in the lines.
You don't have to be neat here, thankfully.

Then you wait for the liner to dry, take hold of the edge of the tape and rip it off carefully peel it away to reveal your perfect, immaculate eyeliner.


For me, the next step was to run to the bathroom and get the eye makeup remover out and take it all off. This being the highlands, you never know when someone might drop-by.

This was not a success for me, although I concede that I did not use the correct type of tape.  I venture to guess that a professional make-up artist with a steady hand and the benefit of not being me might be able to use this technique quite effectively.  But for the layperson, I found it fiddly, and prefer my method of using small hash-like motions in order to gradually build the line that you desire. It is easier to correct it when it all goes pear-shaped....which it clearly did here.

Grade: FAIL

And finally, moving on to lips.

If you're like me, you probably read this over a few times, thinking to yourself, they want me to put what on my lips? Now, we've all used acetone polish remover for the odd job here and there, thinking of it as a one-off. But on the mouth!? Where the food goes in!? And...I suppose this sounds hypocritical coming from a gal who, moments ago, had her eyeballs taped halfway shut with electrical tape (yeah, don't try that), but I found this "secret" a bit jarring. So much so, in fact, that it awakened the Healthcare Professional section of my brain (which usually lies dormant while I write this blog). The Healthcare Professional section of the brain then did some research, which provoked the Grumpy Elderly Letter To The Editor Writer section of my brain to awaken.  At that point, biochemistry had completely taken over, and the beauty experiment took a backseat:


But it is not my wish to cast an acetone-laced shadow over the other, very worthy recommendations that this article offers. To paraphrase a few more of my faves that got PASS ratings but were not visual enough for the blog:

Wipe your lashes with a cotton bud soaked in non-oily makeup remover to define the tips of the lashes and get rid of clumping.
 - Andrew Gallimore, Dior UK

Brush cleaner gets make-up off of clothing beautifully.
 - Charlotte Tilbury, Make-up Artist

A brow comb brushed over wet soap will set your brows all day.
 - Diane Kendal, Make-up Artist

So that's it readers. Don't tape your eyes shut with electrical tape, don't for God's sake don't put acetone in your mouth, but do try leaving your cheeks bare of foundation, your lashes declumped, and your brows soapy.

No products were harmed in the making of this blog post, but if you want to try any of them, click on the image provided.



  1. Re the eyeliner. . . I inevitably can only do one eye perfectly, though I've never tried the tape trick. I'm never going to go for the Amy Winehouse look I guess. Thanks for the tips (and the smile for the day).

  2. You rock! There are very few bloggers that I read that I even remotely think would tape an eye partway shut with electrical tape all for the sake of her readers!! Not proud of it but laughed so hard I snorted! I needed a good laugh today - thank you! And on the more serious side of things - thank you for a well worded & substantiated letter to the editor. I'm gobsmacked that using acetone polish remover on your lips made it to print.

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words and for your readership. I quite enjoy making myself look ridiculous in the internet, as it turns out. And yes, I can't believe that the acetone thing made it to print either. Call it a momentary lapse in judgement in the beauty department I suppose...

  3. This is my fave post yet! I was wondering why Andrew is spending time coming up with ways to enhance his lashes but I guess he is a makeup artist too?

    I think anyone who has used liquid liner for more than a week should have good control over the wand and manage it without the medieval torture devices.

    Just use a toothbrush on your lips for dry skin.

    Love the view from your house!

    1. Thanks! Yes, the toothbrush trick has always been a favourite of mine, and it's not like you have to go to any great are going to be right there with the toothbrush anyway, in the vicinity of your's all just too easy. And thanks for the compliments on the view form the house. See it for yourself the next time you are here. We are at the end of the train line:)

  4. I am SOOOO happy I found your blog through Everyday Beauty. I am Scottish, but live in the US and have never actually been to Scotland, but just the same love all things Scotland. The TF stick foundation looks great on you. Have you tried the TF liquid? I am very curious about that one, and maybe the stick one too. Please let me know your thoughts.


    1. Hi Tammy, and thank you so much for your kind words and readership. I have only been at it for less than a year, so your support means a lot. I have not tried the TF liquid yet, but have heard good things. I reckon the stick will probably last me until I am about 55 years old, as a little goes a long way. It is a really fantastic product. The visit to the TF counter alone is worth it. You do need something on underneath to make it go on smoothly...some type of primer or just a really good moisturiser or serum (wheat I use), but you can build it to your liking. I would encourage you to visit the counter and give it a go.

    2. One more question for you if you don't mind. Is a foundation brush the key to making the stick foundation work well and look natural, or does it work just as well with the stick applied directly to the face? Thanks.

      P.S. I am thinking of going gray after reading your posts on it, and a few other sites that have talked about it that are listed on your blog roll. I mentioned it to my husband and no surprise, he is totally against it - haha. Thank you again and keep up the great posts!


    3. Oops, forgot to ask if this could be used under the eye area too.

    4. Hi again Tammy. I find that the foundation brush works well to get the product on your face initially, but then I like to use my fingers to blend it down. I like a really sheer, natural finish, and I find that my fingers achieve this because the warmth of them really help blend. If you like a heavier finish, you can use other things, I suppose. I think going right from the stick will leave more product on your face, but if you blend it down, or prefer a heavier finish, it could work. I tend to use as little product under my eyes as I can get away with, as canines is so very ageing. The Bibbi Brown corrector I mentioned in my post is my standby.

    5. Oops...Computer changed the word cakey to canines.....that should read cakey.


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