(stock image courtesy of shutterstock)
Tell someone you spend your life trying to recreate the natural look of a Las Vegas Showgirl and you will get some strange looks, believe me (bet your doing it right now). But that is exactly the look I am aiming for and I will tell you why.
Imagine a showgirl, or Burlesque Dancer or whatever you like, dressed in nothing but Diamante and looking fabulous for it. (If you can’t imagine it, go Google Karlie Kloss for Victoria Secret 2013 – THAT’S the one).
Their bodies look totally nude and flawless with it. You know (because of the absence of nip and bits - natch) that what you are seeing is an illusion; that their skin tone cannot possibly be that uniform, that there is undoubtedly a very careful illusion at work. But it takes a very close view and trained eye to really spot where skin begins and tights start.
That’s your foundation/concealer/primer if you are talking faces. A good eye will spot its existence, no matter how carefully you apply it, but it’s a VERY good eye indeed. Your face looks naturally perfect, flawless and even.
Now to the Diamante. Strategically placed sparkles that catch the light, creating curves, hollows and dimensions where none naturally exist. Tantalising the eye with prisms of light that pull focus from less perfect areas of the anatomy. Facially, the equivalent would be your highlighter at work.
You could of course use real sparkles if you wish but then we would be talking closer to a drag act then showgirls. Bloody amazing those ladies look, but I must be honest I have neither the Chutzpah nor the balls to pull it off myself so I shall stick to a little radiance crème instead.
This is the point I come from whenever I consider products aimed at the skin. Be they concealers, primers, foundations, highlighters, BB, CC, contour, dark, light, radiant, matt whatever, I am always looking for the perfect Las Vegas Illusion and that is where all reviews on this blog will start or end – do I get the magic? If not, I won’t love it. And given that my skin is thirty-two going on forty thanks to too many fags, too much sun and just generally living life ‘too much’, it’s a damned tall order.
Kicking off for a product I pretty much love, I would like to introduce No7 Protect and Perfect Foundation, £16.50. I have to be honest with you, I would never, in a month of Sundays and with all that is pure in my covetous little heart, ever pick this product up naturally.
I was stuck at Kings Cross en-route to a week’s holiday with the family when I realised that I had failed to bring my make-up bag. That is pretty much my equivalent of not bringing an inhaler (likening my make-up addiction to the entirely essential need to breathe of the average human being ? Yes I am that shallow). I had fifteen minutes to get the products I needed and get out of there. So what else would I do? I ran for the nearest Boots. The girls on the high-end counters ignored me, the girl at the No.7 counter asked if she could help. And help she did (brilliantly actually, well done Boots).
Quick as a flash she bought out this clever little gizmo to check my skin tone, asked what I looked for in a Foundation (errr, a miracle, obvs) and then packed me up with primer, foundation and just to make me happy, a free little bag of goodies containing an eminently wearable lippie, mascara and eyeshadow. Ten minutes later I strolled out of there somewhat less freaked, seriously chuffed with the excellent service but not expecting anything at all from my new cosmetics. I had mentally resigned myself enduring to a week of it then bunging it to the sisters.
Oh, how wrong I was. A devotee of Lancome and Guerlain as a rule, this foundation not only holds up to it's own claims, it holds up against much more expensive, much more prestigious brands. I tried it, looked in the mirror and loved it. My fines lines and wrinkles did look softer, my complexion was evened, tone appeared considerably brighter.
The colour matches completely (ideal for those 'kids didnt let me sleep, dont have time to blend properly' mornings), I never get nose flakeage (that thing where by lunchtime patches appear) and it lasts. My skin actually looks nicer after wearing it and removing. It isn’t quite a miracle product but for the price point it is a genuinly good buy and it does help for my fine-liney skin. I also love the colour match tool – no faffing with choosing a tone – it matched perfectly. With a broad spectrum Factor 15 sun-block and a handy pump dispenser it definitely offers really good value for money.
My final word:
Let’s get real. Nude body stockings aren’t prestigious, they don’t look sexy and they certainly wouldn’t rank up there with 50 shades of grey style bondage kits as your saucy undercrackers of choice. But they do the job. They cover, hold in and protect and make you look as close to perfect as you are likely to get with no other accoutrements and this foundation is exactly the same. No it isn’t a posh brand. No it's not sexy. Yes it is a bloody good start to a really well finished face for the more mature.