From achieving a winter glow to how to plump your lips safely, January has brought with it a whole host of new beauty dilemmas. Here, Elsa McAlonan asks the experts to solve your cosmetic concerns:

Elsa McAlonan asks the experts to solve your cosmetic concerns

Elsa McAlonan asks the experts to solve your cosmetic concerns

Q I want to colour my hair at home, but my scalp is sensitive and I don’t want to irritate it

Sensitive scalp or not, you must always do a patch test before colouring your hair. Do this by dabbing a small amount of the dye on to your skin at least 24 hours beforehand to see whether it causes an allergic reaction. Donna Mitchell, of Bonce Salons, warns: ‘Don’t think that just because you’ve used colour before, you’ll be fine. More and more people are reacting to colour due to the increase in chemicals.’

Natur Vital Colour Safe (9.99, Boots and Superdrug) is a new colour system which is free of PPD, resorcinol, parabens and ammonia. (PPDs are the para-dyes responsible for the majority of allergic reactions in hair colouring.) Or try a temporary colour which can be shampooed in. Naturtint Reflex has a paraben-free range (9.99, natures dream.co.uk, 0845 601 8129).

Q I am thinking of getting my lips enhanced but don’t want to end up with a ‘trout pout’

Lip enhancement is usually use of filler injections in and around the lip area. There are many products to choose from, but it’s best to avoid permanent lip fillers as there are more complications with these. And, to be sure you are in safe hands, make sure your practitioner is registered with the British Association Of Cosmetic Doctors (cosmeticdoctors.co.uk).

And, as they’re smoother and more fluid than ever before, your overall result can be as subtle as you want. The doctor will inject small amounts of filler to help plump the overall look of the lips or balance out imperfections.

Bubble Betty

Clarins Everlasting Compact Foundation

From left: Bubble Betty, Clarins Everlasting Compact Foundation

Dr Rita Rakus says: ‘These days, people want a natural look from their lip enhancement treatment, so there’s rarely an embarrassing overnight change. I start by injecting a small amount of filler like Juvederm, which is a natural and fully biodegradable filler, and ask the patient to come back a week or so later for a top-up. I would use smaller amounts of filler to get a balanced look. It’s quite a holistic approach. Often I’ll ask people to bring in a picture of what their lips looked like a few years back to get a natural result.’

Lip enhancement treatments from 475. For details, contact drritarakus.com

Q How can I preserve my hair style after a trip to the salon

While it’s lovely to visit the hair salon before a special night out, gusty or wet and wintry weather can play havoc with a blow-dry the moment you step outside. There’s no better way to preserve a blow-dry when you leave the salon than a hairmate. The retro plastic hood, which can be folded neatly into your handbag, has made a comeback thanks to Bubble Betty, a quirky brand that has given this Fifties’ favourite a makeover. Available in four patterns, they cost 6 each from bubblebetty.com.

Q My skin looks washed-out and pale. What can I do to make it glow again

Skin can feel and look pale and pasty at this time of year, but a self-tan that may have worked in the summer can look yellow or too false in winter months. A tinted moisturiser is a good alternative to heavy foundation as it gives skin a slight, but natural-looking, colour.

One of the best is Liz Earle’s Sheer Skin Tint SPF15 (21, lizearle.com), which you simply dot all over your face and smooth in. It makes skin look radiant and is more hydrating than other tinted moisturisers. Or try Clarins Everlasting Compact Foundation (27, clarins.co.uk), which stays put all day and can be applied lightly or for heavier coverage.

You can still use a self-tan on your face during the winter, but stick to a gradual tan, such as St Tropez Everyday Gradual Face Tan (14.30, Boots), which comes in two shades, or No 7 Naturally Sun-kissed Gradual Facial Tan (10, Boots), so you can keep the shade as light or dark as you want.

Dermalogica's Skin Hydrating Booster

Naturtint Reflex

From left: Dermalogica's Skin Hydrating Booster, Naturtint Reflex

Q Will using false lashes damage my own lashes, or can I protect them

False lashes are big news this year. They’re becoming more refined and easier to use, but make sure you remove them properly. Celebrity make-up artist Mark Cook recommends soaking a cotton bud in eye make-up remover, then dabbing the bud on the lashes, working from the outer edge inwards.

‘This will dissolve the glue, so the false lashes will pull away gently without damaging your own eyelashes,’ he says. ‘You can use any kind of oil to do the same job: coconut oil is a good alternative to an expensive make-up remover.

‘Never re-use lashes without cleaning them as it can cause infection. Pick away the excess glue, wash gently in soapy water, leave to dry naturally, then comb through with a brow comb. And don’t use strips all the time —individual lashes are less damaging to your own lashes,’ he advises.

You should also add a lash serum into your beauty routine. Try Get Lashed Lash Boost Serum (25, Boots) to help keep your lashes in good condition. And it’s important to stick to good quality false lashes. No 7 Eyelashes 20 Extreme Length (7.50, Boots) give a natural look. Go for No 7 False Eyelashes 60 Extravagant Lash (7.50) if you want a more dramatic effect.


If your skin feels sluggish, The Body Shop’s Nutriganics Drops of Youth (22) is a great way to breathe life back into it. The serum enhances skin renewal, sloughing off dead skin and allowing new cells to surface. It’s non-greasy, too.

For really thirsty skin, Dermalogica’s Skin Hydrating Booster (49) works wonders, minimising pores and fine lines. Just rub a little of the non-sticky fluid into skin before moisturising, and you’ll notice the benefits straight away.

Bourjois Flower Perfection Primer


The Simple Radiance Brightening Moisturiser

Jo Malone's Vitamin E Daily Moisturising Crme SPF 15

Bourjois Flower Perfection Primer, Clinique’s Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator, Simple Radiance Brightening Moisturiser, Jo Malone's Vitamin E Daily Moisturising Crme SPF 15

Clinique’s Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator (32) is a more intense version of best-selling Moisture Surge. It’s a comforting, rich cream-gel which gives maximum hydration for dry skin, or as a treatment for combination or normal skin.

Simple Radiance Brightening Moisturiser SPF10 (6.99, Boots) contains light-reflecting particles to help visibly brighten the complexion. Apply all over or just dab onto areas you want to highlight, such as cheekbones or Cupid’s bow.

Jo Malone’s new Vitamin E Daily Moisturising Crme SPF 15 (50) is a luxurious but light moisturiser to soothe and comfort dry skin. Feels rich to touch, but once applied, is non-greasy and keeps skin hydrated all day.

Bourjois Flower Perfection Primer (9.99, Boots and Superdrug) glides on like a dream and is a brilliant instant fix-it for smoothing fine lines around the eyes. Use under foundation or on its own as a skin booster.