The Beauty Spy: On lipstick



My first encounter with lipstick happened in Paris. I was a teenager and had a rendezvous with my father. I arrived at the Hotel George V on the designated day of our meeting. The concierge had a message for me from him: "Have been delayed. Call Sophie. Stay with her until I get there."

I asked the concierge to call the number on the note and spoke to Sophie. When I got to her apartment on the Rue du Bac, she was waiting outside. Sophie must have been in her early twenties and was tall and thin, with her dark hair cut in a classic Parisian-style bob. She was wearing red lipstick, jeans and a black polo neck jumper.

She was elegant and glamorous. Exactly how I'd imagined a Frenchwoman should be. As the young heroine Cécile says of Anne Larsen in the book Bonjour Tristesse: "To her I owed my first glimpse of elegance."

I stayed with Sophie for three days while waiting for my father. I loved her look: she was always perfectly turned out. I looked up to her in the way a little girl idolises a fairy princess. Even when Sophie first woke up, she would look impossibly elegant in her cashmere dressing gown and loosely tied-up hair.

I was astounded by the amount of time she spent covering herself with lotions. I had never seen a bathroom with so many magical-looking bottles. I must have driven her mad asking what every single one was.

"You don't really need all this," she admitted. "All you really need to be a Frenchwoman are two lipsticks." I asked her why and she looked at me askance. "One for the day and the other for the evening, of course." I have followed her advice ever since.

My lipstick for the day is subtle. Depending on the season, I will go for a light pink or a bronze colour. The evening is a different story. There is only one choice: red. It symbolises power, it is sexy, bold, a classic. When you're wearing red lipstick you are invincible. As far back as the 16th century women knew this. Queen Elizabeth I wore red lippy and was one of England's greatest monarchs.

Men have also long known the power of a lipstick. In 1770, the UK Parliament passed a law that said a woman wearing lipstick could be tried for witchcraft.

Nowadays, they would have to arrest almost everyone. Apparently 92 million American women do not leave home without putting on their lipstick - most often in the colour red, favoured by Hollywood stars old and new.

"I'm all about fashion, cheeseburgers and red lipstick," says the stunning Scarlett Johansson, and who could argue with that?

3 of the best

THE BODY SHOP CRANBERRY JOY BATH & SHOWER GEL, DH52

With cranberry extract and Community Trade honey, this bubble bath is lather-rich and bursting with the scent of fresh berries.

BATH & BODY WORKS WARM VANILLA SUGAR BUBBLE BATH,

DH50 Pamper yourself in ultra luxurious bubbles that nourish the skin and relax your mind. With its addictively comforting fragrance, it smells good enough to eat.

MOLTON BROWN HEAVENLY GINGERLILY BATH AND SHOWER, DH120 Wake up your senses with this spicy ginger and delicate floral scent. Moisturising oils leave the skin refreshed, smooth and infused with an intoxicating aroma.

M loves

The olay Eye Pod

The A/C may be turned off but the delicate skin around our eyes is feeling dry and in need of extra attention. One of the most stressful things about eye cream is how to apply it correctly without dragging the fragile under-eye skin. However, this is not an issue now that Olay has come up with this miraculous little pod. You simply squeeze out the cream straight onto the eye area and gently smooth across with the sponge. We sometimes use them as a moisture booster. Any excess goes on our hard-working hands.

Olay Regenerist Eye Derma-Pod, Dh74 per box. Available at leading supermarkets and pharmacies

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

BIGGEST CYBER SECURITY INCIDENTS IN RECENT TIMES

SolarWinds supply chain attack: Came to light in December 2020 but had taken root for several months, compromising major tech companies, governments and its entities

Microsoft Exchange server exploitation: March 2021; attackers used a vulnerability to steal emails

Kaseya attack: July 2021; ransomware hit perpetrated REvil, resulting in severe downtime for more than 1,000 companies

Log4j breach: December 2021; attackers exploited the Java-written code to inflitrate businesses and governments

MATCH INFO

Norwich City 1 (Cantwell 75') Manchester United 2 (Aghalo 51' 118') After extra time.

Man of the match Harry Maguire (Manchester United)

Know before you go
  • Jebel Akhdar is a two-hour drive from Muscat airport or a six-hour drive from Dubai. It’s impossible to visit by car unless you have a 4x4. Phone ahead to the hotel to arrange a transfer.
  • If you’re driving, make sure your insurance covers Oman.
  • By air: Budget airlines Air Arabia, Flydubai and SalamAir offer direct routes to Muscat from the UAE.
  • Tourists from the Emirates (UAE nationals not included) must apply for an Omani visa online before arrival at evisa.rop.gov.om. The process typically takes several days.
  • Flash floods are probable due to the terrain and a lack of drainage. Always check the weather before venturing into any canyons or other remote areas and identify a plan of escape that includes high ground, shelter and parking where your car won’t be overtaken by sudden downpours.

 

MATCH INFO

Europa League final

Who: Marseille v Atletico Madrid
Where: Parc OL, Lyon, France
When: Wednesday, 10.45pm kick off (UAE)
TV: BeIN Sports

THE DETAILS

Director: Milan Jhaveri
Producer: Emmay Entertainment and T-Series
Cast: John Abraham, Manoj Bajpayee
Rating: 2/5

At Eternity’s Gate

Director: Julian Schnabel

Starring: Willem Dafoe, Oscar Isaacs, Mads Mikkelsen

Three stars

PSA DUBAI WORLD SERIES FINALS LINE-UP

Men’s:
Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY)
Ali Farag (EGY)
Simon Rosner (GER)
Tarek Momen (EGY)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Nick Matthew (ENG)

Women's:
Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
Raneem El Welily (EGY)
Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
Laura Massaro (ENG)
Joelle King (NZE)
Camille Serme (FRA)
Nouran Gohar (EGY)
Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)

The Boy and the Heron

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Starring: Soma Santoki, Masaki Suda, Ko Shibasaki

Rating: 5/5

The specs: 2018 Dodge Durango SRT

Price, base / as tested: Dh259,000

Engine: 6.4-litre V8

Power: 475hp @ 6,000rpm

Torque: 640Nm @ 4,300rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Fuel consumption, combined: 7.7L / 100km

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
VEZEETA PROFILE

Date started: 2012

Founder: Amir Barsoum

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: HealthTech / MedTech

Size: 300 employees

Funding: $22.6 million (as of September 2018)

Investors: Technology Development Fund, Silicon Badia, Beco Capital, Vostok New Ventures, Endeavour Catalyst, Crescent Enterprises’ CE-Ventures, Saudi Technology Ventures and IFC

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Vault
Started: June 2023
Co-founders: Bilal Abou-Diab and Sami Abdul Hadi
Based: Abu Dhabi
Licensed by: Abu Dhabi Global Market
Industry: Investment and wealth advisory
Funding: $1 million
Investors: Outliers VC and angel investors
Number of employees: 14