You won't see her, but she's there, in the salons, spas and shops, and she's happy to share her secrets on liquid eyeliner.
Cleopatra, Audrey Hepburn, Mary Quant and Twiggy. What do they all have in common, apart from being stunning and memorable women?
They all wore eyeliner. Four female icons can't be wrong so one day last week I skipped along to the Clarins counter and invested in some liquid eyeliner.
That evening, I was due to meet friends for dinner. This was going to be my first outing as an eyeliner wearer. I was soon to join that exclusive club: the Eye Need Eyeliner Club. I stood in front of the mirror ready to change my appearance, prepared to paint the famous eyeliner wings so many glamorous women before me had used as the ultimate seduction tool.
Sadly, mine looked more like eyeliner blobs than wings. Added to which, the skin on my eyelids is crinkly, and looked even more so with the eyeliner on top. This was not how it was meant to be. Instead of Audrey Hepburn, I was beginning to look like Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard after a night face-down on the sofa.
So I did what every modern girl does in a crisis: I consulted the internet. And I am happy to be able to share my new-found expertise with you all.
The key to this look, especially if you suffer from crinkly eyelids, is primer. Try Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer to achieve an even look. You need to rub it into your eyelid. Then get your eyeliner ready. Paint a line from one corner of the eye to the other. Make the line as close as possible to your lashes. The thinner the brush, the better, and Rimmel London Professional Liquid Eye Liner has one of the thinnest brushes around. If not Rimmel, then reach for Estée Lauder Double Wear Zero-Smudge Liquid Eyeliner, which gives a straight line without smearing.
Next, look into your weyes in the mirror; they should be half-open. Right above your pupil is where your wing will begin. Place the eyeliner brush on the line you drew earlier and slowly make a curved line going from that point to your eye-socket bone just outside the corner of your eye. This is your wing, and you can make it as long or as thick as you like. Use Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner to make your wings as dramatic or as demure as you wish, because once applied it doesn't budge. There, easy-peasy.
And I was only an hour late for dinner...
3 of the best
LA MER THE ILLUMINATING POWDER, DH425 Infused with shimmering pearls, this versatile sheer colour tone can be dusted on the face and body, creating a radiant finish.
CLINIQUE FRESH BLOOM ALL- OVER COLOUR, DH169 Available in Peony, Posy, Almond Blossom and Plum Poppy, these pretty floral shades give a warm and light shine.
BENEFIT TAKE A PICTURE, DH143 A luminous body balm that adds a seductive golden-pink sheen to legs and body. It comes complete with a sponge puff for an easy, smooth, velvet application.
M loves Estée Lauder's Pure Color Gloss Vernis à lèvres
One of the worst things about living in Abu Dhabi is the fact that we can't get hold of our favourite lip gloss here, the Laura Mercier Lip Glacé. But we may finally have found a replacement in Estée Lauder's Pure Color Gloss Vernis à Lèvres. This is a super smooth gloss that is not remotely sticky and although it looks scarily pink in the tube, it actually ends up almost clear and marvellously glossy. It also contains vitamins C and E to moisturise and protect for a perfect pout.
Tried and Tested: Hands of healing
WHAT I TRIED The Philippine hilot massage at The Palace hotel, The Old Town, Dubai.
WHAT I WANTED It's intriguing, isn't it - how does a Filipino massage differ from the staple spa triumvirate of Balinese/deep tissue/aromatherapy? In the interests of research, I decided to find out.
WHAT HAPPENED Analie, my masseuse, comes from the Philippines, so ticked the right box for authenticity. "Hilot" is a Tagalog word meaning massage, which technically makes this a massaging massage. The word comes from an ancient healing technique combining soothing strokes with more intense pressure to detect blockages, illness or an energy imbalance.
Traditionally, the manghihilot is the healthcare giver of a community. Filipinos hold the art in such high regard that they want it taken out of the shadow of folklore and rebranded a modern medical phenomenon.
Analie used firm, sweeping, wave-like motions across my aching back before pressing fairly hard on pressure points to release tension. She used pure coconut oil for the full body massage, which didn't smell as strong as I was hoping, as I adore the smell of coconut, although it did leave my skin as soft as butter. She finished the hour-long treatment by massaging the oil into my scalp, giving my hair a wonderful conditioning sheen when I washed it the next morning.
THE RESULTS I had been for a workout before the hilot, so it gave me a treat in releasing the knots in my hardworking muscles. Unusually for me, I felt revived and energetic afterwards rather than in need of a nap. Did it feel vastly different from a more traditional massage? Not really - but it was a perfectly pleasant way to while away an hour.
The Philippine hilot massage, Dh475 for 60 minutes, Dh675 for 90 minutes. The spa at The Palace hotel, 04 428 7888, www.theaddress.com