The Beauty Spy: highlighters to hide your flaws

Life&style You won't see her, but she's there, in the salons, spas and shops and she's happy to share her secrets on deep cleansing.

Tina Chang / The National
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You won't see her, but she's there in the salons, spas and shops, and she's happy to share her secrets on the best highlighters.

Highlighters can do two things. They can either give you the kind of glow usually reserved for brides on their wedding day, or they can make you look like a disco ball in Saturday Night Fever. I know which one I'd prefer. The "art of glow" is a lesson I learnt very early on in my career. I was given a dressing-down when working with one famous make-up artist. She described my highlighter as "war paint" and told me that my "go-faster stripes" didn't give me radiance, or mean I'd get get the job done any quicker. This observation made me flush from my toes upwards although now I feel it was a very good (if harsh) lesson to learn. She taught me how to apply the elusive lotion; the best way is to tap it on with one finger and then blend with another. And it should be placed high on the cheekbone, nowhere near the wrinkles, where it will only serve to make crevices look even deeper. It's also nice when added to the bridge of the nose, the cupid's bow on your upper lip to add some volume - much needed in Beauty Spy's case - and on the tear ducts of the eye, to make you look more awake. Most important, I was to keep blending until hard edges disappeared. What's really vital is getting the texture right.

Lotions can be the most effortless and natural way to highlight, so those are the ones I go for. One product that's easy to apply is Olay Complete Multi-Radiance Daily Illuminating Lotion with SPF15. You can't beat it, not only on price- it's a mere Dh27 - but also for the subtlety factor too. It doesn't matter if some ends up on your nose - as the glitter is so slight it is not going to show up any large pores. And if your face looks like a putting green, then steer clear of the more sparkly options anywhere near the T-zone.

When it comes to colour, opt for the same shade as your skin tone, or a few hues lighter. There are a couple of classics that I can't live without. One is YSL Touche Éclat - I've tried every doppelganger of this product - but nothing measures up to the original. The nib makes for precise application and the formulation can be tapped on to the top of the cheeks and brow bones to offer glow in an instant. It brightens up the under eye too. The other is Prescriptives Magic Cream Potion. However, as it can be hard to find, I usually track it down on eBay and get it from the US. It knocks years off my old complexion and is so reliable at giving a decent glow.

For more of an impact and for evening use, try powder formulations. Bobbi Brown's Shimmer Brick is a great combo of cream and bronzy colours in one compact. But, being a powder it can fall absolutely everywhere, so use a small blusher brush and tap off any excess before it reaches your face.

NIVEA, DH6 This toiletries staple has done wonders for our dry, sun exposed, air-conditioning damaged skin. Mix it in with your serum before going to bed to ensure glowing, moisturised skin in the morning.

VASELINE, DH5 When it comes to chapped lips and cracked skin we always turn to our childhood favourite. If you find it too sticky, rub it into the palm of your hand for a smoother application.

GLYCERIN, DH10 Has the benefit of a delicious taste as well as being easily absorbed and intensively moisturising. Place the bottle in a bowl of hot water before showering to heat up and slather on when you step out.

Nicola Clarke, hair colourist to celebrities such as Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Moss, shares her secrets on the new surf-girl streaks:

• The trend for natural colour is back, so avoid the skunk look, by communicating well with your hairdresser. Your hair should have dimension, so ask for natural-looking, random streaks.

• Ones that frame your face, are placed around the crown and top layer of your head work well. This is where the sun would bleach your hair naturally.

• The cut should accentuate the colour, so if you're after surf-girl streaks then ask your stylist to add layers, and then use a sea-salt-based product to keep the texture nice, but naturally messy.

Tried&Tested: Laser teeth whitening

WHAT I EXPECTED OK, I wasn't expecting to end up with teeth as white as those of Twilight's Jacob Black (they look ridiculous, but happily one's eyes are normally distracted by his six-pack) but what I did want was whiter teeth, in part because discoloured teeth are very ageing. Did you know that as we grow older our teeth actually get darker? Really annoying. Fortuitously, my dentist has just acquired a new laser teeth-whitening machine.

WHAT HAPPENED First of all, I went for a cleaning session before the treatment. Then my dentist fixed some awful rubber thing in my mouth to protect my gums and expose only the tooth. Then he coated my teeth with hydrogen peroxide. After this I was told to close my eyes under my protective shades as the ultra-violet light from the machine activated the peroxide. "The light is rather nice," my dentist informed me. "It's rather like swimming in a glass of orange juice." Well, I'm glad he was enjoying himself. After four turns of around 10 minutes each (every time with more hydrogen peroxide) I was bored, uncomfortable and my tongue was starting to burn.

"Soon you will look like an American," he assured me. "Only another 200 seconds to go." Two hundred seconds is a long time in a dentist's chair. The real pain though didn't begin until that night. I woke up at around 4am with terribly sore teeth. I took a couple of painkillers and managed to go back to sleep but the discomfort was with me for the rest of the following day. But then it disappeared.

THE VERDICT My smile is so white and sparkling I could get a job as an American news anchor. I show it off whenever I can. No one has actually said: "Good heavens how white your teeth look," but every time I grin at myself in the mirror I notice the huge improvement. And now at least if I ever meet Jacob Black we can discuss teeth whitening. Teeth Whitening at the American European Medical Centre costs Dh1,500 but is partially covered by most healthcare plans. For more details call 02 445 5477.

NUIT DE TUBEREUSE L'Artisan Parfumeur makes fragrances for those seeking a signature scent and to rekindle memories. Our first whiff of Nuit De Tubereuse reminded us of watching our mothers get ready for a big night out. It has the same base tones as its classic fragrances but less musky with stronger sandalwood notes. Nuit De Tubereuse was inspired by Parisian nights and the glamour and grace associated with the city after dark. L'Artisan's 1930s art deco-style bottle, complete with a heavy gold top and pale, floral stencilling, will also make a beautiful addition to your dressing table. Spray moderately for the daytime and add an extra spritz for the evening. Dh370/490, L'Artisan Parfumeur, Dubai Mall, 04 330 8261