Stop scrolling through Instagram for beauty inspiration, embrace your authentic self, see an actual skincare specialist (3-6 months before the big day) and don't use too much shiny highlighter!
These were just some of the tips shared by beauty journalist and diversity consultant Anita Bhagwandas. Having written for The Guardian, Cosmopolitan, Refinery 29, i-D and more, Anita is helping women "reclaim their beauty away from marketing BS and outdated Eurocentric beauty ideals". And yes, we are HERE FOR IT!
TDT: So Anita, how did you get into beauty and wellness journalism?
I’d always loved beauty, like obsessively. I grew up in the South Wales in the Nineties with no products for my skin tone (literally none, at all) so it meant I had to do my own research and see what I could use. I really relied on beauty products because as a dark skinned, plus size woman I never felt beautiful and they were the only things that made me feel pretty back then.
I didn’t even know beauty journalism was a career option, but when I moved to London to work as a features journalist in my early twenties, I realised it was beauty that I really loved and once I saw that it was something I could do, I side-stepped over into the industry getting my first job at Stylist magazine not long after it launched. The rest is history and I’ve made my career writing openly about race and beauty, I started a plus size column in a high-fashion magazine and I’m always challenging the industry (and myself) to look at what constitutes beautiful and to dissect as to whether it comes from a place that’s truly empowered. Oh, and I LOVE no BS, slightly comedic beauty reviews – so if you check me out on Insta, that’s what you’ll find. I’m also into vintage style, goth things and metal music – so if you like any of those too, I’m your girl.
TDT: What are you top tips for brides planning their beauty and skincare looks for the day?
I do think it’s a great idea to see an expert, such as a dermatologist or facialist (I see Katherine at KMP Skin in Mayfair, for micro-current facials which make my skin glow and feel super lifted- she’s amazing) and get a great regime going that you can use at home – and on the day
Speak to some experts and get the right colour and shape going – and make sure you’re using nourishing treatments too. I really rate Aveda, L’Oreal Professionnel, Redken, Larry King and Pureology haircare products – they are the ones I’ve found to make a difference on my fragile hair
Start by putting together a mood-board of looks you like and see how to you can work them into your style. Buy a palette and start trying out those colours on a daily basis to see if you like them – I wouldn’t advise going for a totally new look on your big day – you need to be comfortable with what you’re wearing
Likewise – don’t forget to choose a perfume for the day too
The part of our brain that processes memories is next to the part that processes scent, that’s why when we smell something it can really take us back to a specific moment. Floral Street a sustainable scent brand are lovely and they have Scent School at their London boutique, where you can learn all about what scents might be right for your wedding day. And some of my other favourite scent brands are Ex Nihlo, Frederic Malle, Tom Ford and Chanel’s Les Exclusifs range
TDT: What are your favourite make-up brands catering to a large range of skin tones?
TDT: You must have great experience with knowing what does and doesn’t work on camera. Any tips for making sure bridal make-up is picture perfect?
Don’t use giant false lashes, you’ll look back in five years and it’ll look dated AF Keep them high quality and minimal – MAC’s are still the best in my mind, though Eyelure also have some cool options too. (Lash Perfect does the best lash extensions I’ve ever had, just FYI.)
Avoid super shiny highlighter too, again that will date a picture when it’s out of fashion, as it’s starting to become now
Keep your brows natural too, drawn on Insta-style brows will look really harsh under professional lighting
TDT: What do you think will be the top 2020 bridal looks will be and why?
I think heavy Instagram make-up is done – it’s already starting to look very dated. We’ll be going back to real glowing skin, authentic looks inspired by what we love and find beautiful and things that feel more whimsical and exciting. 2020 is all about reconnecting to ourselves and what we truly feel is beautiful.
TDT: Which eye shadow colours can you recommend for a glamorous look for women?
The traditional is gold and red done in a very heavy, traditional way. Those colours are lovely – but if you want to keep it more modern you could just dial them down a little. Use a little gold in the inner corners with more neutral brown shadow shades, and then team with a red lip. I’d avoid any matte pastels – they don’t wear that well over the course of a day because the oils in skin tend to degrade them, metallics look lovely but maybe not too much glitter as it can irritate if worn all day. I personally prefer brown shades for wedding make-up – either with a neutral lip or a bold red shade.
TDT: On the flip side, what make-up tips would you give for creating a ‘barely-there’ make-up look?
Any look but particularly something more natural, starts with skincare. Use a biodegradable sheet mask with hyaluronic acid in to ensure your skin looks plump and fresh, follow with your daily skincare regime, then use a little concealer where you want it, and a very small amount of foundation.
A pretty brown metallic cream shadow (I love the Fenty Island Bling one), a black pencil liner (Jillian Dempsey’s one is excellent and waterproof), a waterproof mascara (I love the L’Oreal Bambi Eyes False Lash Waterproof Mascara), some blush (I love the Bobbi Brown ones – the pale pink shade looks incredible on dark skins) and a browny/pink lipstick – voila. I’d steer clear of contouring, but use a little Glossier’s Haloscope highlighter. It’s not shimmery, and just looks like a healthy natural glow.
TDT: What advice would you give to our readers looking to experiment with their make-up?
Get off Instagram and make a Pinterest board of looks you like and cool styles. It’s much more inspirational and a better way to create beauty inspiration because you don’t get sucked into to looking at people’s fake lives.
TDT: What are your favourite nude lipsticks?
There’s a cool brand called CTZN cosmetics who specialise in nude lipsticks for all lip tones, but I personally wear Edward Bess’s Lipstick in Pure Impulse, all his products smell like fig which I adore, and Fenty's Gloss Bomb is a lovely dark pink lip gloss. Bobbi Brown also have some great, creamy nudes for skin of colour.
TDT: What skin care products would you recommend brides use in the run-up to the big day?
You need to get into a good routine – so see a facialist or derm if you have any big specific concerns. I’d have:
Two cleansers, an oil or balm based one to remove make-up, a more creamy nourishing to use afterwards to just double-remove any traces of make-up or pollution.Then a great hylaronic acid-based serum – I use Elizabeth Arden’s Superstart serum religiously, followed by a La Roche Posay Pure Vitamin C-10 serum. An Alumier MD eye cream, sometimes a little moisturiser (using Living Libations Rose Glow Facial Cream at the mo). And always, always an SPF 50. I wear it every day – and it’s usually The Body Shop’s Skin Defence Multi Protection SPF 50. I have a retinol (by Neostrata) that I use every 3 days and in-between I use a night cream (at the moment it’s Estee Lauder’s Revitalising Extreme plus Nightcream or a face oil too.
Follow Anita on @itsmeanitab for more beauty and wellness insights.