Ruth Griffin’s top 10 beauty heroes
The essential products every woman should have in her make-up bag
Working as a model for 15 years, beauty was quite literally my business. I made it my goal to learn every trick of my trade over a decade-and-a-half of backstage prepping. I picked up insider tips and techniques from the dozens of talented make-up artists and hair stylists that I’ve worked with, and sampled hundreds of different beauty products. In model terms, I have essentially earned myself a PhD in grooming!
In reality, I’m a recent business school graduate, ex-model and busy mum with responsibilities, a home to run and a ton of life experience behind me. Having recently turned 40, I fully understand that our looks are really only a teeny part of our character.
Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg captured this beautifully when she said, “Character, intelligence, strength, style, kindness. That makes a woman beautiful.” A touch of mascara also helps, because I believe every woman would like to look like the loveliest version of herself!
I believe that beauty should never, ever be a competition. All women want to be the best version of themselves and so I’d love to very gently encourage women to embrace their
femininity and invest just a little time in themselves. Whether you are a full-time mum, barrister, nurse, grandmother, student, or even a model, sometimes a slick of new lipstick is all it takes to put a wee pep in your step.
I love passing on little beauty tips and new products I’ve found to my sisters and my friends. It’s a lovely bonding experience for us, so my new column for Weekend will continue in the same honest, positive vein.
Each week, I will be passing on the tips I have picked up over many years as a model, as well as giving honest reviews of the products and treatments that really work.
I’ve modelled at hundreds of runway shows and shoots over my 15-year career and as such I’ve sampled every brand of make-up and hair product. Today, I’ve chosen for you my top 10 hero products that I trust and love and know for certain do the job well. I hope you’ll love them too.
As make-up guru Bobbi Brown put it so gorgeously: “I believe that all women are pretty without make-up — and can be pretty powerful with the right make-up.”
So please, come with me and take a little peep behind the backstage curtain…
1 The Right Foundation
Finding the perfect colour foundation is very difficult and can be a costly and annoying mistake. I find the Armani girls particularly helpful in choosing the perfect shade. This foundation gives great coverage yet remains glowy and dewy-looking.
Armani Designer Lift Foundation No 5.5, €51, available at Armani counters.
2 Cheeky Number
This blush may look scary, but is more subtle and natural-looking than a powder. The trick is to start with the tiniest amount, adding more if you wish. To apply, smile in the mirror and gently pat onto the plumpest part of your cheek, blending outwards. For a polished look, apply after your foundation and before a setting powder.
Bobbi Brown cream blush in Coral Calypso, €27, available at Arnotts and department stores nationwide.
3 Model Essential
This illuminating cream is a staple in every model’s kitbag. Use on its own on both the face and body. I blend a pea-sized amount into my foundation to give a beautiful sheen to the skin. Absolutely gorgeous product.
Travel-sized MAC Strobe Cream, €10, available at MAC counters at Brown Thomas nationwide and BT2.
4 Eye Spy
MAC use a high pigment rate in their eye shadows, so the colour you see is the colour you actually get when applied. This warm-toned brown shadow makes all eye colours really pop. Builds up well for a smoky eye.
MAC Swiss Chocolate Eye shadow (matte), €16.50, available at Brown Thomas nationwide and BT2.
5 Brush Up
Proper brushes will make your make-up application easier and quicker. They also create a more polished, clean and blended look. My brushes are a mixture of Ken Boylan, MAC and Kohl. Boots also have an affordable generic range that are very good.
Kohl brow brush, €15, brownsugar.ie. Ken Boylan/Play blusher brush, €25, kenboylan.com
6 Plump It Up
After passing 35, I’ve found it is worth investing in high-quality moisturisers — and Dermalogica is the best. I noticed a difference in my skin after only three weeks. My skin is plumper and fuller-looking.
Dermalogica Intensive Moisture Balance, €70;
Total Eye Care, €50, available at selected salons and at dermalogica.ie
7 Smooth Operator
Primers are usually applied under foundation — essentially acting as a skin Polyfilla! — plumping out the skin so foundation glides over imperfections. I use the teeniest drop of this little gem after foundation, over my nose and under my eye area, blurring away large pores and fine lines.
Benefit Porefessional, €34, available at Benefit counters in Brown Thomas, Debenhams and selected Boots stores nationwide.
8 Crowning Glory
Another backstage model essential. I have quite fuzzy hair, so to combat that, I spray this onto my brush and comb through my hair to get rid of fuzzy hair, flyaways and broken baby hair. The speediest product I’ve found for groomed and polished hair, and it brushes out completely, so no sticky residue.
L’Oreal Elnett Satin Hairspray, €8.99, available from supermarkets and pharmacies nationwide.
9 Nail It
In my experience there is no need to buy expensive varnishes — they all last the same amount of time. I find a dark nail very chic. This Catrice varnish fits the bill and I keep the bottle in my handbag to rectify any chips.
Catrice nail varnish in Vino Tinto, €2.95, available in pharmacies and Penneys stores nationwide.
10 Fake It ’Til You Make It
This mousse tan is foolproof to apply and such a lovely colour — no orange tones. (Tips: Before applying, put Vaseline on elbows, knees and ankles. Wear plastic gloves. Using a mitt, blend into the skin. Have baby wipes close by for inevitable streaky disasters!)
Cocoa Brown One-Hour Tan, €7.99, available in pharmacies, Tesco and Penneys stores nationwide
5 of the best humble heroes
I use this hard-working multitasking product to moisturise lips, eyelashes, eyebrows, cuticles and as a more natural, daytime alternative to lip-gloss over my lipstick.
TIP: Dab a tiny amount on cheekbones and collarbones for a glossy night-time look.
€1.99, available in supermarkets and pharmacies nationwide.
These wipes are pure water — no chemicals, no parabens, no harsh cleansing elements. Created as an all-natural option for cleansing babies’ skin, I find them brilliant for those nights when I’m too exhausted to do my usual skincare routine. These are the only wipes I ever use on my face.
€2, available in supermarkets and pharmacies nationwide.
These gloves massage, exfoliate and cleanse all at the same time. Brilliant for polishing the skin, and much more effective, quicker and affordable than any body scrub product I’ve ever used.
TIP: After exfoliating, apply your body moisturiser while your skin is still a little damp after your shower — locking in much more hydration.
From €2.99, available in supermarkets and pharmacies nationwide.
I use this amazing all-natural product on my hair, nails, cuticles, scalp, face and body. It can even be used as a mouthwash to protect gums and whiten teeth! I use it as a hair mask weekly. Simply massage the oil into hair, tie into a topknot, leave overnight and wash out the following morning.
Ovelle Coconut Oil, €5.85, available in pharmacies nationwide.
Use these for correcting make-up blunders. If your mascara has smudged or you’ve blobbed your eye shadow all over your face, just dip a cotton bud in the tiniest bit of moisturiser and roll it over your mistake. A great way of removing kohl liner on your waterline.
Prices vary, available in supermarkets and pharmacies nationwide.