Date night beauty fix (for broken mums)

Date night gets The Grumpy Parent treatment. Controversial, we know.

I admire your effort on behalf of your own sanity, but please let’s stop calling it Date Night. It’s Look-At-Us-Out-Without-The-Kids-Night, or I-Still-Want-To-Be-In-Bed-By-11.30pm-Night, or even If-I’m-Honest-I’d Rather-Be-On-The-Sofa-Watching-Netflix-Night. But a date it is not.

And I’ll tell you why not. Because those first dates are about intrigue and meeting someone new and those first few weeks and months of getting to know someone across candlelit dinners and hand-holding in the cinema, and kissing in the rain. Blah blah blah. You cannot have a first date with someone who has been your rock through your tough times. Who could do that on a first date? No-one, that’s who. And you can’t have a first date with someone who’s stroked your hair and brought you tea, as you’ve sobbed into the pillow with exhaustion, because you’re so, so knackered. You just can’t.

So we’re not calling this Date Night beauty, this is Mum’s Night Out beauty – we’re riding that parenting rollercoaster and we’re going to go out and get drunk to celebrate. And when I say drunk, what I actually mean is four G&T’s maximum because my tolerance for alcohol is embarrassing. (And I will need crisps. And nuts. And a lot of them to soak up the booze, so I don’t feel like I want to die at 6.15am when the kids are bouncing on my sore head!).

Read on for our Grumpy Mummy’s low-down on Mum’s Night Out beauty products – and how to get ready in the 11 seconds you have between putting the kids to bed and the babysitter arriving and you tiptoeing out of the house with gratitude. Yes, mums of the world, you CAN do this…

Clarins Rouge Eclat in Red Fuchsia, £17.60

Now if you literally have no time at all for beauty, because everyone kicked off at teatime. Kicked off at bath time. And completed the trio by kicking off at bedtime, then I have one thing you should use. And that is the killer red lipstick. More specifically Clarins Rouge Eclat in Red Fuchsia. The perfect suits-all red.

Now I prefer to wear my red out of context; in the park, with the kids, in converse trainers and jeans. But a slick of red lippie on a night out, without any other make-up at all, will give you an instant shot of glamour. It just does. It’s grown-up, sassy, sexy and confidence-boosting. Swap your glossy neutral for a matte or sheeny red and your hotness will increase 200 fold. He may not be able to cope. Other superb reds to look out for are MAC Lipstick in Ruby Woo £16.50, Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fire & Ice £7.99, Laura Mercier Creme Smooth Lip Colour in Hollywood £22, Chantecaille Lip Chic in Amaryllis £32Daniel Sandler Micro-Bubble Lipstick in Micro Red £13.25, Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Red Carpet Red £24, Lancome Rouge in Love Lip Colour in Rouge Valentine £23, Rimmel Kate Moss Lipstick shade 1 £5.49, Top Shop Lips in Rio Rio £8 and L’Oreal Paris Color Riche in Julianne £6.99. I’ve been searching for the perfect red for approximately all my life and this dedicated research in such an important field has resulted in several hundred reds being tested. These are the best. I promise.

Aveda Shampure Dry Shampoo, £22.50

Now this is groundbreaking. Literally one of the best products ever invented for mums. Not only does a quick puff of this ultra-fine powder disperse into your on-the-turn, (I like to call it shiny) hair and gobble up grease instantly, but for anyone with fine limp locks it immediately gives a shot of natural-looking volume that I am yet to find in any other hair styling product. Always use it just before you walk out of the front door.

Urban Decay 24/7 Waterline Eye Pencil in Legend, £15.50

Let’s talk eyes. We’re knackered. And not many concealers can cut it when it comes to mum-bags. So instead of hiding under-eye dark circles, I prefer the distraction technique. Which involves lining the eyes and creating such a sexy, rock-chick, smokey eye, that the dark circles become part of the morning-after vibe you’re going for. Now to last the distance on the waterline (which is under the upper lashes and above the lower lashes – arguably the most universally flattering way to line your eyes, whatever their shape), you need a hardcore pencil that won’t budge or smudge or disappear by 9pm. And Urban Decay’s 24/7 Waterline is it. Nothing stays put like this one.

Charlotte Tilbury Wonder Glow Instant Soft Focus Beauty Flash, £38.50
Elemis Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm, £37

You want a glow? You mean you didn’t get one from running up and downstairs 37,000 times after lights out, as various children called out, ‘can I have a drink of water’, ‘can you find my blue bear’, ‘where’s my fidget spinner’, and so on? Oh ok, you still want to know how to achieve that sheeny glow of health radiance and vitality that you lost around a decade ago? So there are two things I swear by because they work. Charlotte Tilbury gives a slight coverage with this lit-from-within, luminosity-booster. Whereas Elemis has no colour at all, but still brightens and tightens for a stunning dewy glow. I tend to wear Wonder Glow if I’m going down the tinted moisturiser, foundation or powder make-up route and Elemis if I’m literally only slicking on the red lippie and want clear skin. I never said it would be easy, did I? Keep up.

Revlon Ultra Volume, £9.99

I can take or leave mascara. Mainly because the faff of removing at bedtime drives me insane and I want to be in bed as quickly as is possible for an OCD beauty journalist who needs to complete the ‘cleanse, tone and moisturise and now I’ve had kids, the serum, oil and eye cream’ routine. I know, just writing it down makes me grumpy and annoyed at the level of dedication to skincare required, now I have kids and the ageing process is in free-fall. BUT, if mascara is non-negotiable for you, don’t bother spending on expensive ones. ‘Buy high street and replace often’ is my mascara mantra. I’ve been using this Revlon one and it is truly excellent. I cannot fault it on anything.

Rosie for Autograph Cream Blusher in Romantic Flush, £14
Max Factor Miracle Touch Creamy Blush in Soft Pink, £6.99

Blusher can often be a neglected part of beauty, that is until you hit stratospheric exhaustion levels and you realise you can’t live without it. Always go creamy and always go pink. Peach and tawny shades I think look a bit dated and mother-in-law-y. But a shot of pink – either a delicate rosebud or a hot pink – will instantly brighten up your complexion and give a radiance hit that only a brisk winter walk on a wind-swept beach can match. Or sex. Sex can give you the same look and that’s why you look so pretty in blusher. These creamy blushers from Rosie for Autograph (hot pink) and Max Factor (soft pink) are so easy to use – just swirl on your finger tip and pat onto the apples of your cheeks and blend, blend, blend, until you’re rocking the post-sex glow.

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