Beauty Snoop: Rummaging Around Julia's Dressing Table

The best beauty recommendations come from people you know (or ‘know’ virtually - ie. us!) so I’ve been talking to women about their favourite products, stuff they're good at and whether they have that Holy Grail – a hairdresser who ‘gets’ them.

Jan 4, 2013 at 3:00pm | Leave a comment

To kick things off, I interviewed Julia, who runs the fashion blog Stylonylon and has written for xoJaneUK on pregnancy style. She gave birth to baby Gus in June and I was curious to find out how – if at all – this life-changing event had affected her beauty routine and aesthetic. Here’s the chat.

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Julia in her bathroom surrounded by all her beauty booty

I wash my face in the shower every morning but I don’t wash my hair every day as I’ve grown my hair longer and I can’t stand having to dry it, so I wash it about every four to five days. [Laughs] I’m a big fan of Batiste dry shampoo – that and Elnett hairspray seem to make my hair look alright... vaguely!

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Julia's beloved Batiste dry shampoo and Elnett hairspray

I have a very basic beauty routine; the creams I used to use were very nourishing and thick because my skin was quite dry, but since giving birth it seems to have gone a bit more normal which is really weird. The one I’m using at the moment is a new brand called Laid Bare and I’m using their day cream and night cream, which is a bit thicker and quite nourishing.

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Cheer for cheapo organic face cream!

Laid Bare is incredibly cheap, like, seriously cheap – about £7 for a pot of cream. I found it in Whole Foods – an amazing find as I only use organic or natural brands and they’re always quite expensive – things like Neals Yard and A’kin – so it was really nice to find Laid Bare. Total convert.

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Neals Yard - lovely but pricey

And if I want a little bit extra for night I use a brand called Suti which does this amazing thick balm. For me a balm seems to penetrate and sink in – it does leave your face a little bit greasy which is why I use it overnight, but I had such dry skin for such a long time that it seemed to be the only way that I could deal with that.

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Balms - best to use overnight

So my morning routine is really simple – I sometimes put on A’kin rosehip oil as a base and then some face cream. If I’m actually leaving the house I might actually put on some makeup but not very much!

I have a very light, thin tinted moisturiser from Dr Hauschka which I love – it puts a nice thin sheen over my face and then if I’ve got bags under my eyes I use Touche Éclat (which everybody uses!) and then I always curl my eyelashes. The best I’ve ever had are Shu Uemura ones. I lost mine once and went straight back in and was like 'give me those eyelash curlers now!'

The mascara I’m using at the moment is also Dr Hauschka – it’s really hard to find an organic brand mascara. I like the Dr Hauschka, it looks good but just the slightest raindrop or tear and it’s running down your face. I’m sticking with it at the moment. And then a little bit of brown eyeliner under my eyes and I’ve always used these little paper powders from The Body Shop – I use them to matt over my face and that’s it!

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Julia keeps her stuff in vintage tins on her dresser

Since Gus was born, everything about me is more robust – my skin’s functioning better, it’s definitely a lot more balanced – I’m not suffering from dryness. Usually in the middle of winter I’d be piling on whatever balms I could find, whereas now I’m just using this quite nice middlingly nourishing Laid Bare stuff, so I’m really pleased not to have to worry about it.

Gus has got these amazing long eyelashes and I look at them going 'Hmm! Hang on, what happened?!' Mine don’t seem to be as long and curly as they used to be! Initially it was very important for me to get my figure back – I’m obviously quite vain! [Laughs] So that was a really big issue for me, and I’ve luckily snapped back into shape quite quickly - I’ve been breast feeding which burns off all these calories.

I think you do want to get back to who and what you were, so I wouldn’t say I’ve changed routines at all, I mean luckily my routines were so minimal and basic that it’s not like I’ve had to cut back on anything cos I’ve got a baby now. It’s probably just hair-washing which has gone out the window mainly! But that’s fiiiine!

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More organic stuff for the tub

I cut my hair very short when I was about fifteen and I’ve always had varying styles of short hair, from Mia Farrow elfin crops to a little bit longer. Through my teenage years and early twenties I’d go from bleached blonde – once I had this harlequin purple mixed with red. I remember turning up for my first postgraduate tutorial with my hair white blonde and everyone was just looking at me like ‘Oh my god, who is this crazy girl, she’s really not meant to be here!’

When I started doing ‘proper jobs’ I toned it down a bit and then when I got pregnant I didn’t want to dye my hair and decided to let it grow. When I had short hair I always felt it looked better coloured, because I’ve actually got quite plain, mousey brown hair, but as it started growing I realised that it actually looked ok its normal colour but with a bit of length. So the whole time I was pregnant I had two trims and I’ve been wearing it up, the entire time. That’s all I do!

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Favourite new neon orange Bazooka nail polish from Essie and feathers for hair

I really want to get a dip dye – I know it’s really old now and everyone’s done it but I still think it looks really cool, I love it! Before, I was literally getting a cut and colour every six weeks because you have to with short hair. That was quite high upkeep to be honest - now I look back on it I think I was insane. I just can’t be bothered to do that now.

I haven’t seen Amy [my hairdresser] for some time as I’ve been growing my hair, but I’m holding out for a treat with her to come over and style my hair so I can wear it down and maybe do some crazy colour because I’m feeling like that again!

I’m absolutely useless with makeup, I’m rubbish! I don’t really know how to do eye shadow or eye make-up. I occasionally have one or two red lipsticks and there’s one which I wore the other day when I was doing outfit posts for my blog and it’s Ruby & Millie but they’re discontinued now and I was like “I really like this colour! This is amazing! Why didn’t I wear this more often?”

I can manage to put on some red lipstick, but I’m not comfortable with it - I’ll do it and feel like a different person for that time and always remind myself to do it again, but I don’t.

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Julia's trusty MAC blusher

I went for a really cool facial with a Japanese brand called Suqqu and they show you how to do the face massage and so for about three months I did it day and night, convincing myself... she had said to me that she could feel that there were wrinkles beneath the skin and it really freaked me out so I was like “I’m gonna do this!” so I did it quite religiously and I was very proud of that. But I don’t do it anymore!

I really love the ‘60s black eyeliner look and doing it with a wet black eyeliner has ended in tears so many times – I can’t do it! I can manage to do it with a pencil but it always looks messy. I wish I could learn how to do that.

I used to go for waxing all the time, but I don’t anymore, I just shave at home – it’s gone down my list of priorities. I will always spend on massage – it’s my top beauty treatment, I think it affects the way you look, your face - the way you feel in your body is absolutely tied into the way your face is presenting itself and how you’re feeling and looking. I was having shiatsu massage all through my pregnancy and it completely saved me.

I don’t usually fork out for a facial but maybe once or twice a year I will – either Return to Glory or Shine Holistic. I wish I was one of those people who had their facial every six weeks, I actually do think they’re really worthwhile, but who can afford it?

As I’ve got older, the only thing that’s really changed is my hair – I’m actually glad I’m not getting it cut and coloured every six weeks, I just think that’s too high maintenance [Laughs] I’m glad that I’ve chilled out on that level! I’m glad that post-pregnancy my skin is not as dry as it was. I’m not very adventurous when it comes to beauty, certainly not when it comes to make-up. I love creams and finding new organic stuff, but that’s about as exciting as it gets!

I did do something really cool with make-up once, or rather had it done to me and then went out and bought all the products: I had a makeover by a MAC make-up artist and he showed me how to do my lips with a pink lip liner with a pinky shade of lipstick and then to press on some pink eye powder and it looked amazing. It just pops out.

So the make-up was just the lips, not even any mascara and this amazing cheek highlighter from MAC which is very subtle but just does something. I came back home and Miles was like 'Woah! Sexy lady! Why don’t you ever do that?' I did it like that for a party and got so many compliments, it was an unbelievably cool thing to do.

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My mum never wears any makeup – she’s always had dry skin but she has amazing skin. She’s in her sixties now and she looks really really good. So I guess I’ve inherited the ‘not much make-up’ approach from her and also just really spending on good quality creams to keep the skin looking good.

I’ve realised that the way to do it is to treat your skin well and to not pile on loads of slap. I like the natural look and I think women can look really good with not much make-up. If you see the TOWIE girls or Jordan – they look much prettier without make-up.