Six beauty hacks you need to know


With our ever-demanding, modern-day beauty routines and technical processes, it may feel like an added stress just finding the time to use everything. However, there are some quick routes to gaining control with your grooming; which is even more important these days, when you need to be savvy with your time.

Here are a few ideas that work, and I would love to hear your own solutions and comments too:

1. Manicures
essie-shade-rangeWhilst home manicures are luxurious and enjoyable, they can become a chore, especially when you maybe have to block out at least an hour to do them.

My top tip to speed this process up is to take off your varnish before a bath, shower or hairwash. This acts as a hand soak and also detoxes, brightens and cleans the natural nail, while softening the cuticle.

As soon as you come out of the shower, do a quick push-back of the cuticles and, when applying your body lotion, massage oil into the cuticles and nail plate.

If you are then going to bed, leave your nails bare overnight and the next morning (whilst boiling the kettle) apply your nail strengthener or base coat onto the cleanest nails you will have ever seen.

This prevents any staining of the nail plate and will keep them strong and fresh-looking until you have time to paint; which could be, for example, when travelling to work.

On my drive to work, I’ll pull over for a minute to paint a coat and only have to pull over twice during my journey; firstly for the two colour coats together, then followed by the top coat. This means I have done a full manicure by the time I’ve driven through two villages before I reach the motorway, and they can then dry during the remaining hour left.

When I used to commute on the train or bus I would do the same and paint each time they made a stop at a station.

To elongate your manicure, always carry a glitter or special effects polish with you for touch-ups. Later in the week, if damage such as chips or cracks occurs on your original manicure, you can paint the entire nail or tip to create a new look and fresh manicure.

2. Scrubs and masks
peels-masksThese really do make a dramatic difference to your skin, but when used together you suddenly need to find 30 minutes to an hour – and obviously wander around with something strange on your face. I find it quicker to split this treatment and exfoliate in the shower or just before.

The need to instantly follow exfoliation with a mask is a myth. After exfoliating, I often just apply my normal oils, treatments, creams, and make-up straight on.

Then, when I get home, I will put a mask on during my night routine so I can go to bed and let it sink in while I snooze off.

If you have an oilier skin and require a clay mask, you can still do this, but just zone it onto the oily area, T zone or even just on a spot overnight.


3. Speedy hair treatments
philip-kingsley-modelIntensive treatments, such as Philip Kingsley’s Elasticizer, are easiest when left on overnight and only need, say, a minute to apply on hand-dampened hair. It’s good to keep this or other pre-shampoo treatments close to hand. If you’re looking for one to try, Leonor Greyl‘s helps to protect your hair from sun and water damage.

If you don’t have any time but know your hair is frazzled, oil treatments that can be applied as hair serums – such as Percy and Reed’s No Oil Oil and Liz Earle Hair Oil – condition, detangle, and give instant effects. For drier or curly hair you can even scrunch hair conditioner in to the ends of your hair and use it as a styling tool or a curl activator.

If you have very porous hair, which may be due to over bleaching or high lift, instead of buying hair styling products, apply your intensive conditioners in place of wax or smoothing balm.

My favourite trick is wearing a baseball cap on dog walks, and underneath my hair is full of an intensive hair treatment. Then, once I’m back, I shower and go to work.

Remember, you can ‘rock’ your intensive conditioning treatment like a supermodel. For shorter hair, use it as a grooming product and slick back. This looks especially good in hot weather or around the pool on holiday – and at the same time you are intensely treating.

For longer hair, apply your intensive conditioner and use it to create a slick back pony tail or a smoothing formula for other styles with a cool clip. You can wear these as ‘looks’, but actually they are speedy ways to treat your hair.

4. Tanning

This no longer needs to take hours without clothes on, and doesn’t even need to involve a shower.

Using modern formulas, we can incorporate tanning into various regimes within seconds.

Use a serum such as James Reed’s Sleep Mask; I like to use it underneath my face cream at night. If even this feels too complicated, then use a night cream every other night, such as UTan or Judith Williams which has tanning agent added.

vita-liberata-body-blur-216271These modern formulas no longer mark clothes, so you can get dressed straight away. Just remember to shower the tint off before you go to bed, the self-tan will have developed underneath within a few hours.

Vita Liberata have – for those of you that are tanning queens, in the true sense –a SPF50 tinted body oil that gives instant glamour and also contains a self-tan formula to help you achieve an even darker colour with less exposure to the sun.

However my current favourite obsession, which doesn’t even include a self-tan, is the new body paint formulas. My current favourite is Vita Liberata Body Blur which has an amazing texture and finish. I even apply it to my face with a make-up brush because it’s brilliant for patching up my ‘farmers tan’ for when I go on air. This was also an X Factor secret to glam up the contestants – both men and women.

5. Buildable make-up
it-cosmetics-concealerA concealer that gives full coverage, such as Laura Geller Real Deal or It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye, and an all-in-one foundation compact are make-up bag must-haves.

When used together, these two can immediately glam up your skin if you are out and about or you realise that your look is too natural.

Also, use an all-in-one colour, such as a Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick, that can be used on lips, cheeks and eyes to instantly enhance and brighten your look.




6. Quick transformations
lipstick-siren-jay-manuelSometimes it takes too long to do your normal make-up and hair routine when you are running out of time. Instead of doing a bad job on your normal routine, which can make you look dishevelled, try doing something deliberately different.

You will be pleasantly surprised that everyone thinks you are being more adventurous than them, in carrying off a new look that you have mastered and they haven’t thought about.

The easiest one of these is a strong lip and very little other makeup. Just balance it slightly by also blending a little bit on your cheek, but this can go with a naked-looking eye and a very simple complexion product – and can actually look very youthful.

If you don’t have time to do your hair, change it. Slick it back, clip it up, or leave it naturally curly as if you deliberately wanted to do that. It’s about having the confidence to make a split-second decision on your looks and carry off a different image; no-one will think you have run out of time.

Although it’s helpful to know shortcuts so you can stay on top of your beauty and grooming regime, it’s also essential in helping you manage your stress levels and make time to enjoy a beauty night in. Nothing beats a soak in the bath, using all your favourite products, doing your mani/pedi, and getting an early nights’ sleep to feel pampered.

But, make these times very deliberate and as luxurious as you can in your own home. My top tips would be:
– Your favourite music or radio station or, in my case sometimes, silence
– Clean towels and dressing gown
– New bed linen
– Fragranced candles
– Your favourite bath soap or shower oil kept for special occasions
– And finally, a few nibbles and a little tipple definitely adds to the experience

Obviously, these are just a few ideas, I would love to hear yours as well. Take a look at some great products to help with these beauty hacks as part of out Fashion Week Event.

Ali x


  1. SheMag September 8, 2016 at 8:21 pm -  Reply

    This made me laugh in recognition, particularly the commute-y beauty tips! I’m a past master at falling out of the house 15 minutes after I fell out of bed…key items for me are alpha-h micro cleanse (does take 3 minutes which is a significant time investment but do your mouthwash and teeth brushing and deodorant and perfume applications in that 3 minutes and you’ve won the time back). No need to cleanse, the clue’s in the product name…micro CLEANSE…tick…close eyes tight and spray face and neck with alpha-h instant facial and we’re done! Not for every day but for every “OMG WHAT TIME?!!” morning!

  2. Julie Eyre September 9, 2016 at 9:26 pm -  Reply

    Love your tips Alison I no longer work due to health problems but I can completely identify with all your ideas particularly the manicure and painting nails on the way to work as I used to do this I always use a glitter even now on top off any chips just to prolong the time before having to re- do my nails . Since being a QVC customer the advise you give has been brilliant I pass everything on to my four daughters whose makeup and skin products have all improved and increased as you can imagine so s big thank you Alison xxx

  3. Ann September 11, 2016 at 12:16 pm -  Reply

    Please please QVC and Alison: Can you get a DUO for the Elemis Marine Pro
    Collagen serum intense – as it is 50 pounds for 15 mil! Its the best product ever
    for mature skin.

  4. Nicola Mason September 12, 2016 at 11:26 am -  Reply

    Thanks for the tips I also recommend applying a nail cream and putting gloves on overnight for a great effect on the nail beds grated it’s quite warm but even those surgical gloves do the trick to retain moisture. Please can we have tips on puffy eyes and concealing eye bags as it’s always only dark circles that get talked about. I would appreciate some makeup artists tips on disguising the bags around the eyes when a new concealer is brought to air. Keep up the great work X

  5. sandra September 12, 2016 at 8:49 pm -  Reply

    good tips! any tips for hormonal breakouts, i keep getting hard cyst like spots and i am 58 always had good skin except for now!

  6. Balinda September 12, 2016 at 10:51 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison, I’m 50 and have recently found that when I get up in the morning I have imprints on my face. What product would you recommend to help get rid of them also I have also seen s lot of sun spots on my cheek bones — can you help. Thanks

  7. Lynne September 19, 2016 at 8:04 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison,
    66 years old and lost over 2 stone. But as usual my face is sagging, feels so uncomfortable and dry, dull and wrinkling, wonder why I tried to loose weight. Which product range would you recommend to help my skin to look fresher and brighter, cant imagine there is anything to help the wrinkles.


  8. Sue September 29, 2016 at 8:56 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison, I am 59 and still have bad scarring on my face, from acne as a teenager, I have tried bio oil, that caused a stinging sensation, please can you recommend something to help. I have been using Elimis cleanser Toner and moisturiser. Many Thanks

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