When I was younger, I knew literally NOTHING about make-up and skincare. Like, nothing. But that didn’t stop me making every mistake possible through experimenting. I had one of those creepy dolls heads that comes with gooey eye and lip palettes that you smudge in relevant areas, and in my dad’s Saab on the way back from Brownies I used to lick the blue and red Smarties and decorate my face. At uni, I lived with 6 boys and used to keep a pot of foundation (which I’d apply sans moisturiser – I didn’t understand the need) in the shower room so I’d never have to be seen bare-faced, even the short trip down the hall from the shower.
By the time I joined the Army aged 18, I’d just about figured out why skincare was important. Time was so precious that I’d whittled down my routine to basically a conveyor belt of admin, and on exercise (essentially simulated operations. Cold, wet, tiring.. Exactly how you’d expect, really) I’d keep a tube of tinted moisturiser in my pocket to whack on as soon as the cam-cream came off. And when they sent me out as captain of the alpine ski team, I chose long-lasting lip colours so the course commentator would stop assuming 2Lt Cox (me) was a boy flying down the mountains between the slalom gates.
Then I left the army and joined the Marie Claire beauty desk and suddenly I was introduced to a literal universe that I hadn’t realised even existed. I learnt about serums, the merits of gel versus cream formulations, the controversial order in which to use an oil….. But always in the back of my mind, I retained my Sandhurst mindset of efficiency – everything needed to be done on a need-to-use basis, and if a product did two or even three things, all the better.
Along my little beauty journey, I met Urban Decay co-founder Wende Zomnir. Wende competed in Miss Texas USA and was obsessed with make-up, but frustrated with the fairly blah, conformist shades of pink, red and beige available. So she and partner Sandy created their own range of edgy, talking-point cosmetics. And Wende still road-tests every product they make—snowboarding, surfing and doing hot yoga in full makeup. It was similar to my own beauty journey. I was hooked.
And I still am. Urban Decay’s make-up setting spray has changed size, formula and packaging since an MUA first introduced me (she also told me off for over-use of bronze. Apparently I’d spent three years looking ‘a bit grubby’) and changed my world. These days, I tend to go from appointment to appointment without time for a full re-application of make-up. So I need products that’ll stay in place through, say, a PT session to a lunch meeting to a street-style shoot to a fitting to a press event.
S H O P M Y E S S E N T I A L S
Which is why I’m excited by Urban Decay’s new Naked Heat palette. UD’s colours are typically highly pigmented (even the nudes, which is surprisingly rare in beauty-land) and have extreme staying power. The 12 shades range from beige to terracotta and mauve, and there are four shimmery finished ones. I tend to start very neutral at the beginning of the day, then escalate the intensity by playing with darker shades along my lash line and in my eye socket crease. If I have an evening event, I’ll finish with a shimmer.
Urban Decay completely changed the beauty industry by allowing us to be creative and actually make a statement with the way we look. Thanks girls.
Urban Decay Naked Heat is available at Debenhams stores and online, £39.50