Monthly Archives: March 2020

On… pandemic

I began writing this post about three weeks ago. I thought, I’ll write something about beauty, because I love reading about beauty, and most beauty writing is so dumb and unfunny and predictable. I’m also writing two pilot scripts for [name of network redacted because they won't release us to talk about it yet]. Anyway, so I’d tinker with this for ten minutes, and then go back to my scripts for the rest of the day, and then thoughtfully order some more pasta and loo roll and rice and soap, and wonder if this pandemic would run out of steam before it hit NYC, and completely forget to finish this.

Fast-forward to today, and HAHA yah we’re all stuck at home. So now a beauty post seems delightfully self-indulgent and shallow and possibly the escapism we all need. So come on in, take a few minutes to stop worrying about your job and children and the economy and ventilators and ICU beds, and read this.

I worked from home for seven years, from more or less the moment I got knocked up with Errol and started writing novels full-time, to last year, when I realized working from home with three children was a form of self-harm, even with a nanny, and started working from an office in Soho. So trust me when I say: you can’t just wear your sloppy Sunday hangover clothes every day. At least, I can’t. I need to get the fuck dressed. I also need to wear a little bit of make-up and treat myself like I deserve to look good even if the only person who is seeing moi is my family and moi. Not making an effort is the fastest way to get into a bad sad mood. It is good to take care of yourself. You’re worth it.

Let’s start with hair.

Every year or so I find a new hair product and crow ‘THIS IS IT!’ to the world. And then six months later my hair returns to its usual straw-like state and I stare dejectedly in the mirror and think longingly about my Before Sunrise-like 90s teen hair. And then I get cross at myself for wasting time thinking about hair and put it in a bun and ignore it for six months. And the circle of life continues.

I was in LA last summer, and my friend Nicki’s hair looked unreasonably good. She told me to try this Pantene 3 Minute Miracle as conditioner and Pantene Conditioning Mist when blowdrying. She’d just switched after years of a cripplingly expensive Oribe habit. So I did. It’s been eight months and I am STILL in love with these puppies. So so so good for strong shiny healthy-looking hair. (For shampoo, I’ve been using and adoring the Aveda Sap Moss Shampoo, but it’s not cheap and it’s only been two months so lets give it another couple of months and see if I still love it before I recommend whole-heartedly.)


Image result for pantene 3 minuteImage result for pantene conditioning mist


Also in the shower: this Bliss Lemon and Sage stuff smells DELICIOUS. Combine with the Korean body scrub cloth, and a nice 60 second blast of freezing cold water at the end, like that guy in the Goop show, and you’ll leave the shower tingling with the joy of being alive and not having coronavirus.

Bliss Lemon & Sage Soapy Suds Body Wash | Gentle & Hydrating for Supremely Soft Skin |  Paraben Free, Cruelty Free | 17.0 fl oz


Sheet masks aren’t really my thing because they scare the baby, they create a lot of waste, I don’t always notice a difference and then I feel annoyed that I wasted my money and time. But this one is the real deal: your face will feel plump and smooth and happy afterwards. I picked one of these puppies up from CVS on a whim a few weeks ago when I was buying yet more soap and sanitizer, tried it before going out that night and promptly stocked up.

Image result for garnier moisture bomb mask


When I haven’t moisturized my body, my knees look like very old apples. Lubriderm is boring and unscented and unsexy and WORKS. If you do it every day, you will be ready when this pandemic is over – which is will be, sooner than you think, it’ll just FEEL like forever – and you want to wear shorts outside.

Image result for lubriderm

Another workhorse, this one for your face. Yu Be is so boring and so amazing. It is almost unreasonably thick, so I recommend mixing with your favorite moisturizer and put on an hour before you go to sleep. Wake with dewy plump skin. Giddy up.

Image result for yu-be cream

I tried Baby Foot mask years ago and loved the results, but Fox hated finding my feet flakes all over the apartment and claimed to be grossed out. I can’t imagine why. SO INTOLERANT. Anyway, now that we’re at home for the foreseeable future, I’m going to do it again. This time, I’m going to take a bath every night and pumice my foot a wee bit, and wear socks non-stop so I don’t flake all over the place like a moulty pigeon. I’m sure it’ll be much less gross this way.

Image result for baby foot


Okay, that’s face, body, hair and feet covered.

Let’s talk make-up.

YOU GUYS. I don’t mean to boast. But I’ve discovered the secret to perfect silky satiny skin in fifteen seconds or less. So order these from Sephora or wherever will let you return if I’m just smoking crack again and this doesn’t work for you. Ready? Okay.

Take one pump of Kiehl’s Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate, and one pump of your favorite foundation (this Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting in Buff is mine right now – in fact, I’m on my second bottle, which is a powerful statement in itself because I think it’s overpriced and I always try new things) (‘powerful statement’ dear God Gemma, get a grip, it’s only make-up).

Mix them together on the back of your hand, and then dab on your ruddy bits (chin, nostrils, forehead, undereyes and eyelids, and so on). Buff in with this brush thing, and SCENE. You’re done. Right? RIGHT? Yeah. This works.

I don’t know why the Kiehl’s product is so magical, and it has the most ridiculous name in the world WHY SO MANY WORDS. It’s an interesting consistency – somewhere between a gel and a balm – and it’s full of glycerin (like the Yu Be) and yet also absorbs perfectly.   It’s a weird one. I read about it a lot before trying, as it seemed like such an un-essential product and yet people loved it. Now I get it.

Would you like to see images of these products? Oh, okay then.

Image result for Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum ConcentrateImage result for TOM FORD traceless perfecting foundation spf 15Image result for real techniques face blender


I always like to wear a little very light bronzer to make me look less, you know, sick, because I’m not sick, I’m just rather pale and yellow. This one is excellent. Hourglass Lighting Bronzer in Nude Bronze Light. It’s somewhere between a bronzer and a highlighter, not too brown, not too orange, not too anything. It just works. I apply it with this MUFE brush but any big fluffy brush will do.

Image result for ambient lighting bronzer nude light

Lastly, lipstick. I don’t wear a lot of lipstick when I’m chez moi because I’m always kissing someone. But I’m in love with this Burts Bees Red Dahlie tinted lip balm, and this cheapie Milani All Natural lipliner. (I’m being repetitive I know – I’ve written about them before – but I’m also being consistent because you guys, they’re awesome.) The two of them will give you perfect naturally slightly tinted lips so you can smile at yourself every time you wash your hands, which will be frequently.

Image result for burts bees red dahliaMilani Color Statement Lipliner - All Natural (0.04 Ounce) Cruelty-Free Lip Pencil to Define, Shape & Fill Lips

Wow, this is a long post. Am I missing anything? Any requests? Stay safe everyone. Tell your parents to stay inside.