Joan Collins chats to Imogen Edwards-Jones about her new beauty range, the importance of good skincare and how mere mortals can learn the art of glamour

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Congratulations on your new skincare and make-up range, how did it come about?

Thank you! I have always had a passion for beauty and this has been a dream of mine for many, many years. I truly believe that, with the right products and helpful tips and techniques, every woman can look good, whatever her age.

Acquiring and keeping beautiful skin, and the transformational power of cosmetics, have fascinated me since I was a teenager. All through my life in film, stage and television I have been lucky to have had access to the very best in the fields of skincare and make-up.  I wanted to share that knowledge.

How much involvement have you had with it? And you are pleased with the results?

I am so passionate about beauty and really wanted this line to reflect all of the amazing experiences I have accumulated, so I made sure I was heavily involved in the creation. Rather than select from a limited range of colours or products, I gave input on everything from shades and textures to design. It took 50 fragrance samples until I found the right one! And the luxurious packaging is inspired by Art Deco, my favourite design period. Every product has a little bit of me in it and I am very pleased with the results.

Is it specifically designed for the older woman, or can a glam-starved 40-something join in as well?

I believe it is never too early or too late to start caring for your skin and appearance. Joan Collins Timeless Beauty is designed for someone that wants to look as good as they possibly can, no matter what their age. Never have I allowed myself to be defined by age!

This is why my CONTRA TIME skincare range , starting from £25-£40, includes seven complex ingredients that help to shield skin from things that can harm it, reverse the signs of ageing and delay future signs of advancing years by stimulating cells with the energy of young cells. The shielding element is ideal for younger skin types whilst the reverse action will be appreciated by more mature skin types. I also have a range of colours in my cosmetics line, for example the bright pink Fontaine lipstick , £18, might suit my younger audience whilst the deep, burgundy Alexis lipstick , £18, my older audience.

I gather you were given make-up tips by the master (Marilyn Monroe's make-up artist, Allan 'Whitey" Snyder). What three fail-safes did he share with you?

Yes, I used to watch him do Marilyn’s make-up in Hollywood and I would absorb his knowledge like a sponge. He taught me that beauty starts with the skin – your skincare regime should be as much a part of your daily routine as brushing your teeth. A balanced diet is also important for the skin - I believe eating avocados is very beneficial (I have included avocado butter in several of my skincare products). Also, always keep eyebrow pencils sharp as a pin and use blusher for an instant make-up rejuvenator.

Since then you have always done your own make-up - Dynasty days included. Apart from keeping a steady hand, how would you suggest the rest of us look so fabulous?

Yes, I now do my make-up in ten minutes, faster and better than anyone else I know. I realised that no one is born glamorous, but practically anyone can develop glamour. All you need to do is learn what suits you and your individual style. I love to play around with make up to develop new looks.

You are clearly very disciplined when it comes to diet, exercise and general maintenance; what is a Joan Collins treat?

I love chocolate – milk chocolate truffles and a Snickers bar of course! When we were children my sister Jackie and I were given chocolate only occasionally as a treat and I still feel that it’s a treat today.

I have been told you can still do the splits! So can I! Although mine are more usually a New Year's Eve trick after three glasses of champagne. When was the last time you did them?

I last did the splits in my One Woman Show, and likely to do them in my One Woman Show in Barbados on 22nd March.

You always look so poised and glamorous. Do you think that the younger generation should make more of an effort and stop dressing too comfortably?

I believe that no one is born glamorous, but practically anyone can develop glamour. Clothes are important but it has more to do with a particular assurance and self-possession, as well as a touch of mystique. For me, the movie stars from the thirties and forties possess glamour in spades – this is why I called one of my Glorious Gloss lipglosses Ava , £18, after Ava Gardner. I also think the eighties fashions were glorious – I do wish some more of that glamour would return.

You were obviously blessed with good genes - you were so delectable as a baby your mother had to put a 'Do Not Kiss' sign above your pram. What advice would you give to us lesser- mortals about making the best of ourselves?

It is possible to be glamorous with all the tricks of special lighting, couture gowns and professional ‘stylists’. All you need to do is learn what looks good on you and focus on your individual style. The Duchess of Cambridge is a case in point – extremely glamorous yet she styles herself and dresses brilliantly. With classic outfits, excellent grooming and a strong sense of self, practically any woman can become known for her style.

Is there any question to which red lipstick is NOT the answer?