If you were to ask me whose bathroom shelves and makeup bag I’d most like to have a good ol’ rummage through, Anita Bhagwandas’ name would without a doubt be at the top of that list. Having written for the biggest publications in the country, her award-winning features have inspired and informed a legion of keen beauty enthusiasts (myself included), with her work highlighting the need for both magazines and brands alike to stand up and be accountable when it comes to supporting a more inclusive representation of beauty.
An area of the industry that’s undergone noticeable development over the last decade, she’s proven to be a respected voice on the subject and strongly believes more needs to be done to ensure complete fairness across the board. “It’s improved loads – but still not enough,” she tells me. “It needs to be completely equal – end of. Anything else, by which I mean offering darker shades at a ‘later date’ or ignoring them entirely in 2016, is offensive and entirely racist in my eyes.”
What are the areas of improvement she’d most like to see? “Every brand doing foundation shades for all skin tones – and not using that tired old ‘nobody buys them’ excuse,” she says. “They’ll buy them IF YOU MAKE THE SHADES. I’d like to see people of all colours calling out brands for not doing darker and super pale foundation shades – it’s not just up to a few of us. We should all be calling these things out.”
Renowned as both an editorial and brand expert, her knowledge of the industry and its latest innovations is hard to beat. The most important thing she’s learned about beauty during her career? “It’s an expression of what’s on the inside, on the outside. Life’s too darn short to be afraid to experiment and enjoy beauty – especially makeup.” Hear, hear. I caught up with Anita to find out more about the ins and outs of her beauty regime and the products she swears by (*orders everything*).
My current regime consists of a morning cleanse with Crème de la Mer The Cleansing Foam , £65 – it feels like silk. Next, I hit up Elizabeth Arden’s Superstart Skin Renewal Booster , £45. It repairs your skin’s barrier function, which is so key to hydration levels and overall skin health. That’s my pre-serum and then I add a blast of The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid , £5.90, over the top because my skin is perma-dehydrated. It’s really oily too though which is beyond annoying, so I use Sisley Mattifying Moisturising Skin Care with Tropical Resins , £80, which is the best moisturiser for oily skin, bar none. If I’m feeling OTT, I’ll mist on Urban Decay B6 Vitamin-infused Complexion Prep Spray , £23, too. Why the hell not eh?
In the evenings, I wash off my makeup with Tom Ford Purifying Cleansing Oil , £60, (it doesn’t leave a gross residue which I like) and follow with my Crème de la Mer cleanser from the morning. Twice a week I’ll use my Clarisonic for a deeper cleanse, and once a week I’ll add in Omorovicza’s Refining Facial , £65 – a lovely not too rough scrub or Radical Skincare’s Express Delivery Enzyme Peel , £32. Masque-wise, it’s Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Charcoal Mask , £23, followed by Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask , £95.50. If I’m lucky, I’ll use an Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Powerfoil Mask , £58, which is the best thing ever. And it’s so lols to wear – you look like a creepy robot. To me it pays for itself with the hours of fun you can have terrorizing people on social media with it.
I’m not done yet – and it’s slowly dawning on me how batshit I’m going to look to everyone out there with the amount of skincare I use. Evening products now and I rotate these four products each night with a day rest at the end; Crème de la Mer Moisturizing Cream , £110, Rodin Olio Lusso Luxury Face Oil , £105, NeoStrata Skin Active Retinol , £54.95, and Kat Burki Vitamin C Intensive Face Cream , £72, which my skin gobbles up. Then I fall asleep ON my actual face and wake up with pillow creases all over my forehead. Every. Damn. Morning. FML.
MORE GLOSS: What makes Huda Kattan tick?
My hair sucks – it’s the opposite of beauty editor hair. It’s half curly with random straight and frizzy bits which matte and tangle – and it’s super weedy. I’d kill for a head of beautiful bouncy curls. I use minoxidil to help with the thinning which I buy cheap in the US (I use Walgreens’ own brand one!) A couple of times a year I’ll get a Brazilian blowdry – usually at the Josh Wood Atelier . I also get extensions – just about 40 or so, at Inanch to thicken it up. She’s amazing with fine hair – I wouldn’t trust anyone else. I dye it black myself using whatever is on offer at Superdrug (I’m not even joking, on the doing it myself front AND the dying my black hair even blacker front – I am that Goth). Then I have Olaplex at John Frieda in Mayfair , £50, with Frankie to get my blonde streak as bright as possible. Before Olaplex though I used to do it myself with Jerome Russell bleach because nobody would dare bleach my black hair blonde. Pussies – hand me that bleach!
MORE GLOSS: Neelam Gill on modelling and breaking beauty’s barriers
I’m obsessive about makeup. I spend a fortune on it especially in the US where I hit up Morphe and Sephora like a bat out of London. My everyday look is The Estée Edit Beam Team Hydrate + Glow , £34, as a base (legit obsessed with that brand), I use Too Faced Born This Way Naturally Radiant Concealer , £20, under my eyes because it’s the best concealer I’ve ever used, and if I wear foundation, it’s Tom Ford Waterproof Concealer/Foundation, £64 (out later this month!) which is like that second Snapchat filter, but for your actual face. I finish off with MAC Blot Powder , £21.
My daytime look is bareMinerals 5-in-1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow , £18, on my lids (sometimes with Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Ore on top), a slick of Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in black , £16, lashes curled with Suqqu Curlers , £18, (they’re ace if you have rounder eyes like mine) and finish with 3 coats of Chanel Le Volume de Chanel Mascara in Noir , £25, because it’s incredible and super black. I love loads of mascara – if you can’t see it, why even bother putting it on?
I’m not finished yet – and I have no shame because I straight-up love makeup. I use Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush in Achiote , £21, on my cheeks – they do some amazing shades for darker skin tones, then Anastasia Beverly Hills Illuminator in Riviera, £28, and Smashbox Step by Step Contour Kit , £35.50.
People always rate my brow game but they’re actually really patchy. I use Illamasqua Brow Build , £18.50, every day - it’s the best product for hold and volume, but if I’m going full on mega brows, I use Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz , £15.50, and brown Dipbrow Pomade , £15.
Lips are my thing. I either go nude-ish (with & Other Stories Choux Pearl Lip Balm , £7), but generally wear dark vampy shades or blood reds from Jeffree Star, Kat Von D, Lime Crime and Lasplash. I only really do matte lipstick – anything else will end up all over my face because I’m not well behaved enough to keep checking and reapplying. Finally (are you still awake??) I use Spectrum brushes and a Cailyn O brush to do my foundation. DONE.
MORE GLOSS: The 10 best concealers for olive and dark skin tones
I’m a basic bath bitch. I body brush, then use Dr Bronner’s Peppermint Oil as a wash, followed by coconut oil and Bamford Organics Geranium Body Cream , £35. I have the driest skin ever – it’s a nightmare so I have to layer up body moisturisers like a mad woman. I love a Neom candle too or ones from Sydney Hale in Portland because I’m that hipster.
Total, fragrance snob alert. Tom Ford Santal Blush , £148, Frederic Malle Carnal Flower , £150, Coco Chanel , £68, and Maison Francis Kurkdjian Apom , £120, are my daytime choices. And Alexander McQueen , £285, Fracas de Robert Piguet , £95, and a personalised one made for me by perfumer Azzi Glasser are my night time choices. I also use Frederic Malle Dans Mon Lit bed perfume, £70, (available from the brand’s Burlington Arcade store in Mayfair) which I know, is really lavish, but it smells like joy.
Brows - I’m only allowed to see Lisa Potter-Dixon at Benefit or she shouts at me in public. She’s amazing though, so it’s worth the beat-down.
Gym - Virgin Active is the best because they’re really inventive with classes – the Crouch End one is my fave!
Facials - I’ll go anywhere. But the fine touch of Nichola Joss takes years off (and is like therapy because she’s so magical) and I also love a Natura Bissé facial too.
Filler - Dr Barbara Sturm – she’s the best and a wonderful human in general. I only have a weeny bit under my eyes as they’ve hollowed out a bit with age, and I have a wee bit in my upper lip but I do love it – even though it really effing hurts. People ask how I can be a feminist and still have injectables. But they affect my face, and not my brain. Freedom of choice and being honest about it is what’s feminist in my eyes.
Massages - whoever will give me one. Seriously. I mean that in a non-sexual way, FYI. Am I making this weird. I’ll stop now - thanks for reading.
Follow Anita on Twitter and Instagram .
Liked this? Take a peek into Nicole Scherzinger’s beauty stash here .