In Alessandra's handbag...
I absolutely love make-up, and if I could wear the entire contents of Selfridges Beauty Hall on my face, I would! I wear make-up every day during the week, but not really dramatic colours - I tend to stick to more natural shades and skin-enhancing products, and I tend to play up my eyes over lips with shades of brown.
My absolute basics are foundation, concealer, two different blushers, always a bronzer, a brown pencil, a clear brow gel, mascara and lip gloss.
I think everyone should wear blusher as it really wakes up the face. Many people make the mistake of thinking bronzer does that, but it doesn’t. I always think it’s best not to wear a matt blusher but something with a glowy, light sheen to give you a flush that looks like it comes from the skin. My favourite is Blush Terrybly from ByTerry in Torrid Peach, £53, www.spacenk.com .
I’m very pale by nature but I secretly have a desire for J-Lo’s colouring! Dior‘s Diorskin Nude Tan, £32.40, www.houseoffraser.co.uk gives me the skintone I wish I’d been born with. For me, it’s not about looking tanned, it’s more about that weekend away look, and I love this product because it’s sandy rather than orange. Same with Givenchy’s Poudre Bonne Mine, £32.50, www.houseoffraser.co.uk , which is also very subtle.
I like to wear foundation to even my skin, not to mask it and I genuinely think YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat, £28, www.selfridges.com , is the most amazing foundation for sheer coverage. It’s super glowy and sinks in so you don’t know its there. The colours are also spot on.
Under my eyes I use Perricone MD No Concealer Concealer, £37, www.perriconemd.co.uk , which has a very light texture. I always think if you use something quite heavy under the eyes it can make circles look worse. This is more like an under-eye tint and comes in one colour that suits lots of skintones - it’s great for my job when I’m flying a lot as it literally erases tiredness.
For lips, Crème de la Mer’s lip balm, £40, www.cremedelamer.co.uk, has to be my luxury buy. Super silky, it’s above and beyond all other lip balms and leaves my lips soft for the whole day.
For a hint of colour, my other favourite lip product is Chanel’s Rouge Coco Shine Hydrating Sheer in Boy, £24, www.houseoffraser.co.uk The reason I love it so much is that it’s the colour of my lips and it’s the only lipstick I’ve ever found that I consistently get to the bottom of!
For eyes, I have long been a fan of Helena Rubinstein’s which unfortunately you can’t buy in England (go to www.helenarubinstein.com for the European store locator). It’s the best mascara in the world. Why? Because from the first stroke it behaves like a two-week-old mascara - you know when it goes on beautifully and never clumps? I never need a little brush inbetween coats to separate lashes and you can really build it up - it’s perfection.
Everyone knows Clarins for their skincare, but I think there are some amazing hidden gems in their make-up line. One of my favourites is Clarins Eye Liner Pencil in Brown, £15, www.clarins.co.uk as it’s not too soft, and not too hard and creates a really nice smooth easy line that you can smudge in if you fancy. Plus I find the colour very flattering.
I adore Chanel’s Les Exclusifs Coromandel, £190 for 200ml (020 7493 3836). I tend to wear fragrance by season and wouldn’t wear it in the summer, but it’s my autumn/ winter scent, and whenever I wear it people comment. It’s sexy without being loud or raunchy and lasts all day long.
This Celine bag (go to www.celine.com for the store locator) is one of my favourite possessions. It's timeless, and I can wear it to meetings as well as out to dinner or fashion week. I used to buy so many different bags, but now I’m into owning one or two real classics.The sunglasses are by Tom Ford (go to www.tomford.com for the store locator), and aviators are the most flattering shape for my face. I’m not really someone who likes to make a huge fashion statement.
In Alessandra's bathroom cabinet...
As much as I’m obsessed with make-up, I think skincare is even more important. What’s the point of make-up if your skin doesn’t look good? People often comment on my skin, which is very flattering, and while I think a lot of that is down to good genes, I was also taught from very young age to look after it well. My grandame bought me Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion when I was 13 years old (£17, www.clinique.co.uk ).
My regime now is edited and small. I don’t agree with using a million products – I am just consistent with my routine, and I can count one time in my entire life that I went to bed with my make-up on. I think as you get older you get the skin you deserve.
In the morning I’ll cleanse with something very gentle like the Organic Pharmacy Rose Facial Cleansing Gel, £42.95 www.organicpharmacy.com , which doesn’t dry skin out but leaves it feeling fresh. Then I’ll put on a serum, probably Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex by Estée Lauder, £44, www.esteelauder.co.uk and the Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Eye Recovery Complex, £37, www.esteelauder.co.uk . In summer that will literally be it, however if I feel I need more (and I do in winter) then I’ll wear a moisturiser on top, such as the new Crème de la Mer Moistrurisng Soft Cream, £100 for 30ml, www.cremedelamer.co.uk Either that or a tinted moisturiser.
In evenings, I’m very thorough about taking the day off. I love the Eau Thermale Avène Micellar Cleansing Lotion, £12.50, www.boots.com , and Lancome Eau Micellar Douceur, £21, www.lancome.co.uk . I find this is the best and gentlest way to remove make-up and I think being gentle with your skin is so important. After this, I will then wash my face before blending some different serums together. I love the new Caudalie Vinexpert Firming Serum, £44, www.spacenk.com , which I might I’ll mix with Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex by Estée Lauder, £44, www.esteelauder.co.uk . Then I love using Dr Sebagh’s Rose de Vie Serum Delicat, £129, www.drsebagh.com , which feels so nourishing. I only use a little bit and press it into the skin. All this, I do religiously.
I do like at-home face peels such as Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel, £20.95, www.cosmeticsnow.co.uk , which I use once or twice a week or when I feel my skin needs it.
I also have a facial every month. I go to Linda Palcic ( www.georgialinda.com ), who does a custom facial for me - a mixture of extraction, massage, lactic peel, Caci if I need it. She’s amazing and never aggressive with my skin - I never walk out red or blotchy.
I also go to Dr Sebagh (020 7637 0548) to see Dr Diana Piana-Mariton (also at Dr Sebagh’s Clinic 020 7637 0548) to have Fraxel laser twice a year- or baby Fraxel, as we call it, which is quite gentle. Basically this tightens everything. I’d say if you want to have this sort of thing done you have to go to someone really really good who knows what they’re doing.
For brows, I go to see Parul Doshi at Blink (020 3073 0539) religiously to have my brows threaded. I started seeing her at Selfridges and then she moved to Harvey Nichols and then to John Lewis; I literally trek around London following her!
For hair I go to see George Northwood at the Josh Wood Atelier for a cut and styling (prices start from £100, 020 3393 0977). Literally no one styles my hair like he does, I can’t rave enough about him. On a daily basis, however, I just wash my hair and go, which is made possible by a Brazilian Blowdry I’ve had at Compton Hair (starting from £80, 020 7240 3240) - it gives me that "model off-duty" hair look that I don’t need to style.
For colour, I’ve had balayage (where a colourist hand paints colour on to your hair) for ever – Christophe Robin in Paris first did it, but Adam Reed at Percy and Reed now does it (prices starting from £50, 020 7637 4634). I have also gotten very good at doing my own roots using L'Oréal Paris Recital Preference in No.6 Capri Natural Brown, £6.99, www.boots.com as I’m a bit grey.
In the same way that I’d go for a facial, I have started getting deep conditioning treatments at Philip Kingsley (visit www.philipkingsley.co.uk for the salon locator) about three times a year.
Bath and body
I love a fake tan - I am actually obsessed with the stuff. I just love looking golden. If I want it done professionally for an event or special occassion I’ll go to see Michaela Bolder at St Tropez (visit www.st-tropez.com to find your nearest salon). otherwise I tend to do it myself . Brands I love are Sienna X ( www.sienna-x.co.uk ), the Xen Tan ( www.xen-tan.co.uk ) in the dark colours. I also like St Tropez’s Tan Optimizer Body Butter (£15.32, www.boots.com ) and James Read Gradual Tan (from £17.50 www.qvcuk.com ).
Other body products I love are Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Ageing Body Moisturiser, £100, www.houseoffraser.co.uk , which is amazing as you can get dressed v quickly afterwards, and the Clarins Smoothing Body Scrub, £28, www.clarins.co.uk which is grainy, not scratchy. I think using a scrub every week makes sense , especially if you’re a self-tanner like me! I’m not a big believer in anti-cellulite creams but I’m sure Environ’s Body Profile (visit www.iiaa.eu to find your nearest stockist) does improve things a bit.
After a long day, sometimes nothing beats a 20-minute soak in the bath and I adore the smell of rose, especially Ren’s Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil, £30, www.renskincare.com and you can’t beat Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil, £37, www.aromatherapyassociates.com .
I love Shellac for nails: it stays chip-free for weeks and in my opinion the best place to have it done is the Bliss spa in London (prices from £40 for a manicure and £60 for a pedicure 020 7590 6146). I go there for all manicure and pedicures. My favourite colours are Silk Negligee for fingers which is the perfect natural, and a red on toes such as Big Apple Red from OPI.
Health and Fitness
I’m not really allowed to run at the moment due to an injury. However, I go to Alan Herdman www.alanherdmanpilates.co.uk , who does original basic pilates (he pioneered pilates in the UK). For the first few sessions I found it a bit boring but then very quickly I could see a difference in my body and my posture.
I also do a lot of walking and love to wear Fitflops which I am quite obsessed with as I can really feel them working. For autumn and winter I like the Mukluk which is a black suede boot (£145.00 www.fitflop.co.uk ) using the same technology.
I’m also a big fan of Bikram yoga, although it’s time consuming keeping it up, but it really did change my body for the better. I go to Bikram yoga in Primrose Hill ( www.bikramyogaprimrosehill.com )
Food-wise I try to eat healthily, but for me it’s not about being skinny or being a size 10 - I don’t do punishing juice fasts. I do take some supplements however and take Lysine to strenghten my immune system (from £6, www.victoriahealth.com ) and I think the Bodyism supplements ( www.bodyism.com ) are in a league above others.
Photography by Kirstin Sinclair
Hair by Jack Buckley at the Josh Wood Atelier
Alessandra did her own make-up
Follow Alessandra on Twitter @alexsteinherr