I am going to start this by stating outright: I am not a royalist. I don’t think the monarchy serves a purpose in my country in this day and age but, right now, it is not up to me. And our Princess just gave birth to our future King; news which is, almost literally, everywhere in England.
And she looks freaking amazing. And we’re practically best friends for several reasons, so I am completely qualified to tell you how she does it.
The first time I met Kate Middleton (or Duchess Catherine as I was asked to call her the second time I met her), I was a little girl on holiday in France. We sat next to the Middletons on our Virgin Atlantic flight out there and were staying in the same holiday resort as them, so we built sandcastles together. The cutest Princess anecdote that I can imagine, and my mother’s favourite story ever since she was announced as William’s girlfriend.
The second time was significantly less cute. Nearly two years ago, I was in an all-female residential treatment centre dealing with my myriad addiction issues for six months. Kate came to visit, whilst she was exploring charities to establish which ones she would become an official patroness of. As the resident posh girl, I was asked to dress smart and give her a tour of our five-storey South London home, and explain a little how I got there, and I did.
If anything was a clear reminder of how far I had gone in the wrong direction, it was explaining to a girl who was once my playmate and was now a princess why I had tried to kill myself and how I had developed a drug addiction, showing her the dorm in which I slept before she went home to a palace.
She was gracious and charming and staggeringly beautiful. I was clammy and awkward. I didn’t mention that we had met before because it sounded pretty bizarre in my head, let alone in the middle of a conversation about detoxing and art therapy. She spoke to all 25 of us afterwards about our stories with interest and compassion, and I realized that, whilst her visit was an upsetting reminder of where I had gotten to in my life, if a member of the royal family were to endorse an abstinence-based long term treatment centre, it could change a lot for the perception of addict rehabilitation. A princess didn’t think we were scummy, thieving scroungers, but people who deserved help.
That was pretty amazing, and when she eventually decided to become an official patron of the charity, her financial support continued to sustain the charity that offered me my second chance, and can now offer many other women theirs. And that is ace. So, whilst I might not have been celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee, I feel pretty fondly towards Kate.
I can’t imagine what giving birth is like. I also can’t imagine what stepping out of the hospital to the world’s paparazzi is like, but I’m imagining it’s pretty draining. Which is why it feels so remarkable that she looks so composed and gorgeous, and has managed to sustain her trademark glossy hair and apply her dark eyeliner in preparation for the pictures that flooded the world’s media. Here’s how you can look like she does, but without having to be a princess, or have a baby, because I have no idea how to do those things.
Firstly, I painted my nails. Kate loves a nude nail because she is obviously classic, so I used Rimmel’s Brit Manicure Nail Colour in English Rose to give a gentle pinky tint, and then a high-gloss Nails Inc topcoat to give an immaculate finish.
To imitate a post-pregnancy glow, I used Laura Mercier’s Radiance primer (which is Kate’s favourite brand, apparently) as a base. I love this because it both reduces my pore size and has a faint glow (but no sparkle) whilst allowing my makeup to apply smoother and last longer. It is a light, gel-like cream and I fairly liberally spread it all over my face before letting it set for a few minutes (I had a cigarette. That is my primer ritual.)
I then applied a little BB cream to even my skin tone out a bit, and then liberally brushed Laura Mercier cheek colour in Opera onto the apples of my cheeks. Whilst it is hard to see this one in swatches (because it matches my skin tone bizarrely perfectly), it reminds me of a glitter-free, slightly cooler version of NARS Orgasm--a natural flush that doesn’t appear too rosy.
I then added a little of Tarte’s Awakening Blush onto the top, in the centre of my cheeks, to give some definition and add some extra radiance. Because it is moisturizing and creamy, it blends incredibly easily (I can’t bear stiffly textured cream blushes) and it isn’t glittery, but shimmery. It is my go-to for a quick and easy natural pinkish glow, and combined with the powder blush that I had spread all over my cheeks, it was pretty ace.
Finally, I used MAC’s Strobe Cream, dotted along my cheekbone and blended into my skin, to give me a faint and natural glow. This is a gel-like cream which you can use as a subtle highlighter on top of makeup, or as a base underneath. Whilst traditionally MAC counter-people will tell you that it is a moisturizer, the ridiculous amount of MAC seminars I have been to have taught me that it’s also pretty effective as a dewy highlighter. And it works, so I’m sold.
On to eyes. Kate has a weird penchant for constantly smoky eyes, but generally uses a lighter taupe shade in the daytime. I brushed Tarte’s Eyeshadow in Matte Taupe over my lid, up to the crease, to imitate and then moved on to her favourite: black eyeliner.
Using Yves Saint Laurent’s Long-Lasting Eye Pencil in black (a creamy and deep black), I lined both my upper and lower lash lines. I initially traced the lash line on my upper eyelid and lower lashes and then I filled in any gaps by lining my waterlines, placing the pencil so it was nearly touching my eye and wiggling it about a bit.
Whilst this technique (can I call it a technique?) means I don’t end up with a weird flesh-coloured line of separation between my liner and my eyelashes, it also means I get a really heavy, 13-year-old goth vibe, so I then picked up a Q-tip and ran it over my waterline to tidy up the final effect, making sure that the only eyeliner left was a simple and precise black outline of my eye.
I didn’t want to completely lose Kate’s smoky vibe just because she’s a mum, so I added a little darkness by going over my upper lash line with Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide on Pencil in Uzi. These pencils are amazing for a light smoky eye; the colour stays and they dry to a waterproof finish after a gel-like application. Using two shades of eyeliner gave the illusion of a smoky-eye effect but allowed the eye to still look fairly pristine and prim rather than too sultry. I then mascara-ed up and was nearly done.
I finally added a coat of MAC lipstick in Crème De Nude, a shade which has a gentle shine and a slight flesh-y, pink-y tint but is incredibly natural. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t look as glow-y as Kate so I added a little extra blush and I was done!
I grabbed my swaddling and posed around with a fake baby for a while. But I don’t have a fake baby, so I had to use my imagination and just bundle up some blankets. Is that even more creepy than having a fake baby? I feel like the picture looks a little terrifying, like I am imagining baby George is in the blankets somewhere.
Do you care that Kate had a baby? Do you want to be a princess? Do you want to go to rehab on the off chance that you meet a celeb (totally worth it)? Also: do you use eyeliner in the daytime? I never, ever do but this look might have convinced me that it’s workable…