By Alex Orfila

We’ve all been asked the very generic question: What items can you absolutely not leave your house without in the morning? A mental scroll of the contents of my bag and pockets usually ensues and I instinctively answer: phone, wallet, lipstick (in my case anyway) and keys. Have I left anything out? Oh yes! A flask of coffee too, if we are referring strictly to mornings.

Likewise, whether you are stepping out on a date with your beau or hitting the town with friends, we all have a mental checklist of the beauty steps we just cannot bring ourselves to skip before a big night out. To do so would leave one feeling totally unprepared and practically naked. Once you have your outfit sorted it’s time to think about your beauty regime. For some getting ready may include hours at the salon getting pampered. Others may opt for DIY solutions and take on doing their hair, makeup and nails themselves. Whilst for some it may be as simple as just brushing their teeth and rocking towel dried hair – which would be wonderfully quick and convenient!

Go heavy on the lustre. More really is more.

Unfortunately for me – and all beauty addicts alike – getting ready is a little more complex, time consuming and at times expensive. Allow me to transfer my mental beauty prep checklist from mind to paper, although I prefer to refer to this as the “finishing touches”. If I were to share every step of my beauty regime there would be several chapters and it would take up too much of the magazine.

Whether you want to spoil yourself and splurge on some beauty treats this Valentine’s Day, or whether you’re the type that prefers a bargain, fret not; my tried-and-tested checklist caters for all tastes and budgets.


When it comes to hair, whether you prefer a tidy up-do, or flowing luscious locks, go heavy on the lustre. More really is more. Thankfully, one doesn’t have to be naturally blessed with Pantene advert glossy locks when there are a range of sprays to help you cheat at shine. Spray this all over your hair once styled for some last minute wow factor.

Splurge: Ouai Shine and Body Spray – £25. This is more than a hair spray as it can be used on the body too. Not only does this spray

 add shine but it actually smells divine. I can sometimes smell this on myself more than my actual perfume.

Bargain: Deliplus Spray Brillo Diamante – €2. The serious shine delivered by this super market brand is unreal and looks anything but budget.


Is any look complete without perfume? The answer is a resounding no. Perfume is more than just a finishing touch. I apply it twice, whilst I’m getting ready and again before I walk out the door. I actually always keep a bottle in the hallway for easy reach when dashing out.

Splurge: Tom Ford – Lost Cherry 50ml – £220.

A playful and unique scent with top notes of black cherry, rose and jasmine. This luxurious scent calls for nighttime outings and dressing up.

Bargain: Zara Red Vanilla and Black Amber 100ml – £12.99.

With notes of blackcurrant, tangerine and passion fruit these Zara scents do not not only smell amazing but they also represent incredible value. An added bonus is the price means you don’t won’t feel guilty about picking up a bottle on an absolute whim at the Zara till.

A seductive red lip, the most timeless of beauty weapons.


Nothing quite screams date night like a seductive red lip, the most timeless of beauty weapons. It has the power to transform a look entirely. However, the search for the perfect red lipstick can be complicated and fraught with unflattering shades. Always try before you buy, this is one to avoid buying online unless you are repurchasing a shade you’ve used before.

Splurge: Chanel Rouge Allure – £35. Pictured: Rouge Majestueux

When it comes to a classic red lip few can rival Chanel with its opulent packaging and variety of red tones. The fashion house has perfected the red lip and their Rouge Allure Limited Edition collection offers a range of six classic red shades to compliment every complexion. Which will you choose?

Bargain: Revlon SuperLustrous Matte Lipstick – £7.99.

This classic shade by Revlon is unashamedly named ‘Red Rules the World’, and we couldn’t agree more!


A spritz or three of setting spray is not to be skipped; it’s a necessary step to ensure that your makeup stays in place all night long.

Splurge: Urban Decay 118ml – £24.

The tried and tested heavyweight of all setting sprays and well worth the price as a bottle will last months.

Bargain: NYX Matte Finish Setting spray 60ml – £7.

A worthy contender to the Urban Decay setting spray and a fraction of the price too.