Being a great model takes preparation. It isn’t all about sitting looking pretty for a few hours! Research, planning and practice aside, good grooming is where it’s at. Without a well maintained base canvas it’s very difficult to paint a pretty picture. I’m good with these analogies! 😀
Prepping your body to be the best shape for a photoshoot is something I can’t stress more about. If we don’t keep fit and eat relatively healthily then our skin and wellbeing isn’t the best we can be, and making the most beautiful body you can be has to be every model’s priority.
I was thinking about what rituals and grooming processes I always believe in and go through as I prepare for a shoot. Some are everyday mantras while others are the little touches that top the icing on the cake. Here are a few of what I consider to be the most important.
Conditioning your skin is probably of the biggest importance since your skin is the largest organ of your body. I like to use a natural bristle brush and ‘dry brush’ my skin, at least once a day before a shower. Starting from my legs I sweep the brush up in the direction toward my heart then brush my bottom, arms and then my belly. It’s a great way to get the circulation going and it also buffs dead skin away which is great for avoiding in growing hairs. I have found this to be the best way to exfoliate.
I have literally tried it all! Shaving was where it all began but since it’s effect doesn’t last very long I was soon looking for a long lasting method to remove my body hair. For many years I used to use epilators. They are basically home use machines that look like shavers, but operate like a series of little tweezers, pulling out hairs by the root. I long overcame the pain but ingrown hairs plagued me, despite regular exfoliation. I tried salon electrolysis but the process was too long and tedious – and the burning sensation was too much to put up with! I’ve now settled with waxing and my skin has vastly improved. Razors still work out cheaper but the effects of waxing is far superior. I recommend not to scrimp and save on cheaper brands as I find them ineffective, unlike the leading brand that works every time.
The secret is to find what’s right for you; your pain threshold and your pocket. Trial and error never hurt anyone (hang on…?!) but it’s the only way to decide what method you’re most comfortable with.
My hair is officially super thick and strong. I know, Saks told me 🙂 It’s also naturally wavy and turns frizzy at the hint of moisture. Using a shampoo that suits your hair type and condition is a must, as is using a conditioner every time. I would never bypass conditioner. I rarely use a hairdryer because I find it too harsh and overdrying so I prefer to tie it up in a bun and leave it to dry naturally. The next day if it’s still damp I’ll quickly blast the dryer so it’s not frazzled. I also like to straighten my hair sometimes so I’ll religiously use a serum to protect my hair and create a barrier. Recently I discovered a product called Argan Oil and I’m converted! It’s derived from a Mediterranean nut and adds moisture where my hair needs it. I apply it when it’s only towel dried so my wet hair absorbs the oil more readily. Some people may find it weighs their hair down, especially if you have fine hair that’s maybe prone to become greasy quickly, but with big and wild hair like mine, it only does wonders and tames my mane.
I have never been one for long nails, never have and most likely never will be (unless you want to stick some fakes on me.) I love cute short nails as they make me feel neatly presentable. I like to use little clippers to trim my nails and I’ll smooth the tips with a file. A good all rounder nail buffer is a favourite essential of mine because I can quickly move from filing to buffing. A nail oil or good hand moisturiser helps with sliding cuticles back using an orange stick. Nail polish can be drying so I try not to paint my nails unless I have a shoot on. Keeping my nails fresh and bare means they can breathe and condition naturally. Recently I stopped using acetate polish remover in favour of those small pots of polish remover wipes. They not only more efficiently remove polish and are healthier for the nail but they smell divine!
And finally… Eyebrows
Poorly maintained and overplucked eyebrows have to be my biggest bugbear – and also the most facial shape changing part of your face. Okay my eyebrows are not perfect (something a little black eyeliner won’t temporarily fix!) but I’ve decided that what works best for me at least, is the more natural look. Looking natural doesn’t mean leaving your brows to grow the size of shrubbery but it does mean trying to keep to your most natural shape. Using good tweezers – my favourites including Tweezerman and Ruby and Millie – I pluck away stray hairs that don’t follow the shape of my brow. I’ll tidy them up by plucking in between my brows (no mono-brow wanted here) and around the far ends but I try to stay away from above; removing hairs here can make a brow look wonky and may not sit properly above your eye socket. A good brow will emphasise your eyes and compliment your facial structure.
When I’m all washed, buffed, smooth and manicured, I’m confident in being myself which means I’m smiley, chatty and lively, and when I’m looking my best and feeling my best I know images from any shoot I do will look the best!