Interview with Beauty’s insider Kathleen Baird-Murray

Kathleen Baird-Murray is the author of How to be Beautiful, a Beauty Guide for the Intelligent Woman, and of Face Value, a novel exploring the world of cosmetic surgery. She is a regular contributor to the Sunday Times Style magazine and has been the beauty editor-in-chief for Tatler magazine. She lives in Notting Hill with her French husband and their two children.

Is it worth investing in a very expensive face cream?

Ah! This is the million dollar question. Yes, it is worth investing in whatever makes your skin look better and quality comes at a price. But there’s no rule that says that has to be a high one. Soap & Glory, sold in Boots, is super cheap but the products, developed by the former facialist who founded Bliss spas Marcia Kilgore, are amazing. I’m also a big fan of some expensive ranges, like M-Lab which I’ve had great results with. If money is tight, spend it on a cleanser or exfoliator rather than a face cream. No matter how good the cream, if you’re not cleansing properly and exfoliating regularly, it is not going to work. Eve Lom’s classic cleanser also acts as an exfoliator and will leave your skin looking fresh and vibrant.

What is the most important skincare routine?

It is the one that suits you. As you age you really should throw all ideas about routines out of the window because your skin has different needs at different times of the month and year. But the one thing you should stick to religiously is cleansing, which needs to be done every day, if not twice a day. Only apply moisturiser and eye creams as needed. We have a tendency to over-moisturise but that can lead to clogged pores. Don’t feel that just because you hit a certain age you have to use an eye cream: I’m 41 and I’ve only just started using one, and even then I only use it a couple of times a week. The rest of the time I just make do with what I call “moisturiser overlap”.

What are your favourite…?

  • Face cream:  M-Lab Anti-Ageing Treatment Cream.
  • Body cream: Santa Maria Novella Body Milk, because it smells delicately of gardenia and sinks straight into the skin (the packaging and the shop itself are also a treat)
  • Hair products: Paul Labrecque Daily Moisturising Hair Wash and Moisture Mud Instant Repair. This is the only brand that has seriously tested my loyalty to Kérastase.
  • Face Wash:  Sarah Chapman Skinesis Cleanser, which is slightly waxy, granular and fabulous when used with a cloth.
  • Make up product: Nars Blusher in Malibu, which is  a great rosy-pink blush that you can also use on your lips and which I’ve been using for years. MyFace foundation has a brilliant texture and is cheap as chips!

What is the best beauty trick you ever received?

Dry brush your skin before a shower in upward strokes.  Better than any anti-cellulite cream.


Read Kathleen’s blog:


Kathleen’s Address Book:

Best facial cleanser:

  • Luxury: Eve Lom because her knowledge and experience is really exceptional.  It’s a really unique experience. 2 Spanish Place, W1 (Marylebone)
  • Credit crunch: Dermalogica for the quality of its training and the products. 8 Lancer Square, W8 (High St Kensington)

The best spa:

  • Luxury: Spa NK created by Nicky Kinnaird, creator of the Space NK chain and pioneer of the concept of “niche” beauty makes. 127 – 131 Westbourne Grove, W2 (Bayswater, Notting Hill Gate). Other branches in Knightsbridge, Soho, Bloomsbury.
  • Credit crunch: The Porchester Spa, for its Turkish baths and art deco historical building. The Porchester Centre, Queensway W2 (Queensway, Bayswater)

Best shop for beauty products

  • Luxury: The Organic Pharmacy, a fabulous place to find good natural products. 396 Kings Road, SW10 (Fulham Broadway). Other branches in Kensington, Covent Garden and Soho.
  • Credit crunch: Superdrug, the best chain for inexpensive cosmetic products and it’s a paradise for the youngsters. Main branches on the Strand, WC2, Charing Cross Road, WC2 and Victoria tube station, SW1.

Best place to buy make-up

  • Luxury: Screen Face, a favourite with professional make-up artists and stocks true treasures. 48 Monmouth Street, London WC2 (Covent Garden); 20-24 Powis Terrace, W11 (Notting Hill Gate).
  • Credit crunch: Boots, in particular for the Ruby & Millie brand which has fantastic colours and textures and also MyFace created by the make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury. 100 branches in London in all areas.

Best hairdresser and colourist

  • Luxury: Joel Gonzalez for cuts and Nicola Clark (whose clients include Kate Winslett, Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna) for colour, both at John Frieda.  4 Aldford Street, W1 (Green Park); 75 New Cavendish Street, W1 (Regent’s Park).
  • Credit crunch: there is no low budget option!
Kathleen Baird-Murray’s books (available on Amazon)

Kathleen Baird-Murray’s books (available on Amazon)