Makeup in the Valley of the Damned

ruth crilly makeup

To say that I haven’t been getting out much is a bit of an understatement. I feel as though I’ve been locked in my office for months, though it’s really only a matter of weeks if I count it up properly. Still, I’ve been doing the intense sort of work that means you miss lunch, dinner and bedtime and suddenly look up from the computer screen to find that it’s nearly morning again. I’ve been forgetting to go to the toilet and I’ve been losing all feeling in my legs from sitting in one position for so long.

So I’ve not really left the confines of the top floor other than to watch the odd episode of The Good Fight on Amazon Prime with Mr AMR (I love it, it’s better than The Good Wife I think) and pop to Sainsbury’s to stock up on healthy things that I then completely forget to eat. (Fridge is probably full of slimy salad leaves and fish that’s past its best and aubergines that have turned into purple, leathery sacks of mush.) Wearing makeup hasn’t been at all necessary.

Although: I should point out that I did scare the absolute bejeezus out of a man at the petrol station. I think he thought I was some kind of demon that had crawled up from the underworld. My hair was long and tangled, the circles beneath my eyes were almost jet black, as though I’d drawn them on with kohl and smudged them out with a cotton bud. My skin had the pallid waxiness of a nineteenth century invalid, my lips looked cracked and parched, my eyebrow hairs were pointing in every possible direction. To top it all off, I was wearing a huge old cardigan that looked like a cape.

The old man turned around from the cash tills where he’d been paying his bill and was confronted with this shocking, bedraggled specimen that looked as though it had been winched up from the bottom of a disused well. He visibly jumped out of his skin and turned back to the cashier with a look that said

“call the exorcist Barbara, for the love of God, before it starts projectile vomiting on us!”

Nobody called the exorcist but all was quite silent in the shop as I paid for my petrol and singular cereal bar. I could see the cashier trying not to make eye contact as she told me to enter my card pin. Do you need a VAT receipt Madam or do you not do tax returns in the valley of the damned?

Anyway, all of this did make me think that maybe I should take a bit more care with my appearance, so I whacked a few drops of gradual tanner into my moisturiser the next day (the Tan Luxe one, though I’m not convinced it’s better than Hylamide Glow which is still my favourite face tanner of all time) and then put on some maquillage.

ruth crilly

I kept it simple to ease myself back in and went for creamy, plumptious textures to make my knackered skin feel fresh and youthful. I used tinted moisturiser rather than a full foundation, some creamy bronzer and blush, a bit of a sheen on the lids and a lick of brown mascara. It wasn’t one of those dramatic before-and-after deals where I barely recognised myself in the mirror, though I’m sure it would have been dramatic had I gone back to the petrol station in my cape cardy and surprised the old man again.

“Praise be, Barbara, the demons have been purged!”

I rather like layering up lots of cream makeup formulas. It gives a very natural finish, miles away from the flawless, polished perfection that you might get from a full coverage foundation with powder cheek colour set over the top. Yes, maybe it shifts a little throughout the day whereas a powdered full base wouldn’t, but I don’t mind that too much because it’s all so subtle anyway. It all just feels flexible and… accommodating.

ruth crilly

In a departure from the norm, my little makeup video is up on Instagram IGTV rather than Youtube. You can watch it here, though I’m not sure what happens if you’re not on Instagram, like my Mum and many of my friends. Wise people, it’s a bloody black hole of wasted time, I tell you. I automatically click on Instagram whenever I open my iPhone – sometimes I go to do something totally different, like use the calculator or check the weather forecast, and I find myself reading comments on a controversial post about seal pups written by a bearded man who lives in Alaska. Then I click to see what his wife looks like and whether they have children – oh the daughter is so cute! I wonder what she looked like as a newborn? Ew, not so cute. But she was born in the same hospital as my cousin’s friend’s baby so that’s good. Does the hospital have an Instagram account? More to the point, does my cousin’s friend? How’s that baby shaping up?

Five hours later.

If you don’t (or can’t) watch the IGTV then I’ve listed the products below with links to find them online.

code8 radiate review

I’ll be doing a separate review of the Code8 BB cream because it’s a lovely face base – surprisingly good coverage but a nice juicy finish – and if you want more words on the Chanel cream bronzer then you can read a very old (but still accurate) review on it here.

Products Used in my IGTV video:

Code8 Beauty Radiate BB Cream in shade W20

Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel*

Trinny London Blush in Electra*

Loreal Glow Mon Amour in Loving Peach

Armani Power Fabric Concealer in Shade 2*

Trinny London Virtue Shadow*

Charlotte Tilbury Cream Shadow in Bette, I think! Loads of the cream shadows from CT are quite similar but they are all absolutely beautiful, I would advise trying to swatch instore*.

L’Oreal Telescopic Mascara*

Clarins 4D Mascara Brown*

BUT BETTER IMO, Clarins Supra Mascara in Brown*

Glossier Boy Brow in Blond*

Charlotte Tilbury lip Liner in Hot Gossip*

Lancome L’Absolue Mademoiselle Shine in Mademoiselle Plays*

DISCLOSURE POLICY. Posts published after 24th January 2019: if the post contains gifted items or affiliate links then it is indicated clearly beneath the title. Posts published prior to this will have a disclosure within the body of the post and then an asterisk * marking all affiliate links. If the content is a paid-for AD then it is marked as an AD in the title. For more information on disclosure please read here. 



  1. M
    September 9, 2019 / 7:56 am

    how do you like the power fabric concealer?

    I agree, the good fight definitely is better than the good wife; such a shame, they gave a substandard plot to the brilliant Julianna Margulies.

  2. Lauren
    August 11, 2019 / 3:15 pm

    You’re a very talented writer! Hilarious and unexpected.

    May I ask – I notice that you are very clear about sponsored content, press samples and disclosures (which I appreciate very much because I think it enhances your credibility). Other blogs are not as clear and never list gifted items, although I assume they are. Is this a personal preference of yours, or are rules in the UK very strict? I am sincerely curious, and hope this comes across as a kind question. Been a reader for years and love your blog.

    • August 12, 2019 / 6:34 pm

      The rules are very strict! x
      Some people still just aren’t that bothered, or maybe don’t know the rules.

  3. Julia
    August 11, 2019 / 2:45 pm

    Ruth – hi – would you please comment on / do a video on the appropriate skin prep for wearing an all cream product look? I find cream shadows last well on my eyelids without any primer (plus a quick swipe of a fingertip can easily correct any product creasing that may occur). What I’m not so good at is the face and especially cheek last. I know my skin is dry (late 50s skin. gah.) but I’m using hyaluronic acid, face oil, a Clinique Moisture Surge product – the skin feels like a moist slightly tacky pillow when I apply bb cream + cream blush in the morning but a mere 2 hours later it looks as if every single drop has been absorbed in to my skin. Any ideas???

    I am looking forward to your review of the Code 8. I’ve been interested in that line but haven’t sprung for any yet. I’m not sure the color tones (talking eye palettes) are great for my pink skin undertones. Also not sure the shadows – while lovely – are that different from the other palettes I already own. So interested in any thoughts you have on the line.

    I suspect your intense workload is related to your planned launch of your new app. I’ve been discussing it with women at work and they (we) are all very excited. Keep going! You’ll make it!!

  4. Jackie
    August 11, 2019 / 2:40 pm

    Oh my god priceless! this made my laugh so hard, to the extent that husband shouted up the stairs “what’s the make up lady up to this week?”… he always knows when I’m reading your posts X

    • August 12, 2019 / 6:35 pm

      Hahahahah! The makeup lady! : )

  5. Corrina
    August 11, 2019 / 12:00 pm

    Hi Ruth. An odd comment from me… but have you considered a stand-up desk contraption that you place on your existing desk? I am also at my desk for hours everyday and I love being able to stand for periods of time while still being productive. Then I click the side button, lower the desk surface and sit on my arse again!
    Good luck with your app development and release!

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