Belfast Telegraph

Do men prefer their partners with or without make-up?

By Kerry McKittrick

We asked make-up artist Lorna McSloy to give four women a beauty makeover, then asked their partners what they made of the results.

Gwen Stefani's latest revelation has provoked a collective inhalation of horror from women everywhere. She has not confessed to a crime in her distant past or some deep, dark secret. No, she has admitted in a recent interview that her husband prefers her with her make-up on.

Although this nation is very fond of trowelling on the slap, our other halves aren't supposed to notice, or at the very least, care. They're supposed to see past our outer masks and only pay attention to the goddess within.

Truth be told though, Gavin Rossdale, Gwen's husband, isn't alone. A recent survey by beauty website Escentual.com revealed a whopping 73% of men would prefer it if their partner wore make-up at all times.

We put four local women who don't wear much make-up — and their partners — to the test and treated them to a makeover in the Fitzwilliam Hotel, Belfast.

Catherine and Gordon

Catherine Young (26) is a hairdresser from Ballymoney and mother to Arianna (3). Her boyfriend is Gavin Dickey (27), a car dealer. She says:

I never wear make-up unless I'm going to a function – I just don't like the way it feels on my face. I also think to do it properly takes far too much time and I'm a working mum. I used to have blonde hair and sometimes I would go all out with a Marilyn Monroe-type look but I don't bother most of the time. I love what Lorna's done with my face today though — it looks great and it doesn't feel too heavy at all. I like that Lorna's gone for quite a natural look instead of a dramatic look that I would otherwise have chosen.”

Gordon says:

I really notice when girls wear make-up but only when it looks bad and they have tangerine faces. Catherine looks great when she wears lots of it but she does look totally different. I like the make-up that Lorna has put on her today. She hasn't changed the look of Catherine's face, she's just enhanced her natural beauty. I think in the future I would like her to go for a look like this instead of one of the heavier looks she normally goes for.

Lorna says:

I gave Catherine a softer look and added a sheen to her skin to highlight her terrific cheekbones. I also softened her lip colour — she would normally wear quite a dark shade, but I made it lighter.

Ma rtina and Pat

Martina Grant (45) is a personal trainer. She lives in Carryduff with her husband Pat, a businessman, and their children Stephanie (20), Caoilin, (17), Olivia (11), Ciona (9) and PJ (8). She says:

I do want to look nice but given my job I just can't wear make up. I would need lots of waterproof stuff as it would be sweated off my face whenever I work out with clients. The most I would put on for a working day is a bit of powder but that goes almost immediately.

I like to wear make up when I go out but as a working mum of five I don't go out very often. The make-up I use has been the same for years though.

I wear the same foundation, do my eyes the same way, put blusher on the same way and so on. The products I use are quite high end like Clarins or Dior.

You need to buy decent make-up to get decent coverage once you get past a certain age.

Getting my make-up done is not something I would normally do. I was thinking about it and the last time I had it done was probably on my wedding day which was well over 20 years ago.

I've loved getting it done today — Lorna has shown me a different way to do my eyes so I can do things differently in the future.”

Pat says:

Of course I notice when girls wear make-up. I see the young ones go out to train and wear lots of make-up and for the life of me I don't understand why because it will all come of. I don't like too much make-up. Martina doesn't wear too much but there have been times when one of our girls has come downstairs with too much — they get sent back to take it off.

It's nice when Martina wears make-up for a special occasion as long as it's nice and natural. Today she's wearing nice earthy tones and her eyes look lovely.”

Lorna says:

I'm using La Prairie tinted moisturiser on Martina to give her a nice glow which always gives the face a lift. It’s the same with blusher. I'm not using too much just a bit of highlighter around the eyes. She has sensitive skin so I don't want to put much on. I'm going to emphasise her eyes.

Bridget and Martin

Bridget McElwee (42) is psychic medium. She lives is Strabane with her autistic sons, Gerrard (14) and Dean (12). Her partner Martin Mohan (48) works in the construction industry. She says:

I don't wear make-up these days, my life is far too hectic and I just don’t have the time for it.

I doubt I have even so much as an eyeliner pencil in the house.

To be honest even if I did have the time to put it on I wouldn't know how to apply it properly anyway.

I do like to do my nails though, I've Martin trained to sit there while I do them. It's my little treat.

Otherwise I like accessories so I would rather pay attention to a new handbag or a pair of earrings or something like that.

I used to wear make-up before my two boys were born. In those days I used to use Yves Saint Laurent or other high-end make-up brands but these days I just buy whatever cheap nail stuff I can find on the shelves in the local chemist shop.

Martin says:

When I first met Bridget I told her she could wear more make-up but now it doesn't bother me if she wears it or not.

I've known her for years — long before we started going out. I think the make-up she has on today is great, she looks like the new chick on the block. It would be nice to see her wearing things like that when she's going out.

Lorna says:

I'm using minimal make-up on Bridget because I want her base in particular to look as natural as possible.

I'm using just a little brush of colour on her lips and multi-tonal eyes to give her a boho sort of look to match her personality.

Katie and Conor

Katie Cochrane (21) lives in Lisburn and is a first year medical student at Queen's. Her boyfriend Conor Aldworth (21) lives in Belfast and is also a first year medical student at Queen's. Katie says:

Some days I might put on a bit of mascara or concealer but most of the time I only really wear make-up when I'm going for a big night out — I like to look natural. My lifestyle is quite an active one anyway so wearing lots of make-up wouldn't suit that.

When I do wear make-up I tend to go for quite high end products like Estee Lauder foundation or a Benefit mascara. I wear so little that whatever I buy lasts me forever so I don't mind going for high end brands.

Conor says:

I notice bad make up on girls — when you see a girl with really pale skin but her face is bright orange you notice that just because it looks so bad. When Katie wears make-up I don't really notice it most of the time. During the day or when it's just the two of us she doesn't wear very much and I think that's when she looks the best — when we're doing something by ourselves. If there's a big crowd of us going out on the town then she can go all out and I don't really like it. The make-up is too heavy and she doesn't really look like herself.

I like Katie's make-up today. She still looks natural but dressy at the same time because of the glitter eyes. Everyone looks better when they wear a little make-up. That's as much as I would like her to wear though.

Lorna says:

Katie has very even, tanned skin without flaws so she doesn't need a lot of coverage. I've just used Chanel bronzer on her face for a bit of a glow but she doesn't need very much. For her eyes I've used a Chanel cream eye shadow in gold. It's very sparkly but I think if it's applied subtly then it really works during the day.

....make-up artist behind looks

Lorna McSloy (42) from Ballygowan is a make-up artist with more than 15 years experience in fashion, TV and film make-up. She has worked on advertising campaigns for companies such as Argento jewellery and Tatler magazine. She has also worked with stars such as Heather Graham and Denise Van Outen. She says:

Make-up will always depend on the individual — everyone has their own comfort zone.

These days most people go for light make up on a day-to-day basis and then a lot more when they're going out.

Make-up these days can be so sheer you really don't need to wear a lot of it.

Personally, I'm totally comfortable not wearing make-up and my husband has no objections to me wearing it. He has remarked though in the past that he likes to see me wearing red lipstick.

Red lippy is one of those products that instantly lifts all of the features on your face — there is the perfect red out there for everyone.

Overall these days people don't necessarily take great care with their appearance and young people don't feel that they need to. I can see a bit of sea-change coming though. Women are become more self-aware and they're paying more attention to how they apply their make-up as well as the products they use.

To contact Lorna, email makeup@lornamcsloy.com or tel: 07917 192944

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