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ADIES, do you want that fabled; t h e firstwo rd.

Byline: HANNAH JONES

ADIES, do you want that fabled sun-kissed look? The one where you appear to have spent a week in Cannes but didn't peel, have your nose turn red or your freckles threaten to turn into one large patchy globule of off-brown? Some would say that to achieve it you need at least 873 products which promise the earth - like make you look 15 years younger, two decades firmer and a lifetime more interesting.

What you shouldn't do, the beauty experts bleat, is stop wearing make-up all together.

And I know what they mean. I'm speaking as someone who feels far more attractive with more than just a hint of blusher, mascara and enough foundation to cover up the nasty birthmark under my right eye. You can't see it? Friends I've known for years don't when I first point it out, only for them to ask me months later who gave me the shiner - such is the power of a bit of number 01 Fair powder and Barely There coloured concealer.

I think make-up has the ability to transform some people, and, generally speaking, most women who have an idea of how to put it on look all the better for it.

The others need to know something about colour and eyebrow plucking - wearing Ashes to Ashes-style pink or light blue eyeshadow you L bought for a school disco circa 1976 and lathering it on with an industrial sized cotton bud under a pair of thatched roofs isn't a good look. On anyone. Would you want to be mistaken for an eccentric romance novelist? I rest my case.

And be aware of the rules of moderation, as less can sometimes be more. I'll just say the names Eva Longoria Parker and Christina Aguilera and leave it there.

God-given good looks need to be simply enhanced, not obliterated with glitter.

Others take the natural look literally, of course. Think Tilda Swinton at the Oscars last year, who looked like she'd just got out of bed and forgotten to put on eyelashes.

Some appear younger without a pancake base and severe red lips - Victoria Beckham in her more severe moments springs to mind.

But when the Posh one's doing the school run on those rare occasions she forgets her heels and cheek high-lighter, it makes front page news.

How did that happen? How does someone who's not wearing lip gloss make the headlines? I just don't get it - but I always have a nose at the bare faces of the stars and I'm fascinated by the difference some camouflage makes.

For this week's cover story, the Western Mail's beauty editor Charlotte Laing has asked half a dozen well known Welsh faces to do what some women would class as the unthinkable - have their picture taken without their armour on.

We're used to seeing the likes of Lucy Owen, Alex Jones, Mared Swain, Ruth Wignall, Imogen Thomas and Miss Wales, Chloe-Beth Morgan, looking all dolled up and at their best.

Take away their public "face", and what effect did it have on them? And how did they feel about taking on our challenge? You're going to have to turn to page 4 to read their responses and, more importantly for some perhaps, have a gander at what they look like without the trappings.

In the meantime, I'm off to powder my nose....editor: hannah.jones@mediawales.co.uk tel: 029 2024 3767
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 4, 2009
Words:571
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