Date Make-Up and The Morning After, from Sali Hughes


I hate the term ‘Walk of Shame’ because when I’ve wandered home after a fun night with a man I’ve invariably felt on cloud nine – giddy and satisfied, not shameful and sheepish. Nonetheless, on these occasions I have not looked great. There have been times when, having been invited out for eggs and bacon the following morning, I’ve spent the whole time covering the dry, flaky skin on my chin with my hand, and hastily rubbed off smudged mascara using a fry-up knife as a mirror. An entirely spontaneous shag is hard to plan for (this is why it’s good to end up in your own bathroom), but for a big date that is likely to end well, packing a small survival kit means you can extend to brunch the next morning – or even the following week. Shove it in your bag (another reason why tiny clutches are useless) and you’re sorted.


A small bottle of Micellar lotion

A super-gentle and clear lotion to remove all traces of make-up, including heavy mascara, red lipstick and eyelash glue. Just wipe over your face with cotton wool (loo paper works at a push). It leaves skin soft, not tight, unlike the bar of supermarket soap so many men call skincare. Bioderma, MAC and Avene all do travel-sized Micellars, or you can just decant your favourite into a little bottle before going out.

BB or CC Cream

The one time you’ll see me recommending these multi-purpose moisturisers/foundations/sun protectants. A quick layer over cleansed skin removes the need for several different products and will make skin look clearer and more even. I prefer CCs on my dry skin, but if you’re on the oilier side then a BB may work well. See the Foundation chapter for my favourites.

Mini toothbrush

For God’s sake, brush your teeth. Your partner should have toothpaste for you to use – if s/he doesn’t, looking good is the least of your worries. Call a cab.

Creme blush

This will make you look instantly better. Dot a little on each cheek and dab in a circle, feathering the edges. Smudge a little on your lips too, if you don’t have last night’s lipstick with you (you can tone a nighttime colour right down to a subtle stain by applying it with your finger). Pink suits everyone.


Forget liner and shadow, mascara takes up very little room and is enough to make you feel effortlessly ‘done’. Put on two coats by wiggling the wand back and forth to separate lashes.


I do feel that if you’re on someone else’s watch it’s good manners to make your beauty routine as quick as it can be. No one likes to be kept waiting and it’s suspicious when someone needs hours to look half decent. Be considerate and ask yourself if you really need all three eyeshadow colours and the elaborate contouring, or whether you can cut a few corners for the sake of good manners and easy maintenance.

I adore red lips but they are not compatible with vigorous snogging unless you both want to look like Robert Smith of The Cure. Early dates are more safely spent in nude shades and lipstains. Blot each coat with a tissue before applying the next. Products like Lipcote may seem old-fashioned, but they really do work.

Tubing mascara belongs in your dating arsenal. Unlike a regular mascara, which smudges, a polymer-based tubing mascara can easily withstand a big night out, sex, and falling asleep in your make-up without migrating south to your under eyes and cheeks.

Mineral foundation, though less glowy-looking, is perfect for any situation in which you might sleep in your make-up, either because you’re not carrying any skincare or because you’ve become more pleasantly occupied. It won’t look cakey or make you break out.

The idea of 48-hour deodorant is slightly emetic to me, but this is the one occasion on which it’s handy. Using it before you go out will probably see you through until morning, without having to top up with men’s deodorant, aka the worst smell in the world. If he’s a keeper, get him to switch to women’s Dove.


There’s no denying that some perfumes represent the olfactory equivalent of a see-through blouse. Heady and intense, they smell carnal, inviting and a bit whorish in the best possible sense. They make a great choice for a date with someone who’s on a promise – even if that’s someone you’ve been sharing a bed with for twenty or more years.

Guerlain Shalimar

YSL Opium

Chanel Coco Noir

Frederic Malle Carnal Flower

Chanel Allure

Mary Greenwell Fire

This is an extract from Sali Hughes’ Pretty Honestout now. 

Other Articles

Eleanor Wasserberg introduces The Light at the End of the Day

If I invite you over for dinner with my family, be warned, it tends to go like this: we have wine, and then we start talking about the Holocaust. Read More

Sarah Aspinall introduces Diamonds at the Lost and Found

For readers of Hideous Kinky, Dadland and Bad Blood; the astonishing, beguiling story of Sarah Aspinall’s harum scarum childhood, and a love letter to a woman who defied convention to live a life less ordinary. Read More

Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore

An introduction I have been asked to write a few words about the origins of my debut novel, Valentine. This should be a simple enough task, and one that every writer who is fortunate enough to sell her book should be prepared to complete in a timely fashion. Read More