Makeup – Essential or a Frivolous Waste of Time?

Why We Shouldn’t Dismiss Makeup as Shallow, Vain or Frivolous.

Some women love makeup and some women are either indifferent to it or loathe having the stuff on their faces. Women wear makeup for a multitude of reasons and if you’re comfortable not wearing it, then that’s great.

Hair and makeup for business headshots guildford surrey
Makeup can have a transformational and uplifting effect.

I’ve always been fascinated by the way it can change or enhance our appearance, helping to disguise dark circles, emphasise eyes or just add a healthy pop of colour to lips and cheeks. However, experimenting with it in the 70’s and 80’s wasn’t always a success for me. Having dark skin, my options were severely restricted as the only available shades of foundation were more suited to the traditional English Rose complexion. Now, thankfully, things have changed.

As a women’s portrait photographer, I always work with a makeup artist who enhances my clients’ features to show them the best version of themselves possible. And this is where makeup can do such a fantastic job; it can have a transformational effect, not just on the outside but on the inside too, by helping us see ourselves in a different light.

A Man’s Viewpoint and Why I Disagree – Strongly!

I recently had a conversation with a man in his early twenties. When I told him about the photography service I offer women, he dismissed it as sounding “all rather shallow.” Here are 4 reasons why I would strongly disagree with him:


For some women, makeup, quite literally, helps them to face the day. For 22 years the cancer support charity, Look Good Feel Better has provided free makeup workshops to women experiencing the visible side-effects of cancer treatment. One of their advertising campaigns is called #Warpaint4life which sums up the role that makeup can have when your self-confidence hits rock-bottom. For these women it’s a big deal, and rightly so; if you’re going through chemo and your hair and eyebrows have fallen out or your skin isn’t looking its best, then something as simple as foundation, lipstick and blusher can help you feel ready to take on the world again.

The Menopause

When women reach the menopause, hormonal changes can have a very significant impact on their skin, from dryness and dullness to vanishing eyebrows and age spots. Look Fabulous Forever is a range of cosmetics specifically formulated for older skins. Founder, Tricia Cusden recognises that older women still love to wear makeup, but that they aren’t being well served by the cosmetics industry, whose products are aimed mainly at younger age groups. And so she’s created a special range to serve these women, and enhance the beauty of older faces.


Many women hate appearing in photographs and are convinced that they aren’t photogenic. However, I can see the transformation in my client when she’s having her hair and makeup done – not only in the way it helps to enhance her natural beauty (of which most women are blissfully unaware!), but in the improvement in her self-confidence.

We’re often so busy working and looking after others, that we haven’t any time left to spend on ourselves; so it can be a relief to hand the responsibility over to the experts and let them take charge. Here’s what one of my clients said after she saw her portraits – “I had such a fabulous time on the day – oxytocin supercharge. You were all so amazing – a pampering day with a difference, having my hair and makeup done beautifully, and dare I say it, I really enjoyed standing in front of the camera. Awesome feelgood factor experience with experts who really know their stuff in making you feel a million dollars, and photos to relive the experience again and again.”

Helping to See us Through the Bad Times

Sali Hughes is the Guardian’s resident beauty columnist and wrote this interesting and thought-provoking piece about how makeup can help us get through life’s ups and downs. As she says, “grooming is a form of self-care that allows us to feel like ourselves when our worlds become unrecognisable.” You can read the full article here.

And here are two ladies who’ve stepped in front of my camera after a pampering hair and makeup session!

Hair and makeup for professional headshots Guildford Surrey
A beautiful smile enhanced by hair and makeup by Sarah Stacey of
Hair and makeup fo professional headshots Guildford Surrey
Radiating confidence – hair and makeup by Sophia Wyatt – Styling by Kirstie Smillie –

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