Gone are the heavy mane and kohl-lined eyes. Kate’s new look is lighter, brighter – and far more flattering, says YOU’s beauty director Edwina Ings-Chambers.
Well, what a difference a new hairdo can make. The latest pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge show her looking glowing, vibrant and younger than she did five years ago.
That long, perfectly curled mane we’re so used to seeing has been retired from service. And phew! In theory, it was bouncy and sleek; in reality, it look forced, laboured, Stepford Wife robotic.
Not that I blame her for having stuck with the same style for so long. After all, it was a safe hair space: not just textbook glamour and respectful to those she was meeting – always pristine, it showed effort had been made – it was also a signature HRH Duchess of Cambridge look, and we know from Her Majesty the power of a tried and tested hairdo. The trouble is, though, it was also pretty dull. (That said, when Kate puts her hair up for an evening occasion she is the stuff of classic Hollywood.)
Well, it’s an all-new Kate before us now. September has been a royal revelation. This easy-breezy, post-summer version feels liberated, happy and youthful. And this new look hasn’t taken much. Just a lightening of hair tone, layers cut in, and the chunky barrel of a curling tong thankfully left unheated. Of course, it’s possible that her hair lightened naturally (at least a bit) after two weeks on the island of Mustique, but we all know it’s far more likely to have had a helping hand. As for those new layers, there aren’t many, but they’ve made a seismic difference. Gone is the long mane that weighed her down – a sort of keratin equivalent to heavy silk floral curtains (probably teamed with long tasselled tiebacks) you’d find in Windsor Castle. Now her hair sways, even sashays. This is fun, not frigid, hair and crucially Kate not only looks younger but more at ease with herself, as if she’s finally hit her stride in terms of who she is and what she wants.
The updated Kate has not just lightened her hair but her make-up, too, finally relieving the heavy kohl and smoky-ish eye of their duties. And her face looks fresher for it. It’s a lesson worth remembering for all of us, especially as we get older: thinking we need to re-emphasise our eyes as they seem to fade and recede, we’ll reach for black but, actually, a softer taupe or similar shade is just as effective and far more flattering. It’s a similar switch to the one Diana, Princess of Wales made. Remember how she used to wear that bright blue eyeliner until make-up artist Mary Greenwell steered her towards prettier beiges and browns?
Make-up artist Lisa Potter-Dixon agrees. ‘Since Kate has lightened her hair, her make-up seems to have followed suit. Her full brow has more of a natural finish, her base seems lighter and fresher, and her signature eyeliner has been replaced by a more modern taupe shadow paired with a glossy nude lip. This is such a wearable look that goes beautifully with Kate’s new autumnal hair.’
How to get Kate’s beauty products
The products Kate uses are a closely guarded secret, but try these to re-create her style
‘To make the eyes look bigger,’ says make-up artist Lisa Potter-Dixon, ‘frame them with a volumising mascara, turning the wand vertically to flick out the outer lashes.’ Try No7 Dramatic Lift mascara, £13.50, boots.com.
Groom brows with a fibre gel. ‘To coat from root to tip, go away from the hair first and then back again,’ says Lisa, who likes Benefit Gimme Brow+, £21.50, benefitcosmetics.com. Then buff a soft taupe shadow over lids. Try Urban Decay Naked2 Basics Eyeshadow Palette, £26, urbandecay.co.uk (it’s rumoured Kate is a fan).
To keep your complexion looking fresh use a warm peach blush, says Lisa, who likes Bare Minerals Bounce & Blur in Coral Cloud, £23, boots.com, or try Clarins Joli Blush in Cheeky Peach, £27, clarins.co.uk.
Lisa suggests wearing a brightening primer under your liquid foundation: she recommends Becca Backlight Priming Filter, £28, cultbeauty.co.uk. I like Stila One Step Correct, £26, stila.co.uk, to even out skin tone and add some glow.
Finish with a nude glossy lip. Lisa likes Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb, £16, boots.com, and I’m a fan of L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Plump and Shine in Guava, £8.99, boots.com, which gives a natural look with a slight shimmer. Kate was seen using the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector, £18.50, clarins.co.uk, at Wimbledon this year.
Protect your hair colour with this paraben- and sulphate-free shampoo, £6, waitrose.com. A gentle cleanser, it leaves hair shiny and manageable, according to Richard Ward, whose Chelsea salon Kate is still believed to frequent.
When Kate’s hairdresser Amanda Cook Tucker Instagrammed her royal tour kit, this non-greasy creme was included. Smoothing flyaways and defining waves, it gives a soft hold that will work especially well with her new easy-breezy look. From £20, kiehls.co.uk.
Also seen in Amanda’s now deleted Instagram post was L’Oréal’s classic Elnett Satin Hairspray – normal strength is the preferred hold. From £2.59, superdrug.com.