How a drag queen removes her make-up, by La Voix
The party season is nearly upon us, so we turned to the queen of the night – La Voix – for the ultimate tip-sheet in make-up removal
Culture Whisper: 'When the fabulousness comes to an end, how do you remove all the glam and glitter?'
La Voix: 'I take my make-up off with a secret theatrical trick: a German product called Abschminke by Kryolan. Used as far back as the golden age of Hollywood, this greasy, thick product cuts through the make-up and cleanses fast, being super-thorough and extremely gentle on the skin.
'Not to disgust you, dear readers, it looks like lard – but a little goes a long way. When massaged into the skin, it transforms into a light oil, removing everything from the most determined waterproof mascara, the toughest lip stain, or the most stubborn glittery eyeshadow. Then using a cloth or flannel wipe off. Your skin is clean, hydrated and not irritated at all.
'Sometimes I avoid Abschminke on my eyes, so I use Gently Off Eye and Lip Makeup Remover by MAC. This is soothing and thorough when it comes to removing dramatic eye make-up and mascara. Removal with the right products is fast. But the key is not to rush or be rough. I sometimes take longer to make sure my face is massaged clean and relaxed, rather than red raw and sore.
'I recommend taking a steamy shower after removing a heavy face. I adore using a foaming cleanser like Aesop or Laura Mercier face polish for silky-soft results.
'I do also love to treat my skin afterwards with Harley Street Skin Care Anti-Ageing Serum (well, we all need a bit of professional help), finished with Temple Spa Repose resting cream, a beautiful aromatherapy cream with natural plant extracts. Both are such a treat after a hard day's glamour.'
CW: 'Do you ever sleep in your make-up?'
LV: 'Never… who does that?! If you do – don't!
'Firstly, your face needs to repair and breathe overnight and secondly, you'll scare the hell out of yourself looking in the mirror in the morning; an ultimate no-no. And think of the pillowcases, darling!'
CW: 'How do you keep your skin in tip-top shape for all the fabulous make-up?'
LV: 'It comes down to good prep and cleaning. I always use a moisturiser with an SPF. Harley Street does a great collection of skincare, which I adore. I also say a primer is vital; my go-to is Laura Mercier oil-free primer, which sets the canvas for a flawless face. If the skin isn't hydrated, it craves moisture. It doesn't know the difference between a moisturiser and foundation and will soak up any product you put on. Therefore, a good prep with a nourishing moisturiser and primer means your foundation won't end up being absorbed into your skin, reducing toxins and breakouts and ensuring your skin glows instead of looking dull.'
CW: 'Any skincare pros you turn to?'
LV: 'I live in spas! Facials, massages and experts are a necessity, not a luxury. The Champneys Spa Gold Facial is one of my favourites. A 24-carat gold face pack is used to give the ultimate glowing skin, now that's luxury.
'I also adore the professional facials by Lesley and Dr Khan at the Harley Street Skin Clinic. I also thoroughly recommend the Harley Street Skin Clinic in terms of tackling personal skin issues and preventing damage through their expert attention. I also like a session of microdermabrasion for an instant refresh.'
CW: 'Any beauty tips from your famous friends?'
LV: 'When travelling and working with Pamela Anderson, I learned that hydration is key. Eyes, lips and face only look fabulous when plump, hydrated and clean. Products such as Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream used lightly as a full facial moisture was a saviour on long-haul flights. And a good oil-based cream such as Vaseline as an under-eye cream after heavy nights reduces any irritation from lash glue, eyeliners or air-conditioned hotel rooms. Grace Jones taught me to keep make-up in the mini-bar fridge, especially in hot countries.
'A lot of people use makeup artists, but when you are on restricted budgets – as Meghan Markle said to me – I believe no one can do your make-up better than yourself.'
LV: 'Good products do work! I know a lot of people think they are trying to be sold things in shops by the sales assistants, but they do know their stuff. They do it daily so it's well worth having a chat and do try out any samples they might give you. Plus, use a quality, scrupulously clean flannel – and take your time!'
Kryolan Abschminke Cleanser, from £5
Temple Spa Repose Aromatherapy Resting Cream, £40
MAC Gently Off at Lookfantastic, £16.50
Harley Street Skin Care 24/7 Firming Serum, £30
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, £28