Back on our screens with The X Factor and on the beauty radar thanks to the launch of her new night-time scent, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini talks notes, noir and nail colours with HELLO! beauty editor Nadine Baggott.
Anyone who has ever spent time with Cheryl Fernandez-Versini is likely to have many adjectives with which to describe her – funny, self-effacing, strong-willed, wary (sometimes), relaxed and charming. But dark and mysterious? It's a suggestion that makes Cheryl herself laugh out loud. However the creation of her new ‘date night' scent StormFlower Noir sees Cheryl embracing her sexier side – and she admits she is loving the results.
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Cheryl Fernandez-Versini spoke to HELLO! beauty editor Nadine Baggott
Dark, sensual and sexy, your second scent is very different to its sister fragrance StormFlower. What made you choose to go in that direction?
"It is different, isn't it? Originally, I thought I wouldn't like certain notes in it – as I am a very flowery, fresh orange blossom person. But then the perfumer started to create it and I love it now. It's what I call a ‘date night scent', a daytime-to-evening, going-out fragrance."
So what are the notes that changed your mind?
"It's a floriental, which is a mix of a floral and an Oriental scent. I have really unique notes in there, like rhubarb, brown sugar and rose, and orange flower – notes I hadn't even thought of before. I went to Paris to meet the perfumer and had a really interesting time recreating smells I love. StormFlower is so fresh and clean, but I wanted to take a risk with this one and make it more punchy, to last throughout the evening and night."
If this scent were a film, book or meal, what would it be like?
"I'd describe it as a passionate, sensual, romantic film, a distinctive, powerful book, or a delicious dessert full of sugar and spices."
What are your favourite floral fragrance notes?
"Rose petals and orange blossom; I always like that fresh, floral, citrusy orange blossom scent. It has such a pretty, long-lasting smell."
Cheryl has launched her new fragrance, StormFlower Noir
The new bottle is dark and sexy, too. Was that the plan all along?
"Yes, it is the original shape but opaque matt black for Noir, and the lid is gold. It's striking and stunning, you can even use the bottles as ornaments on your dressing table; I'm really proud of it. And the photoshoot we did to go with it is all moody and in sepia. I'm wearing a gold, shimmery top. It's me looking off into the distance, remembering memories that this perfume brings back."
A new scent and a new hair cut? You've spoken before about being desperate to go short – so why now? And what inspired you?
"I was having too many days when I woke up thinking, ‘I cannot have these knots in my hair any more [from her extensions]'. And having to deal with all of this hair. I'd had enough. It was the beginning of the summer and it was really spontaneous. It was just before I was due to go live on a TV show, so if it had gone wrong it would have been hideous; what was I thinking?"
Well, you are definitely your own person; no one tells Cheryl what to do…
"You're right. I know. I sat in the chair and said to my hairdresser, ‘Just cut it all off, up to here,' which meant above my shoulders. But you know hairdressers, he had to go that bit further and take it shorter. So we ended up with the bob. But I'm glad I did it; my hair needed a good cut and now it's the perfect length."
And can you now do your own hair?
"The myth is that short hair is easier to look after; it isn't. You'd think I would have remembered that from ten years ago, but no. It takes less time to dry, but it takes a lot of effort because you have to style it. You can't just put it in a top knot or in a ponytail and have it look cool. So I've actually shot myself in the foot when it comes to being low maintenance."
How do you look after it and style it then?
"I've just got back from Bali, and the sun and sea damaged my hair, so I'm using lots of deep conditioners from Kérastase to repair it. I've also discovered that I don't really like to weigh it down with styling products so I tend to have it rough dried and tonged with my jumbo tongs, to give a wave with the ends left out rather than a full curl. If it goes too curly I like to let it drop, then I just use my favourite Elnett. But, can I be honest with you, I still can't do it myself."
How was Bali? It looked amazing in your Instagram pictures.
"It was so beautiful. I love nature and flowers, the sea and peace and quiet, so it was perfect. I didn't read any books or newspapers. I just relaxed, listened to music, watched mindless TV and listened to the sea. I needed that time to switch my brain off."
The star opened up about her hair and beauty regime for The X Factor
Now that you are back, what is your post-summer skincare regime?
"To be honest, my skin has not been great as I think the constant high SPF blocked it up. I felt like I needed a good facial so I went to the friend who has looked after my skin for ages and she gave me a good scrub, a mask that rolls off when it dries to peel my skin and then a really, really hydrating cream. I'm asleep within ten minutes of being on her couch."
What is your everyday skincare routine like?
"I really hate using loads of products; I think it over-complicates things and my skin doesn't react well to it. So I try to keep it really simple."
Do you have a favourite make-up look at the moment, particularly on set at The X Factor?
"It depends, I've never been one to be really quirky or outlandish. But I will wear a more feminine make-up if I'm wearing masculine clothes – and the reverse. The clothes come first, then I decide how to do my hair and make-up."
Any particular products you love right now?
"Decléor Night Balm; it's an oily balm that you sleep in. My favourite is the one with the mandarin smell. It's perfect for on planes. I still love my Telescopic Mascara and my L'Oréal Paris Face Wash, which is being discontinued – they say it's just been repackaged and is the same formulation, but I don't believe them. [Laughs]."
And for your body?
"Biotherm, but the products are so hard to get hold of right now. I love the really rich night time body cream. I apply it before I go to bed and sleep in it. You can't wear it during the day, but you wake up with really soft skin. They are being discontinued in the UK – can't you have a word, Nadine, because I love them."
Cheryl revealed why she decided to get her hair cut into a bob
What are your favourite nail colours at the moment?
"Black for autumn and winter, but on holiday an orangey red. I don't wear limes and yellows or greens; I love the classics as they suit my skin tone better. I'm the same with lipsticks and eyeshadows – they have to suit my skin tone."
You are super busy at the moment – what's the secret to your endless energy?
"Coffee… Not really. I do drink lots of water and I try to eat healthily. I always have a bottle of water with me. I sip it throughout the day and as soon as I finish one bottle, I open the next. I try to drink two litres of water a day. I have to have energy to keep up with my schedule."
What about working out?
"I still love Tracey Anderson but I need to get back to it as I have been away this summer and now I'm so busy filming. I grow muscle mass so fast that I have to stick with Tracey's workouts as they make me firm but lean. If I start doing squats or lift weights I can get bulky; it's from being a ballerina for years as a child."
What was the last song you danced to?
"Little Mix's Black Magic. I can't get it out of my head and it's starting to drive me a bit mad. I'm singing the same lines in the shower every day and even my family are beginning to tell me to shut up."
And the last film you really enjoyed?
"I watched the Iris Apfel documentary on the plane back from Bali and loved it. She is such an inspiration – fascinating and non-judgemental, she's into style and individuality, but never bad mouths anyone with different style to her."
Are you enjoying working with the groups on The X Factor this year?
"I am. But to tell you the truth, I would have been happy with any of the categories. Ideally, I wanted the girls or the groups, or the over-25s. You can dress them up and have fun. But the boys, you just put them in shirts and trousers. I need more fun and excitement in my life than that."
Cheryl's little Xtras
• SkinCeuticals Ultra Facial Defense SPF50, £35, for stockists visit skinceuticals.co.uk
• ghd Curve Soft Curl Tong, £120, visit ghdhair.com
• L'Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray, £3.89, from Boots
• Stormflower Noir by Cheryl, £39.95, visit cherylfragrances.com
• L'Oréal Paris Telescopic Mascara, £10.99, from Boots
• Kérastase Masque Age Recharge, £28.50, visit kerastase.co.uk
• Kérastase Masque Chroma Riche, £28.50
• Decléor Aromessence Mandarine Smoothing Night Balm, £33.50, visit decleor.co.uk
• OPI Nail Lacquer in Lady in Black, £12.50, visit opiuk.com