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Thick, cat-eye frames, bombshell blonde hair and tomato-red lips are the three main ingredients in makeup artist Val Garland's trademark look. Pleasingly striking, but one would expect as much, from one of the globe's most sought-after pros, heralded for her avant-garde Alexander McQueen runway looks and mesmerising editorials.

Aside from her formidable portfolio, Val is a beauty legend on account of her sparkly personality, which shines through in her role as a judge on the BBC's Glow Up, a Bake Off-style competition for budding makeup stars.

Hopefuls looking to score a coveted "Ding Dong!" – the ultimate marker of Val's approval – are subjected to scrutiny, and from time to time, much to the amusement of viewers, her trusty magnifying glass to ensure the utmost precision.

The Beauty Breakdown with Val Garland

Val Garland applying makeup © Val Garland

Her Beauty Philosophy

Val's approach towards her own makeup is spontaneous and fluid, closely determined by how she feels when she wakes up. "It's a case of who you want to be today," she explains. "Sometimes I want to look fresh-faced and not wear much makeup at all, other days, I do the full beat… I'm very comfortable in my own skin so I don't mind going out, you know, without an eye on or without a lip, sometimes I might just play up at one part of my face."

Having grown up in Bristol, she moved to Australia in her late teens where she stayed for 14 years, living out her New Romantic phase before relocating to London in 1994.

"It was very Liquid Sky, and I had a long, Japanese-style fringe. I think it was Biba that used to make fluorescent pink blush that cut just under the cheekbone in a straight line, with blue eyeshadow and red lips, sparkle, sparkle, sparkle!" she recalls. "The sad thing is we didn't take many photos back then… we were getting ready to go out, you had to be a different person every time you went to the club."

Morning Skincare

Val Garland applying skincare© Val Garland

Val begins her morning with a quick cleanse, followed by an AHA & PHA liquid exfoliant, Skin Rocks' The Gentle Acid, brainchild of skincare authority Caroline Hirons, which the makeup artist describes as "fab". For a plumped, dewy effect, she goes in with a hydrating serum, and at the moment, she's head over heels for holistic beauty label Reome's Active Recovery Broth. "I feel like I'm seeing instant results."

She alternates between L'Oreal Paris' Filler Water-Cream and Tatcha's The Dewy Skin Cream, but the hydration is key. "Because I'm a mature woman, I want to get as much plumping action as possible, I like my skin to look dewy. And then for sunblock, it would be Naked Sundays' Hydrating Glow Mist SPF50+."

On days when she is going to be on camera, she cracks out the tools, naming Lumity's Pro Ice Roller, CurrentBody's LED Mask and ReFa's Roller as some of her favourites. "It's a take on Joan Crawford sticking her head in a bowl of ice cubes. Does it last? No, but it just wakes you up and gives you that confidence to go, 'Yeah, I look better. '"

Everyday Makeup

Val Garland in a silver dress© Val Garland

Radiance is a priority, and so Val usually begins with a hydrating illuminator, currently L'Oreal Paris' "absolutely fantastic" viral Lumi Glotion high upon her cheekbones. "Not all over, I don't want to look like the Tin Man, I want to look like I'm fresh from the gym."

For her base, she tends to keep it low-key if she's not filming, usually a touch of Lancôme's Teint Idole Care & Glow Serum Concealer. "It's all about the brush for me. I take a skinny liner brush and I paint over any blemish, and then when I'm working around my nose or my mouth, I use my fingers because I really want to get the product in there, I don't want to feel like it's sitting in the creases."

"I have no brows and what brows I have are very skinny, so I need to build them up. In the 1970s, I thought it was a good idea to shave off my brows and they never really grew back again… I take a taupe eyeshadow powder and an angled brush, #22 by Mykitco. I gently paint the shape I want and it's very subtle, what this does is it creates a shadow on the brow… I often find it quite difficult to get the right shade of ash. I don't want any red in there at all."

 After defining her eyes close to the lash line with a gel formula and smudging it gently with her finger, Val amplifies her lashes with L'Oreal Paris' Panorama Mascara. "This is probably my favourite mascara that I've ever used," she gushes. "What it does is it gives you volume and length and separation so it's like the full windscreen wiper effect, without the lumps and clumps."

"If I'm going to do blush, then I'll take a little bit of the lipstick I'm wearing. For me, it's all about the glow, but you don't want to look like a shining beacon. Straight down the T-zone, I use the ByTerry Hyaluronic Hydra-Powder, it's brilliant."

Evening Skincare

Val Garland applying skincare© Val Garland

Naturally, makeup removal is a necessity. But Val is relatively pared back when it comes to evening skincare, swerving vitamin C, retinol and other actives in favour of a simple cleanse, in order to not irritate her sensitive eyes. "It's like when you put too much chilli in the stew," she says. "You don't want too much product, but you need to use the right products that are going to work."

Years ago, Val became severely allergic to almost everything, and couldn't use skincare or colour her hair, only managing to cleanse with water. This experience has made her cautious about not adding too many products into the mix, especially around the eye area. She uses L'Oréal Paris' Absolute Eye and Lip Make-Up Remover, "an astonishing product, because it just takes it off so instantly and doesn't sting your eyes" and a long-time favourite, This Works' In Transit No Traces pads which she buys in bulk so that she is never without it in her bathroom cabinet.

Going Out Makeup

Val Garland applying makeup

When dialling up her look for the evening, Val often wears Shiseido's Revitalessence Skin Glow Foundation, a hit among beauty editors, for a fresh, radiant finish.

A key part of her look is her bold frames, underneath which she amplifies her eyes with cool tones. "I think that's why I tend to wear bigger glasses, bigger frames so that you can still see the eye underneath," she explains. "The glasses that you wear can help give you the illusion of a facelift, so that's why I always go for a cat-eye, pushing the eye shape up and out."

She steers clear of warm bronzes and burgundies, preferring soft greys and blues on her eyes, and loves palettes by Makeup By Mario. "The Master Mattes The Neutrals has got all the Kim Kardashian colours in it for real everyday beauty, and then he's got his Master Metallics Palette and that's got the sparkle." On her lips, it's a different story, and she favours orange-undertone brights or a beige. "I always used to be able to be a blue girl back in the day, but I found as I got a little more mature, I need something that is a bit more tomato."

Quick-Fire Beauty Questions… 

Which beauty trends or techniques are you currently obsessed with? 

"I love the Mob Wife, but I love it all! A full beat, that's amazing but then I also like just gorgeous, glowing radiant skin, a brow and a lip. Anything new, I'm excited by… I'm also really interested in the holistic approach to beauty, you know where mental wellbeing and physical appearance are connected, so if you can have a product that is feeding or nourishing as well as colouring, that's what I'm interested in."

Which makeup mistake do you see most often?

 "Sometimes showing all your tricks in one go can be too much. Makeup is subjective, it's someone's opinion of what you think is great or not, but it's the Chanel quote of taking something off before you leave the house. It's subtlety."

Are there any beauty hacks or time-saving tips you swear by for busy mornings?

 "If I'm rushing out the door, there are probably three things I would take with me, and that would be mascara, bronzer and lipstick. As long as I opened up my eyes with the mascara, the bronzer I can use as eyeshadow and bronzer, the lipstick I can use that as a lip and cheek, and if I want to do something on the colour, I could put that onto my eyes as well – I probably wouldn't, but I could. And with my mascara I could smudge a little bit of that into my eyelid and that would give me a bit more of a sort of like, 'We're going out after work.'"

Which multitasking makeup products do you find particularly useful?

"Anything cream is fab, if I've got a cream palette, then I can practically do a full face. Bronzer is fantastic, cream and powder. You can use it as a contour, or to make you look sunkissed, or to give some definition to your eye. If you've got a cream bronzer, you can use that on your lip as well. I like Chanel, Jillian Dempsey has got some nice cream blushes and bronzers… and P.Louise, she's massive up north, massive! We had her on the show last year. I like The Cheek Of It Liquid Blush because they [the shades] work on all skin tones."