The new black

Trying to figure out what items will form my winter make-up kit is one of the most fun parts of the autumn. Forget Pop Idol and Fame Academy (which I do realise assumes you've remembered them in the first place), and forget football leagues, real or fantasy - I'd much rather spend my time genning up on the only "season" that matters in my book, and which, unlike any of the above, will not have me plucking out my own arm hair with feigned interest.

But my sport of choice comes as much from wondering how I'll fare in this season's styles and colours, as wondering what on earth the cosmetics companies will come up with next. And this year it's a bumper crop. Top of my list, and already completely indispensable as far as I'm concerned, is All Over Body Gloss, by Mac. Both colours, Fantastical and Astonish (an iridescent brown and a pearl, respectively) are impressive in the pot, but dab them on to your skin and they are out of this world.

And I'm happily smug to report that when dabbed on dark skin (eyes or cheeks), they give quite possibly the sexiest colour and deepest texture I've seen in a beauty product for a long time - and that's just when they are used on their own. Put a smidge of Astonish over black eye shadow and you'll never have to wait your turn at a bar again, never mind pay a parking fine.

Next up in the "why didn't they think of that before?" category has to be Incredible Spreadable, the new ginger body scrub from Origins. Yes, I know it sounds like a pretend butter, but other than that it's a gorgeous not-too-sloppy body scrub, containing white and brown sugars, dead sea salts and olive oil, with a delicious citrussy scent.

And finally, hats off to both Mac (again) and Shu Uemura for their brow sets - coloured mascaras for the eyebrows (thicker this season). I know, you're thinking, "Coloured mascara for the eyebrows? Up that woman's Valium." Well, it might sound improbable now, but give yourself a couple of weeks and you'll wonder what you were so scared of.

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