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There’s no excuse not to look your swoonsome best this Valentine’s Day, especially with Stratford College make-up lecturer Lauren Smith to show you how to really stun.

“Don’t be afraid to go glam” is the advice of make-up expert Lauren Smith, 31, when contemplating the upcoming Valentine’s Day.

Even if you can’t go out or haven’t got a current love interest, there’s a lot to be said for playing around with your make-up, reckons Lauren.

“We’re all feeling the pressure of lockdown,” she explained. “It’s easy to just stay in your jogging bottoms not making an effort. And just by putting on a bit of mascara and tinted moisturiser it can boost your mood, making you feel ready to take on a new day.”

Speaking of glam, Lauren’s career would be the envy of many of her young students. She worked as lead make-up artist at Selfridges and fashion brand Boohoo; assisted on Phantom of the Opera at the Birmingham Hippodrome and has worked with various celebrity clients, including Olivia Bentley (Made in Chelsea), Zara McDermott (Love Island) and Lauren Pope (The Only Way is Essex).

Lauren working on Love Island's Zara McDermott (44335188)
Lauren working on Love Island's Zara McDermott (44335188)

After travelling around the country for years, Lauren was keen to settle, and so landed her job working at Stratford College as theatrical, media and special effects make-up lecturer. She has no regrets, and added: “Now I get to inspire young people.”

Even as a young girl Lauren’s favourite thing was mucking about in the dressing up box. “I have so many photos of me wearing mum’s make-up with red lipstick and clip-on earrings – I was such a girly girl,” she laughed.

Now she says she doesn’t actually wear much make-up most of the time, and explained: “I love making other people up and really transforming people and helping them feel amazing and confident.”

For this Valentine’s Day, Lauren is suggesting a Hollywood glam look, and admits she is a big fan of red lipstick still. “It’s really transforming,” she said. “Put a red lip on and you’re ready for the show.”

While this may sound a bit daunting to some, Lauren has some advice. “Just go for it! It may feel alien to wear something so bold but it is worth experimenting.

“People tend to stick to what they know. My mum has had same routine for years, but I coax her to make slight changes. And so while you might not want to go full on bold, you could try, say, switching from nude lipstick to coral which can really brighten your face and make a big difference.”

Lauren says she will be spending Valentine’s Day with her partner Tom, who runs his own tailoring company, at home in Henley. But she confesses she probably won’t be glamming up too much. “I’m 37 weeks pregnant, with our first baby due at the end of the month.”

OK, we’ll let you off, Lauren!


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