The singing sensation that is Lulu has been famous since she cracked the charts back in 1964 with Shout. But these days it is her face more than her voice that is drawing all the attention. The cold February day I had breakfast with her at a new private members' club in London she was wearing skin tight blue jeans, a cream leather jacket and was all gleaming skin and honeyed hair – at 61 she looks nothing short of amazing. She won't be drawn on whether her looks are due to good genes or a good surgeon, but frankly if her radiance could be bottled most of us would buy it.
She says she always worries about her skin and how she looks: "I have been under a microscope really since day one - but because I want to sing until I drop I have learned how to look and feel the best I can." Even at 15, when the single Shout propelled her to fame she claims to have had terrible skin: "I had lots of pictures taken of me and some were horrendous, I was worried they could see my spots, and I did have spots!” She adds: "I have been to see dermatologists – lots of them over the years - but not at the moment as now I only go if I have a specific problem."
Because of these experiences one could argue she is rather obsessive about her appearance and she tells me that at just 16 she started eating brown rice to cleanse her system and mixed natural yoghurt and honey to put on her face. In later years she applied vitamin E capsules to her skin. She also made a startling confession: "I used to fly to LA in the 1970s just to buy my eye cream - and it was so greasy I had to keep it in the fridge as it contained ghee butter! He was a man who just made eye cream and is sadly dead now."
Eurovision and The Beatles
So little Marie Lawrie who left Glasgow at 15 to become Lulu, have hit records, act, do Eurovision and work with legends like Eric Clapton, The Beatles and the Rolling Stones is still slogging away and reinventing herself decade after decade.
Just in the last 12 months alone she has toured with singers Chaka Khan and Anastacia ("Anastacia is 40 and I don't want to look like an old ratbag next to her"), published a beauty book (Lulu's Secrets to Looking Good), mentored up-and-coming singers on hit US TV show American Idol and launched a range of hair products (Operation: Glam). These hair products are alongside her existing skincare range, Lulu's Time Bomb, and body products Bombshell Body (find out more at www.timebombco.com/uk). She says that when she is on tour women come up to her and point to their faces: "It means they are wearing Time Bomb!"
She still goes to the hair salon owned by ex-husband John Frieda, which has made for interesting times. She tells me: "My hairdresser for twenty years has been Kevin Moss at John Frieda and when I go there he hides my Operation: Glam hair products in the cupboard! Thankfully I am no longer permed-up like I was in the Eighties."
Lulu is keenly aware of looking after what she has got: "I never go to bed with my make up on – never!" But, does she ever make beauty mistakes? She admits: "My worst make-up mistake was putting false lashes on the top and bottom, and wearing brown bronzer on my pale skin – it made me look like I had a brown splodge and not at all tanned."
Her philosophy is quite simple: "I feel when you look in the mirror and don't look like an old fart then you are capable of doing more – and having a better quality of life. We are now living longer and have more choice. I love being an older woman who has been there and done it and I am happy to have made both beauty and singing my business."
Lulu's skincare routine
1) CLEANSE: "For me it is more about the tone, texture and glowing look of your skin. It is no good just to moisturise as I believe you need to slough off dead skin too. My cleanser (Lulu's Time Bomb Take-Off Time Cleansing Cream) takes off the top skin as it has magnesium oxide crystals in it and it is not true that any old cleanser will do!"
2) SERUM: "I have rosy, blotchy kind of colouring, so I used to need foundation. I now use my Youth Juice Secret Oil which I put under my day cream and it helps with extreme weather, all the flying I do and central heating. It has avocado, jojoba, vitamin E and lavender oil. It is not a thick oily film but I love my skin to be moisturised so my team calls me 'Dewy Louie'."
3) MOISTURISE: My Glory Days Day Cream has white flower and borage oils in it to help it really sink in, which I like."
4) NIGHT CREAM: My Flashback Night Cream plumps up my skin, holds in moisture and I would be afraid not to wear it. The QVC presenter Alison Young calls me the 'queen of night creams'."
5) WRINKLES: "My new product is called Killer Filler and is oil that will fill them out - don't rub in just pat. I say it is like a diffused veil or like a lighting cameraman has flattered you."
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