Let me tell you a Secret...

A fleet of 47 leggy beauties (though only eight are officially ordained Angels) recently landed in the UK for the Victoria's Secret fashion show, ready to strut their stuff while pop stars Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande performed.

Let me tell you a Secret...

02/12/14. Model Lily Donaldson walks the runway during the 2014 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Earl's Court Exhibition Centre, London, England, Picture credit should read: PA Photo/ Dimitrios Kambouris for Victoria's Secret. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature BEAUTY Angelic Beauty.

Much is made of the models' pre-show prep, but unless you've got four hours a day to spend doing ballet barre classes or are willing to forgo solid food, the chances of honing the body of an Angel are, no pun intended, slim.

You can, however, steal some of their beauty secrets. So off I went, sneaking backstage, to grill some of the girls as they had their hair and make-up done...

PREP TALK

"I'm a product fiend," admits platinum blonde Devon Windsor, before reeling off all the gadgets and lotions she uses to keep her skin runway ready. "I love the Clarisonic cleansing brush, it's an amazing exfoliator that gets rid of all the dirt every day. And I use Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Clarifying Lotion - I don't break out that much but I feel like it's a good preventative. I also use Chanel Hydra Beauty Creme, it's a good lotion that's not too heavy but very moisturising."

Windsor's pal Cindy Bruna, meanwhile, is an aficionado of her native France's famous pharmacy finds, citing the Effaclar cream from La Roche-Posay as her can't-live-without product.

"I like NUXE Oil for my body, it's a pharmacy product again, I put it on every day," she adds.

To stay hydrated on the flight over from New York, 19-year-old Kelly Gale kept a rose water spray to hand, while Windsor spritzed with Avene Thermal Water Spray.

  • Clarisonic Mia Cleansing System, £99 (www.debenhams.com)
  • Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Clarifying Lotion, £18 (www.clinique.co.uk)
  • Chanel Hydra Beauty Creme, £50 (www.debenhams.com)
  • NUXE Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Usage Dry Oil, £17 (FeelUnique.com)
  • La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo [+] Anti-blemish Cream, £15.50 (www.boots.com)
  • Avene Thermal Water Spray, £6.50 (www.lloydspharmacy.com)

LIPPY TIPS

You'd think that after all those hours in the make-up chair, these girls would have picked up a tip or two, right?

"Absolutely, you learn from the best," says Lily Donaldson, one of only three Brits who walked in the show. "There are so many tips, like smile when you put your blusher on, to make the apples of your cheeks come out. And apply lipstick with your finger because it makes your lips look plumper."

Windsor agrees, and says she's perfected her smoky eye technique by watching the pros at work.

"One of my favourite tricks is using a cream pencil or liner on the waterline under the eye, then it makes your eyes look bigger and brighter," she says.

And even though she already has incredible bone structure, the American reveals that she also uses a contouring set. "It's got brown and white colours, so you use it to contour and highlight," the model adds.

But if they had to forsake all other make-up for just one item, the VS girls are unanimous about what it would be: mascara.

"I like the Chanel mascaras," says Windsor. "They have a daytime one and then a thick, voluptuous night-time one, so I switch them up, depending on the occasion."

Gale adds: "I learned that it's super important to curl your lashes before you put mascara on."

  • Illamasqua Eye Colouring Pencil in Vow, £15 (www.illamasqua.com)
  • Smashbox Step-by-Step Contour Kit, £35 (www.smashbox.co.uk)
  • Chanel Sublime de Chanel Infinite Length And Curl Mascara, £25 (www.boots.com)

NATURAL BEAUTY

It's not all face paint and fancy potions, however. Some of the models' most ardent recommendations won't cost a penny, or are more commonly found in the kitchen.

"Coconut oil," states Donaldson, when I ask for her top beauty tip. "It's honestly one of the best things I've ever used. You can use it to take your make-up off, to moisturise, in your hair, on your body, and it smells good too."

Clearly, the London-born beauty isn't a practitioner of a strict pre-show diet, however - she happily nibbles a cookie as we chat.

Any other nutritional tips? "Just drink water," advises Windsor, admitting it's not easy to hit that two-and-half-litres a day target. "I have to tell myself to do it."

Lais Ribeiro agrees: "On the flight over, everybody was talking but I was sleeping. And drinking a lot of water."

The Brazilian, with the peachy skin and perfect cheekbones, has the most laid-back approach of all the models I speak to. "I don't want to say that I woke up like this, but..." She trails off, implying that she did, in fact, wake up like that.

So, the one thing you should definitely invest in to get model-worthy looks? Probably a good night's sleep.

  • Vita Coco Organic Extra Virgin Coco Coconut Oil, £5.99 (www.tesco.com)

TRIED & TESTED

  • In preparation for the Christmas festivities, Katie Wright has a go at an at-home gel manicure.

A gel manicure, where UV light is used to 'cure' the special polish so that it lasts weeks rather than days, is a treat I love to indulge in. But at around £30 a pop, it's not cheap, so the idea of a do-it-yourself kit really appeals.

First, I wipe the Rokit Ready solution over my nails to prep them, then apply my first coat of colour, Bordeaux Red, and leave to cure for one minute. Unlike other gel polishes, Rokit doesn't require a base coat, you just apply several layers of colour, curing for two-and-a-half minutes for each subsequent coat. I struggle a bit and have to do four coats on some nails to get a deep enough colour, but I think with a bit of practise that won't be a problem.

A week on, my manicure is still showing no signs of chipping and I'm a DIY gel convert. In the long run, my bank balance is certainly going to thank me!

  • Rokit Gel Polish Professional Kit, £92.70, Amazon (www.amazon.co.uk)

BUY IT NOW

Choosing from the plethora of Christmas pampering packs on the shelves right now is no mean feat, but when you hear about The Body Shop's charity partnership with War Child, it just might swing it. For every specially selected gift set sold, a contribution will fund a school class for a child in a country affected by war. And with prices starting from £6, they won't break your Secret Santa budget either. The Winter Wonderful Music Box, £35, is one of our faves (www.thebodyshop.co.uk).

BEAUTY BULLETIN

  • READY BREAK

Lunchtime turns into party prep hour in December, according to a new survey by Wilkinson Sword, with 72% of women saying they spend 60 minutes during work getting ready for a festive event. Two-thirds say they head to the shops in search of an outfit, a quarter nip out to get a blow-dry and 18% go for a manicure.

  • BEAUTIFUL BOYS

Women get more beauty treatments than men, right? Wrong, if a survey by lastminute.com is anything to go by. According to the poll, a third of men pamper themselves once a month, compared to a quarter of women, with hot shaves most popular, followed by massages, facials and sunbeds.

RECESSIONISTA ALERT

If you're dying for a pre-Christmas root touch-up, but a visit to the salon is out of the question because all your disposable income is going on gifts this month, here's a handy stop-gap solution. For just £12.50, a non-permanent Josh Wood Blending Wand (available in seven shades from Marks and Spencer), will cover your grey re-growth and see you through to payday.

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