‘Their skin is just like ours – men should be making an effort too!’
Gemma Merna was born in Manchester but has been brightening up our TV screens as ditzy beautician Carmel McQueen in Hollyoaks for eight years now. Her character’s glamorous approach to her appearance is not so far from reality as grooming-conscious Gemma is also a part-time glamour model. A self confessed gymaholic and product hoarder, she knows how she likes to look and also knows what looks good on a guy. Thanks Gemma for helping us out!
Lovely Gemma is supporting Jeans for Genes Day 2014 to help children with genetic disorders which will be held on Friday 19th September. Please sign-up and order a free fundraising kit at www.jeansforgenes.org or call 0800 980 4800.
You play Carmel McQueen in Hollyoaks, how do you think her grooming compares to yours?
Carmel doesn’t step outside the house without make-up, she’s very glamorous. I was probably more like that when I was younger but nowadays I’m more comfortable with myself and I’m just a bit more relaxed in terms of upkeep.
Do you have a life-hack beauty tip/product you’d care to share?
Sudocrem! It’s that thing everyone should have in their cupboard. It’s perfect for burns or spots or pretty much anything. It’s an all-in-one cure.
How much grooming is too much grooming on a guy?
I don’t like it when guys pluck their eyebrows. For me it’s too much. And when it comes to fake tan I’d prefer guys to use a tinted moisturiser because using a proper fake tan is too much maintenance. I can’t judge though – I’m really pale naturally so I always wear fake tan.
What part of your grooming routine do you most enjoy?
Definitely my hair and using treatments. I love ones that you leave in overnight and then you wake up the next morning and it’s so nice to see how your hair changes to be all nice and silky. Kérastase are great, they have one called Resistance Masque Force Architecte which works wonders for preventing split ends and generally strengthening the hair. Their Spray à Porter is also great, you can use it to create “ocean spray” styles without that sticky effect.
Which male member of the cast do you think spends the most time on his grooming?
Can’t believe you asked that, he’s going to kill me! Aaron Fontaine – who plays Sonny Valentine. He’s a bit of a perfectionist with his beard and hair.
What is the most common mistake men make with their grooming?
Men shouldn’t try and gas us out with too much aftershave. So keep it moderate, sometimes you may like your own aftershave and others won’t, it’s a very personal thing so don’t overpower it. That can be very off-putting.
So what is your favourite scent on a man?
All of Tom Ford’s fragrances for men are great. For myself I also like Tom Ford but my favourite is Elie Saab Le Parfum. For me it’s really special because I wore it on my wedding day so I use it all the time now, it brings back good memories.
Does your husband ever borrow any products from you?
He used to. I have everything – most products you can name I own. I’m really into my products. But my husband used to borrow my Dermalogica products, their eye cream especially. Now he gets his own stuff and he loves the Nivea for Men range, especially their moisturiser. I think it’s such a shame when guys look older before their time, it’s so easy just to invest in a simple face wash and eye cream and it can make a world of difference. Their skin is just like ours so really men should be making an effort too.
What are your wash bag essentials?
How much time have you got?! Face wash, moisturiser, eye cream. I absolutely love Soap & Glory because their stuff smells so good. Every time I get out of the shower I lather myself in their body butter to keep my skin nice and soft, it gets so dry otherwise. St Tropez tan is also a must because it’s good for pale skin, it doesn’t look too heavy. They also have a Sensitive range and an Express range which works super quickly, I used it on my night out on Saturday – perfection! I’m also really into Rodial at the moment their products are really good, a great alternative to plastic surgery or injections. They have different ranges for ageing and all sorts. My favourites are their StemCell Super Food, Bee Venom and Dragon’s Blood, so excited about this brand!
Tell us a secret…
I’m a habitual bulk-buyer…
1. Tom Ford Mandarino di Amalfi, £142 for 50ml at Harrods
2. Sudocrem, £2.99 for 125g at Boots
3. Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Firm Eye Cream, £36 for 15ml at www.dermalogica.co.uk
4. Lab Series BB Tinted Moisturiser for Men, £36 for 50ml at www.labseries.co.uk
5. Kérastase Resistance Masque Force Architecte, £20.63 for 200ml at Tony&Guy
6. Nivea for Men Rehydrating Moisturiser, £3.47 for 75ml at Boots
7. Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter, £10.50 for 300ml at www.soapandglory.com
8. St Tropez Self Tan, £20.50 for 200ml at Marks and Spencer
9. Rodial Bee Venom Moisturiser, £150 for 50ml at www.rodial.co.uk
10. Elie Saab Le Parfum, £60 for 50 ml at Harrods
11. Aaron Fontaine playing Sonny Valentine
12. Kérastase Styling Couture Spray a Porter, £17.25 for 150ml at Toni&Guy