Sali Hughes, beauty journalist, broadcaster and Guardian columnist, gives us an insight into her life online.

Sali Hughes is a journalist, broadcaster, Guardian columnist and founder of the award-winning, a beauty site and large online community forum for women. A former magazine editor, she has written extensively for Grazia, The Observer, Elle, Never Underdressed, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, The Face, Shortlist, Stylist, Woman & Home, Look, and is Contributing Editor on Red magazine. She is Beauty Editor on The Guardian, and appears frequently on BBC Radio 4, 5Live, Sky News and ITV's This Morning and Daybreak. She is a consultant to major beauty and fashion brands, and lives with her two sons in Brighton. She tweets from @salihughes and instagrams from @salihughesbeauty. Her best-selling book, Pretty Honest: The Straight-talking Beauty Companion is published by 4th Estate, £22.

My Favourite Website... I suppose I should say something impressive here but the honest answer is ASOS, which I know makes me sound terrifically shallow. It’s just a brilliantly designed site with cleverly conceived search filters, great service, and the biggest and best selection of clothes on the web. I use it very often and it’s almost always open on my laptop. My other permanently open tabs are (I know I’m biased but I genuinely think our website is the best designed and most user-friendly of all the papers) and I’m old fashioned in that I don’t accept any online news story as fact until the BBC has confirmed it.

My Favourite App... Pingit - The Barclays app that allows anyone with a UK bank account to instantly send small amounts of cash to another via mobile phone numbers, without the hassle of getting their bank details. I’ve no idea why everyone doesn’t have it - it is absolutely life-changing. If someone is going to collect a takeaway, I can Pingit my share; if the cashpoint machine is out of order, I can Pingit my companion and get some cash. I use it constantly and every time I need it, I think how brilliantly fast, simple and ingenious it is.

My Favourite Blog... probably Belgian Waffling - It’s the very funny, often very moving blog of an English female lawyer living in Belgium with her partner and two children. It’s just fantastically well written, laugh out loud funny, and with a great cast of characters. Its writer, Emma Beddington, now quite rightly has a book deal. I love how many brilliant writers the internet has allowed a voice, when they may never otherwise have seen the opportunity to be published.

My Most Recent Buy Online... I bought a black dress from Net-A-Porter to wear to interview, and have dinner with, the fashion designer Tom Ford. Believe me, there is no more stressful an invitation, from a dress code point of view. The one before that, less glamorously, was a smart toaster from Now I think of it, that pretty much sums up my life in two purchases.

My Favourite Tweeter... The journalist Lesley Jones (@Lesleyjones) - Every night at 10pm-ish, she posts to all her followers a Lesley’s Bedtime Question, a question about anything from your childhood ambitions or most pretentious teen moments, to your worst drunken purchase or biggest regret. They’re usually extremely inventive and interesting questions and I love reading through her replies. I don’t know how she keeps coming up with them night after night, and often pester her to turn them all into a book.

My favourite Instagrammer... probably @DonaldDrawbertson - An American man who creates the most entertaining and inventive art purely for his Instagram followers. His account is hugely cheering.

My Stand Out Online Memory... Getting ready to go out and tweeting that I was listening to Diana Ross’ Upside Down. The song’s producer and one of my heroes, Nile Rodgers, immediately DMd me to say how much fun they’d had making it. I replied, and we ended up talking music in back and forth DMs for about an hour. It’s happened a couple of times since and it never fails to blow my mind. It’s really amazing what the internet can do in bringing people, who would never otherwise meet, together in conversation. Nothing is untouchable anymore.

Social Media Allowed Me to Meet... So, so many very good friends, including some very close ones. As journalists, Twitter gave us a meeting place when we’d all become so accustomed to the isolation of writing alone at our kitchen tables. It effectively gave me a busy office environment with fun colleagues and little corners to skive in and chat about last night’s telly.

Most Worthwhile Newsletter/Mailer Subscribed To... I subscribe to far too many newsletters and so they mainly infuriate me. I have a cull every few months and delete literally thousands in one go. The only one I always open and check is the newsletter from my children’s school, as it usually contains points of action for parents - school trip consents, club sign-ups and so on, all of which can be done online via the school intranet. It makes my life much easier.

My Pet Hate About Life Online... It’s an obvious one, but trolls. I just don’t need people ruining my day by personally insulting me with the sole motivation of causing an emotional reaction. I will never understand these people as long as I live. Also a bit frustrating are people who tweet me quite involved beauty questions when I’m watching late Sunday night telly, then feel quite aggrieved that I don’t immediately answer them. And anger. People who wait online to become furious and outraged at everything. Obviously this has occasionally brought about positive change, but there’s now so much online outrage that we are in danger of becoming inured to it, I think.


Sali's book on beauty should be part of your armoury, whatever your age. As Sali says, she writes on beauty without the BS, and she's true to her word here. If you ever find yourself completely overwhelmed at the beauty counter, fear not as Sali cuts the wheat from the chaff. Pretty Honest is a great read and you'll be in good company, going by the fab reviews the book has had.

'Britain's best beauty writer … This book is equal parts sass, sense, lipstick and laughs.' Lauren Laverne

'If it's on my face, it's because Sali recommended it.' Caitlin Moran

'Obey Sali. She knows her stuff.' India Knight

'Sali decodes beauty for any woman with smart, simple and practical advice.' Bobbi Brown

14 January 2015