meet our guest editor... Ruby Hammer

Oh Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby! Yes! We are so thrilled that make-up artist legend, Ruby Hammer is our December guest editor and frankly that is the only Christmas present we need at PANEL. Well, that and a laptop hiatus with mince-pies on tap. While we’re chatting to Ruby we can’t get over how warm and friendly she is and how generous she is with her stories and her time. This is Ruby Hammer! The Ruby Hammer who was at the epicentre of 90’s beauty, bouncing off the cheekbones of Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Yasmin Le Bon, jetting around the world, shooting for Vogue and the big fashion labels with the big budgets. That she just happened to be shooting for Elle on the beach in St Barth’s when Cindy Crawford needed her make-up done for the cover of her exercise video, is one of the many stories that trips off Ruby’s tongue from that golden, taupe eyed era. If you’re old enough you might still remember the thigh burn from that particular VHS… In 1998, Ruby created her own ground-breaking, inclusive make-up collection with fellow make-up artist Millie Kendall: Ruby & Millie. Remember those cool stackable pots? The unprecedented range of skin tones? The clicky, sheer lipgloss pens? All innovations still used by brands today. Having received an MBE for her contribution to the cosmetics industry in 2007, she continues to work with a host of incredible faces from Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to Sophie Ellis Bextor and last year she launched her eponymous range of pared down, considered make-up essentials, created with the instinctive knowledge that only a working make-up artist with years of experience could have. Tools and products that really work and make applying make-up and the rituals of self care an absolute joy. Her latest product, a retractable eyeliner, has an ultra slim nib designed to make everyone a master of smokey eyes and cat flicks.

Read on for Ruby’s Top 5 Beauty and Travel recommendations >>

Ruby's Top 5 Skincare Products

"Just Five? This is really, really hard!" said Ruby but we made her do it anyway...

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser 236ml, £9.50

When you've done a really thorough cleanse the night before, this is great for a gentle cleanse in the morning. It is so reasonably priced and is really gentle and non-stripping so it's great when you’re having to wear a mask and you might have some irritation. This is just a lovely, lovely product that I use all year round as a staple in my skincare arsenal. I recommend it to everybody.

Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm, £44

For a thorough cleanse, I like to use either a cleansing oil or a heavier balm. I’ve got 5 or 6 on the go as I love this category but I think I'm going to say Elemis Pro-Collagen Balm. You melt it in your hands start at your chest and work your way up - get a flannel or a muslin and then wash it all off. I like to use something that smells really gorgeous so this Elemis one is great.

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment 15ml, £21

You need some sort of an exfoliant in your skincare and this is really hard for me to pick just one. Sometimes I use liquid exfoliants, so the ones by Ren, Pixi and Aveda are excellent but every so often you need a more intense exfoliate and Kate Somerville Exfolikate is really good. If had to choose just one I would go with that one as it gives you a deeper slough.

La Mer The Eye Concentrate 15ml, £162

I'm using this cream at the moment and I really like it. It has that little steel handle that you can rub round your eye area and that is so soothing. It de-puffs and helps with dark circles. I think with lockdown, we've all got a lot of underling anxiety - we're not getting out and about, we’re not getting as much sleep as we should, not drinking as much water as we should, maybe drinking more alcohol... Eye cream is really an essential for me and this is the time to give yourself some extra care.

Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream 50ml, £205

I really like the Augustinus Bader rich cream. Again, I’ve got a lot on the go but I’m trying this one out properly because you really need to see how it works over two or three months. With the weather changing this rich formulation is really nurturing and it uses stem cell technology too. I’m of that age – I’m going to be 59 this month - so I need something extra.

So how did Ruby end up on this incredible beauty rollercoaster? “It was just something I fell into.”, she says. “I’m an economics graduate but I finished university and I was just waiting, wondering if I should take a year out. Do I go and do a masters as my dad would have wanted, should I apply for a job at the UN because my aunt used to work there or should I work for the diplomatic core? And then I just fell into assisting – an opportunity came up and I took it and that was more than 30 years ago now! In many ways what I do now has similarities with the path that I thought I would take. I get to mix with lots of people (well I did!) there’s diplomacy, interaction, travel  – I have all that but I get to indulge my creative side too.”

“Now that I can’t travel, I‘ve realised how part and parcel of my make-up it is. Travelling gives us a more global outlook, it expands your mindset – you see people of all cultures, eat their foods, see their fashion and it widens your education and you get to realise people are people and humans are humans.”

When we ask Ruby to tell us her top five skincare products she is adamant that when we refer to skincare we need to include the whole body.  “For me skincare means body and face. I don’t stop at the face! When somebody says skincare to me, I think all the way from your head to the tip of your toes and whenever I cleanse it goes from the chest all the way up. As a make-up artist, if I was shooting swimwear or exercise wear or something dramatic and backless, do I just do her face? Do I stop there? No! I do what I have to do as a professional and that means top to toe.  I think that we have to take that level of care into our own regimes. It’s so important for self-care.

Even if Ruby wasn’t an internationally acclaimed make-up artist we would be desperate to find out how she keeps her skin looking so amazing at the age of 59 – although it can’t hurt that she has the bone structure of a 90’s super herself. “Oh, I’m very touched and flattered by what people say but I always say I got good genes from my mum and dad and then I really do believe in having some sort of regime in place. It’s not about expensive products – great if you can afford them – whatever your budget, it doesn’t matter if you stick on Crème de la Mer or Clé de Peau, if you don’t use it regularly or if you put it on skin that hasn’t been exfoliated. If you use a really expensive mask just once or twice a year -what’s that going to do? The analogy I like to use is when you have to get a celebrity ready for the red carpet or a model ready for a shoot. If somebody has absolutely left their grooming to nothing, to zilch to get them red carpet ready takes a heck of a lot more effort!  If she’s actually taken good care of herself, her cuticles are done, her hair is conditioned,  it’s much easier to bring her up to speed. That’s why actresses have all those experts on their speed dial – it’s all about maintenance and when you have some sort of system in place you can throw on a really good mask or you give them a great facial massage to get the blood flowing and the end result is even more wow.”

We will be pinning this entire quote on our bathroom door today. Sorry about the delay, Ruby says…

Follow Ruby at @rubyhammer and

All photographs from Instagram, Portrait of Ruby by Bryan Coppede

Ruby's Top 5 Travel Destinations

"Travel is in my genes", says Ruby who has been lucky enough to visit some stunning locations both for work and pleasure. We might be grounded now but these places will inspire bucket lists and dreams for years...

Turks & Caicos

This is a place that has really touched my heart. The sea is so blue, the sand is so white, it’s just so beautiful and has so many wonderful memories for me – my daughter Reena got married there last year. My husband and I go back and forth there and my dream would be to own a home there. We’re working on it!


I first met my husband in Antigua just before I flew off to shoot in Miami and I must have told him I was staying at the Raleigh (now under renovation) because he sent me flowers there. Miami has everything LA has without being so intense and loopy loo if you know what I mean!

Amanzoe, Greece

We just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary at The Amanzoe in Greece. We managed to squeeze in a trip between Covid restrictions and as we couldn’t celebrate with a bunch of people we thought let’s do something special.  It is breathtaking there and the terrain where this hotel is located is incredible.



I had never seen landscapes like this in my life before I went to Lapland and it is the coldest I’ve ever been. I remember we were there for Marie-Claire for a November shoot but it turned out all the reindeer had shed their antlers so someone had to buy new antlers and tie them on! Travelling in husky drawn sledges, the food, the endless snow – an amazing experience.

Funzi Island, Africa

Africa has to be on the list because that is where I was born. I was born in Nigeria. We’re so molly coddled here but there they use every plastic bag, every bit of string and yet they’re really up to speed with the modern world. They have that buzzy New York feel but with a backdrop of wildlife and heat, which I love. One of the most remarkable trips I have ever been on was to the remote island of Funzi. Just stunning.

Ruby's Top 5 Make-up Products

The products that Ruby couldn't head to Parrot Cay without. OK, there are technically 6 mentions here...

Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage 5.9g, £30

I’m a great believer in going without foundation, if you use two different concealers strategically applied. Something light and fluid like Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer (my shade is Amande ) for around the eyes in a shade lighter and then I like a heavier duty one like Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage ( shade 7 or 8 when I’ve gone on holiday) for covering my pesky pigmentation marks. I put that on and it doesn’t budge, which is great when you’re wearing a mask.

Daniel Sandler Watercolour Fluid Blusher 15ml, £16.50

I love a cream blusher. As I get older cream blush works much better for me. I love a sheer raspberry pop on my skin - a sort of light, light gel cream look and Daniel Sandler Water Colour in Divine is great for that.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo 1.60g, £24.00

A like a bit of brow product just to shape and define and this is my absolute favourite. I love the powder because I can really control it and it gives me the most natural looking finish. My shade is Ebony.

Huda Beauty Legit Lashes Mascara 2 x 8.5ml, £24.00

Even if I didn’t have any other make-up on I could never go without mascara. We’re on the holy grail trail looking for the perfect mascara and I think it changes. I can’t get on with the really fat ones as I smudge them everywhere now that I need glasses... There are so many I love but I think I’ll go with Huda Legit Lashes because it gives you the option to go for subtle definition or full blown high volume.

Trish McEvoy Sheer Lip Colour in Mulberry, £22.00

I do love lipsticks but what I really like is a hybrid balm/oil with a hint of colour. One of my favourites is from Trish McEvoy and it’s called Mulberry. It’s got a subtle sheen, it feels like a balm and it’s got a hint of colour.