Technology is a wonderful thing – especially when it comes to skincare and cosmetics. But with all the techno-jumbo surrounding skincare it’s difficult to know our peptides from our retinol. If the term BB makes you think of a weapon that Arnold Schwarzenegger used in the 80s then it’s time to update your skincare knowledge. Here are a few thoughts on products that will help our battle against the elements but it would be great to hear about your own favourite products so please add your comments or questions at the bottom of this page.
There is no point investing in a wonderful foundation if the skin lying underneath is undernourished and dehydrated. And if we look after our complexion we may discover that we don’t need the foundation anyway. The skin that will be mostly exposed to harsh winter weather and indoor heating covers the face and hands so invest in a few good products and wear gloves!
CLEANSER: Using a cream cleanser and muslin cloth is the kindest way to exfoliate facial skin on a daily basis – Eve Lom and Liz Earle both deliver on effective cleansing. If you want to develop this ritual as a winter bedtime treat then add a drop of Dr Hauschka Lavender Bath Oil to the water in which you soak the muslin cloth and inhale deeply as you cleanse.
TONER: A good toner contains absolutely no alcohol and refreshes the skin as it rebalances the pH balance of the skin and prepares it for moisture. My favourite is Dr Hauschka Facial Toner.
SERUM: Beauty guru and Guardian columnist Sali Hughes claims that serums can replace toner in daily skincare so if you’re looking to save time/money then omit the toner and carry on with a serum. Products containing hyaluronic acid, which holds a thousand times its weight in water, are a true gift. They deliver a deluge of moisture that deals with the problem of dry skin and the wrinkles that it can create so look out for this ingredient in serums and moisturiser. Clarins Hydraquench and Body Shop Vitamin E serums are considered effective products but it would be great to hear from readers who can recommend their personal favourite.
MOISTURISER: Unless we are very young, eating a rich diet and living in a consistently gentle climate our skin will lose moisture that needs to be replaced. The amount of moisture required will vary according to age, diet and weather so it’s wise to consider the moisturiser that we use on annual basis rather than plod on with the same one. When was the last time that you upgraded your moisturiser? The purpose of moisturiser depends on the time of day that it’s used – a daytime product should not only nourish but protect (an SPF of at least 15 is currently recommended for the UK )whereas a moisturiser used at night is purely to replenish lost moisture and treat specific issues. The wide range of unique complexion requirements prevents specific product recommendations but prize your own skin and think of its particular needs rather than grabbing the first one that comes to hand.
EYECREAM: Some people guffaw at the extra money spent on small pots of eye cream but the skin in this area is so thin (usually less than one millimetre thick) that it’s especially vulnerable to damage. Ageing leads to a further decrease in skin thickness and constant movement around the eyes due to facial expression, stretching from gravity plus sun damage can lead to thinner, wrinkled looking skin. However, creams containing peptides, retinol and antioxidants, which can help regenerate new skin, can improve the skin texture and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. All the great dames – Bobbi Brown, Eve Lom & Estee Lauder produce fine specimens of eye creams – ignore this product at your peril!
FINALLY – THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK – THE BB CREAM: This new hero of skincare originated from the Asian market where it enjoyed great success before being introduced to the European market last year. The winning ingredient within the BB cream is SYN_AKE, a neuropeptide which stops muscle cells contracting producing a temporary smoothing effect on fine lines.
The beauty of BB creams – that’s beauty balms or blemish balms – is that they almost cover the previously mentioned products in one fail swoop. They have the hydrating action of moisturiser and contain UV protection while also soothing the skin. But they have the added benefits of brightening the skin in same way that a primer would do prior to foundation application, covering blemishes and also even the skin tone like a lightweight foundation. All in all the ultimate bridge from skincare to cosmetics! Can your make up bag survive without one of these babies during the Christmas season?
So here’s to bright complexions this festive season and if the skincare fails then take two ibuprofen and an effervescent vitamin C drink every four hours – you party animals. Wishing you all an exceptionally merry Christmas and a happy new year.