This is a time of the year when I find myself all out of sorts with my skin, hair, face, the whole shebang. Obviously candle light, dark evenings and alcohol are helpful in distracting me. But the cumulative effects of the cold, drying central heating, mince pie abuse and, er, alcohol, are not the best preparation for Instagram stories.
So I’ve been poking around the beauty shelves. Here are some new products I’ve found. Some of them I’ve rather fallen in love with, so I thought I’d share them with you.
I have a new gadget in the bathroom cabinet. It looks like a lawn aerator for one of the Borrowers. It is, in fact, a derma roller: a tiny little drum of sharp spikes. I have taken to rolling this over my face every couple of days in the hope of getting my poor depleted body to cough up just a teeny bit more collagen. My aim is to lose that deflated balloon texture I’ve started noticing on the sides of my face in the morning.
The basic procedure here is quite simple: give your face a really good clean. Clean it again, just in case, because, did I mention, it needs a REALLY good clean? Apply your favourite serum, oil, what-have-you (at the moment I like either The Ordinary’s ‘Buffet’ or their Matrixyl 10% + HA). Roll the tiny device lightly over your face, varying the direction, for a few minutes. Prepare to be amazed.
Temporarily, at least. The next morning I was very impressed: my skin looked so much plumper and smoother. But since it was also stinging slightly, I think that could have been trauma. I persisted. So far, I’m 14 days in and while I’m not in any danger of being signed up as the new face of Lancome, I do feel my skin texture is getting better.
You can buy rollers online in lots of places. I bought mine from the Swiss Clinic for £42. This particular make comes in two needle depths 0.2 and 0.5mm and a monster roller for body use. I would say 0.2mm is probably enough for most people, but if you are very hardcore, you could try the longer needle with relative impunity as they use much longer needles for professional treatments.
But I warn you, this is addictive. Flushed with my first success, I rollered the back of my hands, my thighs, my chest, my shins. Now I look like The Singing Detective. Here’s what I have learned: don’t press too hard, it’s collagen we’re after, not scabs; don’t use AHA or acid based creams and serums because they will sting like hell; never roller broken skin. Oh and you have to keep your roller absolutely, spittety-spot, operating-theatre clean (I use surgical spirits to soak mine) if you want to avoid any possible infections.
And I’m as on a skincare roll, let me introduce another new favourite, Lixir Vitamin C Paste, £32.
I use this in the morning after I’ve washed my face to give my skin a bit of a wake up. I love products that feel like they’re working and although I don’t know how strong this actually is, it certainly tingles as if it’s doing something. The effect is fairly subtle, but it leaves my face with far more of a glow than I deserve to have at this time of the year. Again, this is quite addictive and I have found myself slapping it on the backs of my hands and anywhere else I think is looking a bit peaky.
Another product I”m enjoying is The Ordinary EUK 134 0.1% lotion…serum…thingy. It looks like Buttercup Syrup; is only £6.90 but, boy, does it pack a punch. As I put it on my skin, it seems to warm up. It’s the bone broth of skincare, packed full of antioxidants. At least I think that’s what it’s full of. The blurb in the pack reads like an instruction manual for the Hadron Collider. “EUK 134 is a mimetic of superoxide dismutase and catalse, forming an exceptionally rare self-regenerating molecule that scavenges superoxide free radicals, eliminates hydrogen peroxide and converts reactive oxygen species into water and oxygen.” Sorry. We didn’t do ‘reactive oxygen species’ in Nuffield Chemistry ‘O’ Level, but it sounds impressive.
For once, an actual cleanser has wheedled its way into my affections: Pixi + Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse Oil and Cream, £24. In case you haven’t heard, one cleanse is not enough. Nowadays we need two. I’m quite lazy about these things. If I cleanse once a day I feel dangerously fanatical. But with the longer lasting make up formulations we use nowadays, some cleansers don’t lift everything. This comes in two parts. There’s a thicker oil cleanser, which you use first to take away all the grot. Then you follow up with the creamier, lighter cleanser. Both are removed with a hot flannel. My face felt very clean, not at all tight and I went to bed feeling rosy and virtuous.
Probably quite a few of you out there, like me, follow the fabulous Trinny Woodall on social media. As an erstwhile Trinny and Suzanna fan (I loved their “What to Wear” website, the precursor of almost all online clothes shopping), their direct, unaffected advice helped me navigate the Noughties. Now Trinny has a new make up range, Trinny London and I am hooked.
Here’s what I like. Even though it’s all online, thanks to the Match 2 Me function, it’s quite easy to find the shades and colours that will suit you. Don’t over think this, though. It’s not an exam. As all the products are cream based the colours are light and very blendable, it’s hard to get it too wrong, The BFF cream, a kind of illuminating CC cream, must be made from crushed disco balls, it brightens up your face so. The pots all stack up in a pleasing and elegant way (the packaging is delightful). Because you don’t need brushes the products are all easy to use on the go. In fact after a week or so of using them, you could probably do a reasonable job on your makeup whilst peeling a mango.
Check out the site and you will find combinations from about £40 while individual make up pots are around £18. Not dirt cheap, I’ll grant you but far from sick-makingly expensive – and you can build up your collection slowly.
Meanwhile back to skin. Pondering my incipient facial sag, I discovered a horrible fact. My lap top is ageing me – Right Now. Actually I may as well be on the beach as typing this – wearing baby oil and a tin foil collar. It’s not enough to protect your skin against UVA, UVB and all that. The new baddy is HEV or blue light.
I ran straight to Dr Google who supplied me with a bunch of super-expensive creams (that’s you, Dr Murad) to help. Luckily there were also a couple of reasonably priced alternatives: Soap & Glory’s Invisible Sunshield Protection Super Fluid and SunSense AntiAgeing Face Protection .
Of course I bought both. The Soap & Glory Sunshield formula is very light and very liquid. At £15 it is a little cheaper than the SunSense – though as it comes in an itty bitty, 30ml bottle, they probably work out about the same. The SunSense looks like the kind of stuff they spray on you from tanks on Australian beaches. It clearly means business. (I’ve since discovered it is something of a favourite amongst dermatologists.) Neither are particularly greasy and are fairly quickly absorbed so you can wear them under make up. But unless your skin is as thirsty as a dehydrated camel, then the Soap & Glory is a lighter, easier product to use.
My final discovery is a new scent. For a long time I have been a loyal lover of the herby, green perfumes of my youth, Chanel Cristalle and Diorella, with the occasional splash of Aromatics Elixir. They all still have a special place in my heart and on my bathroom shelf.
But the older I get, the more I find myself drawn to girlier, fresher florals. This Summer I was obsessed with the green, fresh Summer edition of Paul Smith Rose (around £28). But it has just been usurped in my affections by Diptyque’s Do Son Eau de Toilette. It was love at first sniff. Again, it is light but fresh, heavy on the tuberose and utterly delicious. It is £64 for 50ml. Try it out. You may like it. And Christmas is coming.