I’m so sorry it’s been so long since I last posted, which one or two of you have been kind enough to notice. (Hello out there!) It probably needs some explanation, but don’t worry I’ll keep it snappy.
For one thing I’ve was doing some freelance work (good), where my main occupation was finding words for marketing concepts in mangled English (not so good). Let me tell you, a couple of days with a Thesaurus finding alternative words for ‘spontaneous’ would have strangled William Shakespeare’s creative urge at birth.
Then my old friend, the Black Dog has been paying a visit. Blame the weather; the late Winter doldrums; an approaching big birthday but I simply lost my Mojo for a while. Mind you, in the last few years, what with career shenanigans and the usual depressing things of middle life, my Mojo and I have sometimes been barely nodding acquaintances. But I’m afraid, for a while, it just vamoosed. Annoying.
Anyway, I’m back. So I thought I’d update you on what I’ve been buying, trying and resisting over the last few weeks or so.
First up, I haven’t been buying much in the way of clothes. I just have so many of the things and they are under constant attack by an near biblical plague of moths at the moment, that I’m reluctant to shell out on yet more fabric moth chow.
I did buy a beautiful Zara suit in bright yellow to get me through said big birthday (if you can’t be young, be noticeable, that’s my motto), below. The trousers are a really flattering cut, so even if the colour makes you feel nauseous, check out the pants. (I think they also have a similar suit in bottle green, if that’s more your bag).
What I have been doing, in the shadow of this mahoosive birthday, is thinking about skin care. Golly, there’s a lot going on. There are some exciting developments and brands out there at the moment, which, if I had my druthers and my old monthly pay check, would be hying their way hence to Casa Mutton, licketty spit. But now I’m one of the Unreliably Salaried, I’m having to exercise more impulse control.
Here are three or four interesting things around at the moment, which I offer up, for those of you who are as intrigued as I am by these things.
LED FACE MASKS
This is new technology, using LED light (and in some cases infra red) which is very healing and rejuvenating to your complexion and is apparently especially good for menopausal and post-menopausal skin. To be honest, I spent ‘O’ Level Physics drawing shoes in my exercise book, so I don’t really understand the science here, but the testimonials are encouraging, with people claiming dramatic results to tone, evenness and luminosity (if that is even a real word. After all those weeks with a Thesaurus, you’d think I’d know).
These are not the kind of things you can wear around the house without terrifying small children. It’s as if Michael from Hallowe’en and Hannibal Lecter were in competition to come up with the most terrifying mask possible.
Victoria Health has a version for £395. The Dr Dennis Gross mask is in Space NK and costs over £400. And celebrity facialist, Teresa Tarmey, is launching her version on QVC this week, I would imagine at a similar price point. There are also versions, much less expensive, by the likes of Neutrogena (£59.99), originally designed to help with acne.
Is it a gimmick? Assuredly. Do I want one? Obviously. I’m itching to give it a go and can’t help but expect the skin of a sixteen year old. Somehow, though……
BEAUTY PIE & BEAUTY PRODUCT SUBSCRIPTION SCHEMES
Another recent trend has been in the Beauty Box schemes: essentially subscription schemes where you pay monthly and get either a preselected box of goodies (Birchbox) or you choose a range based on your monthly membership (Beauty Pie). Because they were starting to stalk me wherever I looked on Social Media, I decided to try Beauty Pie. It was that or a restraining order.
The deal is this: you can buy anything you like from them and pay full price. Or, you can subscribe at a set level and you get a certain amount of allowance (based on the full price of the products). The more you pay, the bigger that allowance. It was set up by Marcia Kilgore who is one of those sickening people with a Midas touch and is the brains behind Bliss Spa, Soap & Glory and Fit-flop. She saw an opportunity in offering beauty products at or near cost. Certainly the savings look appetising. The retinol cream is around £11 versus a claimed £80 (or perhaps a more realistic £40)
I’ve tried a few of their products now and, despite not really being a joiner-inner, I think they are good value. For some people who don’t have butterfly brains and have more serious things to do with their time than browse beauty influencers, this could be your one stop shop. Me, I like the challenge of shopping around. Nonetheless here are the products I have liked: the Japan Fusion range of cleansers and moisturisers: the eye make up pencils – actually that isn’t really an accurate enough description for these intense, shimmery shadow pens. Try Goldie or Little Star
The Vitamin C capsules are a bargain, but if you don’t like silicon based products, which I don’t, then use them at night as otherwise they can make your make up base slide around, and who needs that. Top tip, use them on your hands too to lighten up age spots and then smother with an SPF. (Wish someone had told me to do this fifteen years ago!)
THE BIG 3 SKINCARE INGREDIENTS
The three ingredients everyone in beauty is banging on about at the moment are Retinols, Vitamin C and Peptides. To be honest, when I first worked in skincare twenty years ago, these were also the ingredients everyone talked about.
But, true to my doodling in my exercise book past, I didn’t pay much attention, because I didn’t think hyper-pigmentation, uneven skin tone, crepiness, sinkhole sized pores or wrinkles would ever happen to me.
Well, guess what. They have. And now I’m obsessed with all these various active ingredients and try new versions all the time. And I don’t skimp on their cousin ingredients collagen, AHA’s and hyaluronic acids.
The big change in all this time is that now these ingredients are available on their own, in slightly chemical formulae, rather than as one ingredient in a sweet-smelling jar full of goodies. Another time I will do a really thorough blog on the various ones I’ve tried and found have worked on my skin, but in the meantime here are my current favourites in each of the categories.
This is strong stuff. When I first started to use it, I was a little over-enthusiastic and I woke up looking like a burns victim, so use cautiously. There are different concentrations of this and you need to start low and work up until your skin can take it. I don’t use it every night and it takes time to see the results, but I think this is a keeper for me.
I mentioned the Beauty Pie capsules earlier. Before I used those, I tried Exuviance Vitamin C capsules from Victoria Health. I like capsules for Vitamin C because it can degrade quite quickly and oxidise on your skin acting (and smelling) like a bad fake tan. (And I wondered why I so often had orange palms). These are pricier than the Beauty Pie version but what is in them is good stuff. The Vitamin C itself is gritty and it stings a little and, there’s no way around it, they are fiddly to use, if you’re an impatient person like me. But they give your skin a lovely glow and you can wear them under make up.
I wrote a while ago about the Boots No 7 peptide serum which I really liked but since they’ve revamped their range and launched Boots Laboratories range, I can’t find it any more. So at the moment I’m using this, from The Ordinary, since they were doing a special offer on it. Both are good, but I have to say, in terms of results, I think I noticed more short term difference with the Boots serum.
Hope you find that helpful.
In other news, I am delighted to announce there is a Cab for Mrs Mutton podcast coming soon. And I’m steeling myself to produce some video content for Instagram. So do stay tuned and thanks so much for reading.