About Beauty Bible

The first Beauty Bible book was launched in 1966, and since then there have been six bestsellers in the series, including The 21st Century Beauty Bible, The Green Beauty Bible and The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible. Beauty Bible's mission is to help real women take a short-cut to products that truly work, and in addition to being a completely unbiased voice in the world of beauty, the books and website feature the real-life observations of over 20,000 women who've tried products for Beauty Bible since its launch, making this the biggest-ever independent survey of beauty products ever carried out in the world.

Posts by Beauty Bible

The 2019 Beauty Bible Awards

Beauty Bible Awards 2019

For the past 21 years, our mission at Beauty Bible has been to cut through the hype and help women take a short-cut to products that really, really do what they say on the tin/jar/tube. We began by publishing the results in our Beauty Bible series of books, then last year put the awards online (Beautybible.com) for the first time.

The Beauty Bible Awards are judged by real women – in panels of 10 – trialling full-size products in real-time over a period of up to four months, then feeding back. Results are always amazingly consistent – and after what feels like an epic year of sending out products to over 1,000 testers, we’re delighted to declare the winners of the Beauty Bible Awards for 2019!

It comes as no surprise to us that so very, very many winners can be found right here on VH – so here’s just a small selection of the Gold winners (and one rather special Silver!) that are showcased on Gill and Shabir’s site, with a handful of the real-life rave reviews from testers’ detailed feedback. (You’ll find many more in-depth comments on our own site.)

Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Facial

Cue drumroll, cue trumpets: a spectacularly splendiferous score (an average of 9.3/10 across our tester panel) for one of this superfacialist’s star products, designed to ‘recreate the effects of a Skinesis facial overnight.’

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS:

‘This oil is totally amazeballs! Within 24 hours skin felt ridiculously smooth, plump and moisturised. After using for a while, it looks smoother and plumper – so much better – and I have had compliments. Just lead me to the next bottle…’
‘Loved the product a lot. It smelt absolutely amazingly relaxing and helped me sleep. Within 30 minutes my skin felt softer, plumped, silky and brighter. Promised to lift, firm and make skin feel like cashmere – it did all of that’
‘People have commented how well my skin looks on make up free days, which is amazing.’

Aurelia Repair & Brighten Hand Cream

The second Gold in a row for Aurelia in the hand cream category for this rich but swiftly-absorbed product, with its glorious blend of vetiver, ylang ylang, lavender and patchouli.

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS:

‘This was like no other hand cream I have ever tried. For a start, it smells like you’ve just walked into a spa. The application in unreal, as it instantly absorbs into the skin. Results leave you with hands so soft they could rival a two-year-old’s. And my nails are in brilliant condition’
‘10/10! This lovely hand cream moisturised my old crêpe-y hands, LOL! Definitely has anti ageing properties. I will definitely be purchasing once this runs out’
‘I have never paid this amount for a hand cream before but I do think its worth the price.’

Lanolips Lemonaid Lip Treatment

This little tube of whipped balm is a thirst-quencher for dry lips, slicking on via an angled dispenser to deliver a zestily lemony treat.

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS:

‘My lips get very dry and I use lip balms all the time usually every 15-30 minutes all day, but I could go longer without reapplying this as it stayed on and actually moisturised my lips really well. By the end of two weeks they definitely felt better’
‘I love that the balm has a slight shimmer, without being obvious’
‘Very moisturising. I use every night as I have dry lips due to cancer of the oesophagus and not being able to swallow, eat or drink. I think it could be recommended to cancer units in hospitals and used by the patients to alleviate dryness.’

Beauty Bible Lip Balm (Aloe+Vitamin E)

Well, we are very proud that we scooped an Award in our own trials! This is the only product Beauty Bible has ever put our name to (and is exclusive to VH here): chunkily-shaped, it glides on beautifully and is amazingly nourishing. But don’t just trust us on this – listen to what the testers had to say!.

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS:

‘Liked this better than any other balm I have tried as it wasn’t at all sticky but properly moisturised my lips, rather than just sitting on the surface. Despite this very cold winter weather, they have stayed soft and lush looking and feeling’
‘Fab product. I loved this balm, which moisturised my lips excellently over the winter cold months, quickly improving texture and softness. It changed the appearance of my chapped lips; I was able to put lipstick on and it didn’t ‘bleed’ after.’

De Mamiel Dewy Facial Mist

The winner in our ‘Instant Face Saver’ category is a serum from the renowned holistic facialist and acupuncturist that works like a facial mist, spritzing onto the face to deliver a blend of hydrating, nourishing ingredients that shield the skin against environmental damage.

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS:
‘Simply spritz this liquid mist over the skin, inhale the uplifting scent, and watch your skin becoming, soft, smooth, dewy and refreshed, also uplifted in a rejuvenated way’
‘A pick-me-up in a bottle, like a breath of fresh air for the skin and senses’
‘I used the de Mamiel spray later in the afternoon to perk up my skin – it feels moisturised and plump after – and my mood. The scent and the fine mist make this a product that I found myself looking forward to using.’

This Works Perfect Legs Gradual Tan

Our own go-to for bare leg S.O.S.-es. won Gold in the Gradual Tanners category – so next time you have to reveal parts of your body that are currently swathed in vests and opaques, make sure you’ve this to hand. (Even though it says ‘Legs’ in the name, it’s great all over!)

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS:

‘A lovely body treatment. The tint is instant and the very natural colour develops gradually over two to three days, as if I have been on a sunny holiday’
‘I was thrilled that a self-tan product used on pasty white skin looked so natural; skin absorbed it very quickly and I felt as if I’d used a smooth, pampering body moisturiser. An instant tint with a slight glow,but doesn’t scream ‘I’ve been tangoed…’

Aromatherapy Associates Renewing Rose Body Oil

No question that yet again, the divine rose fragrance – always so, so consistently popular with our testers over the decades – helped nudge this AA oil towards its high score.

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS:

‘Top marks for this lovely fragranced oil, which absorbed within a few minutes. Skin was immediately soft, a lot more nourished and beautifully fragranced’
‘My skin had a glow from the start and it was particularly effective on my dry feet and elbows; legs look very moisturised and my scars, stretch marks and dry patches all look 100 times better’
‘I was blown away by the sheen it left on the skin. My lower legs looked ten years younger, I really mean that! They were perfectly smooth and looked like I had leg make-up on!’

New Year’s Habits

a lit red candle surrounded by darkness

Have you ever, ever kept a New Year’s resolution beyond – oh, about 3rd January? Maybe 1st February, if you’re really pushing it? That’s because New Year’s resolutions are often completely unrealistic goals. Going to drop three dress sizes. Going to walk five miles a day. Going to give up chocolate completely. (Were we MAD???) 

 

But what actually works, we find, is to focus instead on getting into good habits. And when you sell it to yourself like that, there’s an implicit sense of forgiving. Fall off the wagon for a day, or eat a Twix, or forget to drink those two litres of water, and it doesn’t feel catastrophic at all. You can just gently nudge yourself to do better tomorrow, rather than feeling like you’ve blown it.

 

Good habits don’t happen overnight, of course. 21 days is often quoted as the minimum, but often it’s longer than that. The average is actually two months – 66 days, to be exact (according to the most famous study into the subject, by University College London health psychology researcher Philippa Lally). But don’t let that put you off. And don’t aim ridiculously high; honestly, it’s the small changes that can make the biggest difference, because they’re achievable. 

 

So, here are our top recommendations for little habit shifts that could pretty much change your life – and your wellbeing levels – by the time 2020 rolls around…

 

Eat every few hours. (Don’t wait till you’re ready to gnaw your arm off.) It’s such a common misconception that skipping meals helps you lose weight. In fact, that’s going to impact on your blood sugar levels, making you ravenously hungry – often turning to caffeine or a sugar hit, as an antidote, keeping you on that rollercoaster. Sometimes, we might feel we need to skip meals because we’re working to a deadline, or because we’ve got a big dinner coming up – but far better to snack healthily. Keep a power bar (not one of the sugary ones), a banana, some almonds or other nuts in your work bag, so that you’re never without something healthy to nibble on. 

 

Make enough dinner to take leftovers to work. It’s so easy to grab a sandwich (always unappetisingly chilled) for lunch, when we really could do better than that. We’re not sure about the concept of meal-prepping on the weekend for the week ahead that is sometimes suggested – we’d rather spend our weekends out there in the fresh air, yomping the hills or planting bulbs, thanks, but what is perfectly realistic is to cook a little more supper and bring the extra to work next day. (Team Beauty Bible does this and Jo’s fridge is home to many a healthy Tupperware-d leftover waiting to be re-heated for lunch!) 

 

Put your workouts in your diary. Think of them as an appointment with your healthier self. We are great believers in the power of self-care. It’s not selfish; whenever we have to take care of anyone else, we need to take care of ourselves, first. (The analogy is that in-flight message which tells you to put the oxygen mask on yourself, before helping anyone else.) It can feel hard to squeeze in a workout, or a walk. But if that’s a fixed point in your diary, it’s easier to plan around it. (We generally find that our energy levels are boosted by a power-walk or a yoga class, and that work goes much more smoothly afterwards when we’re back at our desks. So it’s a win-win.)

 

Buy yourself a big water bottle, and keep it on your desk.It’s now possible to get very generously-proportioned water bottles to keep water cool and encourage day-long sipping. You probably wouldn’t want to carry this size around with you (we like the Chilly’s 750ml bottle, BTW), but get through one in the morning and one in the afternoon and you’re two-thirds of the way there with your daily water goals. And whenever you feel stressed, take a glug of water. It’s amazing how it cools the brain as well as the body.

 

Set a limit on social media. We find the new ScreenTime social media limiting app pretty scary, actually, in terms of how quickly we can ratchet up half an hour of scrolling through Instagram pics or watching daft Facebook videos. (We find it much easier to avoid Twitter. Fact: nobody is ever, ever going to go to their grave wishing they’d spent more time on Twitter.) But for 2019, we’re really, really going to try to stick to our self-imposed limit – and maybe even reduce it over time. It’s way, way too easy to get lost in social media – so what we really find helps is having a book or a Kindle or a glossy magazine with us at all times, so there’s no risk of mindless scrolling because there’s nothing else to do. If it’s hard, switch your phone off. You really have to think twice about how important seeing someone’s latest ‘selfie’ is, before switching it on again just to look at that.

 

Above all, be kind to yourself. See above – but you should never, ever feel guilty about carving out time in a busy life just for you. Maybe for a massage. Or a class of some kind. Or even for a nap. We live in incredibly stressful, uncertain times and it’s only by charging up our batteries that we can be expected to cope – so never feel bad about doing the things that help you do just that. And above all, try really hard not to beat yourself up if habits do sometimes slip. Don’t throw your hands up and go, ‘Well, that’s that, then. I’ve failed.’ Just get back on the horse (as Sarah would definitely say), and re-establish your goal. No biggie. 

 

And have a wonderful, healthy 2019, won’t you?

The Beauty Bible’s Gift Edit

top down of a white present wrappe din gold ribbon on pink background

We do not want ornaments. We do not have room on our bedside tables for any more books (lovely as they are). We definitely don’t want ‘joke’ presents which sit around in a bag in the hall awaiting a trip to a nearby town, to drop them at a charity shop. (Lest the giver finds their singing bass –and yes, we got those – in a nearby Oxfam.) We’ve reached the point where what we really, really want (to quote the Spice Girls) is something that makes us feel pampered, or perks up our faces, or shifts our mood. And working on the basis that buying friends and family the things you rate so much you’d be thrilled to receive them yourself is a darned good place to start your shopping, here’s what we’re asking Santa for, for Christmas 2018 – from stocking fillers to splurges.

Margaret Dabbs Fabulous Cracker, £12. It’s a cracker! No, it really is – but it’s our kind of cracker, which pulls to reveal a 15 ml of her Nourishing Nail & Cuticle Serum, a cult favourite sized to slip perfectly in the handbag for on-the-go massaging into the nail area. (We like to do this whenever someone’s keeping us waiting. Much better for your nails and cuticles than scrolling through Instagram.)

Temple Spa Breath of Life Aromatherapy Inhalation Essence, £12. We’d rather find this in the toe of a stocking than a satsuma (and that’s saying something). A head-clearing ‘whoosh’!, it’s perfect for anyone who finds the festive season a bit stressful but is also very protective against winter bugs, via its uplifting but also antibacterial/antiviral essential oil blend of eucalyptus, menthol and tea tree.

Soapsmith Bloomsbury Bath Soak, £14 for 350ml. This water-softening soak is a rose bouquet garlanded by honeysuckle, primrose and peony (romantically designed to recreate the smell of flowerbeds in Bloomsbury Square gardens), infusing the water with a revitalising blend of Dead Sea salts, Epsom salts and cocoa butter. (Give it to a busy mum friend with a voucher for babysitting her kids while she takes a long, indulgent bath.)

This Works Sleep Power Nap Spray – Travel Duo, £15. The latest sleep-beckoning innovation from This Works is an aromatherapy-powered spritz to help you optimise even the most fleeting opportunities to snooze, with a clinically-proven blend of vetiver, lavender and chamomile. Can you hear us snoring from there?

Neom Organics Happiness Home Mist, £18. We all want our homes to be filled with the scent of happiness during the festive season – and this just is a ‘happy’ smell, with its positive, uplifting blend of white neroli, lemon and mimosa. (Sure beats Febreze.)

Biobelle My Diary Of Beauty Secrets Facial Mask Kit, £24. Oh, we love a face mask – that invitation to ‘relax for 15 minutes’ while it gets to work. (Oh, alright then!) We also love the design of this kit, like a secret diary that flips open to reveal six sheet masks for different skincare actions: soothing and hydrating, brightening, glow-boosting, age-prevention, firming, moisturising and more. That’s like giving someone six excuses to take time out and pamper themselves.

Hayo’u Beauty Restorer Lite, £35. We’re massive fans of facial massage, and these polished jade stones – from Chinese medical practitioner Katie Brindle – are just miraculous for draining lymph, eliminating puffiness, boosting glow and generally banishing tension in a clenched jaw at the end of a stressful day.

Aromatherapy Associates Miniature Bath & Shower Oil Collection, £40. This has probably appeared in every single gift guide we’ve ever collated – and it probably always will. There is literally nothing out there to rival the mood-shifting power of Aromatherapy Associates oils, which fill the entire house with fragrance via a single capful. (Too many of them to count have won Beauty Bible Awards, over the years.) Here’s the entire line-up, in 3 ml miniature form, all dressed up for Christmas this year with a stunning Maria Grachvogel print.

Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Refine & Glow Miracle Collection, £42. Aurelia’s products have done so well with Beauty Bible testers – again, pretty much everything in this generously-proportioned print bag has scooped one of our awards over the years: Miracle Cleanser (30 ml), Refine & Polish Miracle Balm (15 ml), a little 2ml size of the gloriously neroli-scented Cell Repair Night Oil, with a bamboo muslin cloth for every day (or more probably night) of the week.

And a stocking filler-y PS: Beauty Bible Lip Balm. Small blowing of own (angelic) trumpet here: our only ever beauty product, chunky and luscious and gloriously rich in shea butter, vitamin and E and aloe vera. We launched it quite simply because it’s the best balm Team Beauty Bible has ever, ever tried ourselves – and everyone whose stocking we tuck it into agrees. And let’s face it: when cold, Christmassy winds blow (actually infinitely preferable to grey, warm gloom), can you ever have too many lip balms?

Have a great one, with love from Jo, Sarah (and our elves).

Beneath The Layers: Winter Body Care

beauty-bible-feet

You know that saying, ‘Out of sight, out of mind?’ Well, that’s how an awful lot of women of our acquaintance regard the skin under their clothing, during the cold months. We pile on the vests, socks, gilets, gloves, scarves, tights – often all at once, resembling some kind of Michelin woman, when the weather’s bad enough. And unless we heat our houses to tropical levels (which at Beauty Bible we definitely don’t), there’s definitely no temptation to dance around naked, or even near-naked, at home.

All of which can be an excuse for not attending to the skin on our bodies. (At least until it’s time to start thinking about what it might actually feel like to be warm again, and want to peel off some layers – which usually happens around April, in our experience.) It’s easy to get lazy because that body skin is basically rarely on show except in the privacy of a steamy bathroom – because if you’re anything like us, you’re nipping into your flannelette PJs pronto, the minute you take your day clothes off.

Actually, those clothes themselves pose quite some challenges for body skin: fabric physically ‘wicks’ moisture from the body’s surface, drying it out. Thus the bottom line is that if you’re not lavishing lots of TLC from top-to-toe, you’re going to end up with skin that is dull, dry and flat-looking – and feels like nothing so much as sandpaper.

Aside from wanting skin that just plain feels nice to the touch – and isn’t tight or itchy – there’s another really good reason for continuing to give your body plenty of TLC, during the upcoming months. Well-moisturised cells allow for healthy ‘cellular communication’ – so your skin doesn’t just appear younger, when moisture levels are kept topped up; it actually behaves like younger skin, better able to renew itself. Our advice, then, is to turn on the heated towel rail, warm up the bathroom – and take a few minutes to nourish from neck-to-toe after showering or bathing each time, with the following favourite ‘finds’ of ours. They should transform caring for your body, year-round, from a beauty chore into a positive pleasure.

Start by using an oil scrub on knees, elbows, feet and shins, each time you bathe. The great thing about oil-based scrubs is that they literally leave a ‘slick’ of oil on the skin’s surface. (Often, a gorgeously fragrant one.) Work gently into areas that are particularly prone to roughness, in circular movements. Salt or sugar scrubs will dissolve in the water, leaving a fine layer on the surface that clings to skin as you get out of the water; we still like to moisturise afterwards, but this thin veil on the skin is a great ‘base coat’ for a rich cream. Our favourites include NEOM Organics Real Luxury Body Scrub, £34, with its divine scent of jasmine, lavender and rosewood; upliftingly-fragranced Temple Spa Sugar Buff, £23; and Green People Sugar Scrub, which nourishes with a blend of shea butter, rosehip, pomegranate and coconut oils.

If you skin is really bumpy and ‘chicken skin’-like, meanwhile, it may be Keratosis Pilaris (KP). Shabir writes very well about this here, – it’s a problem which affects nearly 40% of the population – but our go-to topical product for this is always Ameliorate Transforming Body Lotion, £22.50, a great treatment for rough, bumpy skin, featuring a combination of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and a special hydration complex. Impressive stuff.

The cold weather watchword, pretty much regardless of skin type, is:  ‘more’. More moisturising, more often. We actually like to double-moisturise, applying first a body lotion, then maybe an oil or a richer butter to ‘lock in’ that moisture. Our faves include the incredible Aromatherapy Associates Nourishing Enrich Body Butter (this jasmine-scented mega-treat seems expensive at £55 for 200ml, but we suggest you put it top of your ‘Dear Santa’ list right now); Soapsmith Bloomsbury Body Butter Melt, £12, and the super-affordable Jason Nourishing Cocoa Butter Cream, £6.99.

If you prefer an oil, or want to add another layer of skin TLC over your body butter, we’re fond of Weleda Pomegranate Regenerating Body Oil, £24.95 (to Jo, it smells a little like Guerlain Shalimar!); Ilapothecary Feminine Happy Oil, £40, which has a mood-balancing blend of essential oils including heavenly rose – and again, there’s a bargain option in the form of good old Jason Vitamin E Oil 5000iu, £6.99.

Pay special attention to elbows, heels, cuticles. These can get actively scaly and flaky during winter. DO NOT PICK! That’s rule number one. Secondly, after you’ve scrubbed (see above), apply an ointment-style balm and work in circular movements to get under every raised cell. If you keep this on your bedside table, it will remind you to do this every night. Lanolips 101 Ointment Multi-purpose Superbalm Lips + Hands + All Over, £10.99, is terrific for the task, while we’re also big fans of Pommade Divine, £14, with its wonderfully camphoraceous scent.

Be nice to your feet. You have pedicures in summer – why not winter? We almost make ourselves yawn afresh by repeating the mantra (yet again) that happy feet make a happy woman, but we believe in having year-round medical pedicures (from the wonderful Margaret Dabbs), to remove hard skin build-up and check in with foot health generally. In summer, we book in once a month – but once every six weeks minimum in autumn, winter and early spring, too. Because feet are closeted in lots of layers, inside shoes and boots, they can get sweaty – leading to problems of athlete’s foot. There will also be times – party nights, yoga classes – when your feet will emerge from those opaques and go on show. And how much nicer to be able to look at glamorously painted toenails and well-tended cuticles than feel embarrassed about getting your hooves out?

So: stay warm, stay snuggly – but underneath those cosy layers, be sure to stay smooth and soft, too!

The Importance Of Acceptance

the-importance-of-acceptance

We know lots of women who’ve had fillers, Botox and other cosmetic ‘tweaks’. And if that includes you, that’s your choice. But you won’t find us lining up for a syringe-ful of anything ‘age-defying’ in a cosmeto-dermatologist’s waiting room. Not now, not ever. We have plenty of beauty editor colleagues who’ve done so, of course – sometimes in the line of duty, to educate other women about what it’s like and what results to expect. But along the way, in some cases, they’ve entirely stopped looking like the women we knew (and not in a good way).

Fact: once you have that first procedure – even if it’s something as simple as Botox – you’ve crossed the rubicon. If that doesn’t make you better and solve all your life problems (and trust us, it won’t), then where next…? It’s a rabbit hole and a slippery slope. (Possibly a slippery slope into a rabbit hole, actually, is how we see it.)

Do we always love what we see in the mirror? No. Nobody said ageing was easy. But we’re happy to be living in a time when there are, at last, fabulous older role models out there. The ninety-something, super-stylish Iris Apfel, for instance. Linda Rodin, who sold her Rodin Olio Lusso skincare line to Estée Lauder, and whose grey-haired fabulousness (and pet poodle, Winks) we just adore following on her @lindaandwinks Instagram account. Or Jan de Villeneuve, 60s model, still going strong in her 70s (and soon to make an appearance in a quirky Jo Malone London campaign). They don’t airbrush or ‘fix’ their lines – they embrace them. And that’s what we strive for, too.

What is entirely possible, however – as the women above all prove – is that it’s easier than ever to look good for your age. So this month on VH, we thought we’d share what we have learned, over our long careers, really, really works.

Get a great makeover

Before anyone heads off to a doctor’s surgery on a quest for eternal youth, we like to divert them to a beauty counter – probably Bobbi Brown’s. One of the things that happens as we age, and which women find most distressing, is that their make-up doesn’t work the way it used to. It settles into lines. The complexion underneath has changed, too – often becoming paler and more washed-out. Brows go grey. Because of that – and the ever-present fear of looking like Widow Twankey, and having someone shout ‘Mutton!’ after you in the street – some women stop using make-up altogether. Which is absolutely the worst thing to do, because you will simply fade away.

Pale skin, pale brows, pale lashes, paler lips – it all adds up to a disappearing act. But Bobbi Brown’s make-up artists, in particular, are great at giving makeovers that make you look like you – only better. At the very least you’ll pick up some tips and tricks (and it’s only make-up, not a tattoo – if you hate the results, just cleanse them away when you get home).

Find a great facialist

For our money, a good facial with massage by skilled hands can give some gorgeous instant results and really get skin glowing. Ask friends for recommendations, because not all facialists are created equal, by a long chalk. (But you might just find a magic-worker round the corner.)

Add at-home facial massage into your regime

It works wonders; on ‘grey days’ it revs up circulation, restoring glow. We love the following, from Annee de Mamiel, which is fantastic performed with her facial oils. (Find them here.)

• Smooth your favourite facial oil over entire face and neck.

• Cup hands over nose and mouth, breathe in and out deeply.

• Tug your earlobes with thumb and index finger.  Then with fingertips, use firm, circular movements to massage from behind ears to base of neck.

• From the point of your chin, work up and outwards along the jaw to your ear; then from corners of mouth over the cheeks to ear, with circular movements; then from base of nose to top of ear.        Repeat the whole sequence three times.

• Sweep your fingertips firmly over your eye brows, then under, then gently pinch along them. Repeat twice.

• Pressing firmly with your middle fingers, circle the eyes beginning above the inner corners and working outwards.  Repeat three times.

• From the centre of your forehead, just above the nose, zigzag middle fingers in small, firm motions out to the temples; repeat working up the forehead.

• With the side of your index finger (held vertically), smooth skin from centre of face outwards, beginning with your forehead, then sides of nose, middle of mouth and centre of chin.

• Finish by breathing deeply, hands cupped over mouth and nose.

Try a jade stone

If there’s one thing more effective than massaging with fingers, it’s using a tool to do so. The Hayo’u Beauty Restorer has become a ‘cult’ product, and we’re so not surprised – it’s brilliant for dispelling fluid build-up and eliminating facial puffiness, especially around the jaw.

Get the needle!

Not Botox, or fillers, but acupuncture needles. We swear by them. And believe us, the needles truly aren’t scary. We were having facial acupuncture long before we met the wondrous Annee de Mamiel (see above), but we love her philosophy and her explanation of why facial acupuncture works. ‘Beauty is about being balanced on the inside, in every way – physically and psychologically. If you feel good about yourself, it reflects in the way you look. Dry, wrinkled, saggy skin mirrors what is happening in your body, so a facial acupuncturist looks at the roots of the problems and treat those too.’ For instance, the common problem of vertical lines between your eyebrows can relate to liver energy not flowing properly (frowning too much is a factor too!), so as well as needling the lines themselves, an acupuncturist will treats the liver. It’s also incredibly relaxing, we find – and of course that shows instantly on the face, too.

Never, ever, EVER look at yourself in the ‘vanity’ mirror of your car

If you want to feel good about yourself, and practice ‘acceptance’, that is. Invariably, lines appear there that weren’t there yesterday. It’s some kind of quirk of physics, we think. (Jo’s stuck gaffer tape over hers, to avoid nasty surprises.) And be really careful with FaceTime on your phone, too – we kinda hate Apple for coming up with that.

Last but not least, think nice thoughts

Your skin and face reflect your state of mind. If you’re stressed, you run the risk of looking pinched and peaky. Try thinking of a couple of nice things that have happened to you today – remember someone you love and, or something delicious that you have to look forward to. Even if life is really tough (and it happens to everyone), there’s almost always something positive. Gratitude and hope are great beautifiers. Be kind to others, and to yourself, too. That’s true beauty, in our book.

Post-Summer SOS

bb-september-18

It isn’t usually like this. We get through to the end of August feeling like we need to add tanning drops to our moisturiser, spritzing BetterYou Vitamin D spray to make up for the sun we didn’t get during our British summer, and lamenting money spent on swimwear not worn.

And then along came ‘The Summer of 2018′ – to go down in history, like ‘The Summer of 1976′ (only this time we weren’t, alas, cruising London streets in the passenger seat of a Triumph Stag with the roof down…)

Hasn’t it been quite extraordinary living in a country where everyone – but everyone – seems to have a tan? Because basically, all the wisdom we preach about shielding skin against UV light went out of the window, along with the intentions not to eat more than one ice cream cone a day. As a nation, most of us have soaked up every ray we could. We’re certainly guilty. (Though we think it’ll be interesting to see whether we all get fewer colds and ‘flu this winter.)

The bottom line is, even if you languished like a heroine from a Victorian novel under a parasol, it has been almost impossible to escape without some collateral damage from the sunshine – not just to skin but to hair. So rest assured: you aren’t the only person whose face, body and hair is suffering from post-summer skin stress, right now. Yes, we all headed into summer knowing full well that UV light’s the enemy, ageing-wise. But short of spending summer in a darkened room, almost everyone’s caught red-nosed/cheeked, this year. The solution? Once you’ve unburned your sunburn, you need to answer some other urgent beauty needs – and here’s how.

First, tackle dryness

When you’re actually enjoying the sun, skin can seem miraculously dewy and gorgeous. Then the minute you get back home – or to the office, where the air-con may be on (and we’re only weeks away from the central heating season) – something hideous happens, and almost everyone starts to look like a snake due to shed at least one skin. So: replenishing moisture and nutrients, top-to-toe, is No. 1 beauty priority – not least because moisture is essential for healthy cell communication and regeneration.

So: start by quenching skin with a boost of hyaluronic acid, the ‘buzz’ molecule which can retain over 1,000 times its weight in water, making it just about the best complexion drink we know. Garden of Wisdom Hyaluronic Serum can be layered under any other serum or moisturiser (and is suitable for all skin types, including oily and sensitive). We also love This Works Light Time Skin Plumper – and both of these can just be slotted, hassle-free, into your existing regime. Alternatively, power up the moisture factor by switching to Derma E Hydrating Night Creme with Hyaluronic Acid, perhaps, or – one of the richest, simplest rich moisturisers we know – good old Weleda Soothing Facial Cream.

Turbo-charge moisturisation with a twice-weekly face mask

They’re a great way to get back some of that dewiness – and we’re always happy to obey the command on the packaging of a face mask to ‘relax for 10 minutes’. We may not do much else we’re told to, but we’ll happily submit to teeny-tiny writing on the back of a sachet of Sarah Chapman Skinesis 3D Moisture Infusion, a jar of Temple Spa Quench or a tube of Aromatherapy Associates Soothing Treatment Mask. (However, avoid mud and clay-based masks just for now; you want moisture, not skin purification.)

Treat your body to some TLC

If you’re anything like us, it isn’t just your face that’s suffering. (Jo noticed ‘shin dandruff’ on her yoga mat the other day, swiftly remedied by a generous application of This Works Skin Deep Dry Leg Oil, which is nothing short of a miracle-worker. We love, love, love a rich body butter for everywhere else – the Soapsmith Butter Melts are gorgeous (and affordable), though requiring a tad more elbow grease to apply than Aromatherapy Associates Enrich Body Butter, which is coming to a desert island with us if we’re ever marooned (or invited by Kirsty Young). For the ultimate indulgence, there is Temple Spa Body Truffle, which rivals Fortnum’s food hall for luxurious ingredients (caviar, truffles, champagne, etc.), and which won a Gold Beauty Bible Award in the Anti-Ageing Body Creams category of our annual awards.

Secondly, tackle pigmentation. 

The most angst-inducing legacy of summer exposure isn’t flaky skin, however (even if it is a harbinger of lines and wrinkles to come). It’s the longer-term, tougher-to-tackle challenge of pigmentation, which women find so very distressing. In the Garden of Wisdom (GoW) range, you’ll find various products to target dark spots/sun spots/whatever you like to call them. GoW 100% Pure Prickly Pear Seed Oil, for instance, is charged up with super antioxidants, alongside vitamin K to help brighten age spots and hyperpigmentation. The most potent product in the range, however, is GoW Alpha Arbutin 2% and Kojic Acid 1% Serum, containing two ingredients considered to be a gentle but effective alternative to hydroquinone, alongside paper mulberry and vitamin B3, also known to help correct uneven skintone. As the name suggests, iS Clinical White Lightening Serum also targets hyperpigmentation. Invest as your budget allows, is our advice – but be aware that if you’re using a product to tackle pigmentation, you also absolutely 100% have to wear an SPF30 over the top, a) to give the product the best chance of effectiveness, and b) to shield vulnerable skin against future damage.

Whack on a hair mask

Absolutely the best way to get hair back in good nick – although we also prescribe a salon appointment, to snip off ends that are probably beyond repair. Unless you have the very finest hair, more is more when it comes to hair treatments. More product, more generously worked through from roots to ends after shampooing, and left on for more time than you’d imagine. Overnight, ideally (we cover a pillow with a towel when we do that, to avoid trashing a pillowcase). Alternatively, again shampoo first, smooth on your chosen product, wrap your hair in clingfilm, and let it work its magic while you devour your latest chosen boxset. (‘Big Little Lies’, anyone? Eighth, albeit Meghan-less, series of ‘Suits’? Just don’t bother with Matt Groening’s ‘Disenchanted’, is our advice. You’re welcome.)

You’ll find some great hair-boosting options on VH: we’d point you in the direction of Peter Lamas Youth Revival 5 Oil Hair Treatment Mask, or 72 Hair Intense Replenishing Mask. Then simply invest some time over the next few weeks in putting back what ‘The Summer of 2018′ took out.

And if you follow this advice, your skin (and straw thatch) may just forgive you.