Beauty News

Welcome To My Washbag

Toiletries on white background

I still insist we’re going to Ibiza at some point.  So I’m beginning to think of what to pack, a ritual I needlessly go through every year. I say needless, because I’ve realised I’ve packed the exact same things these last ten years we’ve been going to the same destination. Hendrik the hotel owner, it occurred to me, only knows me in my two increasingly faded silk yoga pants (khaki-turning-beige and mulberry-turning-pink), see-through cotton sun dress from H&M, and a selection of ragged t-shirts with paint stains. Along with some beaten-up flip flops and espadrilles, it’s all I’ve ever needed on the island – I’m hardly going to rock up in sequinned hot pants at er, what’s it called, ‘Amnesia’ to hang out with the ‘party-animals’. Never have done, never will. Read More…

The More Of Less

There is beauty in simplicity modern vector brush calligraphy

For someone who regularly posts to social channels, such as Instagram, it’s taken lockdown for me to realise that I quite like my bare face. Without the need or pressure to pile on make-up or to present my ‘best’ self, I posted make-up free pictures for the first time in my life. Overwhelmingly, the comments were positive which led me to think more carefully about what I really need to be happy with my skin.

I know that I’m not alone in feeling a certain freedom in spending longer in my own space with nobody but family and friends to judge (they don’t). Other than for testing for reviews, I cannot remember the last time I willingly put foundation on my face – and yet, it’s not so long ago that I couldn’t contemplate being without it. I always mean to put a slick of Gucci translucent red lipstick on before I venture out but don’t always remember to do it. Forget my lipstick? I don’t know myself now!

So, with make-up less prominent in daily life, I find myself making more mindful choices when it comes to skin care. I stress mindful rather than complicated. With simplification comes freedom – the worry about what to layer over what, how many steps in a routine are necessary and what does toner actually do? Necessaries are simple – a decent cleanser that removes pollution and general grime keeps pores from clogging and freshens the skin. We Are Wild have a clever balm stick that you massage over your skin and turns to oil as your body heat warms it through. By adding a tiny bit of water with your finger-tips it then turns very lightly foamy, at which point, you wipe it away with a damp cleansing cloth. If the entire process takes more than a minute and a half I would be surprised, although do remember, complexions love massage, so take as long as you like.

Personally, I am not religious about an SPF day to day unless I know that I’ll be outside for a while. I always have an early morning walk with no SPF for about an hour and apply thereafter if needed. This Works In Transit, £29, doubles as a moisturiser and facial SPF 30 – I prefer a built-for-purpose dual product because often a separate SPF and moisturiser aren’t compatible with each other and form little rolls on the skin. Plus, a double layer feels heavy and who needs that on a hot summer day?

My final ‘necessity’ would be a night moisturiser – I almost never use an eye cream – it’s the same face, one product will do – a thought echoed by Colette Haydon, creator of LixirSkin whose Universal Emulsion, £29, is beautifully hydrating. Boost it up with Lixirskin Night Switch, £24, to add a lipid layer to your beauty sleep if you need extra moisture. It’s a wonderful blend of lipids, ceramides and phytosterols that all skin loves.

It’s not so much going back to basics, although you may find your skin flourishes from taking a break from too much or chopping and changing often, it’s more about de-cluttering the mindset that tells us we have to follow the trends and pile our complexions with all the stuff. It’s about finding the freedom to relax with your skin and with your face – to stop searching for that miracle ingredient, instead, nurturing and appreciating what you have with thoughtful choices that suit you. Of course, add in anything else that you please – for glow and even tone, Vitamin C is your friend and Garden of Wisdom C-Deep Vitamin C Serum is a snip at £18. For oil-prone skin, Garden of Wisdom Salicylic Acid, £10, tackles blemishes and clogged pores while their Neurophroline Serum is a pollution fighter that ensures skin doesn’t dull under pressure – stress or environmental.  Any of these additions go after cleansing, before moisturising.

Although these days we don’t – can’t – live without an element of worry, the balance seems to be shifting from sweating the small stuff – all the stuff, in fact – to re-evaluating what really matters. There are real stresses and strains that come from our situation; creating moments that feel free from complexity are precious. Let’s find them and enjoy them.

Hair We Come!


Right at the very start of lockdown, I tried to buy hairdressing scissors because I have a fringe that grows and grows but I clearly wasn’t the only one with the foresight because, other than the most expensive, Japanese blades, there were none to be had. So, I bought some pet grooming scissors instead and have hacked away quite contentedly every couple of weeks or so. I can’t say that I’m replicating the hairdresser experience but it’s a wobbly edged fringe or hair to my chin and I’ve gone for the lesser of the two evils.

We’ve probably all been through various stages of hair despair and cannot wait for the re-opening (any day now!) of our beloved stylists. I couldn’t care less about a few stray greys but did start to mind about the lacklustre-ness of tresses that have seen no split ends removed for three months. It’s just, well, hanging and because I’m not used to having hair that hits my clavicle, makes me jump out of my skin from time to time when my eye unexpectedly catches something dark and spider-ish just above my cleavage. Read More…

Quarantine Twinkle Toes

blue sky with sun and feet with faces draw on them surrounding frame of shot.

I have always suspected there’s a price to pay for indulging in our vanities too much. I’m the one at the back muttering that all those acid toners will give you brown spots eventually, and the price for your smoothly Botoxed forehead is those beady, lidless eyes. I understood how people would get hooked on Russian lashes when I had them once, but the number of my own lashes I lost in the process made them anything but addictive to me. I’ve marvelled at the transformational effect of a hair weft for a photo shoot, but the thought of the damage permanent extensions can do to your hair has always made me settle for the not particularly luxuriant hair I’ve got. And I’m permanently jealous of the pretty gel nails literally none of my beauty colleagues are ever without anymore. But there is no way you’re going to tell me they won’t make your own nails weaker in the long run. And so: no pretty gel nails for me.

Of course, with the right (intensive, and often professional) care, any damage can be mitigated, so each to their own. And whether we’re talking skin, hair, or nails, any pro will advocate ‘fallow periods’ between courses of treatment; temporary amnesties for your fibres or tissues to let them recuperate and regenerate. They make a all the difference, and allow you to push on with impunity when it comes to your personal beauty essentials. Read More…

Look After Your Selfie

beauty written in capital bold letter with a glitter effect on pale pink background

Like most industries, social media has taken a big hit thanks to lock-down and Covid 19 in general. Many beauty brands have production facilities in China, France and Italy that have ground to a halt, and are only just seeing a glimmer of resurgence. Combined with the closure of retail outlets across the world and ingredients hard to source, beauty world in general is having to pivot hard to keep home-bound beauty consumers interested in doing more than plucking the odd chin hair and performing a lacklustre cleanse.

No matter how you may view ‘influencers’, they’re a barometer for trends and a visual indicator of the mood of the moment. That in itself is helpful for brands to understand what their consumer wants and be able to supply and act accordingly. With face masks rapidly becoming more popular will anyone buy lipstick anymore? Or will non-transfer colours experience a surge? Mascara, which had taken a downturn thanks to two big social media trends – natural lashes and false lashes – may see a pick up in sales as eyes will be the focus of an otherwise covered face. Now could well be a good time to pay care and attention to lashes – Sarah Chapman’s Skinesis Lash Boosting Eye Cleanse (£33) is a good place to start. Read More…

Lip Fillers In A Tube?

lip injection closeup

There aren’t many specific products I MUST have in my washbag at all times. Except one, and it’s a bizarre item to get so het up over on the few occasions it’s missing. It’s an antioxidant ‘lip complex’ by SkinCeuticals, and I’ve taken to using it as an antiageing lip cream overnight (which is technically incorrect, as antioxidants are primarily supposed to shield you from the day’s environmental attacks).

It’s been the last thing I’ve put on my face at night it for years, as it makes me wake up in the morning with full-looking lips. More importantly, the fine ‘lipstick’ line (there was one) that I spotted above my top lip 20 years ago is still, give or take, just one minor line. How could that be? Genes, perhaps, but I think it’s the ‘lip complex’. And so I’ve become devoted to it. What if it’s delivered me from aged lips all these years? I’m not prepared to give it up just to find out. Read More…