April is the cruellest month, and it is about to descend. I’m sure T. S. Eliot wasn’t talking about the perils of midlife skin, but the pain is real.
My winter clothes look drab and dour in the spring light, my lacklustre face worse still.
Add to this yesterday’s loss of an hour’s sleep and the situation is reaching crisis point.
Happily, the first few months of 2023 have generated some complete corkers in terms of complexion-restoring products offering instant and/or morning-after results.
Some beauty experts might roll their eyes at this. Skin maintenance is supposed to be about discipline, a regime with long-term repercussions. I feel this about sunscreen.
First Aid Beauty’s new Bounce-Boosting Serum (£40, look fantastic.com) is another great primer- type innovation. Stock image used
Otherwise, call me superficial, but it doesn’t seem too much to ask to want to emit an immediate ‘Wow’ following application in order to feel money was well spent.
My first ‘Wow’ of the year came care of Dr Brandt’s new iD-Stress Icy Gel Moisturiser (£42, drbrandtskincare.uk) and the accompanying iD-Stress Fatigue Fighting Eye Gel (£32). This duo promises to battle the visual effects of stress, exhaustion and low mood, also known as ‘life’.
Both are wonderful, cooling, gleam-enhancing affairs, and jet-lagged celebrities are going wild about their ability to wake up the face. Use as a primer for instant radiance and hydration.
First Aid Beauty’s new Bounce-Boosting Serum (£40, look fantastic.com) is another great primer- type innovation.
The brand’s Ultra Repair Cream (£32 for 170g) is a global bestseller, with a pot sold every ten seconds, and this addition deserves to be just as successful.
A testament to the power of peptides, it instills immediate plumpness, and 100 per cent of its testers reported that it softened expression lines, which I’m taking to mean ‘furious middle-aged woman face’.
I’ve mentioned the Avene Hyaluron Activ B3 collection before, but continue to be seriously impressed. The range includes the Hyaluron Activ B3 Serum (£32, boots.com), Eye Cream (£24), Night Cream (£31.20) and Day Cream (£30.40).
The formulas rely on a blend of hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and haritaki extract, a modish, antioxidant-rich superfruit. I’ve bagged the lot, and they’re now 20 per cent off at Boots.
Dermalogica’s new Phyto Nature Oxygen Cream (£130, dermalogica.co.uk) is extremely good news, as well it might be at that price. One of this trusted brand’s most successful launches, it is billed as breathing new life into ageing skin. It certainly gives that impression — revitalising via so many hydrating, oxygen-optimising plant actives — whether or not it gives us back the ‘four years’ of youth its marketing puffery claims.
I’m still loving the irritatingly named Faace Stress Faace Moisturiser (£34, wearefaace.com), an excellent restorer of dry/oily/dull/sensitive/hormonal complexions. Apply at night and, by morning, all is calm.
Finally, ten years on from its arrival, La Mer has reformulated its Moisturizing Soft Cream (£78 for 15ml, cremedelamer.co.uk). Potions come and go, but the unguent I continue to get asked about most often is Creme de la Mer and its nutrient-rich, fermented kelp ‘miracle broth’ created over 12 years and with 6,000 experiments by aerospace physicist Max Huber to treat chemical burns he received in an horrific accident.
The brand was later bought by Estee Lauder. In my 30s, I’d invest in a tiny pot if I was forced to attend a wedding at which an ex-boyfriend would be present, as its impact was an instant ‘kapow’.
My sceptical doctor father used to slather it on his war wounds, until he realised the expense. Prima ballerina Tamara Rojo used it to restore her battered dancer’s feet, insistent that her mother must never find out.
Twenty years ago, La Mer was spoken of in terms of myth and miracle: be it the story of its origins, its starry fanbase, or chronicles of its results. Today, there’s less mystery. We know its ingredients support the skin’s barrier lipids — essential fatty acids vital to a youthful guise.
The Moisturizing Soft Cream is my preferred La Mer variant: lighter and more supple than the original, with every bit as much kelpy goodness. It has long been beloved of make-up artists thanks to its ability to transform model skin ahead of catwalk shows.
After just one application of its updated formula, 88 per cent of users reported that their skin had more spring. Worth a thought.
RACE YOU TO IT!
Forget chocs, The Glossybox Easter Egg (£30 for subscribers, £40 for nonsubscribers, glossybox.co.uk) is a cornucopia of sugar-free highs. This giant, re-useable egg features five full-size beauty hits and five minis worth £204. Brands include Elemis and Liz Earle, plus Vita Liberta gradual tan and some choice slap.
FIVE BRILLIANT BROW PENCILS
Kosas Brow Pop Dual-Action Defining Pencil (£20, spacenk.com)
This comes in ten subtle shades, including grey (great on ash blondes), and over-plucked midlifers love it.
Mii Beautifying Brow Wand (£17.50, miicosmetics.com)
An award-winning three-in-one styler featuring a precision pencil with an angled tip, an arch-lifting illuminator and a grooming brush.
Iconic London Triple Precision Brow Definer (£22, boots.com)
This slim pencil also comes with a fine brow pen and a brush, offering tattoo-effect results that last for up to 24 hours. Note the terrific cool brown colour.
Zara Eyebrow Pencil (£7.99, zara.com)
Zara’s excellent ultra-fine pencil is equipped with a handy shaping brush and helps you create natural-looking faux hairs. Refills are available for £5.99.
MY ICON OF THE WEEK
The supermodel, 42, cleanses with water in the morning, removing make-up with organic coconut oil at night
The supermodel, 42, cleanses with water in the morning, removing make-up with organic coconut oil at night. Next it’s Dior’s Capture Totale Super Potent Serum (from £72, dior.com), with its accompanying moisturiser and eye cream, which its ambassador loves for its imparting of glow and plumpness.
Fans of subtle, cerebral scent rejoice, Diptyque L’Eau Papier Eau de Toilette (from £90, diptyqueparis.com) is the house’s first new perfume for a couple of years — and customers are going gaga. Its creator was Fabrice Pellegrin, concoctor of the brand’s muchloved Do Son, Eau de Lierre and Volutes. At first, you get an extract of roasted sesame seeds, which convey the aroma of ink, blended with hot rice, mimosa and white musk to evoke the textural alchemy of its meeting paper. Then, once the nuttiness dries down, there’s a clean-sheet whiteness to this comforting scent that envelops the wearer in an expressive, musky fragrance. Fans are declaring it utterly addictive.