This week Sarah celebrates two of the most passionate women in the beauty industry and discovers a moisturiser perfect for her increasingly thirsty skin
There are two types of people in the health and beauty industry: those who do it for the money; and those who do it out of love. I make no judgement about either; but there is a big difference between the two.
Annee de Mamiel is very much in the love camp. She puts in so much more than she takes out. That is why she deserves to have every success with her new venture.
After years hand-blending oils for her clients - Annee specialises in facial acupuncture, which she combines with massage and other healing techniques - she is launching her Botaniques range into Liberty.
Being Annee, of course, there can be no compromise. Each bottle is blended by Annee’s actual hands. There are crystals and blessings. When you buy one of these babies, you’re not just buying a gorgeous-smelling, beyond scrumptious product - you’re buying a little piece of Annee too.
Every single thing in the range is divine, from her powder exfoliator (vitamin C, ginseng, gemstone and pearl powders to brighten and smooth) to her cleansing balm, fragranced with honey myrtle, fragonia, chamomile and rose geranium and full of nourishing ingredients including probiotics, anti-bacterial manuka and a trio of nourishing kukui, calendula and moringa oils.
Annee’s signature are her seasonal oils, blended according to the principles of Chinese medicine. This spring’s is a zingy, uplifting affair, alive with grapefruit, juniper, geranium and calendula. And if you think the price tag (£67) is too high, remember: a single drop of this nectar is worth an entire bottle of some of the mass-produced stuff out there.
Also driven by passion is Margaret Dabbs, who has built a loyal and varied following (you are just as likely to bump into a pinstriped old gent at her clinic in New Cavendish Street as you are a fashionable young thing).
Feet are Dabbs' thing, transforming the gnarly and the neglected into appendages worthy of the most haute of heels. But now she is branching out: into hands.
I’ll be honest, the way I treat my hands is shocking. I hardly ever have manicures, mostly because I’m so embarrassed about the state of my chewed cuticles and pained looking nails, I can’t face the scornful looks of the poor soul tasked with restoring them to civilisation.
But observing them in the morning sunlight as they turn the wheel of the car on the daily school run, I can see they’re in dire need of a little love. Unkempt hands are just as ageing as a neglected face, and that is precisely what Dabbs’ new range aims to address.
The ingredients include her favourite, emu oil, already the star of the foot range. Also in the mix are alaria esculanta extract (a type of seaweed), geranium and mandarin, which gives the range its uplifting fragrance.
There’s a scrub, a serum (best used overnight as a treatment) and a gorgeously rich hand lotion - plus a hand sanitiser - one of those things you never knew you needed until it was invented.
The older I get (and I was 48 last week), the thirstier my face gets. These days, I have to rely on oil to stop my face from feeling dry and tight - which is all well and good when you’re just pottering around at weekends, but on workdays, when one is required to scrub up somewhat, it makes putting on makeup a slippery business.
I’ve tried countless moisturisers, but very few seem to last the course - until the lovely people at Lancome sent me a pot of Renergie Multi-Lift.
It came with page and pages of complicated sciency stuff (something to do with astronauts and the effects of gravity on skin firmness); suffice to say, it’s awfully good - which it ought to be for £64.
I’ve been using the Creme Legere version (it comes in three strengths, light, day and rich), which has a lovely, gel-like texture but spreads like a cream and sits comfortably but firmly on the skin. Yours at Lancome counters nationwide from next month.
Lastly, if moisture is your main concern when it comes to lips, may I recommend Burt’s Bees' new Lip Crayons: 100 per cent natural (shea butter, kendi and jojoba oils), fragrance-free and perfect for warmer weather when a full-on lip can seem too much. They double up brilliantly as blushers, too. My shade’s call Napa Vineyard. Now there’s a surprise.