January, and my complexion is the colour of the sky: grey and lifeless, a depressing expanse of bleugh. A boost is desperately needed, and since Bali is not on the cards, it’s going to have to come out of a bottle.
Not a wine bottle, sadly (although I’m not doing dry January like some: I’m not completely mad). A small, brownish bottle: at the end of last year I was sent a few samples of a new range from Australia called Grown Alchemist.
I tried the Chamomile, Bergamot and Rosewood Body Cleanser first, and it was gorgeous. Gentle, fragrant, creamy, cleansing without drying - all the things you want in the bath. The body oil was next: Ylang Ylang, Tamanu & Omega 7 . A few small drops were all it took to transform my leathery old carcass into something wonderously smooth and soft.
But the real standout discovery for me is their Age-Repair Peptide-8 & E-2 Polisaccharide Serum . This stuff has an almost miraculous effect on dry, de-hydrated winter skin. A miniscule amount, warmed together in the palms of the hands and pressed into cheeks, chin and forehead produces a visible re-birth: radiance, moisture - even a little bit of a lift.
What’s more, it's as virtuous as New Year’s Day, being entirely made out of fairy dust, or something (if you go to the website there’s lots of stuff about organics and ingredients sympathetic with the body’s natural chemistry and so on). Definitely a range to watch in 2015.
For years now, I have been a faithful fan of Armani’s Maestro foundation for its sheer, lightweight finish. But I’m afraid someone else has stolen my heart.
Dior’s new Nude Air Serum Foundation is a miracle to behold. It’s so light and so fine it seems to bond to every skin cell. It dries instantly, to a dewy yet powdery finish. It airbrushes out shadows, fine lines and uneven pigmentation. It’s like having your own lighting director.
If you fancy a pick-me-up but are feeling the pinch, Autograph’s Pure Luxe Multi Blusher is a short-cut to spring. This melange of soft coral shades is perfect for lifting a dull complexion: just pop on the cheeks for instant bloom.
Finally, if you’ll forgive me, a small ode to an eyeshadow: Charlotte Tilbury’s Luxury Eye Palette in Fallen Angel . I think this may well be the quintessential eyeshadow set. Four fine-milled pigments in gorgeous, sultry, super-flattering shades to suit all skin tones and ages.
The beauty of this palette is that it’s an absolute doddle to use. You can dust it on for the barest whisper of colour, or get super dolled-up for an evening out (‘desk to disco’, as Charlotte likes to say). The pigments can be used wet or dry, and the staying power is excellent.
And it is really, really glamorous and flattering: just the right amount of shimmer, and shades that manage to be both sophisticated and a little bit sexy. Perfect for livening up those dreary January nights.