I’ve long been a fan of face oils, having always had quite dry skin, even as a teenager. At college I used to work part time at The Body Shop, back when the brilliant founder, Anita Roddick, was still alive and the company had just a few shops. It was thanks to her advice that I started mixing a couple of drops of rose hip oil into my moisturiser at night.
Over the years, as my skin got older - and drier - I gradually intensified the amount of oil, and nowadays I pretty much don’t bother with creams (with exceptions: I’ll never say no to some Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream or pretty much anything by Sisley, and I always keep a pot of Steam Cream in my bag for emergencies).
The last standout oil I tried was Decleor’s new Aromessence Lavandula Iris Facial Oil Serum (£46.50) which not only soothes and softens thirsty skin, is also a treat for the senses with its wonderful aroma (and would make an excellent stocking filler were one in the market for such things). It’s also 100 percent natural, if you care about such things, which I do.
But recently I encountered something even more fantabulous and that is the brainchild of a lovely (and slightly obsessed) gentleman called Paul Berrow, founder of a very recherché line of oils called 320MHZ. These are produced using only the highest quality organic oils, and blended with both pleasure and benefit in mind. They come in clever glass bottles with roll-on applicators - so you never spill a drop - and they are packed full of ingredients with proven detoxifying, hydrating and generally skin-improving benefits.
It has been dubbed the ‘plant’ botox, which is a bit of an exaggeration - but if you are looking for a natural way to tackle deep wrinkles, this will really help
My favourite is the Hydration Recovery (£75, www.plantmebotanics.com ), formulated with organic micro algae to fight free radicals and moringa oil, one of nature’s most efficient moisturisers. It’s lightweight and quickly absorbed - and I find I can even wear it under make up. There is also a new eye serum (Eye Line Elixir, £48) which contains extract of the Pistacia Lentiscus shrub, which has been clinically proven to improve the performance of fibroblasts, the cells which form the basis of connective tissue - including collagen - in humans. It has been dubbed the ‘plant’ Botox, which is a bit of an exaggeration - but if you are looking for a natural way to tackle deep wrinkles, this will really help.
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Once upon a time, it was my daughter who stole my makeup. Lately, though, I’ve been eying her stash with increasing envy. In particular Chanel’s Signature Intense Longwear Eyeliner Pen (£31, but currently £26.25 at John Lewis ), a gift from her godmother, the incomparable Hannah Betts.
On the principle that if anyone is going to get to wear Chanel in my house, it’s me, I commandeered it and instantly fell in love. Most liquid liners are fiendishly hard to apply; this one glides on with effortless precision. The formulation is lightweight but rich in pigment, while the applicator tip is precisely shaped so you can have anything from the faintest hint of black along the lash line to a full-on flick. I can honestly say that in all my years and innumerable failed attempts to look like Audrey Hepburn I have never come across such great product. Perfection.
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Haircare is one of the sectors in the beauty industry that most suffers from empty hype, but occasionally along comes a line that really lives up to the buzz. Meet Kevin Murphy, or rather Kevin Murphy's haircare products , which are rapidly garnering a cult following in the UK.
Murphy himself is an Australian session stylist; his range - which my hairdresser, Lucinda Ellery recently introduced me to after she started using it in her LA studio - aims to treat hair as though it were skin, sweeping aside harsh chemicals and treatments in favour of natural plant-based ingredients and gentle formulations.
The Angel Wash shampoo £32.67 is probably the best place to start if you want to try out the range: with aloe, milk proteins and angelica root it gently cleanses in a low foam formulation. I use the Young Again Wash Shampoo Treatment £38.61 (natch), which is great for very dehydrated hair. The ‘hero’ product (every range must have one) is the Anti Gravity texturizer £35 which, in addition to smelling divine, aids styling beautifully.