January 12th 2018
Winter. A time to cocoon ourselves away from the cold and cushion our skin with lotions and potions in the name of a luxurious at-home spa experience. So far, so blissful, but when faced with so many masks, unctions and serums, what ingredients, formulations and textures should you choose to really get to the bottom of what’s going on with your skin? We turned to cult French skincare brand Anne Semonin for skin gripe answers. Given that Anne Semonin facials are reportedly “the best in the world” according to many industry insiders (Caroline Hirons for one raves about the multi-step, massage heavy treatments), we could scarce think of better people to turn to for at-home facial expertise. Scroll on for unique skin issue solving…
Got an unwelcome crop of stress spots on your chin? Chill and combat congestion at the same time with a declogging mask. Anne Semonin Mineral Mask, £43 for 75ml, is the one for a thorough deep clean that won’t take your face off yet will rebalance sebum levels and zap bacteria. With antimicrobial rosemary and pine and mineral rich seaweed, it helps to purify and tone while leaving skin soft rather than overly squeaky. It’s also brilliant for daily use as a cleanser- just massage in a smaller amount and leave on for max two minutes.
If your winter skin is pulling off a convincing sandpaper imitation, an at-home peel may be on the menu. Before you run for the hills at the mention of the word ‘peel’, Anne Semonin Resurfacing Peel Mask, £76 for 75ml, is specially formulated for at-home use, with a fast-acting ‘three-pronged’ peel formulation that thoroughly exfoliates yet won’t cause irritation (although if you’re sensitive of skin, perhaps tread carefully here). Combining a marine derived AHA based chemical peel, enzyme based biological peel and microdermabrasion peel by way of botanical and mineral powders, the mask works in under two minutes to dissolve dead skin cells and leave skin soft and ultra-receptive to any treatments that follow. Simply smooth on in a thin layer once a week, massage into skin after one to two minutes and rinse away with warm water for the freshest face you’ve probably seen in a good while. Facialist to Meghan Markle and Elle MacPherson Nichola Joss gives this the nod too, which is a glowing recommendation if there ever was one.
The abrupt switch between nigh-on sub-zero temperatures and central heating can make eyes feel and look dry and crinkly, so to pep-up your eye area try a spot of cryotherapy. Less scary than it sounds, this simply entails the use of extreme cold in a therapeutic manner, and in the context of Anne Semonin, the cult Eye Express Radiance Ice Cubes, £45 for 6, are just the tonic if the windows to your soul are feeling swollen and need soothing. Infused with hydrating hyaluronic acid, circulation stimulating ginkgo biloba and mineral spring water amongst other nourishing naturally extracted ingredients, applying these eye-s cubes (sorry) first thing or prior to a special occasion makes a noticeable difference in terms of tightening and lifting the eye area while melting fatigue. They also feel like bliss to use if that swings things.
Developed with weather-worn, parched skin in mind, Anne Semonin Phytarosa Serum, £98 for 30ml, tackles extreme dryness in just a few drops, and is particularly comforting to use in cold or extreme climates. Loaded with macadamia nut derived vitamin E, it sinks into skin easily and hydrates to the point that you may not need a moisturiser, but play that by ear. Vitamin A fights free radicals to protect skin from oxidative stress and promote skin cell turnover, plus the beta-carotene that it's sourced from helps to enhance radiance and basically give you the glow back that snow/ sleet/ winter drizzle may have robbed. This serum is a particular favourite of A-list makeup artist Emma White Turle for clients pre-red carpet appearances- it delivers on instant radiance as well as long-term luminosity.
Speaking of extreme conditions, the extent of the UK’s air pollution is now a major cause of public health concern, with London breaching legal limits for toxic nitrogen dioxide within the first week of each year for the last decade (we’ve reached mid-Jan so far in 2018 without having surpassed this, however, so there’s a plus). Nevertheless, our air quality leaves a lot to be desired, and as well as impacting on general health, pollution is known to accelerate skin ageing and worsen inflammation and skin conditions such as acne, eczema and rosacea. If there were a time for defensive antioxidants and cell-communicating, reparative ingredients it’s now. Anne Semonin Oligoanne Serum, £98 for 30ml, can be worn day and night to restore equilibrium to commute-stressed skin while addressing excess oil and dehydration at once thanks to a purifying chlorella base. It’s not an anti-pollution helmet, but it’s a beautiful elixir to add to the arsenal.
When skin has multiple seemingly conflicting issues going on, it can be hard to know how to address one problem without aggravating the other. I particularly find this when skin is reactive and dehydrated yet somehow also an oil slick. Anne Semonin Tissue Serum, £98 for 30ml, mattifies while also restoring moisture to dry, delicate patches. Rose water soothes, tones and cools and a mineral rich concentrated seawater complex combined with antioxidant chlorella addresses cellular damage and brings skin back into balance. A dab under your day or night cream will do it, or slip under makeup before a night out- this is another gem recommended by makeup artist Emma.
Over to the raw end of the sensitivity deal- when skin needs immediate SOS bolstering and barrier protection to prevent flaking, irritation and frankly painful dryness. Enter vitamin E rich plant oils that absorb into skin without sitting on top of it, intensively moisturising shea butter and antioxidant brown seaweed for gentle skin cell renewal and antioxidant protection against environmental aggressors. All of which can be conveniently found in Anne Semonin Extreme Comfort Cream, £70 for 50ml. Use during the day to help skin to retain moisture in the face of the elements.
Vitamin C has been pegged to be one of the key trends in skincare for 2018 (Pinterest has seen a huge 3370 per cent hike in saves for ‘vitamin C serum’ in the past year), and the collagen stimulating antioxidant is also a brilliant topical treatment where pigmentation and uneven skintone is concerned as it inhibits melanin production. Anne Semonin Brightening Serum, £98 for 30ml, does just this thanks to high levels of vitamin C and marine algae extracts that slow the action of melanosomes, parts of our cells that are responsible for the transport and development of melanin pigment in the skin. In addition, there’s free radical neutralising vitamin E, which also helps to prevent UV damage and pollution induced dark spots, plus a UV filtering system to buffer dangerous rays, although this isn’t an SPF so layer up on the sun protection front.
What could be better on a chilly winter’s evening than daubing yourself in a warming, pink quartz powder body scrub and buffing your skin until it gleams? Very little, we tell you. If your home spa session extends to your bod (in an ideal world it would) it doesn’t get better than Anne Semonin Nude Body Scrub, £75 for 200ml. For your investment you’re getting a seriously luxe concoction- think French Polynesian white sand (which hails from Bora Bora to soothe your winter blues), pink quartz powder as above and exfoliating white hibiscus fruit acid for additional polishing clout. Add in moisturising botanicals and a heady verbena scent and you’re basically at the beach.
The side-aim of a Sunday night spent lounging is to decompress from the week (whether you’re taking wine into the bath or not), so finish off your routine with an aromatherapeutic rub down that will benefit both mind and body. Anne Semonin Energizing Body Oil, £39 for 100ml, is a spicy, ginger based treatment that’s warming for both senses and skin, with added grapeseed oil to accelerate the regeneration of skin cells and sesame oil for moisture. Happily, taking the edge off of stress can pay off in terms of skin health too, as lowering stress hormone levels can in turn reduce the speed of collagen and elastin breakdown and decrease your risk of reactions. If you needed an excuse to hog the bathroom, this is it.
This gallery was written in partnership with Anne Semonin