Editor’s Pick: The Season’s New Skincare
I love September. And not only for the leaves, the misty air and that fantastic feeling of starting anew. Pristine boxes proffering the new skincare arrive on my desk all ripe and ready for investigation. Rich and thick moisturisers in preparation for the cold months ahead; a smattering of skin serums with varying uses – firming, smoothing, revitalising. Facial oils are still a hot ticket and a few new ones are trickling through. (I have been using and loving lab samples from a new face oil collection called Votary, which has just hit Liberty.).
Here’s the low down on some of the best of the new skincare, hitting the beauty shelves now:
Estée Lauder Resilience Lift Firming Sculpting Oil-In-Creme Infusion, £69 (out Oct 1)
Of-the-moment in that it contains a high level of oils, 12 to be precise, including olive, avocado, coconut, grape seed, macadamia nut. Its texture is like butter (but without the grease) and its scent is wonderful – caraway, cardamom and orange, though it doesn’t smell spicy, but gentle and feel-good. Ideal for dry, dehydrated winter-worn skin because the blend of oils helps repair the skin’s own protective barrier. How? By restoring the lost or reduced lipids (fats in the skin that protect and keep it supple) compromised in cold weather leaving skin delicate and tetchy. Best for rough, dry, winter ravaged skin.
Darphin Ideal Resource Perfecting Smoothing Serum, £59
Consider this if you’re thinking about the first signs of ageing – fine lines around your eyes and creeping onto your forehead, general dullness through overwork and office bound days. One specific ingredient, or group of, tells me it’s a low level (i.e. gentle – so you see results in a few days) skin-smoothing serum: fruit acids. Hibiscus flower extract is the source, gently exfoliating the skin’s surface, so over time it should look fresher. Also good to see resveratrol, a well documented antioxidant that helps protect skin from pollution, UV and environmental aggressors. There’s soybean extract which, with clary sage extract, helps refine the skin’s texture. Bamboo and pea extracts – which the blurb tells me stimulate collagen synthesis – play their part in keeping skin hydrated, so helping to reduce fine lines (yes please). Fine lines at 30 are usually caused by dehydration – I’m still being told my crows feet are thus which is, at 46, encouraging, if a pipe dream: they are well and truly starting to etch (yes, etch).
Aesop Blue Chamomile Facial Hydrating Masque, £33
I am a big fan of Aesop skincare. Wonderful textures and lovely, aromatic botanical smells. Their eye cream is great for softening crow’s feet (though I’m not promising it’ll get rid of them) and their rose face oil is one of my favourites in winter (earthy scent, sinks in leaving dry patches relieved).
You know that feeling when you’re gulping back a glass of water and only then feeling just how thirsty you were? This has the same effect for your skin. There is bisabolol (from chamomile) and ginger root, which together with rosemary leaf and lavender essential oils calm and soothe. It also has an astringency to it (contains witch hazel), which makes it a good choice for oily or sluggish skin – and in humid weather. So in short, it’s a moisture-boosting tonic for thirsty skin.
Aerin Rose Oil, £50
I have a secret for using face oil. Apply after cleansing whilst in the bath or shower. Place a few drops in your palms, press together then press and massage into your warm, damp (not wet) skin. Alternatively, fill a basin with hot water (comfortable-for-skin hot, not scalding hot, obviously), dunk your flannel or muslin cloth, wring out then press, whilst steaming, against your skin. Then apply your face oil (just two or three drops), massaging in to get the blood going in your cheeks. Your skin will take on an unbelievably fresh, glowing radiance.
This oil is one of a several rose face oils I’ve been trying recently. This has a delicate sweet rose scent. Then there’s MV Organic, with the powerful scent of rose absolute and Votary’s Rose Maroc and Sandalwood Face Oil, £65, which smells of fresh English roses. This is lightweight (so doubles up as a hair smoother) and also contains sweet almond oil (so is also good for nails). It is ideal for normal, combination or dehydrated skin (for dry skin or in the depths of winter I’d be more likely to go with Votary or MV Organic). Oh, and it’s by Aerin Lauder (Estée’s grand daughter), and her Aerin beauty line is to die for, I’ve said it before. Sleek, modern, elegant, wearable, chic – from colours and textures to its brushed gold slimline packaging.
Guerlain Météorites Oxygen Care Moisturizer & Radiance Booster, £44.50 (available October)
When it comes to sublime textures, Guerlain skincare takes some beating. Of all the brands I have given my mother to test, Guerlain is what she then goes onto buy. This lotion brings the illuminating, optical effects of the legendary, multi-coloured Météorites powder balls into a moisturising lotion. The blurb talks about its oxygenating benefits – suffice it to say nasturtium and Ruscus aculeatus (butcher’s broom) extracts combine to help energise the skin to encourage its naturally radiant self. This combined with the blurring, illuminating effect of the powders means this makes skin instantly more luminous. It works. Love its violet scent, too.
This Works Light Time Skin Plumper, £29
The skincare world has been talking about night time skin treatments till it’s blue in the face. So a new focus on the value of morning skincare is welcome. Apparently toxins build up in the skin overnight – especially if you sleep on your back. It’s better (gasp) to sleep on your side. Though not for wrinkles! So this is the answer if you wake up furrowed and creased of a morning. Hero ingredient is hyaluronic acid, minuscule spheres of this moisturising agent, which work by flooding skin with instant moisture and holding it there, thus helping to plump out creases. Its soothing scent of lavender, camomile and vetivert helps wake you up gently.
Origins Three Part Harmony Nourishing Cream, £60
This moisturiser has been designed for the over 50s. Apparently skin after 50 goes into a kind of sleep mode – it’s called senescence. Skin works at a slower rate so finds it harder to stay hydrated. It’s less adept than it was at making all the things that keep it young, plump and elastic: lipids, collagen and the skin’s elastic fibres. Origins has isolated the white narcissus lily bulb as an ingredient that has a reviving effect on the skin, helping break it out of its senescence slumber and, well, work a bit better. If this all sounds a bit fairytale, there is also vitamin C (brightening, line-smoothing and collagen boosting), Japanese knotweed and myrtle (it’s not clear what the myrtle does, but knotweed has antioxidant properties (see Darphin’s serum)). It is lighter in consistency than the Estée Lauder moisturiser above, and has a fresh scent like lemon balm. I would happily recommend this moisturiser. Best results probably achieved if used together with its accompanying serum.
See my review of Liz Earle’s new serum here, shortly.