As the period of extreme seasonal gluttony trails into the new year, the catering size Quality Street and third wedge of brie lose their festive lustre; instead, I crave clear soup and fetishise steamed greens. In much the same way, January also makes me want to lighten my beauty routine. There’s something liberating after all that makeup, perfume and fire-fighting skincare, about simplifying, clearing the decks and metaphorically sending skin to the Priory with a simple routine of cleanse, treat and moisturise. Face creams play an important but specific role. Moisturiser isn’t there to do any heavy lifting or dramatic transforming, which is why, when you ask me frequently for “a good anti-ageing” cream, I refer you instead to a serum to be layered on beforehand. Face cream is there only to comfort, cosset, lubricate and protect. It should be whichever makes your skin look alive, feel bouncy, your makeup go on smoothly and stably.
When you find one you love, you can be seasonally monogamous. Sadly, this loyalty is at odds with my job, so I must tell you about my latest love. Lumene Arctic Hydra Care Moisture and Relief Rich Day Cream (snappy, I know), £26.99 for 50ml, is a pure joy if you’re dehydrated and dry of face but loathe the sensation of greasiness. So softening, so soothing, so perfectly silky beneath foundation. I could quack on for pages about what a delightful discovery it’s been. To cut to the chase: it’s exceptionally good on both men and women, proves serious, sumptuous moisture needn’t be heavy, inelegant, pharmaceutical lard; that skincare packaging needn’t be wasteful (the cardboard box, glass jar and aluminium lid are all recyclable). Awards should be given.
Also terrific, but suitable for all skin types, is elf’s Holy Hydration Face Cream – or, more accurately, gel-cream (£12, 50ml). This all‑vegan US makeup brand makes, in my view, some of the best affordable skincare on the high street. Packed with some of my favourite ingredients, including squalane (whisper-light oil), the obligatory hyaluronic acid for hydration, and peptides for plumping comfort, this moisturiser will take you anywhere. My only whinge is that it’s fragranced.
If you have Christmas vouchers left over and seek a little luxury, try Herbivore’s irresistibly named Pink Cloud (£42, 50ml), a beautifully light, velvety, deceptively simple rosewater moisturiser that looks and feels like heaven. All are cruelty free.
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