Wednesday, 11 April 2007

#4 Face Facts...

Heavy feelings often plague the deskbound. There's nothing profound about it - it comes from sitting around all day and eating unnecessarily. Today it was a belated Easter egg - a Dairy Milk one that my partner picked up from the reduced bin in the supermarket. I've been busy all day - it took me two hours after waking to wash my face - chasing emails from New York, waiting for PRs to confirm plans, trying to finish a feature that I've been batting around for hours, like a morose cat with a ball of string. It's not like I've just been sitting on my arse (she says, defensively). I have managed a walk down to Marks & Spencers in between sending manic emails and making phone calls. Sometimes though, this doesn't seem like a real job. I get things sent to me - today, a large crate of Volumising products from Garnier, an amazing batch of the new Shu Uemura Summer colours and the new Vivienne Westwood Boudoir Sin Garden - and I play with them, sniff them and eventually come to write about them - which I will of course do later - but in between, I'm at chronic risk of letting my days slip by without human contact. None at all. I even 'IM' my sister - we save our talks for the weekend. I called my mum and was surprised to find that she has found the energy to visit her local shopping compound and stock up on early summer swag. What I should of been doing today - I'm ashamed to say - is popping into a series of press days. There was the Halpern one - where the fabulous Japanese brand Suqqu was on show - but this morning I realised that my face and body are quite simply, not in 'meeting the world' mode today. Brows need to be plucked, skin masqued and body depilated. I do not feel footloose - not one bit - I have let this lovely life get the better of me and resolve to make it all better tonight. And when I am in need of beautifying, nothing beats this lengthy, indulgent ritual:

1. Make-up removed with Dermalogica Pre-Cleanse
2. Face washed with Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel
3. If my skin is having a bad day, looks uneven, feels rough to the touch, I use Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator. Partly because of it's subliminal power - the eye-watering eucalyptus convinces me it's really purifying my pores.
3. I then layer on an oil-free moisturising mask. Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Masque is wonderful - but the pack instructions mendacious. A thin layer does nothing at all. Dry skin sucks it up in miliseconds and then you're left with nothing but residual tightness. No, I drench my skin in the stuff, glooping layer upon layer, around the eyes too - and leave it on for 10 minutes. Normally while showering.
4. If bathing, Elemis Skin Nourishing Milk Bath is good stuff. I was cynical at first - well, I'm allergic to milk - but this left my skin slippery-smooth. It also soothed the odd eczema patch - which is odd, as consuming milk does quite the opposite.
5. Then, if I'm planning a sexy night and want to pounce on Mr Malcontent later on, I heat up the Elemis Exotic Frangipani Monoi Moisture Melt and drizzle it all over my body. The super-sweet scent isn't quite me, more my exotic other self - my Bertha, my erotic woman in the attic. If Bertha is feeling shy or sleepy, I use Dr Hauschka Lemon Body Oil. It has a real sherbertiness and is wonderful in the summer.
6. Most nights, it's my Brown Earth Shea Butter - which really is dividing people at the moment. I love the moist, ever-so-slight tackiness it leaves behind - but my sister, mother and best friend are having none of it. It seems that, for most people, the mark of a good body moisturiser is it's ability to sink in and leave no tactile trace behind. I disagree. For me, there's nothing nicer than a clammily soft limb - it reminds me of my grandmother, who at 72 also happens to have the softest skin I've ever felt. She's used nothing but Nivea for 5o years...
7. Once out of the bath or shower, the masque is rinsed off. Skin spritzed with Dermalogica Multi-Active Toner or Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic, followed with whatever night potion I feel my skin is in need of. Good ones? Vaishaly Night Nourisher (if skin's feeling normal); Decleor Aromessence Essential Balm (if congested); Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser (if feeling delicate). At the moment I'm also trying to use Estee Lauder's best-selling Advanced Night Repair Concentrate - I really can't say much about it as yet as I'm too fickle to follow a regular routine. I'll give it a fortnight and let you know if I've seen any marked improvements.

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