Saturday, 24 November 2007

#56 Eye Fidelity

Sometimes an email pinpoints the collective mood. For some reason, this month, it's been all about the eyes and I've had a slew of emails from Truth in Beauty readers, all of whom are seeking a solution to their shadowy lids and burgeoning bags. Most of whom, swapping and shifting from cream to gel, have been continually disheartened by the many ineffectual eye products on the market.

The truth? Open your eyes. Don't expect miracles. Dark circles will not disappear overnight - if ever! My response? Cast your eyes below...

"I don't believe that dark circles can be cured with an eye cream. For most people, dark circles are either a sign of lack of sleep, poor microcirculation or they are hereditary. If it's lack of sleep - there's only one way to cure it; if it's poor microcirculation, then it's the application of the product that is most beneficial - try a daily massage of the eye area, tapping along the brow bone from the inner to the outer corners of the eye with your ring fingers; and if it's hereditary, then you have two options - a great concealer or a cosmetic procedure, possibly one that involved fillers, which would temporarily plump up any undereye hollows and thereby reduce the appearance of dark circles. Some studies have also been done that link dark undereye cirlces to iron or vitamin K deficiencies.

To reduce puffiness, the key thing is the temperature of the product. Any eye cream or lotion - such as Liz Earle Eye Bright (a make-up remover and soothing liquid) - will work far more effectively if it's kept chilled. Alternatively, two cotton pads dipped in icy cold water and then placed over eyes, or two fridge-cold cucumber slices/used camomile teabags, will take down puffiness more effectively than a specific depuffing eye cream.

I've tried quite a few eye creams in my time but always come back to Dermalogica Total Eye Care. It's got an SPF of 15, so it's great for daily wear, but the zinc oxide in it also reflects light to some degree, so subtly lightens the undereye area, whilst smoothing, hydrating and protecting it.

As for concealers, I personally like an all-in-one concealing & light-reflecting wand such as Dior's Skinflash, but I am aware that light-reflecting formulas don't provide very heavy-duty coverage. I've got a cousin who has more pronounced dark circles under her eyes and she swears by Kanebo's creamy concealer. It comes in a rectangular cream-coloured palette, with a mirror in the lid, and goes on very smoothly - blending easily too. It also provides excellent coverage. The other two undereye concealers I would recommend are Laura Mercier's Secret Concealer - once again, creamy, blendable and high coverage - and Armani's High Precision Retouch - more of a liquid, but with excellent coverage."

Monday, 5 November 2007

#55 O is for Organic

Lordy lordy lordy. Organic, schmorganic. It's everywhere. I'm getting about 20 new emails a week, proclaiming the benefits of this new preservative potion, talc-free make-up, puritanical product. I'm tired. My eyes hurt. The BRANDwagon is at buckling point. Yes, the marketeers have caught on to the fact that green is good, green is big and boy oh boy, green is where the green is. Ker-ching. Which pretty much explains the stuffed inbox. So what have I been trying? As mentioned in my last entry - Origins Organics and Jurlique. Jurlique are not new - but they have ditched the white and blue glass packaging in favour of a cleaner, fresher, self-explantory mode of packaging and product. I've used the Balancing Day Care Cream. It gets the thumbs up. It didn't do anything miraculous - but it did soothe and hydrate well. A small amount satisfied the entire face - it sunk in cleanly and didn't produce an exceptionally oily mid-afternoon result (just a bit of shine, which given that my skin lives in an artificially ventilated environment, is to be expected). The Daily Exfoliating Cream is the range's big hitter. The thing that the PRs say that they themselves couldn't live without. It's rather like the Dr Hausckha one - grainy, wholemealy, porridgey. You don't rub it in, but rather press it over skin, creating a popping suction with fingertips which is meant to draw out impurities, without scouring the skin. Hmmmmm. I've always had a thing for homemade exfoliators - things that look and feel as though you could've whipped them up in the kitchen - but experience has taught me that nothing beats a finely milled powder or an exfoliating mask such as REN's Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel. I'm not sold on this one. My skin still had a few flakes left around the chin, which I had to buff away with a warm muslin cloth. Then there's Origins Organics. A big, new, simply packaged line that promises to be straightforward. In an interesting twist, it's printed it's organic percentages right on the front of the packaging - and it ranges from 73% in the Foaming Face Wash up to 98% in the Conditioning Hair Oil. There's no reason that organics will be any better for sensitive skin - in fact, a lot of sensitive skins flare up at first contact with essential oils - which are so often the staple of organic lines. I'm seriously prone to eczema on my body and have been using the Cleansing Body Bar for several weeks (it lasts a satisfyingly long time) and haven't seen a peep from my usual patches. It feels great whilst it's on the skin, but leaves a slightly too super-squeaky-clean feel afterwards - great though for those who hate it when their body washes leave an oily residue behind. I've yet to try the skincare - I've promised my skin a break from persistent testing - but have been using the Silky Spray Body Spritz and Conditioning Hair Oil. The former is tricky. Essential oils of clove, lavender, patchouli and thyme means that it has a very distinctive, enduring scent. Some days I love the scent - taking me back to student sex sessions in a jostick haze, but other days it makes me feel more like I've found myself in a trunk in the back of my local Oxfam. Mood dictates. It does feel mighty good though - not greasy in the slightest - and the milky texture sinks in nice n deep in seconds. The hair oil is ostensibly nothing special. It mixes sunflower, sesame and olive oil with a smattering of essential oils - peppermint is the one that stands out - and yes, it does make hair lovely and soft and shiny. But then, so would a cup of olive oil. Another thing - I'm not sure about the packaging. It's self-consciously plain. As though it's parading it's openness - at the press day I asked the PR when they'd replace the prototypes with final packaging. She told me this was it. Well, it ain't pretty, but Isuppose it ain't ugly either. And for a company that has always prided itself on clever names and cute packaging, it's very possibly a step in the right direction.