Remember the good old days (summer), when skin was glowy, lips nourished and we still had the remnants of a tan? What a change. Currently, my elbows feel like a rhinos backside (probably since they haven’t seen a scrap of moisture since I packed them away into woolly jumpers) and my face is a sorry state of affairs – ashy, patchy and more than a bit bleurgh. If you, too, are feeling decidedly reptilian, panic not. I’ve put together a foolproof autumn SOS kit that I swear by when the seasons change and my skin starts to feel like it needs a bit of extra help. These will have you feeling soft, smooth and positively glowing in no time.
This felt a bit too heavy for summer, but it comes into its own in cooler months. It looks and feels like a slightly more glamorous Sudocrem (a little bit sticky), only with a more delicate, slightly floral, smell. And it does take a bit of work to massage it all the way into skin. But it’s fully worth the perseverance. Leave it on overnight and it’ll leave skin feeling fully hydrated and pillowy soft. If you suffer from dry patches, this will help to see them off after just a few uses, too. It’s a total godsend.
When your face feels like it needs refreshing, there’s nothing better than a bit of gentle exfoliation to brighten things up. Personally, I’m a fan of chemical exfoliation (using AHAs and BHAs) to lift away the manky layer of grime on my face (I get a bit carried away with scrubs). Dr Dennis Gross’ Alpha Beta pads are some of the best in the biz. The Universal Daily Peel is a two-step treatment, which first works to sweep away old, dull skin cells with an AHA- and BHA-soaked pad to encourage glow. Next, you follow up with a second pad drenched in skin-plumping heroes, such as retinol (which evens out skin tone), resveratrol (an antioxidant that protects against pollution) and hyaluronic acid (which replenishes moisture – essential, especially in the colder months), since the exfoliator can be slightly drying. Despite the name, I find using them once a week to be enough, or I’ll use them for a few days on the trot, as a booster, whenever my face feels particularly groggy (usually around Christmas time, when my skin is hungover and generally more congested).
It’s tempting, with spots, to blitz them with something mega potent and tingly to see them off as quickly as possible but, as with most things skin-related, a gentle approach is best. Especially in winter, when our skin is dryer anyway, we need to be careful to limit our use of anything too astringent, since this will leave the area flaky and parched. Step away from the toothpaste and instead apply a small amount of salicylic acid topically, just over the top of spots. The salicylic will help to lightly exfoliate the surface area to remove any dry skin that may be clogging pores, it will deep cleanse dirt, grime and sebum and help to reduce inflammation. But, since it can be slightly drying, it’s best to follow it with a good dose of moisturiser after the serum has dried.
This is like a big, hydrating glass of water for desert-dry lips and feels quenching the moment you swipe it on. I like that it comes in a stick, rather than a pot that requires finger-dipping (shudders), which lends itself to easy, non-messy application on the go. It’s packed with helpful, nutritious ingredients, too, like babassu, jojoba, avocado and olive oils, which all get to work plumping out sapped, craggy skin and leave lips feeling lovely. Plus, it has a hint of pale pink tint that helps to give lips a pretty flush.
This stuff is fantastic. You only need the smallest amount – so it lasts forever – plus, it sinks in and moisturises immediately. I’ve been using it before bed and, thankfully, it’s transformed my cracked crocodile claws into silky hands that no longer scare commuters, when I’m holding on to the tube rail. It may have something to do with the nourishing shea butter, but my skin feels wonderfully soft and it helps that it smells delicious – a slightly minty, slightly citrus, unisex affair that lingers for hours – a treat for the hands and the nose, then.
I, for one, will never enjoy stepping out of the shower and spending the next 10 minutes freezing my wotsits off, while applying moisturiser. Which is likely the reason for my aforementioned scaly elbows. My back, legs and arms are in much the same shape and could really do with a good hit of hydration. That’s where Sanctuary Spa’s Wet Skin Moisture Miracle is genius – and built with lazy people (like me) in mind. It “capitalises on skin’s peak hydration moment – when it’s wet”, and so can be applied as soon as you turn the shower water off. It means you can stay in your warm, steamy post-shower cubicle and whip a bit of this over arms, legs and any dry bits, before you step out, straight into a towel. It sinks in straightaway (so, no waiting around) and, despite plumping skin with apricot and avocado oil, it doesn’t feel in the least bit greasy. May it never be discontinued.