Post-holiday skincare with a (slight) focus on the peepers…

Facially, everyone has their best feature and I’ve been told that mine is my eyes. Having lived long enough to know my face inside out with its okay bits, as well its many flaws and imperfections, (which I’ve mostly come to accept), I would tend to agree. I say this from an entirely objective and non-narcissistic viewpoint. Working from a blank canvas and devoid of ego, I know that they maketh my face. Being big-ish and fairly expressive, they can be worked on and exaggerated with lashings of mascara and the smoky eye look that I’ve come to rely on (and actually need to change at some point soon, as I’ve used it for years now and am getting just a tad bored – ideas?)

Annoyingly, the skin around my eyes is also the perfect barometer showing when I’m tired and under the weather. It’s prone to dark circles, bags and puffiness. This area is also starting to look a bit sun damaged now with new lines appearing and a certain crepeyiness to the skin, visible in bright light. But hey ho – I’m not overly hung up on this…yet! I mean, what can you do? I wear sunscreen and love sunglasses and have tried my best over the years to really look after my skin, but you have to live. I can’t NOT show the exaggerated surprised/interested look on my face when I talk to my sons, nor stop screwing up my face in mock disgust (mainly for the benefit of passing cars) when I ‘clean up’ after my dog nor even abstain from frowning when I’m at my desk in work mode. Good God, my natural ‘resting’ face is normally a worried one, even in sleep! Although I hate to see these extreme facial expressions of mine caught on camera (it feels like all my vulnerabilities are exposed, as I tend wear my heart on my sleeve), they are part of me and who I am. We can’t all totally preserve our faces in aspic until we hit 70 and nor do many of us want to.

After a lovely Mediterranean jaunt to Spain last week, my skin is now feeling a little tender and sore and it’s not all down to the sun. Most days, I enjoyed a good amount of Rosado wine and Frito misto (fried fish and seafood) or some such other delicacy dripping in olive oil. Added to this, there was one particular day, where we all had waaay too many rays on a deceptively breezy beach and really felt it. Although the tan and fact that I’m well-rested, hides it all for now, I know that when it’s back to the school run and getting up at 6am every day, the damage will start to show. So here are some products I’m currently using to try and heal, soothe and repair. We’ll see…

 

Bio Oil

Always a good one to turn to for general help for both face and body – this pale pink-hued oil is the good ol’ worker bee of my skincare regime. I discovered Bio Oil about 15 years ago in an old-fashioned chemist in Tunbridge Wells and bought it for some minor adult acne scarring on my face. It really did the trick and people asked about my skin, literally A DAY after using it. From then on, it’s been a go-to product for me from the time I was pregnant, then on a very stretched post-pregnancy tummy. I also regularly use it as a night treatment for around my eyes, as well as on the wrinkles that have started to take permanent residence on my forehead in the last year.

 

Nivea Cellular Radiance Skin Perfecting Eye Cream

This was a surprise one for me, as I’ve never bought a Nivea product before. Plucked on a whim from the sale basket for about £2 in my local small Boots chemist last month, it has a magnolia extract in it, that promises a reduction of puffiness and dark circles. Although I’m not one to be too taken in by marketing promises (I am an empiricist after all), I do think it delivers on that front, because it actually contains a skin-coloured pigment, a bit like cover-up that masks dark circles. It’s also pretty cooling and is a good base for make-up. I’ll be buying this one again.

 

NIOD Photography Fluid Opacity 12%

I bought this colour corrector/primer from the wonderful Victoria Health website earlier this year. NIOD stands for Non Invasive Options in Dermal Science and I’ve heard that beauty editors go nuts for it and hold the brand in very high regard. On this occasion, I was reeled in by the claim that this was specifically formulated for use in photography and helped lighten the under eye area (I know, a bit vain, but post 40 you need all the help you can get). Its formulation is unusual in that it’s a fairly thick opaque white liquid, which is dabbed frugally under the eye. Getting past the fact that it looks a bit like Tipex, once it blends, I believe it really does work to brighten the skin. However, I do feel it performs better in winter/early spring when skin is paler, as unsurprisingly the bright white is harder to blend on warmer more suntanned skin. Also it dried up around the bottle top fairly quickly, which made it harder to use. I’ll be trying this out again though come the autumn and aforementioned early mornings – fast approaching!

 

Estee Lauder Double Wear Make Up foundation

I had 10 minutes to spare at Gatwick’s North terminal shopping area before heading to the departure gate the other week, and remembered I’d run out of my latest foundation, (Algenist from the US, which Space NK no longer seems to stock). I hastily set upon some poor woman from the Clarins counter and asked for her advice on the best foundation aside from Clarins (I’m just not sure about their make-up). She was lovely and didn’t seem to mind selling me some Double Wear from archrival Estee Lauder. For years in my late 20s and 30s I’d used their Daywear moisturiser and really loved it, so wanted to try this. I wore it for the first time in Spain the following day and was really pleased with its effect from the get go. It has a nice, wet, yet creamy formulation that sits well on my dry-ish skin when used sparingly. For this reason is warrants a mention regarding post sun and holiday skincare, as it seems pretty moisturising and a gives a dewy glow – ideal for the evening after a day on the beach. Saying this, the colour I chose (Desert Beige), gives less of a tanned effect compared to my last foundation but worked well with a dab of the darker leftover Algenist on top (I always mix and match me).

 

Ren Bio-Retinoid Anti-Ageing Cream

I adore Ren products. They are so luxe and smell divine – it’s a treat to use them. This cream has lasted for ages. I purchased it online in the Space NK sale in January of last year for less than half it’s normal price and always keep it by my bed. I don’t use it every night as I alternate between different products (is this wrong? not sure?). I also dab it on the top of my hands from time to time, if I think they’re looking dry and need some TLC. It boasts retinol and hyaluronic acid in its formulation, which have been buzzwords in the beauty industry for years now and seem to do the trick when it comes to the appearance of wrinkles. It’s quite strong though and when I first used it, the following day, my face felt like it had undergone a mild, mini peel (never had one, but can imagine this is what it feels like). For this reason it shouldn’t be used around the delicate eye area.

 

Lancaster Tan Maximiser Satin Oil Repairing After Sun

A cursory, but no less important nod to body skincare, I wanted to mention this gorgeous Lancaster product, tried for the first time last week. I’d used the iconic Tan Maximiser cream before but not the oil. Again this was grabbed in haste before boarding the plane to Valencia and I’m so glad I did. It claims to prolong a tan by up to one month using a complex that mimics the body’s natural melanin release. Who knows if it really works but it gives a great sheen and colour and sinks into the skin well before drying fairly quickly. Not sure how comfy it would feel under long sleeves and clothing such as trousers and skirts due to the fact it’s oily and a tad sticky at first, but it’s perfect for the end of summer when we still cling ruefully to those last warm days and dress accordingly.

If you have any products or treatments you swear by for after the holidays, then I’d love to hear about them in the comments below 🙂 x

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