Beautiful open pink rose isolated on a white background

Truth be told, Clarins was my first love … as far as beauty products go! When I first started working as a newspaper reporter in the early 1990s, I spent my money on good cosmetics, gorgeous designer shoes and great unit trusts.

Clarins fitted the bill perfectly. It was French, and it  embodied a fresh simplicity I loved without losing its sophisticated edge.

I used the day and night creams, the eye gel and the treatment fragrance Eau Dynamisante religiously for years. Then Clarins and I came unstuck. I had my firstborn Kate and my beauty (and shoe!) budget went one way. But my devotion to Eau Dynamisante  remains. I still use it every morning. I love the fact that it treats and moisturises the skin, too, and the zingy fragrance  is an invigorating, uplifting mix of lemon, patchouli, white thyme and rosemary. It is bliss in a bottle … and it also connects me to my mom, who used to love it too.

Morning has broken

My mornings are often pretty fraught and I don’t have time to fiddle and faff.

SPLASH! I love the come-alive feel of water on my face in the morning.  I have allergic eyes so the first thing I do is splash my eyes with warm water, then turn gratefully to this gem: Liz Earle Naturally Active Eyebright Soothing Eye Lotion.  You sweep it gently over your eyelids with cotton pads and it’s like being in heaven. I think! Soothing, refreshing and invigorating. I cannot live without it.

SHOWER POWER: In the shower, I use The Body Shop Olive Shower Gel. It’s fresh and delicate, soap-free and contains Community Trade organic olive oil from Italy. After breathing in the fresh scent, I am ready to take on the world (most days!).

LET’S FACE IT: I cleanse my face with Nivea Daily Essentials Gentle Cleansing Cream Wash, a brilliant basic If I don’t shower (this is Cape Town, remember! Water Restrictions!) I cleanse my face with another Liz Earle winner: Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. It is an icon in the beauty world and has won scores of awards. Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare is a botanically-based British beauty range which was founded by British beauty journalist-turned-entrepreneur Liz Earle in 1995.

Liz Earle was the beauty writer of the 80s and 90s when I was a women’s magazine journalist.

She was one of the first beauty editors who wrote thought-provoking, questioning articles about skincare, sourcing ingredients ethically and the whole philosophy of what constitutes beauty.  Her personal and business journey is inspiring (you can read more about what she’s up to here)  and I love the fact that even though she sold the business to Boots for a small fortune in 2015, her brainchild uses naturally active ingredients (like avo, borage, echinacea, beta-carotene . . .) that are responsibly sourced.

The Hot Cloth Cleanser, which is used with a soft muslin cloth, is also suitable for sensitive skin and for children, too (both Kate and Jack  have been subjected to it!). No, it’s not available in South Africa and while the company has a brilliant website, postage to exorbitant. Rather engage a friend who travels to London regularly to pick up your supplies. I do. (Thanks, Melissa xo!)

T IS FOR TONER: After cleansing, I sometimes (when I remember, eek!) use Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic (which is incredibly soothing and smells beautiful).

ALL ABOUT  EYES: I pat Elizabeth Arden’s Flawless Future Powered by Ceramide Eye Gel on my eye contour every morning. It’s soothing and the texture is light and lovely. Apparently it fights stress, so it is perfect for me 🙂 Its cooling formula has algae extract complex which minimizes the appearance of dark circles and puffiness. Two big pluses!

MY MOISTURISER: This winter I’ve enjoyed using Estée Lauder Resilience Lift Firming/Sculpting Face and Neck Creme SPF 15. I fell in love with it after receiving a special sample and I’m hooked.

It’s really the Rolls-Royce of moisturisers but I figure I’m worth it, right?!

Before discovering it I was happily using Neutrogena Visibly Even Daily Moisturizer, because it has an SPF 30 and reduces blotchiness and the look of dark spots. It is a great option for summer.

DO YOU HAVE PROTECTION? I like to use a moisturiser with an SPF but then, one day, I was listening to a product review on All Dolled Up, the fab South African beauty blog, and Jules was raving about The  Body Shop Skin Defence Multi-Protection Essence SPF 50 PA++++   This hard-working product is a heavy-weight in a feather-light formula. It’s phenomenal. It helps to protect skin from deep-penetrating UVA rays which accelerate the process of ageing, plus it also illuminates thanks to  skin-brighteners red algae extract and vitamin C.

BEST BODY LOTION: My favourite is The Body Shop Japanese Cherry Blossom Body Lotion or Body Butter. It has a delicate fragrance, is light and absorbs easily, ticking all my boxes.

Night has fallen

I must admit that I am not religious about cleansing my face at night. I know, I know … bad girl. My ritual fell apart when I used to read to Jack at night and fall asleep in his bed and then stagger to mine … mascara and all. Now he falls asleep happily on his own so I have no excuses …

NIGHT-TIME CLEANSER: I bow at the alter of Garnier Skin Active Micellar Cleansing Water. Isn’t it just the best? One swipe and everything’s gone – make-up, impurities, dirt. The Works. And it is very economical, too. I love it.

SERIOUS ABOUT SERUMS: After cleansing I pat on another Beauty Hall of Fame product, this time from Estée  Lauder.  Legendary Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II does wonders for my lines and wrinkles while I sleep. It’s been a stellar product since the 1980s, is oil-free and an absolute pleasure to use. I also swear by this product:  Lancôme Advanced Génifique Light Pearl Eye-Illuminating Youth Activator. It has a lovely applicator and special instructions on what to do. These two are my Big Splurges and all I can say is that  a little goes a long way!

NIGHT CREAM: I’m not fussy about night cream as I figure I’m getting the best of the best with my serums so I often rely on a solid brand like L’Oréal to do the trick. At the moment I’m enjoying using L’Oréal Revitalift Filler Renew Anti-Ageing Replumping Night Cream.

EYE CREAM: At the moment I’m using up a generous sample of Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Synchronised Complex II. It is described as a “silky gel creme that leaves the entire eye area cushioned and comfortable” and fights all the key signs of eye ageing. I fear it could become horribly addictive …

LAST WORD:  Another miracle worker I use is REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial. It’s one of those must-have-up-your-sleeve products which transforms and rejuvenates the skin in a, well, flash!

Once you activate the vitamin C with water, you leave it on for 60 seconds (I kid you not) and whoosh it off with water and voilà – it tones, firms, banishes dullness, and reduces lines and imperfections. My kinda gal.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: Perfume! I never leave home without a spritz or two of Carolina Herrera L’eau Eau de Toilette. It is fresh and feminine . I love the way it’s described: the top note is full of citrus flowers (lemon and orange tree), the middle note has fruity flowers (jasmine and apple tree) and the earthy, sensual base note has sandalwood and transparent musk.

What are your skincare essentials? I’d love to know … Sx




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