In My Makeup Kit: Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Balm

kiehls Ultra Facial Deep Moisture Balm


So there are changes you need to make to your kit and your makeup when you go from shooting beauty stories in the bush (hello 35 degree heat, and ants trying to crawl into your makeup, PISS OFF) to shooting outdoor in winter in London (I’d forgotten about having freezing hands and trying to apply red lipstick – not my most favourite thing ever, I have to say). Needless to say I am no longer carrying around piles of sunscreen and body shimmer, and I am all about heavy duty moisturisers and body creams.

Now is the time to tell you about my new favourite super heavy duty moisturizer, which is the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Balm. It’s like butter for your skin. Kiehl’s have long been a staple in my kit as their products simply work. No fancy packaging, no heavy fragrances. Their new cream is a super dense balm that you rub into the skin, and it gets absorbed after about a minute, leaving the skin supple and hydrated, so perfect as a base for makeup. It’s like the hefty, harder working sister to their eponymous Ultra Facial Moisturiser (which is forever in my kit).

What I like best about it is the skin STAYS supple and hydrated. It contains Edelweiss flower which was chosen due to its ability to thrive in harsh environmental conditions – which certainly applies to the Tube at rush hour.

It doesn’t absorb in after half an hour, disappearing and leaving your skin feeling worse than when you started and as dry and flakey as an old croissant.

I now have Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Balm in my own beauty stash, and in my makeup kit. Now if only I could pack a bit more sunshine in there too…

picture of woman with moisturiser

Credit – Toni Garrn for Paris Vogue, shot by Katja Rawhles. Makeup by Janeen Witherspoon. Hair by Neil Moodie.

Right Now: Dr Hauschka Sandalwood & Lavender Body Milk

Dr Hauschka Sandalwood and Lavender Body Milk

Happy New Year! I love having a fresh start – and let me tell you, 2013 is only a few days old and already it’s looking like it’s going to be a good one.

I’m not going to talk about New Year’s Resolutions and all that business, although I have a few, “ahem” improvements that I’ll be making – namely, being less of a makeup pack rat and getting more into organic products. So I thought I’d use my first post of the year to tell you about one of my favourite new natural finds, which is Dr Hauschka’s beautiful new Sandalwood and Lavender Bodymilk. This is the loveliest body moisturiser I have tried in ages. I’m usually pretty loyal to standard old Nivea or Kieh’s Crème de Corps (the Rolls Royce of body moisturisers), but I’m telling you, Dr Hauschka’s might just be taking that crown. I love not only what’s in it (ie no nasties, and lots of good moisturising oils), but the packaging as well. It’s a beautiful glass bottle with a pump that actually works, so using it is enjoyable (unlike tipping bottles of moisturiser everywhere – not mentioning any brand names!)

Having had something of a health epiphany in 2012 I’m now keen to find more gentle and non-toxic alternatives to some of my every day makeup and beauty staples. But they need to function AND be as fun to use as their more chemical cohorts, so this year I’m planning to explore some more organic brands, and I’m happy to report there is lots of gorgeous, non-toxic and chemical-free products out there. I want my outsides to be as healthy as my insides!

The Dr Hauschka Bodymilk a mix of macadamia nut, apricot kernel and avocado oils with wood sorrel and lemon balm to heal parched skin. And, as its name suggests it has sandalwood and lavender oil so it smells divine, and it melts into the skin leaving it non-sticky, non-greasy (even in pretty hot weather as I’ve been testing it through summer. My legs get a delicious lizard like appearance without daily slatherings of some sort of body unguent), and it even, as an added bonus, makes the skin look sort of sheeny and expensive. Unfortunately it can’t make you thinner – but that’s what those New Year’s resolutions are for.

The Foundation Files: Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint

Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint

I didn’t think that Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturiser could ever be superseded, but I have to tell you, it has. I had firmly removed myself from the tinted moisturiser category, finding that much as I loved it on younger skin than mine for work, it just didn’t offer enough coverage for my skin now (although I was a faithful personal devotee for many years).Enter Liz Earle’s Sheer Skin Tint, the incredible cult skincare brand’s first (and I hope not last) foray into colour. This has knocked my socks off, quite frankly. It’s super rich and moisturizing, with shea butter, Vitamin E and avocado – so not dissimilar to their Superskin moisturiser which I use religiously in the colder months. It glides on with the tiniest amount of product and spreads perfectly and evenly, as if your skin was supermodel perfect underneath (even if that’s far from the truth). It’s just rich and buttery and delicious, and the coverage it provides is significant for a tinted moisturiser. More importantly, the coverage is undetectable. It stays all day and when you clean your face at night it’s still coming off on the cotton pad or towel. This is all-day coverage with more guts than it’s chemical counterparts.

The only drawback with it is the shade range which only comes in three tones. This I’m sure will be increased in future, as great skin lovers come in all shades of the skin spectrum. Also as it comes in only three colours you might find you are somewhere in between and need to blend two together – I’m a Bare 01 but only just and as I get subtly darker over the summer (it’s impossible to prevent, even if you use Wednesday Adams as your role model with regards to sunscreen, like I do) I will probably end up wearing a mix of my current one and the next step up. Oh, did I mention that it has an SPF of 15? So for those who dislike wearing separate sunscreen, that part is done for you. Love a multi-tasking product!

And for my oily ladies – please do try this before you buy as it’s super glowy due to being very emollient, and if you’re already channeling the greasies I think it will be too rich for you. I would try Laura Mercier’s Oil-Free Tinted Moisturiser instead.

So if you’re in the market for natural, perfect skin and the product that can deliver it, Liz Earle Sheer Skin is my new top rec.



Secret Weapon: Aesop Sage and Zinc Facial Hydrating Cream SPF 15

AESOP Sage & Zinc Facial Hydrating Cream SPF1Also on the subject of Aesop, I need to tell you about sunscreen. For a lot of you guys, freezing your butts off in sub-zero Northern Hemisphere temperatures you’ll be thinking “is she crazy? I need a radioactive heated slankie, not a lesson on sunscreen!”

But for my friends in the Southern hemisphere, this is the first of many, MANY lectures on the Evils of Going Out Without High Protection Sunscreen Every Day Because You Will End Up Either Dead From Skin Cancer And/Or Very Very Wrinkled. I can’t believe I haven’t trotted out this particular little soapbox yet as it’s a personal mission to make people wear sunscreen every day of their lives (alright, maybe not you lot with 10 inches of snow outside your window, but when the weather warrants it.)

And aiding me in this personal quest? Aesop Sage and Zinc sunscreen. This is my go-to every day sunscreen as it’s non-comodegenic so it doesn’t make you break out like a lot of cheaper supermarket products, and it has plant derived vitamins, including Vitamin E, and sage leaf and sandalwood extracts. Aesop are justly proud of their first moisturiser with sun protection, and it’s been many years in the making.

But the real winner for me? It’s matte, so it can go under makeup and not make you start your hot day looking like a greasy chip, requiring a truckload of powder to absorb all the oil. It is only a factor 15 but as you need to reapply at lunchtime anyway I’m quite happy with a factor of 15.

And for the rest of you, shivering under those slankies? I have a cold weather post for Winter Radiant skin coming up (and yes, definitely no sunscreen in sight).

In My Makeup Kit: Biotherm Aquasource Skin Perfection Moisturiser

Sasha Pivovarova BiothermI think I mentioned before what a skincare orgy it is at the moment at MM HQ. From being distinctly unimpressed about most skincare and sticking to my faves, I have discovered some absolute gems lately – Aesop as you all know, and also Biotherm’s Aquasource moisturizer, new to my kit.

I actually worked on the commercial for this in London, with Kay Montano doing makeup on the unbelievably gorgeous Biotherm spokesmodel, Russian Sasha Pivarova. Statuesque, gorgeous and glamorous in towering boots, Sasha was everything you’d like your supermodel to be. At lunch I discovered she was lovely as well – very down to earth and nice, an unexpected bonus. Two things I will tell you – she loves her coffee, and yes, her eyes really are that blue!

When I got a chance to try the new Aquasource moisturizer I was slightly trepidatious as often moisturizers that have offered a high water content actually leave your skin feeling drier than it started, as the water evaporates and seems to take more water from the skin. But new technology has radically improved these and Aquasource not only feels like water on the skin (which is lovely and refreshing in summer), but my skin really retained the moisture and in the morning it still felt hydrated, and not like a dried up old walnut. And happily, no breakouts which I can sometimes get when I switch skincare. In addition, it’s such a nice base for makeup that I’ve slipped some in my kit (sorry Kiehl’s, for the first time in nearly a decade, you’ve been relegated!)

Here is the lovely Sasha P in one of her European Biotherm campaigns (I love it when she talks about kung-fu! So awesome with her Russian accent.)