Monday 26 September 2016

The beauty panel: Winter Warmers

The party season will be upon us soon, says oure beauty expert, so now's the time to shield your skin from the winter chill

Sarah Caden

Published 16/11/2015 | 02:30

Pictured, from left, Avene Skin Recovery Cream; SkinCeuticals Emollience Moisturiser; L'Occitane Melting Honey Ultra Soft Cream; Clinique Smart Night Custom-Repair Moisturiser; Eucerin Replenishing Cream 5% Urea. Photo: Kip Carroll
Pictured, from left, Avene Skin Recovery Cream; SkinCeuticals Emollience Moisturiser; L'Occitane Melting Honey Ultra Soft Cream; Clinique Smart Night Custom-Repair Moisturiser; Eucerin Replenishing Cream 5% Urea. Photo: Kip Carroll

At this time of year, we fall into two camps - those in festive denial, or those who just can't wait for the party season to start. During this lull, though, both camps have a tendency to sink into a slump of skincare inertia. It's dark, it's cold, there's nothing really happening since the Halloween face paint was wiped off. In a nutshell, both camps can slide into a state where they're too bored even to assiduously cleanse, tone and moisturise. "Why?" a little voice whispers. "Sure there's nothing happening." Yet.

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What's happening in the winter chill, though, is that your skin is getting dry and dull, and central heating is not your friend either. We know you kind of don't give a damn, but you will. When you look ruddy in the Christmas photos, you'll really care. That healthy, roses-in-your-cheeks look can be achieved with blusher, after all. You don't need to acquire it for real by nurturing a wind-burned, radiator-parched complexion. Even if you're an avid fresh-air exerciser, you need to avoid that look. So, this is the time of year to insulate your skin. Think of it as a sort of skincare insurance, because even if you're in denial, the season is coming. And fast.

Best Overall

Avene Skin Recovery Cream, €22, selected pharmacies nationwide

Avene is one of those French pharmacy brands that people used to go out of their way to pick up on holidays. The range is based on thermal water, and this cream is great for easily aggravated complexions, and promises to rebuild the surface barrier to environmental aggressors such as wind and cold. It's not too much like a barrier cream, though, and functions very well as a regular day cream. "This works well for me daily, under make-up, but I apply a thick layer if I'm going for a run, and it's a great insulation," said one panellist.

Best Neutral Nourishment

SkinCeuticals Emollience Moisturiser, €65, for stockists, see skinceuticals.co.uk

A lot of SkinCeuticals products are packed with active ingredients to work on specific concerns. This cream is blessedly neutral, however, and is composed of grape-seed, rosehip and macadamia oils, which bring the richness; and Brazilian sea algae, which help to boost hydration. It says that it suits all skin types, but we think it's better for dry skin that needs an extra bit of unguent oomph come winter. "Gorgeously luxurious, but without that irritating, so-called luxurious fragrance that is usually injected into these things," said one panellist. "Inoffensive, but effective."

Best Body Soft

L'Occitane Melting Honey Ultra Soft Cream, €22, L'Occitane stores nationwide

This is a limited-edition body cream from the French brand that never seems to run out of ideas for fragrances that seem good enough to eat. This is part of a small line of honey-infused products, which includes a rather delicious lip balm, and a knacky small tube of hand cream. This rich body moisturiser will have your skin soft and smelling divine in no time. "Rich and delicious," said one panellist. "Dare I say it would make a nice present?"

Best Night Nurse

Clinique Smart Night Custom-Repair Moisturiser, €65, Clinique counters nationwide

The Clinique Smart products claim to know exactly what your skin wants. You put on the product, and it knows what to do. Now, we know this is a very, very tall order; but there's no denying that they work well on skin that is showing the standard lines-and-wrinkles signs of ageing. This night cream is good stuff - it has a nicely balanced texture that feels nourishing, but not suffocating. "I really think my skin was softer, more dewy and less fragile after a few weeks of this," said one panellist.

Best Real Repair

Eucerin Replenishing Cream 5% Urea, €9.99, available nationwide

Don't let the urea aspect put you off, this is laboratory-created urea, and it is a brilliantly effective ingredient for dry, rough or sensitive skin. This tub of cream is suitable for the face and the body and, at this price, you can afford to lather it on liberally. It's cooling on contact, but with regular use, you will absolutely see an improvement in texture and reactivity. In a nutshell, you'll be smoother and calmer. "I use this all over," said a panellist. "It's great on my face, but it's brilliant on neglected feet, too."

Email thepanel@independent.ie

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