Since my legs when left to their own devices look like Satan’s tracksuit pants, I am in regular need of liberal applications of body moisturiser. I have recently tried some new good ones that have displaced my usual rota of Nivea, Nivea and more Nivea, so I thought in the interests of full disclosure it was time to divulge.
My new summer time body goodie is by my favourite Aussie brand, Aesop – it’s their Petigrain Hydrating Body Gel, and it’s perfect for hot weather as it’s lighter than a regular moisturiser and absorbs quickly. When it’s hot as a sauna outside, the last thing you want to have is feeling like you’ve had a brisk bath in butter. It also comes in a plastic bottle with a handy pump, so it’s lighter and not as fragile as Aesop’s glass packaging.
Enhanced with Witch Hazel, Grapefruit and Lemon Peel oils it smells delicious (which you expect with Aesop products), and I’m thrilled to have a proper body moisturiser I can throw into my kit for summer shoots, as most of the moisturisers I’ve been using (Palmers Body Gloss, I’m talking to you!) are just too slick and greasy.
Whilst it’s hard to imagine needing some serious body hydration when your limbs are bronzed and it’s hot outside, that time is coming for my Northern hemisphere friends, and oh baby have I found your solution! By now you should all know of my love for Liz Earle’s genius Superskin moisturiser, and she has now released – Superskin Body Cream. I know, right? So all those poor dry, dessicated souls with skin (like mine) that is so parched that it feels like lizard skin, this is for you. It’s amazing, full of Shea Butter and organic Rosehip Oil, Neroli Oil and Cranberry Seed Oil, so it slides on like you’ve been touched by an angel. It smells gorgeous and, quite frankly, sticks everything back where you want it to be (you dry skinned ladies know what I’m talking about).
My favourite Aussie skincare brand, Aesop, is basically taking over the world at the moment with a gorgeous new counter at Selfridges in London, and four new stores to open in New York by the end of the year. Look how beautiful this installation in Selfridges is – if this doesn’t make you want to go and dive in to their skin loving treats, I don’t know what does.
I am currently loving their Geranium Leaf Body Scrub – it’s one of the few body products I use on a regular basis. It contains pumice and bamboo plus geranium which smells amazing first thing in the morning, let me tell you.
I’m not generally a massive body product fan, mostly due to lack of time. The products in my shower have to be quick and effective, and this not only polishes my skin, it’s even managing to compensate for the fact that I’ve given up coffee (and you know anything that can do that, must be good).
So I can now die a happy lady. The ONE thing that used to disturb me about my kit was my nasty bottle of chemist dry soap – I have bought it in Paris, and London and the US, and no matter what brands I tried, it just never looked chic. Because when you have all your lovely bottles and tubes of La Mer and Kiehl’s and Chanel laid out, it was always jarring to have a tacky little bottle of Aqium or Purell stuck in the middle. It screamed “Here I am! I’m a hand sanitizer!” Not the first thing I want to jump out at a client when they look at my work table.
But now my prayers have been answered – and at the risk of my blog turning into an Aesop infomercial, it’s the good people at Aesop who have answered them. It’s an alcohol based hand wash to cleanse and refresh hands – so it’s the Chanel of Aqium basically. And best of all – it comes in their classic brown bottles, but, wait for it, IT’S PLASTIC. So there’s no carting glass around (which, whilst chic would also be heavy, and let’s face it, potentially dangerous). And it’s only 50ml, so it’s perfect for planes, or throwing into your handbag for a little on the spot refresher wherever you are. Clean hands without water! And I don’t know about you guys, but I get increasingly germ phobic as I get older. It all started on the Paris Metro when I saw a guy scratch his nose – except he had no nose, it had been eaten away by some devastating disease. Poor man – but then he wrapped that itchy finger back around the Metro pole and I nearly passed out at the thought of what detritus he was leaving everywhere. So at the risk of sounding all Howard Hughes, hand sanitizer is my friend.
This one smells gorgeous, and has Mandarin Rind and Rosemary Leaf in it, plus unlike its nasty chemist counterparts, it contains moisturizing agents to ensure skin is left clean but not dehydrated.
I’m having an oil moment (that sounds wrong, doesn’t it?) But it’s true, I am – I have fallen in love with not one but THREE facial oils, so I consider it my sworn duty as a beauty blogger to tell you all about them.
The first is from my Aussie wonderbrand favourite, Aesop – really is there anything that this brand can’t do? I have yet to try a dud product from them. It’s their Parsley Seed Facial Cleansing Oil. It’s great for combination, sensitive and dry skin (which would certainly be myself), and has skin-calming properties combined with anti-oxidants.
Then there is also the latest addition to the Parsley Seed family, which is their new Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser (out this month). This one is a gel cleanser (that feels like an oil), but this one is special – it EXFOLIATES whilst it cleanses. How does it do that? I hear you ask (well even if you didn’t, I’m going to tell you anyway), it combines a softly lathering gel cleanser with lactic acid to gently exfoliate and brighten the skin.
So as a pre-makeup cleanse for shoots and clients, it’s amazing as it gently stimulates blood flow, giving you the all-important GLOW. Yes, that GLOW, the one every makeup artist knows about as it’s what you strive to impart to someone’s skin before you start putting makeup on, since makeup going on a crusty, dry flakey surface just looks like ass, and makes your job much more difficult.
It probably seems pretty counter-intuitive to use oil to wash the face, but Japanese makeup artist Shu Uemura pioneered this in the late 1950’s when he realized that an oil cleanser effectively removed all traces of heavy makeup, whilst maintaining the delicate acid mantle of the skin. He created the Shu Uemura High Performance Cleansing Oil in the early 60’s, which is my second facial oil pick. I’ve had this in my kit for oooh, around 10 years now as it softens the skin and is miraculous at removing makeup. So now I have two oils to use – the Aesop for pre-makeup cleansing- for the GLOW, and Shu for afterwards for it’s makeup melting properties. (Especially when you’re on a job where the girl is wearing an extra head full of makeup, you need something with some serious grunt to take it off. I do love my Crealine but sometimes you just need the Makeup Removing Big Guns – that’s when my Shu comes into play).
And last, but by no means least, Jurlique Skin Balancing Face Oil. This has a different purpose – I use this sometimes on dry, dehydrated skin to perk it up and impart some serious moisture before starting the makeup. It can also be mixed into foundation to give it extra slip and shine – lovely when your skin is feeling the cold (ie the whole of the Northern hemisphere at the moment).
Jurlique is another favourite Aussie organic brand of mine, as their products are just plain yummy. This oil has biodynamic and organic Chamomile, Calendula, Marshamallow and Rose, and Rose Hip oil to give the skin elasticity.
Even in the heat of summer the skin can get dehydrated and can benefit from oils. However if your skin is very oily anyway I would advise using oils with caution – don’t discount them, but try a sample before you invest in them. Sometimes those with an oily finish to the skin actually have very dehydrated skin underneath (*cough* don’t ask me how I know that).
My favourite purveyor of fine skincare products is opening a new store in Tokyo. In line with their ethical stance all the wood in the store was reclaimed from an old house in Tokyo, so the whole store smells faintly of Japanese cedar. So if you’re in Aoyama Tokyo, why not swing by!
Also 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).
How can you have a Christmas Gift Set in your kit, I hear you scoff? Well that’s easy my friends, because the beautiful coffret box that the Aesop Gertrude Street set comes in is just the most perfect size to take my decanted foundations, and is now the basis of how I organize my makeup when I’m on a job.
I should be telling you about the delicious contents of the aforementioned box which have made me love Aesop products even more – the Fabulous Face cleanser which is gently cleansing my dehydrated face, waking me up every day with its scent of bergamot and rosemary. You wouldn’t think an olive oil cleanser could feel this yummy, but it does, and it doesn’t cause breakouts either (which some oil cleansers are prone to do).
This particular gift set comes with five beautiful full size products nestled within – the cleanser, the Tea Tree Leaf Facial scrub which when mixed with the cleanser is a wonderful exfoliant, the Primrose Facial Cleansing Masque that’s an amazing treat when your skin feels congested and comes with French clay (fancy) and Vitamin E, the B & Tea Balancing Toner which I’ve blogged about before as it gives you that lovely super clean feeling (nice when it’s hot!). Last but by no means least, the Mandarin Facial Hydrating Cream, which is happily nestled on my bedside table, my current standby night cream. All the products have been specifically selected for a warm climate, so it was a welcome addition to my skincare arsenal.
But can I talk about the box again for a minute? This is what has me sold on this set – all my decanted foundations are stacked, perfectly aligned within its sleek black walls, and it zips up at the top so it can just be lifted out of my bag for instant access at work. It’s ace. Like everything from Aesop it is practical, beautiful and luxurious – in a word, classy. And now I can now carry Aesop with me wherever my makeup takes me.
For Christmas this year Aesop have six different sets named after the streets where their shops are internationally, all with a different selection of products to suit every skin and every budget. And I think you’ll know you’ve been very good this year if you find Aesop in your stocking.
The Aesop Christmas sets are on-counter now. For more information, visit www.aesop.net.au
The new brand on my radar? Aesop. I can’t believe that I hadn’t discovered them before, given that they are Australian, quirky, utilize the best of the natural world with modern science (I wish more of life could be like that), AND their packaging comes complete with quotes from Serge Gainsbourg, Miles Davis, Winston Churchill and Carl Jung. What’s not to love?
Regular readers of MM know that I don’t often blog about skincare – not because I don’t like it but for me it has to be high performance, worth the price and make the skin look amazing, letting me focus on what I love most – makeup. It’s a pretty big call for most skincare, therefore it doesn’t make it into my kit and I keep on with my good old trusted and true Kiehl’s and Crealine. However of late this is changing, and I’ve found a few new things I like – which goes to show there’s always something new and fabulous around the corner!
So back to Aesop. I have been using the Perfect Facial Moisturiser, the Fabulous Facial Oil, and the B & Tea Balancing toner, and I love them all. The Perfect Facial Moisturiser isn’t greasy, which I like, and has Vitamin C in a base of hydrating oils including jojoba, rosehip and shea butter. It’s the perfect base for makeup so I use it in the morning.
The B & Tea toner is quite a departure for me as I haven’t used toners for years since a product who shall remain nameless was left on a cotton ball when I was fourteen and stripped my antique dresser BONE WHITE, which made me rather wonder what on God’s good green earth it was doing to my sensitive teenage skin. So it was with some trepidation I gave it a go, and found it to be refreshingly pore cleansing without being painful. I don’t use this one every day, just when I feel like I need it if my skin gets a bit congested (when I *ahem* haven’t been following my skincare regime as assiduously as I should). It is alcohol free, with Provitamin B5 and antioxidant Green Tea, and Sodium Gluconate to assist with cell turnover.
And the Fabulous Facial Oil? Well this guy is also wonderful as a base for makeup as it moisturizes the skin’s surface without being too greasy. It contains juniper berry, ylang ylang and jasmine petals to hydrate and detoxify patchy skin, but leaving the skin matte. It’s a favourite of one of my favourite makeup artists, Lucia Pieroni, so I couldn’t resist giving it a whirl. I also love their distinctive brown glass apothecary style packaging – it looks so chic in your bathroom!
Aesop was launched in Melbourne in 1987 by Dennis Paphitis, with the idea of using plant based ingredients with effective man-made ones. As wellness and the interest in natural products combined with anti-aging science has grown, Aesop has shown itself to be a brand with both intellect and personality. The company’s reference points are life itself – “how we should be living, eating, exercising and caring for ourselves” says Dennis. An unusually broad remit for a skincare brand but one you can see in their newsletters and marketing where they focus on films, music, the arts and wonderful quotes.
They have recently opened their second store in Paris at Rue St Honoré, in addition to the many stores they have all over the world, from Switzerland to London and Hong Kong. Indeed, arguably the world’s coolest shop, Colette, (and my favourite Parisian department store, Bon Marche!) stocks their products.
PS Have just given Aesop an A+ for including a recommendation on their website for The Magnificent Ambersons, Orson Welles darkly genius movie about an American family, and one of my favourite movies of all time. Love LOVE this brand! Brains and beauty, my favourite.
PPS Because I can’t resist the opportunity to talk about Orson, other great Orson Welles movies are obviously the cinematic classic Citizen Kane but also The Third Man, a fabulous mystery set in post-war Vienna.