If you’re a lover fragrance and also happen to be super organised, then it’s very likely that you’ll have a fragrance wardrobe. Much like your typical closet, where you have clothes that are more suited to specific seasons, in your fragrance wardrobe fresher, more floral notes feel more summery and rich, warming scents are typically reserved for winter fragrances.
If you feel like you’re not totally au fait with fragrance, which by the way is nothing to be embarrassed about for it is a confusing and overwhelming, yet completely personal subject, then head over to our Marie Claire Perfume Directory, a one-stop-shop for everything fragrance related. If you’re not yet at the wardrobe stage, and just want to find a beautiful scent for all year round, then take a look at our round-up of the best perfumes for women.
So as we head well and truly into winter, delve into the heart of winter with our edit of the ultimate warming fragrances.
Every winter Jo Malone create a fragrance just for the festive period and it somehow always captures the scent of Christmas. This year is no different. Even though we have no idea what white moss or snow drops actually smell like, the combination of the two with the addition of cardamon and amber is exactly what the Yuletide smells like. The perfect scent to be worn with a deep red velvet dress.
You would be led to believe that this Prada fragrance is meant for earlier in the year because of its top note of mandarin and base note of tuberose – both very popular in summery fragrances. However, the middle note of Frangipani flower and Ylang Ylang add a depth that means it works well on colder nights too. Plus velvet is the fabric of the season.
As soon as you spray Byredo’s Eleventh Hour, you can smell the wild fig straight away. It clings to your skin and lasts throughout the day. You’ll also pick up on a slight aroma of rum. It’s sweet, but there’s a pepperiness to it as well. You’ll love it if you like Jo Malone’s Pomegranate Noir.
At first this perfume smells really spicy and masculine, which is down to the clove bud and galbanum, but give it a bit of time and it dries down to becomes really floral, thanks to the jasmine, iris and orange blossom. Give it even more time on the skin and suddenly you’ll get aromas of musky and vanilla. It’s a super sophisticated fragrance that takes you on a bit of an olfactory journey.
This is an evening scent through and through – not only because of its name, but because the lavender note is strong so it immediately puts you into that cosy, nighttime feeling. Douse yourself in it, put your best cashmere jumper on, and watch a good film with a cup of hot chocolate.
On dark wintery days, this fragrance will be that burst of light that you’re in desperate need of. After the initial notes of violet, gardenia and ylang ylang settle down, the musk comes through for a sophisticated edge. If you love the smell of Ouai’s hair products, then you’ll recognise the scent immediately.
This winter sees the launch of the first ever fragrances from high street giant, All Saints. There are three in total, each one is unisex and a reflection of the brands contemporary vision. Our favourite is Sunset Riot, a not-too sweet amber fragrance, with notes of orange flower and cedar wood. But it’s the pink peppercorn that makes this scent addictive.
There’s nothing different about the juice – it’s classic N°5 with a festive twist. If you already have the normal bottle, we still think this is a great investment. Just look at it. You need this one too. If you’re new to the perfume, what a great way to be introduced. It’s an incomparable scent that reeks of sophistication.
This fragrance was created to capture the scent of the original Diptyque boutique in Paris on the Boulevard Saint Germain. How on earth was that done? They’ve taken notes of spice and amber, to reflect the aroma of the brand’s fragrances and candles that could be found in store, and wood, which in a nod to the wooden furnishings. It’s a complete scent explosion.
Whether you’re dry, oily or a combination of the two, there’s a face cream for you
You might have tried so many different lotions and potions in your lifetime that finding the best moisturiser is starting to feel like a pipe dream.
But fear not: With a little bit of knowledge and preparation you’ll be well-equipped to choose the perfect match for your face, thanks to Marie Claire’s handy guide.
The key is knowing your skin before you buy. Dr Anjali Mahto, Consultant Dermatologist, author of The Skincare Bible and spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation says: ‘Finding the perfect moisturiser depends on your skin type, because not one size fits all.
‘Dry, sensitive and oily skins all need different skincare. And it needs to be designed specifically for your skin type. If you don’t know what your skin type is, speak to your dermatologist.’
Not everyone has access to a dermatologist, but you can usually work out your skin type based on the following: If you have enlarged or open pores, blemishes or are prone to greasiness, you need the best moisturiser for oily skin, something light and ideally non-comedogenic (which means non-pore clogging).
Struggle with skin that’s uncomfortably tight, flaky or just feels like sandpaper and we’ll point you in the direction of the best moisturiser for dry skin. These are usually richer emollient creams that
And, finally, if your skin is sensitive you’re probably already aware that certain ingredients cause inflammation or break outs. It’s best to avoid creams that contain alcohol, essential oils or fragrance.
So without further ado, keep reading for some of the greatest hits of the moisturiser world – you might just leave here with a new skincare best friend.
If there’s one kind of podcast I love to listen to, it’s a beauty one. With beauty as my day job, you’d think that by the time I leave the office I’m done with all things make-up, hair and skincare for the day.
But in a tie with a good book, beauty podcasts are my favourite thing to consume on my journey home. (They’re also great for the bath or a Sunday afternoon, FYI.)
With this in mind, I’ve rounded up a handful of the most popular beauty podcasts below for you to peruse and download. Between them, they’ve got pretty much everything you could possibly want to know about beauty covered. Happy listening!
A relative newcomer to the beauty pod game, beauty journalist and blogger Madeleine Spencer launched Beauty Full Lives earlier this year and boy, is it a good’un. Focusing on our emotional relationship with beauty and with our favourite products, Madeleine already has an amazing guest roster that includes Sam & Nic Chapman, Holly Willoughby and Millie Mackintosh, as well as upcoming guests Kylie Minogue, Zoella, Mary Greenwell and Caroline Hirons. Each guest discusses the most poignant beauty moments from their life, reminding us all that beauty is about so much more than what we put on our face or in our hair. Five stars.
Hosted by two US beauty directors, Jessica Matlin and Jennifer Goldstein, Fat Mascara discusses topical beauty news, trends, product recommendations, industry goss and more. Most episodes feature a lengthy beauty-related interview, with previous guests including the likes of Bobbi Brown, Charlotte Tilbury, Jo Malone CBE and Aerin Lauder, to name but a few.
Expect tips and anecdotes from world class make-up artists, hair stylists and beauty brand founders to fuel your obsession, as well as a LOT of lols. Plus, Jen and Jess put links to the people, places and products mentioned in each episode on the Fat Mascara website afterwards. There are now over 130 episodes for you to download and tune into, so now’s as good as time as any to get cracking.
The Emma Guns Show by Emma Gunavardhana is a one-on-one chat with brilliant famous faces from all walks of life, but predominantly with a link to the beauty industry. Beauty journalist and presenter Emma really does cover it all: One episode she’ll be sat down with Beck Dorey-Stein, author of From the Corner of the Oval Office, the next she’ll be with world-renowned dermatologist Dr Dennis Gross talking all things skin. Other top guests from the nearly 200-episode strong pod include Nadine Baggot, Ruth Crilly, Claudia Winkleman, Lily Pebbles and more. Get plugged in.
Hosted by Harriet Hadfield and Lindsay Kelk, Full Coverage is basically everything a beauty junkie can ask for in podcast form: Brand new launches, cult products, how-tos, empties and industry interviews galore. It’s a gold mine. Great guests include the founders of top brands like Elemis and Ciaté London, and equally famous beauty faces like Sali Hughes. There’s even a crossover episode with The Emma Guns Show above. What more could you ask for, really?
‘Behind every beauty product there’s a damn good story’ – instantly you’re drawn in, right? Breaking Beauty, hosted by former magazine editors Jill Dunn and Carlene Higgins chat to ‘icons and icons in the making’ about all things beauty. The premise is all about the best-selling beauty products and the stories that make them, so you’ll learn a lot of make-up and skincare anecdotes along the way. Top guests include the Bobbi Brown, Caroline Hirons, celeb hairstylist and Ouai founder Jen Atkin, Glossier founder Emily Weiss, and so many more…
Vegan beauty is undeniably one of the fastest growing skincare and make-up categories, with more and more brands making a conscious effort to provide animal-free options to customers. You won’t find any beeswax, propolis or fish scales here.
November is World Vegan Month, so below we’ve broken down the vegan beauty brands you need to know about – as well as the brands offering excellent products that just happen to be vegan, too.
Founded by sisters Sophie and Hannah in 2014, Spectrum brushes are loved by pro make-up artists and vegan beauty lovers everywhere. As well as being animal free they are incredibly good quality and, very importantly, work just as well (if not better) than their non-synthetic counterparts. Whether you like a plain white and copper colour scheme or millennial pink unicorn vibes, this brush brand has got you covered.
Finding great vegan perfume can be a pretty tricky business, but brilliant and boujie perfume brand Le Labo is 100% animal-free. You can spritz that signature Santal 33 or Bergamote 22 safe in the knowledge that every last drop is completely vegan. (Side note: If you don’t already follow the hilarious Instagram account @overheardlelabo you should do so ASAP.)
Skyn Iceland was born after its founder, Sarah, traveled to Iceland after a period of serious illness brought on by chronic stress. She was inspired by the natural beauty of Iceland and the radiant skin of the locals – and so all of Skyn’s products are packed with powerful Icelandic ingredients. As well as being 100% vegan and not testing on animals, the products do not contain mineral oil, sulphates or petroleum. These under eye gels are a personal favourite, waking up tired eyes and minimising bags after just 15-20 minutes of wear.
The Maori word ‘pai’ means goodness, which funnily enough is the philosophy behind this British skincare brand; all Pai Skincare products are made using high quality organic ingredients and optimised for sensitive skin. The cleanser is one of their best-selling products and handily comes with a textured face cloth to help get all the make-up and grime off your skin.
All of The Soap Co‘s delicious-smelling products are hand-crafted by disabled or blind people (note the Braille on every bottle), and they work extremely hard to be as responsible a brand as possible. Packaging is made using old milk bottles, with 45% less of an environmental impact than PET, and they use compostable labels, biodegradeable and non-toxic glue, and paper that is both recycled and recyclable. The new Mulberry and Amber scent is particularly delicious, and they’ve just launched into John Lewis so now there’s even more of an excuse for you to stock up on their soaps, body washes and body oils.
Developed and made in Sweden, Maria Nila haircare is registered with the Leaping Bunny, Peta and The Vegan Society. The True Soft range is a great all-rounder but particularly good for slightly dry hair; other ranges include Pure Volume and Head & Hair Heal for repair. As all formulas sulphate-free, they’re all suitable for coloured hair and every time you buy one of their products, you’re contributing to tree-planting in South America. Be sure to try the hair masks too.
Australian beauty brand INIKA Organic is another great 100% vegan brand with an impressive CV – did you know they’re behind the world’s first certified certified organic and vegan lipsticks? Some of their celebrity fans include eco fashion and beauty fan Emma Watson and Hilary Swank (and us, obvs).
Named after the rahua oil produced by the Quechua-Shuar tribe of the Amazon – who use the precious oil to keep their skin and hair nourished – Rahua is a rainforest-grown beauty brand with sustainability at its heart. The founders believe that clean and non-toxic hair and skin products are essential for overall health, so their products are all formulated using plants rather than chemicals. As well as being vegan, all products are entirely paraben, sulphate and gluten-free too. The new Legendary Amazon Oil, containing rahua, morete, sacha inchi and gardenia flower oils, will nourish and repair your hair to shiny perfection.
When it comes to mascara, these are the best in the business
Ah, mascara. Without a doubt the one item we’d hail as a ‘can’t-live-without’ in a beauty version of Desert Island Discs. There’s just something about giving your lashes a bit of oomph with the best mascara that no other cosmetic can quite match (not even your best liquid eyeliner).
Whether you’ve got stubborn, straight lashes, unbearably short ones, or you just want to add a bit of volume to your eyelashes, we’ve tried and tested a job lot of the best mascara formulas and narrowed it down to a few choice buys every woman should have in her beauty arsenal.
Walk this way for a tour through the best mascaras on the market, old and new, for just about every lash type, and keep your eye out for our Prix Beauty Award winner.
We’re sure you’ll leave here with a new beauty best friend.
Clinique’s waterproof mascara accompanies many to weddings, funerals and other important occasions during which crying might occur – because it just will not budge until you take to it with a good eye make-up remover. It has staying power we can only liken to that of a determined customer who camps outside department stores ahead of the Boxing Day sales. Adding just the right amount of length and volume, sensitive-eyed girls will also love it for smudge-free days. One of the best waterproof mascaras you’ll ever try.
When it comes to the best mascara for a lengthening job, this is a super pigmented game-changer. The thicker brush combs through your lashes to build the length volume of each, unlike a lot of volumising mascaras which clump lashes together for a bolder lash look. The result? Spidery, jet black lashes that are the best finishing touch to any eye make-up look – but especially a smokey eye.
A mascara called ‘Better Than Sex’ has got a lot to answer for and, fortunately for Too Faced, this one does. We’re talking standout lashes that are both thick and lengthy. What’s more, the helix-shaped wand is great at reaching into those tiny inner corner lashes and bumping up the outer ones. Great for nights out with your best eyeshadow, but is it really better than sex? We’ll let you decide on that one…
Fed up of using several different mascaras to lengthen, volumise, and darken respectively, Charlotte Tilbury wanted to bring an ‘all in one’ mascara to the masses. And, being Charlotte Tilbury, she did exactly that. The cleverly designed brush catches hold of even the shortest, finest lashes, pushing them up and outwards to enhance your eyes to the max. When it comes to the best mascara for short lashes, always go for Full Fat.
Avon don’t have shops or concessions in department stores, which means they save so much money on rent, staffing etc and they’re able to keep prices low. Where does that spare money go? Straight back into researching formulas and developing incredible products, like this mascara. It’s been created with this whizzy elasto-stretch technology, which means that it curls your lashes and keeps them curled. If you feel that they’ve straighten later in the day, using your index fingers push your lashes up and back to re-curl them.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that sensitive eyes water and, unfortunately, streaming eyes lead to under-eye smudge. As well as your traditional, run-of-the-mill fibre mascara there are also tubing formulas, which are a whole different ball game for sensitive, weepy-eyed mascara users. These wrap your lashes in sweat resistant ‘tubes’, and the brand has tested the formula to ensure it’s appropriate for sensitive eyes, contact lenses, active types, the works. The slogan says it all: ‘Stop painting your lashes… Tube them.’
Legendary make-up artist Pat McGrath helped create this punch-packing mascara little over ten years ago during fashion week, where she resorted to applying it with a toothbrush on models for proper fluttery lashes. And so it was that DiorShow, the inky-black mascara of dreams, was born. It’s about as close as you’ll get to dramatic lashes without buying a pair of falsies (and a hell of a lot easier to apply, too), so it’s really no wonder that it’s such a crowd-pleaser.
Another tubing formula, legendary MUA Kevyn Aucoin’s curling formula lifts lashes for lasting emphasis and definiton and is a great everyday wear; if you want more volume, the Volume Mascara is also excellent. Like all tubing formulas, this won’t come off until you press a hot, wet flannel against your lashes to soak the tubes off, so you can bet your bottom dollar it’s going to stay put all the day long.
This is without a doubt one of the best mascaras you can bag at a drugstore counter. Not only does it promise added volume and length, but the curved brush grabs them all to give the ultimate lift. Easy to use and gives results, meaning it’s less than a tenner very well spent.
This mascara is to lashes, what a cashmere jumper is to weekends – the perfect accompaniment. It won’t give you the fluttery false lash effect, but it will slightly lengthen your natural lashes for that elusive ‘no make-up make-up’ look. Pair with a dab of cream blusher and groomed brows.
If you have long, luscious bottom lashes (first of all, you lucky biatch) then you don’t have to keep reading. But if you have quite short lashes that when you try to apply mascara with a normal wand you look like you’ve been crying for a week solidly, then this is going to be a revelation for you. The brush is thin, yet still long, and it coats every last lash. The dream.
What’s better than beauty gifts? Tiny beauty gifts
When it comes to important women in your life, finding the perfect stocking fillers for her can be tricky. Too often we resort to panic buying a load of knick-knacks that are destined for the drawer.
But there’s something really lovely about having a miniature version of all your favourite beauty products; even though they do the same job, nothing beats a pint-sized lip gloss, liner or hand cream. And if nothing else, it saves valuable bag space.
From the world-famous brands you’ve always loved to the niche ones you need on your radar, consider this the definitive guide to beauty stocking fillers for every budget, or for that last minute secret Santa gift you haven’t picked up yet.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that you can never have too many lipsticks, and party season is the best excuse to rake in a couple more. These pint-sized Bobbi Brown lip colours both make great choices for Christmas drinks.
One of the best mascara buys out there (and also one of the world’s best-selling), They’re Real comes in teeny tiny tree decoration size for the holiday season. The minis are also available in Roller Lash and BADgal Bang mascaras, as well as Benefit’s famous lip & cheek tints, so you’ve got a real range to choose from.
Containing both a Deep Sleep and Sleep Plus+ Pillow Spray for better nights’ kip, as well as a Stress Check Roll-On to keep your calm levels in check, this bauble has everything you need to feel better rested.
A trio of delicious-smelling body creams, the scent of ginger or grapefruit is sure to lift your spirits in the midst of winter, as well as keeping your skin soft and supple. This Origins mini set will go down a treat in any stocking.
The best lip balm is never a gift that’s out of place, and you don’t get much better than By Terry’s best-selling Baume de Rose. Your lips will be protected and nourished through the cold winter months.
The MAC Christmas 2018 collection is seriously festive. Nothing screams seasonal quite like glitter, so these fun-sized pigment and glitter pots make perfect gifts – or as party favours if you’re hosting this year’s Christmas ‘do.
Give a Glow Tonic fan (or any skincare enthusiast really) their favourite exfoliating toner in extra pretty packaging just in time for Christmas. The little peach and green package is the perfect addition to any stocking.
Get two of Elemis’ hero hand and body products in the relaxing Sea Lavender and Samphire scent, complete with a seriously pretty wash bag. Fans of other Elemis blends will be pleased to hear there are also Skin Nourishing, Frangipani and men’s duos available too. Dreamy.
Moringa Cleansing Balm is one of those skincare products that has cult status – every skincare fan out there probably knows and loves it. Get your hands on a miniature version and cleansing cloth for just £10. A beauty steal.
Buying eye make-up needn’t be a chore these days; there are hundreds of the best eyeshadow palettes lining every drugstore and department store beauty hall.
As well as the best liquid eyeliner to make the whole look truly pop, a sweep of shadow adds colour and depth to your overall look. And of course, the whole thing is only completed by fanning out the lashes with your best mascara.
When it comes to SS18, green is having a major moment. We know what you’re thinking – green eye make-up? It’s not exactly sexy. Except when it’s in the hands of Tom Pecheux; at Elie Saab, he mixed bright green with brown for an earthy take on the shade, before spreading it along the lash line and lids.
Whether you want a compact quad à la Charlotte Tilbury, Tom Ford or SUQQU, or a mega-range of shades sprawling a giant palette from the likes of Huda Beauty, one of the best eyeshadow palettes will get you your colour fix.
The best eyeshadow primer
But, as with any blank canvas, there’s one essential first step: prep the area. No smokey eye can go the distance without a little help from the best eyeshadow primer on the block (because who wants to re-do the whole look a few hours later?).
Not all waterproof mascaras are created equal, but rest assured that these are the best
I love mascara. In a toss up against good eyebrow products, it would probably come out on top as my favourite make-up bag product. And when it comes to waterproof mascara I won’t go on holiday, brave a funeral or step foot in a gym without it.
These days, the best waterproof mascara is just as good (if not better) than your run-of-the-mill smudgeable one. While waterproof formulas of days gone by didn’t always make your lashes look anything exceptional, in 2018 they can lengthen, curl and volumise just as well as the best mascara.
Lash tinting is another great option for holidays but waterproof mascara is much more affordable, so rifle through our hand-picked favourites below to find the right one for you. You might never look back.
Everyone loves an offer. I mean BOGOF gives us life, no? Well check this one out – two mascaras for the price of one. One for daytime that lengthens and one for the night that volumises. And both of them are waterproof. Mic. Drop.
Who better to ask for a formula that’s good enough for make-up artists than Make-up Art Cosmetics themselves? Think In Extreme Dimension mascara, but waterproof: expert definition that withstands the smudging effects of day-to-day life in an ultra-black, eye-enhancing formula. Cheers, MAC.
Clinique is renowned for excellent mascaras (bottom lash, anyone?) and their waterproof one also has a brilliant reputation; it’s the go-to in my family for funerals, which says it all really. It won’t flake down your face and it’s available in brown if you prefer a softer colour than black.
A couple of coats of DIORSHOW mascara gives bold, glossy and dramatic lashes. The waterproof version is just as amazing and lasts all day if you’re hitting up the beach, spending the day in the pool or your own wedding. Naturally, there’s a blacker-than-black shade but there’s also very wearable rich brown that looks super natural.
If you’ve tried Lancôme’s new Monsieur Big mascara and loved it – fat, volumised lashes that pack a punch – then we’ve got some good news for you: It’s also available in an equally punchy waterproof version. Hurrah!
This one is cited by many as their every day mascara because it’s particularly good for slightly sensitive watery eyes. It amps up lashes so well that you wouldn’t know it’s waterproof, but it really does work wonders when it comes to withstanding water, sweat, tears… etc.
Because non-greasy, non pore-clogging moisturisers DO exist and we have the proof
The best moisturiser for oily skin may seem counter-intuitive, but believe it or not, oily skin can still get dehydrated. You’ll need a different set of ingredients to someone with dry or flaky skin.
Although your skin is overdoing it on the oil front, it still needs some hydration to maintain skin barrier health. ‘Many anti-acne products dry out skin, so it is important to rehydrate it to prevent overproduction of sebum to combat the dryness,’ consultant dermatologist Dr Sharon Wong says.
Be sure to also tailor your skincare routine to your skin type: take your pick from our best cleansers and fighting shine will become a whole lot simpler. Then for make-up, add one of our best foundations for oily skin to your beauty routine.
So what should you look for when buying products? ‘Avoid heavy moisturisers and opt for oil-free creams or serums instead,’ says Dr Wong. With this in mind, we’ve sourced different types of moisturiser for oily skin below.
Enlarged pores are unlikely to completely shrink down – their size is down to a combination of things like skin type and genetics – but there are some steps you can take to minimise them. Some moisturisers can help to encourage pores to shrink a little; Kiehl’s lightweight lotion is one such formula, containing Amazonian white clay, that reduces the appearance of pores without simply drying the life out of your skin. If your pores are very large it may be worth looking into microdermabrasion if you’re keen to reduce their noticeability for the long-term.
It can be a real struggle to find a moisturiser with a good SPF that’s simultaneously not too greasy or heavy – which SPF notoriously can be. Fortunately, there are a few carefully formulated moisturisers that both benefit oily skin and protect it from sun damage. Dermalogica is known to cater for the needs of oily-skinned people, and their mattifying SPF 30 lotion works to mop up excess oil, while also shielding against sun damage. No more oily sun cream problems.
Trust us when we say the price tag is totally worth it here. 100% natural and made with 40 high-performance ingredients, the lightweight formula works to clarify the surface layers of your skin, which is why it’s so great for oily complexions. If you are looking for something on the more affordable side though, keep your eye out for Simple’s offering in our gallery below.
Whether you’re living and working in the city full time, or are need of a bit of downtime, the best facials in London are a must to have on your radar.
They’re a great way to take things up a gear from your best face masks for more intensive results, so we’ve scoured the city from east to west to bring you the definitive guide to the top facialists and treatment options in the city.
For several weeks I’ve made it my life’s mission to find the best facials in London, whether the end goal is clearer skin, a brighter and firmer complexion, or simply de-stressing the mind. But a girl only has one face and one skin type, so I enlisted the help of the most reliable guinea pigs I know – the MC digital team.
Getting monthly facials would be the dream, but in reality it’s a treat you save up for. So consider these the ones worth stashing your pennies away for when it’s time to treat yo-self. You deserve it.
‘The first thing you need to know about this seriously relaxing facial – and boy, is it a good one – is that included in the price is an an hour of chill in the ESPA Life at Corinthia facilities beforehand. That’s steam room, sauna, chill, the works. I had to double check that my booking confirmation email wasn’t too good to be true. As someone who really struggles to switch off, this alone makes it incredibly good value as you’re already significantly calmed going in to the facial. I could just pack up and end the review there, but I won’t.
‘What comes next in one of the treatment pods is a thorough skin analysis under a UV lamp, then a delicous-smelling combination of triple cleanse, steaming and extraction (that you barely even notice because you are too zen), followed by a treatment mask. It’s a facial, so there’s facial massage and lymphatic drainage involved, but you’re also treated a bit of massage on the head, neck, shoulders, arms and hands, as well as exfoliation of the latter two.
You know when you remember having the facial, but you were so relaxed that you sort of don’t at the same time, because you were off floating on a cloud somewhere? Yeah. That. I’m already experiencing ESPA Life withdrawal syndrome and I desperately need to go back for another fix.’ – Lucy Abbersteen, Digital Beauty Writer
How much is it?
£140 for 60 minutes, or £190 for 90 minutes, at Corinthia London
‘I had always heard excellent things about Sisley Paris, so when an opportunity arose to try out their signature facial at Claridge’s, I leapt at the chance. I’d recommend arriving a little early in order to make the most of the stunning changing room (it’s literally an Instagram gold mine) and to spend some time reclining with a coffee in your fluffy robe and plush slippers. But that was nothing compared to the 60 minutes of pure relaxation that followed. I’m generally quite an uptight person, but this treatment switched me off in seconds.
‘Sisley is renowned for its scientific approach, using only the finest natural ingredients, and after deciding that my treatment should focus on hydration, my facialist went about choosing the right plant extracts and essential oils for my skin. Then came my signature facial, catered specifically to my skin and its needs. Lavender, rosemary, sage, geranium – you name an essential oil, it went on my skin in the form of gentle cleansers, serums and scrubs.
‘The highlight was the nourishing mask – which was quite literally bandaged to my face – and while it sunk in, I was treated to a surprise foot massage. It was pure luxury and I left the spa considerably more relaxed, not to mention, my skin was GLOWING.
‘For me, this kind of facial is ideal. It wasn’t hugely informative and it wasn’t a skin consultation; but that’s not why I went, nor is it what I personally look for in a facial. I don’t need someone to tell me about my skin, I just need to relax and feel pampered, something it offers in spades. If you want to know the ins and the outs of your complexion or try off the wall methods and violent extractions, this isn’t the treatment for you. But if like me, you want to lie on a warm bed and switch off for an hour as an expert facialist calms your senses and nourishes your skin with the most luxurious oils, look no further. Can I go and have another one now?’ – Jenny Proudfoot, Junior Digital News Editor
How much is it?
£120 for 60 minutes, or £165 for 90 minutes, at Claridge’s
For the uninitiated, Omorovicza are skincare Dons. Conceived in Budapest, and harnessing the infamous ‘healing’ powers of Hungary’s thermal waters, Omorovicza’s products and facials (I’m looking at you Elemental Emulsion and your everlasting wait list…) have been a mainstay in my otherwise ever-evolving beauty routine. They look great, smell great, work great and never once have they made my unruly skin breakout.
Tucked away in the heart of the Liberty store, the Omorovicza Treatment Rooms act like little slices of Budapest; they’re peaceful, dimly lit (no one wants a facial with a side order of fluorescent strip lighting) and smell incredible thanks to the unique blends that subtly flood the air.
After an initial skin consultation (I wanted hydration and glow), I opted for the Illumination facial, which all sounded very Harry Potter so I was there for it. I was so thoroughly relaxed, that the many varied elements of the facial merged into one hour of facial bliss, but the signature element consists of a gentle copper peel (don’t be alarmed by the slight tingle, my skin showed no sign of redness after it finished) and an energising facial massage that I was convinced made my skin more buoyant. And of course, plentiful spritzes of the cult Queen of Hungary Mist in-between.
After a quick hit of SPF for the journey home, the facial was over. My skin looked dewy, plumped and yes, GLOWY. With no sign of irritation or redness, this facial is a goer for pre-event skin boosting. Omorovicza, I bow down. – Holly Rains, Digital Editor
How much is it?
£125 for 60 minutes at Liberty London, redeemable against Omorovicza products on the day
Facial legend Kate Kerr and her right-hand woman Michelle (who I met with) are based out of Mondrian London, overlooking the Thames. It should be noted from the get-go that this is a thorough skincare session, so if you are looking purely for relaxation there is much more to this facial than that. Michelle and I discussed my complexion in great depth, and then she got stuck in. After serious deep cleansing, she hand picked treatment masks to target my skin’s congestion and brighten the overall tone. She then got down to business, really paying attention to every area of my face when it came to extraction, not just the nose and chin.
‘The treatment rooms are very chic and minimal, and there’s zen music playing for the whole duration of your treatment – not too tinny, not too over the top and not too ‘pinky-plonky’ – which I find really helps me to zone out while someone is sorting out my face. If you want your skin thoroughly analysed, complexion cleaned up to look healthier and brighter, and a bespoke skincare routine at the end of it to boot, this one is for you. You’ll understand your skin so much more when you leave and I can’t recommend Michelle enough, both as a facialist and to chat to!’ – Lucy Abbersteen, Digital Beauty Writer
How much is it?
From £150, or £230 with Kate Kerr herself, Mondrian London
‘If blackheads are your biggest skin woe, this treatment is one of the big guns when it comes to giving skin a deep-clean. My now-husband’s nose REALLY needed clearing before our wedding day, so he was the perfect candidate to put Eve Lom’s Ultimate Cleanse to the test. It’s pretty unique as the treatment involves applying hot paraffin wax onto the skin to heat the skin, which in turn really opens up your pores, so that the therapist can get all of the built-up gunk out. And they really, really layer the wax on. At first, it feels pretty peculiar, unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before, but the warmth from is calming and therepeutic. The wax is essentially painted on with a brush in rhythmic motions and it feels like pure heaven.
‘Once your skin is ready (aka warmed to perfection) your pores are basically the most open they’ll ever be, which means the therapist has easy access to all the nastiness. If you think about how much pressure you usually have to apply to remove blackheads, it’s the opposite after the wax – next to no pressure is needed. To ensure the skin stays warm, the therapist rips the wax off bit by bit, only working on small areas at a time. It’s called the ultimate cleanse and it’s exactly that. If anyone needs a full on skin clean (and those men who don’t do anything to their skin really do), this is IT.’ – Katie Thomas, Digital Beauty Editor
‘As with all Decleor treatments, this facial started with a back diagnostic (bear with me). This involves the therapist looking at your back to reveal why your skin is behaving in a certain way, by gently stimulating pressure and reflex points. This revealed that I was stressed and hormonal, as my lower back was quite hot (I was in fact about to come on my period). I honestly found it fascinating as I believe the way to great skin is understanding how it behaves. This was followed by cleansing, a lymphatic drainage massage to remove toxins and pollution and replenish moisture. The rest is tailored to your skin concerns, and as mine was congested, I had a purifying mask and scrub to remove dead skin cells.
‘My skin obviously felt amazing afterwards – glowing and smooth – but what I loved is that it’s an overall super relaxing experience. Whilst Decleor products are working hard tonight the damaging effects of pollution, the therapist massages everything from my face to my shoulders and limbs, really releasing tension. Because how can your face glow if the rest of your body is strained?’ – Penny Goldstone, Digital Fashion Editor
How much is it?
£75 for 75 minutes at the Decléor Day Boutique and Day Spa, also nationwide
‘After chatting with my ELEMIS therapist about my skin woes over a piping hot cup of tea, she sat me down in front of a machine that scanned and analysed my face to discover what my problem issues were. Once she had a better idea of what my skin needed, she then told me that the Biotec Radiance Renew Facial was the ideal one as it was designed to even out your skin tone, restore radiance and reduce dark circles (all things that were issues I flagged in our consultation). It included a facial massage, ultrasonic peeling technology – this electronic spatula that weirdly feels like they’re shaving your face, but miraculously does away with any dead skin – and their radiance activator packed with anti-oxidants, hyaluronic acid and peptides that had me glowing for days afterwards. The entire session finished off with a cooling gel mask.
‘Although it was of course super relaxing, I really loved that the main focus was on helping me get the best skin I could – both during the session and in the future once I’d left. It really felt like a mixture between a pampering session and a consultation with a skin expert, so it’s perfect for those who want to get serious and nail their skincare routine. Also the ultrasonic peeling was kind of intimidating at first (it hums like crazy and stings a little) but it did absolute wonders.
‘I literally have never glowed like that in my life and I was coming off a pretty dark, hungover weekend. I really loved that they not only took my issues into consideration, my therapist really took the time to help me boost my at-home regimen – as I had relatively dry skin, she recommended I start oil cleansing and then gave me a small card at the end with a proposed skincare routine moving forwards. Just so great.’ – Megan C. Hills, Digital Lifestyle Writer
How much is it?
£110 for 60 minutes, or £160 for 90 minutes, at the House of Elemis
‘There are three reasons why you should go and get a Sunday Riley facial at Hershesons salon. 1) Because you walk out with skin so happy, bouncy and glowy that it’s practically singing. 2) Because this is the only place in the world (yah huh) where you can get a Sunday Riley treatment. 3) Because of Iris.
‘It’s not often that I tell people to go for a facial because of the therapist. Typically, my recommendations are results-based. Don’t get me wrong this facial gives good – no, GREAT – results, but I have to tell you that Iris had me at hello. She asked me about every product that I use, wanted to know the brand name, how often I use them and when. She does this because she wants to know what your skin is used to and what it can and can’t handle.
‘The facial itself is part relaxation – the cleansing, the mask, the lymphatic facial massage, the hilarious chatter with Iris, and part punch – a combination of red light LED and cryotherapy. Don’t worry at all about the LED, which boosts collagen – you can’t feel a thing, and while that’s going on Iris is at the bottom of the giant bed relieving all of the tension from your toes.
‘But the cryotherapy, the cryotherapy took my breath away. Not because it was painful, because it’s so damn cold and my body does this funny thing when it’s super cold – it’s like it’s confused and forgets how to work. I’ve done cryotherapy chambers before and the same thing happened then, I couldn’t regulate my breath. I had to close my eyes and tell myself to breathe in and breathe out. But don’t panic, because Iris is there the whole time making you laugh and making you feel so comfortable.
‘Once she’s finished blasting your face with sub–zero air, give your face a little touch, you won’t believe how cold it is. But that chilliness fights signs of inflammation, so it’s all good. Iris then applies your favourite Sunday Riley products and you’re good to go. When you sit up, you’ll notice the change. You’re a little pinker (in a good way) and a little tighter. And you’ll be smiling, because Iris is by your side.’ – Katie Thomas, Digital Beauty Editor
‘Su-Mans facial is legendary’ – that’s the opening line on the about section of Su-Man’s website. Punchy? Yes. Hyperbole? Absolutely not. In fact, it’s impossible not to verge on hyperbole territory when talking about this facial. ‘This was a life changing experience,’ ‘Su-Man has magical hands/is a wizard’ – all words that have left my mouth after having this treatment.
That’s it for me now. I keep thinking, ‘How will I ever go to a “normal” facial ever again?’ I’m truly done for. I now refer to time BS and AS (before Su-Man and after Su-Man). It’s 2018 AS, and I worship at the altar of Su-Man.
Su-Man’s background is in Shiatsu, dance and pilates. So as you’d imagine, the facial is peppered with targeted massage and relaxation tailored to your individual needs. After my neck and shoulders were worked on – all the tension builds up to your neck and jawline – my ears were massaged to stimulate lymphatic drainage, using the most beautiful products. From the watermelon-based gel cleanser to the mask that made me crave chocolate cake, it was all divine.
Su-Man gives you a mirror to marvel at the results yourself. It’s like time stops still. And, if you’re anything like me and hate looking in the mirror, you’ll take the mirror with reservation. But anyway, there you sit, mirror in hand and you really look at yourself. Like, REALLY look at yourself. Part of the Su-Man philosophy is not only looking good but FEELING good. Maybe it was her super calming and caring nature rubbing off on me, or maybe it was because she told me my skin is great, but looking in the mirror I think, okay, I look alright. Actually, scratch that, I look good.
On the day of my great awakening, I did a double take after walking past my bathroom mirror. Hang on, does my jaw look more defined? I stroke my jawline to make sure it’s real.
Later I’m sitting at the dinner table and my hand grazes my chin. ‘What has she done to my face?’, I think to myself. ‘Maybe she IS a wizard?’
Can a facial be a life changing experience? I think so… – Sunil Makan, Associate Editor
How much is it?
£250 at Agua Spa, Sanderson London; call 020 7300 1414 to book now