Almost four years after my last skincare report, products have come and gone from my armoury and here we are again to chat it all out. Much has changed since we last got together to discuss what I put on my face, including but not limited to developing an auto-immune disease that affects my skin (more on this later) and a brief, one time dalliance with a chemical peel (not to be repeated or spoken about any further) to name a few. From science-y serums developed by top-tier Swiss doctors to organic creams procured from Mexican beach shacks I’m still the same ol’ Lauren on the same ol’ quest for that grooming Holy Grail.
Perhaps the most significant change has been the level of research that goes into curating my routine, meaning I don’t just fling my hard-earned shekels at any well marketed, Victoria’s Secret model endorsed, Instagram sensation any longer. No – an item gets serious consideration before earning real estate in my bathroom and my resource of choice is Paula’s Begoun’s (AKA the Cosmetics Cop’s) always helpful Beautypedia. Her exhaustive knowledge of formulations, ingredients and skin health are second to none and I trust her reviews implicitly – I’ll suggest you get on this ASAP. With this in mind, the Bats Bazaar beauty buzz word of 2017 shall be “DISCERNING”. Say it with me. Let’s go.
Let’s take it from the top – I wake up at 7am and read my emails/the news whilst drinking a litre of water in bed. I’ll then cleanse my face with La Roche Posay’s Physiological Cleansing Gel whose kindly, pudding like texture successfully dissolves the night time grime without leaving my skin feeling and looking like a Weetabix. I then apply a few drops of Bakel’s Vitamin C Serum which has significantly brightened and evened out my skin in the last two weeks. It’s expensive but incredibly potent and the three-day allocation mean the formula never destabilises (apparently, this is a thing – further reading here). I am also a huge NIOD groupie, specifically concerning their Copper Amino Isolate Serum which myself and thousands of others have touted as life-changing. And could any moisturiser be more perfect that Embroylisse? I think not. Are there are more science-y moisturisers out there? Sure. Will this one stop ageing in its tracks? Probably not but it feels so gosh darn good! SPF is non-negotiable because I just turned 28 and ageing is starting to not be an urban legend any longer – I like Heliocare’s SPF 50 Gel in light.
If this isn’t one of my thrice weekly gym mornings, I’ll put make up on and then roll out to the library/coffee shop to work. I start with this phenomenal By Terry primer in shade Immaculate Light to even out my skin tone followed by the NARS tinted moisturiser. This is about as close to holy grail foundation I’ve ever come – it’s dewy, offers curiously competent coverage for its kind and stays in place for hours. I wear shade Alaska.
I use Vita Liberata fake tan when I can remember but NEVER on my face. For some inexplicable reason I end up looking like a chimney sweep with every brand i’ve ever sampled and I’m not about that life anymore. The best alternative to getting my Summer Roberts-from-the-O.C bronze on is the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer which I apply in a haphazard fashion around my cheekbones, hairline and brow bone(s). Then comes the blush, and my long-time favourite is Illamasqua Gel Blush in a terrifying berry hue aptly named Fluster. It looks ghastly in the tube but is a real winner on all skin tones. Brows are brushed up and outwards with the Eyeko Brow Gel and then I finish off with a low maintenance bronze eye. This usually involves pulling a chunky pencil across my top lid in an attempt to look like heyday Cheryl Cole. I like Charlotte Tilbury’s chunky pencil in Bronze Garnet or the Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Pink Gold.
LIPS! The fun part, or except it would be if I didn’t look like an escort in every shade other than Illamasqua’s lip liner in Woo. It would be nice to experiment from time to time but that’s ok, the red lip life didn’t choose me I guess.
I hit rock bottom with my hair in November of last year. I cheated on my usual stylist and ended up with what I like to refer to as ‘second wife hair’. Too prim, fell at an awkward length, complete with a voluminous side fringe too short to hide in a ponytail. Thankfully it’s grown out and I’m able to do much less with it to remain presentable. With this low maintenance attitude in mind, I shampoo it with L’Oreal’s non-foaming sulphite free shampoo, followed by it’s respective conditioner. Then I either leave it and let it dry tucked behind my ears or if I’m going somewhere extra fancy (read: not often) I’ll get a blow dry at Clo & Flo or Aer on Old Brompton Road, both of whom offer a superior blow-dry at a reasonable price. I also use the Olaplex treatment once a week to strengthen up my candy-flossy fine strands.
I like to dry body brush before I shower – my mum does it and has zero cellulite despite the fact she’s had seven children so it only seems right to make it a thing. So I do the brushing and then once a week I cover my body in olive oil before I shower because I was told to do so by a handsome Ayurvedic doctor in India. It nourishes all the cells in your body and obviously improves your skin tone over time. It works so give it a go but not on the face people, use almond oil instead. For post bathing hydration I’ll use something simple like E45 unless I’m going out in which case I’ll slather myself in Byredo’s Gypsy Water body lotion. Scent wise I either wear Gypsy Water by Byredo or Thé Noir by Le Labo.
Sadly, my skin has never been my special feature which is why I’m pretty hard-line about facials, exercise and diet. For facials, I see Angelique at So Be Well once a month on Kensington High Street. Her holistic approach to better skin teamed with a potent (but for the most part bearable) fruit acid peel low-key changed my face in two sessions. I also visit Facegym after I’ve travelled for one of their incredible ‘Holiday Skin’ treatments. This is a combination of intense laser for collagen renewal, micro-current massage for lifting/sculpting and manual lymphatic drainage for puffy jet lagged jowls. The results are so immediate and intense that you won’t be able to move your forehead for days afterwards – a non-invasive botox if you will? I will and I damn well do.
I have recently started frequenting Agnes dos Santos in Brook Green for eyelash extensions which makes me feel less like Voldemort when I occasionally decide to go about my day make up free. My best friend and biggest baddest beauty boss and Forbes 30 under 30 big dog, Venetia is the founder of Ruuby, a digital beauty concierge app which I use to organise my grooming needs whilst keeping abreast of London’s beauty news. They have some of the best freelance technicians in London on their books and offer excellent at-home treatments too.
I have my hair coloured by Ben Smith at Salon Sloane, except he comes to my flat and we gossip and drink wine. Ben only highlights the underneath sections of hair resulting in a very natural and low maintenance situation with that ‘cool-girl’ grown out look. Hey, anything I can do to align myself, right? He really is a master of his trade and is a wizard with both blondes and brunettes alike.
You know you’re getting old when you go away and all you bring home are artisanal bath products and cocktail napkins embroidered with skiing sausage dogs. I like strange curiosities of which I have amassed plenty (an Alsatian egg cup anyone?) . My new thing are lewd bumper stickers and shockingly overpriced candles from this beautiful store called Buly 1803 in Paris. Nothing makes me happier than unwrapping a new candle and arranging it at a jaunty angle on the coffee table – it’s funny the things you get excited by in your late twenties but I’m delighted to report that a month into my 28th year, I feel like I’m ALMOST on the cusp on getting my shit together – well, TBC.