The Skin Care Products I’m Loving Right Now

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 9.42.06As you might have seen, I’ve done some once-off blog posts on what I believe are some of the best (if not THE best) beauty products in the world. Find them under the BEST IN BEAUTY category right here on The Global Critic.

Today, I want to share a whole list of some of the essential skin care products I’m currently using daily and can’t live without: some newly discovered life-changers have been thrown in amongst the oldies-but-goodies (those iconic cult-status products that have never been beaten and aren’t going anywhere any time soon.)

FOR MY FACE

Dermalogica Pre-Cleanse 

To get that facial-at-home feeling, I love starting my face-cleansing regime with this incredibly addictive cleansing oil, applied directly onto dry skin. It might sound counter-intuitive, but this is one of the best products for oily skin (so I really love it). It gets rid of excess oil, sun lotion, foundation, the most stubborn smokey eye make-up (which I am an avid fan of;) so that – by the time you apply your cleanser – you feel like you have paved the way for it to really penetrate the skin and do its job properly. No need to double cleanse! It’s one of Dermalogica’s best-selling products and, in my opinion, it’s no wonder.

Origins Checks and Balances Cleanser

This frothy face wash leaves your skin feeling delightfully origins_sku_048E01_500x625_0and throughly cleansed, but never dried out, pulled or tight. As the name suggests, it works on dry, normal or oily skin, bringing oily and/or dry patches into perfect balance.

It really is a wonder product and, since discovering it, a refill always makes its way into my shopping bag at Selfridges in London.

Image Clear Cell Acne Facial Cleanser

I have had problem skin since I can remember (read my post on how I finally solved the problem) and this cleanser has been a game-changer for me. Its main ingredient, salicylic acid, works perfectly to prevent and treat breakouts, although it can be drying. I therefore alternate between this one and the Origins cleanser (mentioned above) depending on where my skin is at.

Stockist information: if you live in Cape Town, contact facialist extraodinaire, Libi Roos (072-850-9279), to purchase this product. If you live anywhere else, just check out the Image website for a list of their stockists.

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

Again, this is one of Dermalogica’s most popular products. If you like that squeaky clean, smooth skin feeling (and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t?), you will fall in love with this product (no matter what your skin type). I have used it for years and a facial cleanse (without using this baby at the end) just doesn’t feel the same. There is no better feeling than applying moisturiser to my face once I’ve given it a gentle emulsifying scrub with my trusty Microfoliant. It’s gentle enough to be used every day and it leaves my skin looking and feeling brighter. (I blogged about this product a few years ago and, here it is, still in my kit, proving it’s stood the test of time).

Image Vital C Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum

UnknownI absolutely love this moisturiser. It gives my skin an inside-out glow like no other. I am careful with how often I use it, though, as I do find it can be a bit rich for my sensitive skin (sometimes causing small breakouts), but – when my skin is on a good wicket – I simply love applying this stuff. It smells amazing and gives my skin a brightness and luminosity that makes whatever makeup I put on top of it just look that much better. If I could use it every day (without worrying about breakouts), I would. It’s paraben-free, which makes me even more obsessed. This product would work beautifully on normal and dry skin types.

The Clarisonic Mia Facial Cleansing Brush

I blogged about this baby before and, again, it’s stood the test of time. Think of it like a toothbrush for your face – it really polishes the skin like no other gadget can. Love it, can’t live without it. My husband can’t either;)

FOR MY BODY

Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil

61vs3SG4WsL._SY355_Firstly, let me say I have long been a huge fan of French skin care brand, Clarins. The French just do it better, especially when it comes to skin care products. This is one of their most popular and iconic products. I have been given this product twice, as a gift, by two very discerning ladies (one in her thirties and one in her sixties), who are both die-hard devotees. It just goes to show: this body oil is loved by everyone.

It’s made from 100 per cent pure plant extracts, firms and tones the body and – of course – leaves your skin feeling hydrated and nourished, never oily or greasy. My fabulously talented friend and celebrity makeup artist Renee De Wit (whom I recently interviewed) gave me a great tip last week: apply this oil to chapped or dry heels every night, to ensure permanently silky feet in between pedicures.

Silc Skin Decollette Pad

main-decollette-padThis is me, honestly and truly, giving away one of my best-kept beauty secrets of all time (in the name of “sharing is caring” and that’s what this blog is all about). If you, like me, wake up looking like your décolletage needs a good ironing out, this silicone pad will change your life. It helps prevent and treat chest wrinkles (or “fine lines” to put it more discreetly) caused by sun damage, ageing and sleeping on your side (how else is one supposed to sleep?). Use it for a week, be amazed and thank me later (or share my Global Critic Facebook page and pay it forward;) I discovered this product on Amazon and have never looked back. It works better than anything else I have tried for this pesky problem.

Stockist information: purchase it online at amazon.com or amazon.co.uk.

Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream

Probably Clarins’ most famous product, there is – quite simply – no other hand cream in the world that compares. If you’re reading this blog, you probably already own it but – if you don’t – go out and get yourself a tube now – or three: one for at home, one for the office and one for the car.  This is just one of life’s little luxuries you can’t do without.

Jo Malone Vitamin E Body Treatment Scrub

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 9.30.15This is one of the best body scrubs I have ever tried and I always keep a big tub of it right by my bath. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth every cent. Its silky, Vitamin E-infused richness is super moisturising, whilst its sugar-particles are great for exfoliation. This baby leaves your skin feeling smooth, revitalised and nourished after a long, hot bath. Nothing better!

Kiehl’s Creme De Corps

Often cited by fashion magazines and those in-the-know, as The Best Body Cream Ever, this product is truly a dream come true. Not too thick, not too greasy, but beautifully rich, in all the right ways;)  This one makes for a great bridal shower gift!

Bettaway Aloe Vera Gel

pn-aloe-gel-75ml-carton-3d-no-shadowThis product is the bomb. There’s nothing fancy or expensive about it but it’s simply amazing. I used to shave my legs (thank heavens, I have since discovered the life-changing effects of laser hair removal) and this was the only thing that took away the annoying after-shave burn I used to experience every time after shaving.

This particular one contains 100 per cent aloe vera (no nasties, additives or fragrances) so it works perfectly for any kind of irritated, sensitive or dry skin. An after-shave must-have for all you ladies who have yet to discover laser hair removal (which I strongly recommend). Buy it at any pharmacy or ask them for a similar pure aloe vera gel.

That’s it for now, ladies. This list of mine could go on and on (I am an obsessive skin care product researcher and purchaser), but it’s 23h06 on a Wednesday evening and a Friends re-run awaits my tired self. I do believe, however, I’ve shared a good dose of skin care secrets with you this week and, while there’ll be plenty more to come, for now, I hope you’ve found something new on this list, worth trying.

Love, Clare.

Makeup Maestro Reneé De Wit Reveals Her Best-Kept Beauty Secrets

reneedesambento1Meet Reneé De Wit, makeup artist extraordinaire. I first came into contact with this insanely talented creature when she painted my face for my 21st birthday party. Since then, I have come to rely on Reneé for many more of those momentous occasions when faces had to be painted, perfectly.

It’s no wonder then that she holds a very special place in my Little Black Book but also in my heart. Believe me, I wouldn’t have let just anyone do my makeup on my wedding day. This self-proclaimed Bridezilla certainly held no prisoners (I still don’t know how she put up with me, one makeup trial after the next, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some mild tranquillisers were involved).

As gorgeous as she is talented (a double threat for sure), Renee’s portfolio is both vast and impressive.  Her work has been featured in several leading international magazines (including Vogue and Marie Claire UK) and she has beautified the cover girls of over 30 print publications (including Cosmopolitan and Sports Illustrated). Last but not least, her magic hands have transformed the faces of serious celebrities like Petra Nemcova, Steffi Graff, Julie Walters and Bonang Matheba, to name a few.

Here, Reneé divulges (super generously, I might add), some of the beauty industry’s best-kept secrets, her personal must-have makeup products and some really nifty tricks of the trade.

What led you to becoming a professional makeup artist?

As a child i was the youngest of four daughters and and I grew up doing my sisters’ makeup for parties and matric dances. My natural love of makeup artistry eventually developed into a career and, by the age of 21, I was spending half of my time in London and the other half in Cape Town, working on fashion editorials and catalogues.

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Makeup by Renee De Wit

Tell us about your big break?

I was 19 years old and working as a fashion assistant to the late Sue Ferrier, then fashion director of Elle magazine in South Africa. Sue encouraged me to follow my dreams and gave me the opportunity to do makeup on an Elle fashion editorial.

Who has been your makeup mentor?

I was mentored by Algria Ferreira, widely regarded as the doyenne of the South African makeup world. I first met Algria when, at age 16, I was booked as a model on a knitwear shoot. That day, Algria’s makeup made me feel more beautiful than I had ever felt! I realised then the effect that makeup can have on a woman’s confidence and my love affair with makeup grew even stronger. I am so grateful for my years in the modelling world, where I got to learn the tricks of the trade first-hand, from the best in the business.

What is your signature skill as a makeup artist?

I do a killer smokey eye. My favourite eyeshadow palette right now is Bobbi Brown’s Bobbi’s Cools Eye Shadow Palette (limited edition).

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Makeup by Renee De Wit (note the smokey eye perfection)

What is your favourite mascara?

Sensai 38 Degrees and MAC Extended Play Lash.

What is the best trick for keeping makeup on all day?

Before applying makeup, I always prime my skin with a good moisturiser (by Bioderma or Skinceuticals) containing sunblock. This prevents makeup being absorbed by dehydrated skin.

I finish with a light dusting of pressed or loose powder on my t-zone and a fixing spray like Bobbi Brown’s Face Mist.

What is the most universally flattering eye pencil for green/blue eyes?

Teddy Eye Kohl liner by MAC.

What is the most universally flattering eye pencil for brown eyes?

Either a dark grey colour like Industry Powerpoint Eye Pencil by MAC or a deep navy like Blooz Eye Kohl liner, also by MAC.

What are your favourite makeup brands of all time?

Bobbi Brown, Charlotte Tilbury, NARS and Giorgio Armani Beauty.

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A selection of best-selling products by Charlotte Tilbury. The stuff that makeup dreams are made of.

What is the quickest way to make a tired face look fresh?

Invest in a good under-eye colour corrector and concealer (try Bobbi Brown or Sensai).

What are the best lip colours for fair, medium and olive skin tones?

For fair skin tones | The iconic Charlotte Tilbury’s Lip Cheat Pillow Talk lip pencil and Penelope Pink lipstick are two of my favourites;

For medium skin tones | Viva Vlam 5 by MAC; and

For olive skin tones | Raisin Berry by Bobbi Brown.

With which red lipstick can a woman conquer the world?

Chanel Rouge Hydrabase Crème Lipstick 60 New York Red is the ultimate red!

What is the most common beauty faux pas women make?

Wearing too much makeup. It looks unnatural and ageing. I also detest the “Instagram brow” that is currently so popular.

Which are the three makeup products no girl should ever be without?

Sensai’s under-eye concealer brush, Armani’s Maestro foundation and Bobbi Brown’s Shimmerbrick bronzing compact series.

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Armani’s Maestro Foundation 

Who is your makeup icon?

Pat McGrath, she is a visionary and pushes creative boundaries like it’s nobody’s business. I just adore her newly launched makeup range.

Which famous face would you most love to paint?

Madonna!

Who is your beauty icon?

Monica Bellucci. She is a timeless beauty with perfectly proportioned features.

What is the best makeup advice you can give to women over 30?

Always curl your eyelashes and apply at least two coats of black mascara. It has an immediate lifting effect.

What is the secret beauty weapon in your makeup kit?

Lansinoh Breasfeeding Salve nipple cream – it’s amazing for chapped lips.

When you’re not waving your magic makeup brushes, which other creative outlets do you enjoy?

Baking (especially with my girls) and interior decoration.

A few years ago, you launched a mobile makeup agency called Gorgeous2Go, which has become a huge hit with the Cape Town crowd (myself included). What prompted you to start this business?

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Renee, in her element

There was a demand in the Capetonian market for a high-end makeup, hair and beauty concierge service. We thus offer clients an array of services, including makeup applications (for social events), hair styling, personalised makeup lessons, spray tans and manicures, all of which can be performed in the comfort of your own home.

The artists we represent have been hand-selected and all of their portfolios are available on our website. Our aim is to be a one-stop mobile shop for all things beauty-related. You can visit our website for more information.

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World’s Best Décolletage Cream

mma001_mamamio_boobtubebustneckfirmingcream_100ml_sizedproduct_800x960During my mid-20s, I started noticing (with a fair amount of disdain, I might add) some fine creases developing on the surface of my décolletage. Since those pesky little lines were most prominent in the mornings and took a while to ‘fade’, I couldn’t help but think that my preferred foetal sleeping position (pretty much curled up in a ball) was to blame. (If I am being completely honest with myself, though, I’m sure my years of sun-tanning and of course the inevitable decrease in skin elasticity as we grow older, have played their parts as well.)

Whatever the cause, I needed a solution! After seeing many dermatologists and trying what could easily have been 20 (very expensive) product ranges, I came across the international cult favourite Mama Mio Boob Tube Bust & Neck Firmer. After about four to five nights of applying a generous amount of this cream to my décolletage, I saw a noticeable difference: my skin looked firmer, smoother and significantly younger in the morning. It was almost as if the magic ingredients in this product kept my skin from forming lines during the night-time in said curled-up foetal position. If you’re looking for a miracle potion to tighten, firm or smooth out your bust/neck area, this is as close as I believe you’re going to get. Try it.

Featured In Vogue, Heat, Allure, OK!, The Daily Telegraph, Glamour (to name a few).

PS If you don’t believe me (or the magazine clippings shown above), perhaps you’ll take Jessica Alba’s word for it: apparently, she’s a die-hard fan. The best part? This range, originally developed for pregnant mommies-to-be, is completely organic and free of harmful chemicals. That’s a major bonus, in my books. Any cons? The dispensing mechanism for this lotion could be better, as the pumps on Mamo Mio products sometimes stop working after a few uses. Price Approximately £29.50 or the equivalent in your national currency.

STOCKISTS

Cape Town Dante Wellness Spa, Sea Point. mama-mio-boob-tube-bust-neck-firmer-[2]-1963-p

Other Check out the Mamo Mio website to find your nearest stockist or order online.

Why I Adore Chanel’s Iconic Foundations

S161436_XLARGEFor dry or mature skin, there is – quite simply – no other foundation quite like the iconic Chanel Vitalumiere: it’s light-weight and looks completely natural, yet provides just enough moisture and coverage to give you an instantly radiant complexion. It’s got the whole ‘dewy skin’ thing down pat and revives tired skin in a second. (If your skin tends to be oily or prone to breaking out, this product will be too rich for you.)

For combination to oily skin, you’ll do well to invest in the high-coverage and mattifying version called Perfection Lumiere. Its long-wearing semi-matte finish hides all kinds of skin sins without that dreaded caked-on effect.

Lastly, if you’re one of those lucky B’s who happen to have perfect skin, you probably won’t need anything heavier than the Vitalumiere Aqua.

Note This best-selling foundation range doesn’t come cheap, with prices ranging from about USD55. Make sure you buy the right version for your skin type (oily, dry or combination) and the right colour shade (there are over 20 to choose from). Take a friend with you, get the store assistant to put some tester product on your face and walk outside to check the shade in the sunlight. In-store lighting will not give you an accurate reflection.

Stockists

Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban Edgars

London Selfridges Beauty Department

New York Macy’s Beauty Department

World’s Best Affordable Eye-Makeup Remover

vichy makeup remover topThis is just a quick post to share a recently discovered little gem with you all, especially those girls who (like me) enjoy a smokey eye and struggle to get through the day without a good dose of mascara.

I recently ran out of my usual eye make-up remover and, since it’s not yet available in South Africa, a trip to my local pharmacy was urgently called for. (My eyes weren’t loving me last week when I tried hopelessly, night after night, to remove every trace of my eye makeup with my facial cleanser.)

I must confess, my hopes were slim that I would find a pharmacy-brand eye makeup remover that would do the job, properly and throughly, without irritating my eyes or taking ages. Oh, but how I was mistaken… The lovely assistant on duty recommended I try their pharmacy’s best-sellng Vichy Purete Thermale Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover For Sensitive Eyes: what a dream discovery it turned out to be.

With a quick and gentle swipe of a lightly soaked cotton-pad, this stuff removed every last trace of black mascara (I’m partial to the heavy-duty-waterproof kind) without my eyes batting a lid (pun intended). The best part of all: it’s free of nasty parabens. (Trust the French.) The worst part? If you have to ask, the packaging could probably do with a redesign.

Stockists

SA Bantry Bay Pharmacy, Victoria Road, Cape Town, and all other Vichy-stocking pharmacies.

International Visit www.vichy.com or www.vichy.co.uk for stockist information and online purchasing.

World’s Best Hairdryer

Parlux RedIf you haven’t yet discovered the hairdryer brand, Parlux, prepare to get blown away (silly pun intended). I was introduced to this super powerful and incredibly efficient hairdryer by my hairdresser a few years ago and I’ve never looked back. What’s more, I subsequently started noticing that each and every hair salon I’ve visited (whether in London, New York or Cape Town) uses Parlux, and only Parlux, hairdryers. No wonder it’s seen as the No 1 choice of hair care professionals.

Once you’ve used it, you’ll see what all the fuss is about. A word of warning, though: you’ll probably end up like me, lugging it around with you wherever you go (all other hairdryers, especially the ones in hotels, simply don’t compare). There are various models but the one which has gained the most international awards and media attention is the Parlux 3200 Compact which features a super-powerful 1900 watts motor, yet weighs only 490grams. I call it The Little Hairdryer That Could.

Awards In Style Best Beauty Buys Winner 2012, Your Hair Awards Winner 2012, Hair Awards 2012.

Stockists

SA Try your nearest Partners Hair Design (there’s a branch in the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town) that stocks them.

International Buy online at www.parlux.co.uk (if you live in the UK) or www.parluxus.com (if you live in the USA).

World’s Best Self-Tanner

grad_tan_body_US

Despite the known dangers of sun exposure, I refused for many years to use self-tanning products: they were messy, stinky and almost always looked obvious. This includes the big brand-name products whom I won’t name and shame here. At one stage, I would only associate myself with self-tan if I had it done at a professional salon, applied by a professional beautician, for a (VERY) special event. Even then, sprinting out of the salon (post-spray), hoping nobody will catch you in your tracksuit looking like you’ve just lost a mud fight, is not my idea of a relaxing spa treatment. Not to mention the drying time, the no-showering time and the general disruption of your day.

All of this changed when I stumbled across the St Tropez Gradual Tan Everyday Body Moisturizer Medium/Dark during time spent in the USA. This product works like a moisturizer, which you simply apply before bedtime, as you would any old moisturizer. It takes about three minutes to dry and won’t stain your sheets. Best of all, you’ll wake up looking ever-so-gently sun-kissed, with no streaky bits and no bad smell (it does have a slight scent, but not one that’s offensive).

Awards Winner of Elle Beauty Awards, Company Beauty Awards and InStyle Best Beauty Buys.

Who is it for? Anyone who wants to slowly build up a golden tan. Note: this product is not for anyone who wants to resemble Miss Hawaiian Tropics or Ross in that Friends episode.

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Application Exfoliate well before massaging this luxurious lotion in from top to toe. Don’t worry if you go over the same area twice, it’s only missed areas that’ll look uneven. Wait for the lotion to be absorbed before getting dressed and remember to wash the palms of your hands and in between your fingers after use. Use daily for a subtle golden boost to winter or sun-tanned skin. Don’t apply to broken, irritated or sensitive skin.

Stockists

SA Most large Clicks outlets stock the St Tropez range.

International You will find this product at all leading department store beauty departments and certain spas across the globe. If you want to have it delivered to your door, visit www.st-tropez.com to place your order.