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The January Heebie Jeebies

KobalBlah. This festive season has been mostly about germs. Trying to avoid them, failing, cancelling Christmas celebrations due to unwell offspring, having to bail out of the re-scheduled celebrations because the germs had finally got me… So much for the glamour and glitz of Christmas present.

I’m finally starting to feel ready to face 2013 – with a little help from a crack team of products with guaranteed perk-me-up qualities, and a clutch of lovely events and relaxing treatments to look forward to …

Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale* Before the onslaught of festive germs, I was using Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale (£TBC) along with Guerlain Super-Aqua Serum (£TBC) and
my skin was looking at its very best. These are among the very best skincare items I’ve ever tried;  guaranteed to boost radiance and hydration, and counter the signs of ageing – and the results always seem to generate compliments.  And, having found the facials I’ve enjoyed over the years at the Guerlain Institut in Paris to be the creme de la creme, I am beyond thrilled that the first British outpost of the spa has opened in Edinburgh, at the newly revamped Caledonian Hotel. Can’t wait to try it out – the thought of it is making me feel better already!

Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask* At the Clinique Christmas dinner in mid-December, we journalists were all given a preview tube of Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask (£28; www.clinique.co.uk) and it has proved a lifesaver in recent weeks, especially latterly when – following several days in bed – my skin was feeling terribly neglected and dehydrated. Not only does this lovely, luxurious cream deliver a dose of moisture to thirsty skin, but it also soothes, calms and softens. You might find your face sticking to the pillow a bit during the night, but the results – smooth, bright, comfortable and rehydrated skin – are most definitely worth it. I think the Clinique girls popped it in our goodie bags so we could use it to counter the effects of any hangovers after a fabulous dinner that was fuelled by French Martinis, champagne, red wine and liqueurs!

* Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner (£24.50; www.clarins.co.uk) is great for an instant complexion pick-me-up, especially if you’re short of time and/or can’t be bothered doing the whole exfoliation scrub drill.

* Elemis Eyes-Awake Recovery Gel (£37.50; www.timetospa.co.uk) is fab for both making the eyes feel awake – and making them look the part too. It’s especially effective if you store it in the fridge. My only quibble is that far too much comes out in each pump – and it’s pricey stuff!

Chanel Le Vernis in Fracas* Chanel Le Vernis in Fracas (£18; available from January 18). Okay, it’s not complexion-improving skincare but a bright, spring shade of nail varnish is bound to bring a smile to the face – and a blast of colour is a boost for the mood on these grey January days. This pretty, sunny pink – a sibling to my favourite polish of last year, the gorgeous coral shade Distraction – is the cheeriest of the new trio of Chanel polishes being launched in the company’s new, and very feminine, Les Printemps Precieux de Chanel spring collection.

Of course, adding some colour to your cheeks will immediately bring your skin to life again – and the Chanel spring collection includes an apricot shade of blusher, Chanel Joues Contraste in Frivole (£31), which will do just that.

And if none of the above blasts the January blues/lurgy away, then get a load of this:


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My Holidays in Beauty

Well, it’s been a few weeks since I last updated my beauty journal – and a lot has happened. Mainly the fact that I’ve turned 40 – and I have to say, it was not only painless but entirely pleasurable. I had a fab party that was everything I’d hoped for and more, I felt great and I got some nice compliments on my hair and make-up (Chanel nails, Clarins eyeshadow, YSL mascara Dior base, Dior, Ojon-treated hair and Clinique lipstick, since you ask). What more could a girl (ahem) want?!

Skincare staples over the last few weeks have been Shiseido White Lucency Clarifying Cleansing Foam (£29, www.houseoffraser.co.uk ), a brilliant wash-off cleanser which seems to calm redness-prone skin, Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner (£24, www.clarins.co.uk), an exfoliator disguised as a toner which is faster to use than the conventional wash-off equivalent, and the brand new Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil (£29). After several weeks’ use, I am now noticing an improvement in the shininess of my skin – it hadn’t quite kicked in at the time of my birthday, however. The logic is that putting oil onto oily skin cancels out the skin’s urge to produce excess oil.. If a permanent shine is the bane of your life (with me, it tends to happen after a drink or if someone points a flashing camera at me! – see picture), I’d recommend experimenting with facial oils.

I’ve more or less given up on blotting papers and have reverted to good pressed powders – notably Guerlain Meteorites Pressed Powder (£34) and the brand-new  Clarins Ever Matte Mineral Powder Compact (£25, from February) – and have realised that I often don’t look shiny in real life; it’s those damn photos where the flash bounces off my forehead (and nobody else’s) that have given me this complex.

Clarins Eye Quartet in Smokey Passion/Dior Rouges d'Or in Victorine in action

I’m going to be gutted when I run out of the two limited edition cosmetics which have seen me through all the Christmas nights-out and parties: Clarins  Eye Quartet Mineral Palette in Smokey Passion (£30) and the Dior Les Rouges d’Or lipstick in Victorine (£22.50).

And speaking of favourite products of 2011, I rounded them all up for a “Beauty Oscars” feature in the Daily Record at the end of December. Here’s hoping the next 12 months produces such fantastic finds as Diorskin Forever Fluid SPF25 (£29.50), Chanel Illusion d’Ombre  (£22.50), Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet (£23.50),  Lancome Visionnaire (£58), Guerlain Rouge Automatique (£24.50), Sisley Phyto Mascara Ultra Stretch (£27), YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking (£22), Chanel No19 Poudre (from (£61), Clarins Eye Contour Gel (£26.50), Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask (£88), Clarins Extra-Firming Body Lotion (£39.50), Nanoblur (£19.99) and Estee Lauder Resilience Lift Firming/Sculpting Eye Creme (£40). Happy – and beautiful – New Year!

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