Q. I am 52 and an trying to minimize fine lines and wrinkles. I am currently using L’Occitane’s Immortelle Precious line and I do like it. I was wondering, though, if the Divine line would be even better to reduce signs of ageing.
A. L’Occitane, that lovely brand which has done so well in The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible, tell us the following:
‘Yes, the Divine range (moisturiser, serum and eye cream) is more advanced in terms of reversing signs of ageing and contains more active ingredients compared to the Precious range. ‘The Precious range (in the blue packaging) is good to slow down first signs of ageing (for 25-45 years old), while the Divine range is better for reversing damage in more mature skin (45 plus). As well as Immortelle essential oil (which boosts collagen production and is a powerful anti-oxidant), the Divine line has ingredients such as myrtle essential oil (which increases levels of SIRT-1 protein in the skin and speeds up cell renewal), Vitamin C (for brightening the complexion and reducing pigmentation), omega oils and plant fatty acids.’ We’d just like to add that we (especially Jo) are huge fans.
• L’Occitane Divine range/from £46 to £69
• L’Occitane Precious range/from £29 to £49
Q. I have just turned 44. Look pretty good for my age – problems are: sensitive skin at times. T-zone slightly oily, cheeks slightly dry (especially in winter); décolletage – more lined than anywhere else. I’ve always (from age 15) used SPFs, stayed out of the sun etc – but never thought about that ‘V’ shape of skin exposed by open-neck shirts, v-neck T shirts. Hence more lined/lizard-like effect here. I use quite a bit of the Protect & Perfect range, Estée Lauder Resilience Eye Cream, and (after years of cleaning teeth and sloping off to bed) have now finally got into a night cream, using Estée Lauder cleanser and Advanced Night Repair serum. But I don’t know what face cream to use. Specifics: Do I need a day-time serum/treatment to go under my moisturiser? Do you think I should change my No.7 moisturiser for daytime? (It’s fine but never been ‘knocked out’ by it. What would you recommend?) I’ve splashed out on Lauder products but not sure if that’s financially sustainable for the medium- to long-term (other than eye cream – only one I’ve used that works!). What’s your opinion of the Lauder night serum? Any other suggestions? (I do exfoliate with a ‘daily use’ one but only weekly because my skin reacts badly).
A. Phew. Had to have a bit of a lie-down with cold flannel on forehead before answering all these points. But here we go. First of all, congratulate yourself on using an SPF moisturiser every day – very important. Give self slapped wrist for skimping at night. Then gold star for finally getting with the programme, at night. The specifics: you could add in a daily serum but more important, we think, is to use a good daily moisturiser with an SPF and – crucially – massage it in, right down to bra-level, to shield that vulnerable ‘V’. Make sure that you now think of this area as an extension of your face when it comes to cleansing, moisturizing, sun protection. Now, the specifics. Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex is an update of their legendary serum, with countless fans – a good choice, but you do need additional moisture over the top unless you have extremely oily skin. (It goes a long way, so repays the investment.) And if you’re looking for a budget choice for something to use over this serum, we suggest Weleda Wild Rose Night Cream which did well in the Tried & Tested Night Creams section of our iPhone App Beauty Bible Beauty Steals.
Lauder have their strengths but we’d go to them for treatment products rather than cleansing, and for about the 8,000th time we’re going to recommend Liz Earle Naturally Active Cleanse & Polish, if you use this every night you won’t need an extra exfoliant because the cloth gently buffs away dead cells. For day, we’d be tempted to go back to Lauder: check out the DayWear range – an excellent selection of SPF-protective creams which offer UVA/UVB protection, and do a good job of shielding the chest area, with the option of a tinted version for summer and an SPF30 fluid, rather than the SPF15 in your Protect & Perfect. We have always very much enjoyed this range, and you can find it on www.boots.com if you click here.
You could layer an Estée Lauder DayWear moisturiser over a serum if you really wanted, but the key anti-ageing repair work is going to be done at night – and more important by day is to slather on the antioxidants and the SPFs which you’ll find in a product like DayWear. What we’ve come up with here is a prescription which saves you money in some areas (night moisturiser and cleanser) and hopefully balances out the more expensive choices in protection and repair. For other inexpensive choices which have done well, we’d point you in the direction of our App-of-the-book Beauty Bible Beauty Steals, which has some amazingly high-scoring affordable products in the skincare categories. There are times to splurge and other times to cut back, and we wrote the book as proof that you can get great products on a tight budget.
• Estée Lauder DayWear range is available from £32 at www.boots.com – buy here
Q. Please can you tell me which are the best anti-ageing creams and bust-firming creams? I’ve looked in magazines but they all say different ones.
A. You are the reason we do what we do, and why we wrote The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible. We know that women everywhere are confused by the range of different products out there, and by magazine reviews, which are not – alas – always entirely unconnected with products that you’ll see advertised a few pages away… It didn’t always used to be like this in magazines – and we’re proud that YOU Magazine, with which we’re both linked, maintains its editorial independence from advertising… So: a low-down on a few ‘winners’ with our testers…
First off, in the ‘miracle’ category: testers loved L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Cream (the highest-scoring miracle cream in 16 years of Beauty Bible testing!), Temple Spa Skin Truffle, and Decléor Excellence de l’Age Sublime Regenerating Cream. Slightly less expensively (all our winners, this time round, had a somewhat luxe price-tag), you might want to check out the organically-certified Melvita Naturalift Anti-Ageing Cream. Full reviews are in the book (which you can buy at a fab discount from Victoria Health if you click here).
Interestingly, the highest-scoring bust treatment, by contrast, is what we call a ‘beauty steal’: Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Bust Firming Massage Cream. A few fractions of a point behind it was a product that we love ourselves: Liz Earle Naturally Active Superskin Bust Treatment.
• L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Cream, £67 for 50 ml at www.uk.loccitane.com; buy here
• Decléor Excellence de l’Age Sublime Regenerating Cream, £94.50 at www.beautyexpert.com; buy here (NB if you enter the code BEAUTYBIBLE at the checkout you’ll receive an exclusive 10% discount)
• Melvita Naturalift Anti-Ageing Cream, £30 for 50 ml at www.johnlewis.com; buy here
• The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible, £10.99,is available to purchase on-line from www.victoriahealth.com; buy here
• Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Bust Firming Massage Cream, £6.45 for 125 g at www.boots.com; buy here
• Liz Earle Naturally Active Superskin Bust Treatment, £28 for 50 ml at www.uk.lizearle.com; buy here
Q. I am 33 with oily skin and have started to get expression and laughter lines. I would like to know what anti-ageing skincare to use for my skintype, I’m surely not the only slick-skinned person that is not catered for in the anti-ageing market, all products seem to be geared towards dry and mature skin – H-E-L-P?
A. You are not alone, no! And we do think this is a huge gap in the market. There are products out there which address the ageing concerns of oilier-skinned women, but because dry skin is prevalent among older age groups, they’re in the minority and you’re right: you have nothing like the choice. (Of course, oilier-skinned women have the advantage of having a complexion that is slightly more line-resistant, but that’s not enough to explain this imbalance in product choice.) Clinique is a good place to start: almost all their anti-ageing products are available in a combination-to-oily-skinned option, including Clinique Superdefense SPF25 Age Defense Moisturiser. You might also want to check out Clarins Multi-Active Skin Renewal Serum; the Multi-Active range is targeted at 30-something skins. Another option is to go for a serum-style anti-ageing product, which you can layer under your daily skincare: these tend to be lightweight, non-pore-clogging, matte-finish. But come on, beauty industry – wake up to the fact that shiny-skinned women want a greater range of anti-ageing choices!
• Clinique Superdefense SPF25 Age Defense Moisturiser, £27 for 30 ml at www.boots.com; buy here
• Clarins Multi-Active Skin Renewal Serum, £46 for 50 ml at www.boots.com; buy here
Q. Help – I don’t want to look like my grandmother! I am trying to find the perfect moisturiser. I am 46, have an oily T-zone, and wrinkles round my eyes. But I am starting to get the hanging jowls and crinkly neck – yuk! I have a very hectic life and so don’t have time for loads of lotions and potions. Can you make some recommendations PLEASE? (I don’t know where else to go, as when I ask at the shops they just sell me their products but I haven’t found anything that works yet.)
A. First of all, you’ve got to start slathering on an SPF onto your neck and chest every single morning. The body is perfectly ‘angled’ to pick up sun damage there, and what we’ve found from talking to literally hundreds of readers is that most don’t extend their skincare regime, in particular their SPF regime, to this vulnerable zone. So: for everyday, you want an SPF15 or more, for your whole face and neck and visible chest area, to prevent future damage. This is really, really important. It doesn’t have to be an ‘extra’ product; we would suggest switching to something with a double-duty anti-ageing and protective action, such as Clinique Superdefense SPF25, which comes highly recommended by our testers for The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible. It’s lightweight, and comes in several different skintype-matched versions, so you should easily find one that’s targeted at your complexion type.
Secondly, use an eye product. Again, our highest-scorer (which earned an impressive 8.49/10 from testers for our book) is Barefoot Botanicals Rosa Fina Intensive Eye Serum. One tester commented: ‘I did notice a difference in crêpiness which in turn seemed to make eyes brighter’, while another raved: ‘lines much, much fainter after six weeks’. Also, we suggest you wear sunglasses on sunny days, which do double-duty at protecting the eye zone from sun damage.
For the neck, slather on that SPF by day, and a specific neck treatment at night. (Jo is a convert to Temple Spa Exalt Bijoux, a wonderfully firming neck gel, while another high-scoring product with our testers was Clarins Super Restorative Décolleté and Neck Concentrate). But our best tip for jowls and sagginess and neck issues is to take up yoga. It really gives the whole neck area a brilliant firming workout; of course, it’s great for the whole body, but results seem very apparent on the neck. You need to stick with it, but the benefits of yoga are so many and various – feeling less stressed and more on top of things – that we think it’s the ideal exercise, combined with walking, for every fortysomething and up, up, up. (In our experience it ‘magically’ gives the feeling you’ve an extra hour in your day, so it’s more than worth the time investment.) Plus, over time, yoga teaches acceptance; ageing happens to all of us, but it may help you come to terms with the whole process of growing older, while also helping to work on your neck and jawline…
• The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible – buy here
• Clinique Superdefense SPF25, £37 for 50 ml at www.boots.com – buy here
• Barefoot Botanicals Rosa Fina Intensive Eye Serum, £25.95 for 15 ml at www.victoriahealth.com – buy here (Don’t forget your exclusive 5% discount with all orders when visiting from our site; discount deducted automatically at checkout)
• Temple Spa Exalt Bijoux, £38 for 50 ml at www.templespa.com – buy here
• Clarins Super Restorative Décolleté and Neck Concentrate, £54 for 50 ml at www.johnlewis.com – buy here