Skincare shopping

Q. I have just bought a new cleanser used it three times and my skin is now burnt and very painful. I will naturally return this but would like your advice as to what to buy:  skin can be dry but would suffer from breakouts along jaw-line and chin area, uneven skin tone and open pores are also a problem. 
A. So sorry to hear about your distressing experience.  In a perfect world, it is always great to buy sample or travel sizes of whatever brand you think may help you next time. Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare is generally very good indeed for problem skin and does several different sampling collections.  The Smooth Skin Essentials might suit you, we think.  But do have a good look at the special options available for Beauty Bible insiders.  Just click here.

We are also very impressed indeed with the recently launched range from Innovative Skincare, a pioneering medical range from America.  You can try their Essential Kit. This includes their Daily Cleanser, Age Treatment Complex, Reparative Moisturizer and Restorative Eye Complex.

Good luck!

Innovative Skincare Essential Kit/£41.50 at www.victoriahealth.combuy here

Q. I have recently come across the Korres Natural Product range. Some of my favourite ranges include Liz Earle, A’kin and Decléor. I like to alternate between these products and I wonder if you can give me some feedback on the Korres products please. 

A. Many of the Korres products have done very well indeed in our most recent update of The Green Beauty Bible – our testers have really taken to this brand.  It started as a small ‘sideline’ for a Greek homoeopathic pharmacist in 1996, and now has a global reach, although many of the herbs used in the products are native to Greece.  In general, most of the range earns one daisy in our ‘daisy rating’ (lots of botanical ingredients, but a few synthetics);  however, their Materia Herba line is between 97-100% natural, they claim.  For as long as we have known them (a long time!), the couple behind Korres (George and Lena) have been striving to make the range ever-more-natural, and deserve a pat on the back for their commitment.  If you want to find it on-line, Love Lula – one of our ‘Beauty Bible-approved’ websites – stocks the range, and as an ‘insider’ you’re entitled to a 5% discount; you need to add the code bb12 at checkout to take advantage of this.

Q. Can you recommend an alternative to the Prescriptive PX Super Line Preventor now that the brand has been discontinued? Similarly do any other brands do the Personal Blend Foundation that Prescriptives did?

A. First of all, we will say that as one of the ‘stars’ of the Prescriptives line, we wouldn’t be at all surprised if at some point in the future, a product like this turned up somewhere else in the Lauder portfolio.  One of the key ingredients in this anti-ageing bestseller in this was hyaluronic acid, so you might want to start by looking elsewhere in ranges for other creams/lotions featuring that ultra-skin-plumping ingredient.  For instance, check out Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex:  a world-famous serum, this also features lashings of hyaluronic acid (it was a favourite ingredient of creator Dr. Daniel Maes), and comes from the same ‘stable’ as Prescriptives, so the technologies aren’t always a million miles away from each other…  It’s on-line at right here.

We do, meanwhile, also recommend that you might (as we do) like to take HA as a supplement – we find it’s pretty darned amazing for skin, wellbeing, joints, you name it (pretty much the ‘elixir of youth’, actually).  The one that we take and recommend is LifeTime Vitamins Hyaluronic Acid Undenatured – but as it’s on-line at (click here to find it), you get a 5% discount if you visit from our site.

As for custom blending foundation, we always point reader who are mourning the loss of this Prescriptives service in the direction of Cosmetics à la Carte, who offer a Made to Measure Foundation service; ideally, you’d get to their boutique at Motcomb Street in Belgravia (19b Motcomb Street, London SW1X 8LB/020-7235 0596), but they also have agents and mobile make-up artists who can help – call 020-7622 2318, or e-mail them for more info and help at (and they are awfully helpful!)

 Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex, £44 for 30 ml at; buy here

LifeTime Vitamins Hyaluronic Acid Undenatured, £35 for 30 capsules at; buy here

(NB Don’t forget your exclusive 5% discount which will be deducted at the checkout as a visitor from our site)

Cosmetics à la Carte Made to Measure Foundation service, £48 for 30 ml; click here for more details

Q. Today I bought Clarins Vital Light Serum. The lady at the counter told me it would work better if I bought the matching day and night moisturiser. Is this true or a tactic to increase their counter sales…?

A. We’ll preface our answer by saying:  yes, we’re big fans of Clarins.  And yes:  we have incredible admiration for the staff at beauty counters nationwide, not least because of the five days we spent in the beauty hall at Selfridges last year, awestruck at the time these women spend in high heels on marble floors, with no water to drink and challenging sales targets to be met.  (It nearly did for us.)  But we’re afraid to say that we have never, with over 40 years’ combined industry experience between us, seen evidence that a ‘synergy’ of products works in this way, with one (or two) products enhancing the effects of others.  We say:  see how you get on with the serum.  If you love it (the smell, the texture, how it makes your skin look/feel), then by all means go back and treat yourself to one or both of the others, when your regular products run out.  But as for feeling pressured…?  We advise every woman:  Just.  Smile.  And.  Walk.  Away.  It is a free country.  (And beauty products can be expensive…)

•  Clarins Vital Light Serum, £57 for 30 ml at www.debenhams.combuy here

Q. I’m looking for a skin care specialist who deals with the South African skin care range Environ. I’ve read that this is a good range for acne scarring and sun-damaged skin. But as it’s an active, progressive range I’m a bit wary about buying it over the internet and would like instead to see a reputable skin care therapist or dermatologist that works with this range who can advise me an appropriate treatment plan. 

A. You’re right:  Environ has a very ‘prescriptive’ approach and it’s best to see a facialist or a consultant; we suggest that you contact their customer care line on 020-8450 2020, and they’ll point you in the right direction.