cleanse, tone and moisturize
Want to look like Brigitte Bardot on a bad day? Then you'd better wise up and slather on that facial moisturiser - before it's too late

SOME PEOPLE regard moisturiser as something you slap on when your skin is cracked and dry - this is wrong! Moisturiser should be applied every day and is the one bit of your cleansey-toney routine you should ideally spend money on. Although on the whole I think you get what you pay for in all products, you can get by with cheapie toner and cleanser. Your moisturiser, though, should be top notch. Lack of regular slathering of your skin will result in you looking like an old chicken. Oh yes.

The very best moisturiser in the whole world is by Jo Malone, and called Day Cream 1, pounds 14.50. It's thick and gloriously hydrating but not greasy and seems to dry to this wonderful matt finish. The only down-side is that, like many moisturisers, it has no sun protection but apart from that, this cream is damn fantastic and should have awards heaped upon it. (Incidentally, in this piece I have mentioned which moisturisers have SPFs; if no rating is noted then there is no sun protection.)

Malone only makes one type of day cream, which makes things simple (I can't bear it when manufacturers make so many different sorts that your head spins). Remede do two: both are called Energy but there is one for dry skins and one for oily, both pounds 42. This is another excellent product that comes in a simple tube (ideal for travelling) but I also find my "dry" version brilliant for after the gym when my skin feels particularly delicate from shower/sauna/ steam. Again, it's moisturising but not heavy.

Talking of skins in delicate condition, Face Stockholm do a cream called Vitamin A cream, pounds 24, which is ideal for really dry/sun-baked faces as it is quite rich, a treat if you do a lot of outdoor sports. But it's the sort of product you'd apply after, not as a preventative measure; for that, see below. The only thing I don't like about this product is that, like a lot of Face products, it's housed in a really thick plastic bottle and it's really difficult to get anything out of it: more squeezable bottles needed please. Talking of "weathered" skin, I always carry, in my fishing waistcoat, a pot of Clinique's Weather Everything Environmental cream, pounds 27. This is a very good, preventative measure cream which has SPF 15, contains green tea to soothe and vitamins C and E. It's not an every day cream - it's thick and fairly heavy - but if you spend a lot of time outdoors this will stop you getting that "slapped in the face" look that Mother Nature can administer if you go out unprotected.

Aveda, which with Jo Malone is one of my favourite makes, do a classy moisturiser called Hydrating Lotion, pounds 27. You can customise this a bit by dropping in (for example) a few drops of their acne treatment oil if your skin is very oily but as it stands it is a light, wonderfully fragranced cream that wouldn't upset even the most sensitive skins. Eve Lom's Day Cream, pounds 22.50, comes in a little white pot, as do all her products. And like all Lom's products, the texture and smell is unique and easily absorbed, and doesn't leave you with great greasy patches. Chanel's Matt Emulsion, pounds 25.25, has a slightly old-fashioned smell to it; indeed the glass pot with black lid wouldn't have looked out of place on Bette Davis's dressing table. This is a good summer moisturiser if you're worried about "shine"; it really matts your skin without drying it. It was almost like a mini foundation. The only thing to watch with this is to rub it in really well because otherwise it can "rub" off and you end up with what looks like eraser debris on your face. If you like mosituriser with no oil, then Lancome do one called Hydracontrole, pounds 21 and Yves Saint Laurent's oil free offering is called Visible Energie (oil free), pounds 24.50. Both are good.

Estee Lauder's Nutritious Bio-Protein Moisture Complex, pounds 30, (oh for the days when it was just called "face cream"!) found favour with its tester: "A lovely cream that you can feel your skin absorbing...smells good and has a great texture." Shiseido's Pureness Moisturising Emulsion, pounds 19, was "fantastic with a beautiful scent, light and absorbs easily, good for people in their twenties who don't want anything too heavy." The same (greedy) tester also loved Jil Sander's Oxygen Pure Intensive Anti-age Defence, pounds 35, which I also thought was great;it's light as air and somehow makes your skin cool and fresh.

If all this leaves your head in a tizz and you want something moisturising, hydrating, protective, with all those vitamins and protecting from the sun, then Lancome's Bienfait Total, pounds 23.50, is perfect: it has SPF 15 (recommended even for dull winter days since our protective ozone layer is so anorexic), has more vitamins than I take in a supplement and it is a joy to use.

Stockist enquiries: Aveda: 0171 410 1600; Chanel: 0171 493 5040; Clinique: 0171 409 6951; Estee Lauder: 0800 525550; Eve Lom: 0171 299 4999/0171 734 7070; Face Stockholm: 0171 734 1234; Jo Malone: 0171 720 0202; Remede: 0171 636 2523; Shiseido: 0171 630 1515; Yves Saint Laurent: 01444 255700. Lancome is available from all good, large stores.