How to stay peachy soft in zero degrees

Nourishing unguents for the winter months, selected by mistress of the bathroom cabinet Annalisa Barbieri
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Indy Lifestyle Online
ALTHOUGH I am a fan of not washing your face every now and again - the ethos being that germs are good for you in small doses - winter is perhaps not the time to do it. Just recently, a spell of drunkenness meant that I did not cleanse tone or do anything else and within days I had ugly dry patches. No, ladies and gentlemen, at this time of year one must keep one's skin constantly hydrated. Unless your skin is really oily, your face will benefit from switching to a cream cleanser (although this does not mean you should stop using water to rinse off, water should be used with all types of cleanser, none of this "tissue-off" rubbish). Remede do a gloriously thick "Rinseable Cold Cream", pounds 22, that is soothing and lovely, while their "Milky Wash", pounds 22, is a little lighter but still wonderful. Other cleansers to try for winter are Chanel's "Total Cleansing Milk", pounds 21 and Jo Malone's "Cleansing Milk", pounds 12. Eve Lom's "Cleansing Cream", pounds 35, isn't so much a cream as marzipan in a tub - that's what it looks like anyway and it makes it all the more lovely to use. It smells bizarrely fantastic, and comes with a muslin cloth that you use to rinse off with. Superb.

You should also change your moisturiser according to the season. The light and mattifying ones that are so good in summer are just not unctuous enough when the cold wind blows. Clinique actually make a special "environmental" cream called "Weather Everything", pounds 27.50, which I should have used recently whilst fishing, because I came home with a red, wind-slapped face. Another "special event" cream is by Eve Lom: her "Creme Universelle", pounds 27.50, is for really dry skin - I blobbed it happily on my sad bits of skin and they were really grateful. But for every day try one of these: Jo Malone's "Day Moisturiser 1", pounds 14.50, is one of the few creams that you can use all year round, but her "Orange and Geranium Night Cream" , pounds 29, is worth buying if you have really dehydrated skin because you can apply it at night for an extra dose of ooomph. Lancome's absolutely excellent "Bienfait Total", pounds 23.50, is one of the best moisturisers around and is fantastically hydrating and rich (but not too rich). Chanel also do some good moisturisers and their "Maximum Moisture Cream", pounds 37.50, is a perfect choice for more mature skins. Remede (another excellent make, I have yet to find fault with any of their products) also do two moisturisers for dry or oily skins and it is their "Energy" for normal/dry skins, pounds 42, that I put on when my skin needs that extra bit of moisture.

But what do you do if your skin has taken a bit of a battering already? I'm not so into deep cleansing at this time of year, that's a spring thing, but moisture-giving masks are a nice thing to treat your skin to. Origins have just launched "Drink Up", pounds 17, which is deliciously fruity and left my skin feeling soft and happy again (and it was in a state before); Chanel's "Active Moisture Supplement", pounds 34, is also lovely but my favourite is Aveda's "Intensive Hydrating Treatment Mask", pounds 25, which comes in a huge bottle, lasts ages, is just a pleasure to use and people always comment afterwards telling me I look well.

Not forgetting hands and body: the absolute best hand cream I've come across is Lancaster's "Suractif Age Protection Hand Cream", pounds 21. It is absorbed immediately (unlike so many that claim to do the same), smells divine and makes your hands as soft as rabbit's noses. Like your face, your body should be treated to a richer cream when it's cold and feeling a bit sorry for itself. Aveda's "Replenishing Body Moisturiser", pounds 16, is suitably luxurious and smells lovely; Clarins's "Moisture Rich Body Lotion", pounds 19.50, is really rich and ideal for very thirsty skins. Now both of those are fantastic and I quite happily use them, but the best all-round body lotion, cheap, any time of year, smells gorgeous, does the job, etc, etc, etc, is Revlon's "Dry Skin Relief", pounds 3.65 (be sure to buy the original one, the unscented one smells too unscented). If it's oils you like, try Clarins's "Relax Body Oil", pounds 25 (apply after a bath then wrap yourself up in old long johns and a sweat shirt and go to bed whilst your skin gently stews), or L'Occitane's Soft Dry Oil, pounds 19.95, which is great if you're shivering as you can just spritz it on and moisturise at speed.

If you're a bit short of cash, a really excellent thing to do is break open a vitamin E capsule and squeeze this miraculous juice onto a) dry patches b) scars. When I got chicken pox (aged 21), I picked all my scabs off one night, (disgusting) but I diligently applied this pure vitamin E gloop on each and every scar and now I have no scars left. (Please remember that all vitamins should be treated with respect, so read the label as vitamin E, even applied on the skin, is not suitable for everybody.) Olive oil is also an excellent and cheap moisturiser for hair and body (but not face, we don't live in caveman times no more). As an intensive hair mask slap it on dry or wet hair, cover your head in cling film then a towel to keep the heat in, eats lots of biscuits for one hour then wash as normal (do at least two shampoos to get the grease out). Mixing it with coarse salt makes an superb body rub (but makes a dreadful mess of the bath). And finally, if your hands/cuticles are very dry and in a pickle, slap on some hand cream (Chanel's "Protective Hand Cream", pounds 16.75, is better for this as it's a little richer), rub it generously onto cuticles, then put on some cotton gloves (a couple of pounds from Boots, you'll find them near the bandages) and go to bed. You'll wake up in the morning with soft hands and a diamond ring on your finger. Well, part of that's true.

Stockists: Aveda 0171 410 1600; Chanel 0171 493 3836; Eve Lom 0171 636 2523; Jo Malone (and mail order) 0171 720 0202; L'Occitane 0171 290 1421; Revlon 0171 491 5450; Remede 0171 636 2523. Lancome, Clinique, Clarins and Lancaster are available from leading department stores.

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