The intelligent consumer: Water water everywhere

The case for sticking your head (or face, anyway) in the bathroom sink

Despite having a bathroom shelf full of delicious products in fancy bottles, jars and pumps, where once immaculate skin was, I now have spots. This is due to greed - bringing home too many different products to try out myself rather than distributing them about my testers, and therefore over-stimulation of my skin.

New products make one eager to cleanse, tone and cream up, but perhaps that natural slovenliness of before served to give my face a rest. However, this is a useful time for testing spot remedies. My favourite is by Erno Laszlo and not really a spot thing at all. It's called Regular Normalizer Shake-it and is a powder liquid formation that you shake and apply. It's proper use is as an excellent light foundation, smoothing and matting as it goes, but dabbed on a spot it seems to suck out the bugger from its very bed. Malheureusement, the RNS is only available in the US.

Two other fabulous products are Aveda's Balancing Infusion for oily skin/acne treatment, pounds 16.50, which you put on neat at night (and like all Aveda's products it smells fantastic), and Superdrug's Tea Tree Touch Stick, which has tea tree and peppermint oil and smells edible. It's confusing, because it comes in a tube with a lip-gloss-type spongy applicator and I keep wanting to put it on my lips. But it is a fine product, costs pounds 1.99 and is easy to carry around.

However, this month is about water and its importance in skincare. None of that cleansing with enough cotton-wool pads to make an elephant's tampon for a heavy flow day, and not a drop of water in sight. You need to fair flood your face with water. Fill your sink with hand-hot water, add a dash of toner to make it a bit more special and wipe off your cleanser with a flannel, which you dip in and out with gay abandon. A linen or smooth cotton one is better than the towelling kind and the Conran shop do a good waffle one for pounds 2.50. You can also use torn up old sheets, but this has a bit of a Victorian workhouse, under-age pregnancy feel to it that I don't much care for. Some people say flannels are unhygienic but: a) you boil-wash them every couple of days, and b) as I said last month, a few germs ain't so bad.

If you want, you can also refill the sink with water after using the flannel and splash your face some. Dr Laszlo advocated something like 20 or 30 splashes, but this makes a mess, so about five to six is plenty. This will leave you with really clean skin and ready for the rest of your routine.

Cleansers tend come in two types: cream or gel/foam wash-off things. Cream is good for dry skin, gel/foam for more oily. But, with either, you should use water, too. Remember to cleanse face and neck, and anything nourishing or moisturising should be extended as far down as the chest. This is a good time to massage your face, which improves your circulation. Jo Malone also sells a little, rubber, bristled brush for this purpose (she says massage is very important for good skincare), but this is not suitable for everyone - back to over-stimulation. My skin can't cope with it more than once a week because, basically, I think it likes to be left alone. AB

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