x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

The beauty spy

You won't see her, but she's there, in the salons, spas and shops, and she's happy to share her secrets on fighting the signs of stress.

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AD200910710169979AR

You won't see her, but she's there, in the salons, spas and shops, and she's happy to share her secrets on fighting the signs of stress. I have an anxious epidermis. This has been officially diagnosed and is apparently down to stress, my dermatologist informs me. It's manifesting itself in the form of blemishes, hives, dryness and sensitivity, plus it's going deeper and creating furrows, lines and wrinkles. It appears I need the skincare equivalent of the Betty Ford Clinic. Which is great because those products do exist. Kenzo's Belle de Jour moisturising cream is designed to protect you from free radicals and the stress hormone cortisol, the major culprit behind stress-related ageing. Plus it smells dreamy, too, which is why I almost devoured the entire contents after removing it from its box. Striking oil may be good for the economy of a developing country, but when it happens on your skin it spells disaster. Unfortunately, when you are stressed, the sebaceous glands can be triggered to produce more. It's something to do with an increase of one's testosterone. And I know you want to reach for something that will strip it all away, but don't - it will make your glands overcompensate. So go for gentle, natural-based cleansers and toners designated for oily skin. (I've heard great things from Korres Materia Herba Anti-Ageing products for oily to combination skin.) And then reach for topical products that take down the shine, such as Murad Oil-Control Mattifier SPF 15.

However, my problem is at the opposite end of the scale - it looks as if someone got a vacuum and sucked all the remaining moisture out of my face. So I reach for (and this was the dermatologist's advice) products containing ceramides - fatty acids or stearic acids - found in Dove Pro-Age and Elizabeth Arden Ceramide range. As for dealing with the spots, I have enforced a no-pick rule. Because when I do start poking around, I don't stop and it was making it worse. On break-out days I use Olay's Total Effects Anti-Ageing Anti Blemish Moisturiser, and treat individual pimples to a touch of cream containing benzoyl peroxide, (ask your pharmacist to recommend one from behind the counter).

As a stress-prevention measure, I am testing the new L'Occitane's Sweet Dreams Mist, a lavender-based pillow spray to lull me into a deeper sleep. I carry with me Aromatherapy Associates Instant Aromatherapy Relax Oil, the lavender and ylang ylang concoction that is delivered via a handy roller ball. I'm also spritzing on Smiley - an anti-stress remedy in the guise of a fragrance, available at www.happytherapy.com. I'll keep you posted on the results.

Ambassador for Creative Nail Design, Galina Spierling shares her secrets on keeping feet neat throughout the day: Choose your outfit wisely. If errands lead you through sandy areas, wear shoes that are closed at the toes, platforms or trainers to protect your feet from the sand. You can always change once you've reached your destination. When you do have to plough through the sand, keep wet tissues in your car or bag to remove the dust. Use lighter lotions for the day instead of heavy creams; these won't attract the sand as much, so fewer grains will stick to your feet. Sand and dust can be very dehydrating, so make sure you get regular professional pedicures and apply a thick layer of cream every night to repair any damage.

A Scent by Issey Miyake If the early Nineties could be summed up in one smell it would be L'Eau d'Issey. It sparked a wave of other aquatics (some good, some bad), and was being spritzed by just about everyone. It hung in the air of offices, nightclubs and shopping malls like a western equivalent of incense. Now, 17 years later, we think Issey Miyake has done it again. He is reinventing the perfume wheel with A Scent, a new eau de toilette that smells heavily of green shrubs, then develops into garlands of jasmine, rain and mountain air. It's floral but not cloying, clean but not soapy - if Zen had a smell, this would be it. A Scent by Issey Miyake, Dh445 for 100ml, available from Areej. Face Stockholm IS - Icelandic Solution No, it doesn't have anything to do with North Atlantic fishing policies, as the name suggests. It is the new anti-ageing face fix by Face Stockholm. The magic ingredient of IS - Icelandic Solution is penzyme, a marine enzyme that has been developed on the back of 25 years of research. It's a one-stop shop for pretty much every skin concern we have at the M office, from fine lines to sunburn, spots to bee stings, and can even be used to help conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Plus, the simple water-based, non-greasy gel is free of perfumes, dyes, chemicals and other harsh additives. How refreshing. IS - Icelandic Solution, Dh685, Face Stockholm in Wafi and Dubai Mall.

Make-up for darker skin tones When I was backstage at the international catwalk shows, there would be a stream of models getting "done" by the team of make-up artists. That is, all but one. The black supermodel Naomi Campbell would shuffle off to a quiet corner (or a designated room) and apply her own make-up, with products she fished from her handbag. There was definitely a paucity of products for darker skin back then, and even make-up artists had trouble finding the right shades. However, the cosmetics industry is evolving, with more products dedicated to this category thanks to Revlon, L'Oréal and Bobbi Brown. Plus, new lines are landing on shelves every day, including K by Beverley Knight (www.kbybeverleyknightcosmetics.com). It is the soul singer's first foray into beauty; she was dissatisfied with the products available, so decided to come up with her own. The results? Fifteen products, for lids, lips and skin in 78 shades, all dedicated to darker skin tones. The range is starting out at Selfridges in London, and on the web, but soon will be trickling through to us here in the UAE. It doesn't just end at new products and launches; make-up artist Bobbi Brown offers some words of wisdom when it comes to make-up application. "Black skin tends to be darker across the forehead and edges of the face, and lighter in the middle, including the cheeks. The trick when applying foundation is to create a seamless look between the light/golden and dark/warmer parts of the face. "If you want to go golden, choose a tinted moisturiser or sheer foundation that matches the skin on the centre of your face. Apply the foundation just on this area, then use a coppery bronzer on the other parts of the face to diffuse the transition between the lighter and darker areas. "If you want to go warm, choose a foundation in a shade that falls between the lighter and darker parts of the face. Applying a dark shade of foundation all over the face will look unnatural, so the idea here is to tone down the difference between the light and dark areas. Look for a yellow-based foundation that has a bit of orange, red or blue to it, depending on how deep the colour of the skin is. Lighter black skin looks most natural with yellow-based foundations that have warm cinnamon tones. In all instances, if the foundation looks ashy or grey on the skin, it's not the right shade." Sarah Joan Ross

Purple reign Purple is the new black. It's everywhere, even in the hair at the recent Bottega Veneta show in Milan, although that may be a little extreme for us in real life. However, we do like its effect when applied on the lids, lips and nails. The latest formulations are injected with shimmer or sparkle to stop you looking bruised or like an extra from The Wrestler. Plus, there is a plethora of different shades to choose from, from pretty lilacs to bold aubergines. We particularly like Chantecaille's Luminous Eye Liner in Viola (Dh100, Boutique 1). For a softer shadow option, sweep on one of the four shades from Clinique's new limited-edition Colour Surge Eyeshadow Quad in Black Tie Violets (Dh130, shops nationwide).