x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

The beauty spy: the magic of serums

You won't see her, but she's there, in the salons, spas and shops, and she's happy to share her secrets on beauty serums.

Serum... it is one of those words, a bit like anti-oxidant or peptide, that sends me into a panic. I know I should be using one, but what is it, and what does it do? Is it just another beauty product that the big companies are hoping to use to get me to hand over hundreds of dirhams? Or is it something that should be part of my daily beauty routine?

According to my sources, serums are the latest thing in anti-ageing and we should all be using them on a daily basis. I have been missing out. The reason they are so effective is that they contain active ingredients and are chemically formulated with smaller molecules so that they can penetrate deeper into the skin than your moisturiser.

Needless to say there are hundreds on the market but I have tried a selection for you.

The first one I tried is the best value: the Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Serum. I like Olay products. My mother, a million years ago, used to use Oil of Ulay, and she is a woman who has a rather bare bathroom, unlike your Beauty Spy, of course, who can hardly move for the bottles and jars of unguents and miracle workers. Anyway, back to Olay, if it was good enough for my mum back in the 1980s it's good enough for me, and I have to say, the glittery fluid does slide on rather smoothly. I like the texture and feel of it, my skin feels quenched after use. And it even smells nice. In short it does not look or feel like a beauty product you can buy in the supermarket for less than a piece of steak.

The big advantage with serums as I mentioned is their active ingredients. These are things like vitamin C and anti-oxidants (such as green tea) that actually have an effect on your skin, that can really nourish it. The disadvantage with the most powerful of them, vitamin C, is that just in the same way that your body can't store it, it loses its efficiency once the bottle is opened.

Which is why my next serum, the Estée Lauder Midnight Recovery, comes in a brown bottle; this is to protect the active ingredients inside from outside light. It is not a cheap option, but looks like liquid gold and is excellent for feeding your skin overnight.

Another way to protect the ingredients in serums is to put the product into small vials that you open one at a time, like the Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler Serum Concentrate, which plumps up your wrinkles with Hyaluronic Acid and Glycine Saponin - no you don't need to know what they are. Again this is a smooth formula that makes your skin feel enriched, even if you are a tad poorer.


3 of the best

Seductive lip glosses to help you pucker up

MAX FACTOR LIPFINITY GLOSS IN PASSIONATE, DH50 For nourished show-stopping lips. Ideal for a romantic weekend.

REVLON FIRECRACKER DH40 A lip gloss to be seen in. Sheer, shimmery and sexy.

BOURJOIS GLOSS EFFECT 3D, DH59 Leaves lips ultra glossy and plumped up.


M loves

How now, brown cow?

You know when you see something that you just have to have, when propriety, logic and a melted credit card have no bearing on your purchasing power? Well, hello, Cowshed products. We giggled like schoolgirls when we read these product names - whether you are feeling grumpy, dirty, knackered, wild, moody, lazy (or all of the above), there is a bath and beauty product to match. Born in the original Cowshed Spa at Babington House, Cowshed products are made in England using only natural and organic ingredients. We love their Grubby Cow Zesty Hand Wash and Cow Slip Soothing Hand Cream, both packed with sweet orange, peppermint and spearmint for a spring-fresh pick-me-up. With international delivery available to the UAE, we are gripped by moo madness.

Grubby Cow Zesty Hand Wash, Dh84; Cow Slip Soothing Hand Cream Dh96, available online at www.cowshedonline.com