I’m confused! What is the difference between an Emulsion Infusion, Essence, Booster and an  Ampoule? Are they all the same and just simply posh names for moisturisers?
Blame the Eastern beauty influence and no, they are not all the same. Depending on the ingredients, they all have different benefits. An Emulsion is usually a lighter version of a moisturising cream and thinner in texture so ideal for combination or oily skin. An Infusion is actually not a skin care category but usually a description, of the active ingredients, for example, a cream infused with herbs or flowers. An Essence is usually a targeted treatment for a skin issue like wrinkles, dullness or age spots and contains a concentrate of ingredients for that purpose but they are not as concentrated or as thick in texture as a serum.  A skin booster product is usually very light in texture and applied before a serum or essence to boost the efficiency of the serum or essence.
Finally an Ampoule is a serum upgrade, usually more targeted and more expensive – light in texture they promise to penetrate the skin and deliver results much faster. If you are planning to buy one of these products always check with the expert where it would fit in your current skin care regime.
Is it okay to mix and match products from different skincare ranges?
Most women do this as we do with make up and fashion but the best advice is to stick with similar products which are right for your skin type from whichever brands you like. Using a Nivea eye cream with a L’Oreal skin product is fine because you are applying the creams on different areas. Likewise if you use different creams morning and night, that’s fine. However, if you are using prescription/cosmeceutical brands for exfoliating or resurfacing skin which contain ingredients like Retina A or glycolic acid, try to avoid using anything on top as it could neutralise the effect. Also doubling up on potent ingredients is a definite no no so as there are skincare ingredients which counteract each other? Vitamin C does not sit well with glycolic or salicylic acid, similarly glycolic and salicylic acid does not mix well with Retinol as they all exfoliate and peel the skin.  If unsure, always check with an expert before buying a new product.
The area around my eyes always looks dark and tired no matter what I do. How can I make myself look better and perkier in that area?
Most of us have these and they have many causes including a build up of pigment, hereditary discolouration and blood vessels showing through skin. Sometimes, dark circles can actually be dark shadows – as facial skin sags and loses volume the area above the cheek called the tear trough hollows out causing a shadow. As for treating them, the easiest approach is to brighten the area. Try an eye cream which has a little illuminator – and then top with a dab of concealer. Use a light, creamy texture so it doesn’t settle in lines – if colour is more bluey- black, use a yellow based concealer, more brown or yellowish, choose peach. Try Medik8 Dark Circles, £34  (  a cover up concealer  which also targets all causes of dark circles , evens out skin tone and illuminates with its mineral pigments. If you want to do something more permanent, PRP Therapy, nicknamed the vampire treatment, is a great way to treat dark circles.  It entails having blood drawn from the arm, which is then spun in a centrifuge to separate the platelets and growth factors. The growth factors  are then injected into the area to stimulate the regeneration of skin cells and new collagen. Results are natural with around 5 days  downtime. From £400 per treatment. Results last 6-12 months when one top up required.
My lips keep getting dry and chapped. I do have a habit of biting my lips but how can I get rid of the chapping?
It’s tempting to naturally lick your lips when they are dry, which actually makes them worse  as this just dehydrate them even more and removes the natural oils which protects them.  Try exfoliating your lips twice a week – use a dry toothbrush (not the one you use for your teeth) with a dab of Vaseline and rub gently in circular motion. Choose a deep-penetrating lip balm that creates a physical barrier to prevent moisture from escaping. Since your lips don’t have any oil glands, you need something super-rich. I like Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Gloss £20, which is enriched with Vitamin E and will treat chapped, dry lips as well as giving them a natural shine. Avoid long wearing lippies as they are often drying. You could also try a simple lip mask with an ultra thick layer of Vaseline – leave it on for at least ten minutes and gently tissue off.  For painfully chapped lips a dab of hydrocortisone cream once a day for no more than a week will help.
What is your simple, practical advice for prepping skin before the winter and which is the one type of skin product you would recommend for preventing and saving winter-ravaged skin?
Even people who don’t have dry skin can suffer during the cold months. It is much easier to change your routine in the autumn, before the weather turns really cold, because it’s much easier to prevent dryness and cracking than it is to treat it. Switch to mild cleansers without soap or fragrance (look for hypoallergenic on the label). Avoid over cleansing the skin – use a light touch as scrubbing can cause irritation. Try adding another layer to your skin care routine like a serum to give skin extra support. After, apply a super hydrating moisturiser morning and night, as this will help trap water in skin cells, and stop it from flaking. Start taking fish oil or cod liver oil capsules daily to help keep skin moist, eat more Vitamin C (fruit and veg) and drink at least 1.5 litres water daily. Around half of the UK population are not getting enough Vitamin D – exposure to sunlight is essential for the production of Vitamin D so aim for thirty minutes 2/3 times a week to get outside. Vitamin D capsules might also be beneficial.
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