I cannot deal with the cold weather. Please, save me.
Me, my desk
I don’t know if I have made it clear enough in my several thousand other columns on this subject, but I really, really hate winter. Some people get apple cheeks and cosy knitwear; I have a permanent cold and am permanently cold. If I have a cinematic alter ego, it’s Sanka Coffie (Doug E Doug), the dreadlocked bobsledder in the 90s classic, Cool Runnings (all movies with John Candy are classic, don’t @ me), when he comes out of the ice-cream truck in which he has been locked so as to acclimatise to cold weather. The camera pans to him shivering miserably, his dreadlocks so frozen they snap off.
I’ve had 40 winters – a biblically long time – of living in London and the even more unacceptably cold New York City, so I’ve had time to come up with coping strategies. Handy tip No 1: don’t leave your house. I don’t leave my home from November to March (April, if I’m entirely honest) and never once have I felt I have missed anything, as I spend another evening in hugging my radiator, carpe-ing the heck out of the diem. So now we can skip past all expectations you might have that I might be about to share coat tips because a) you shouldn’t be going outside anyway and b) it’s nearly February; if you don’t already have a coat, you’re beyond my help. Instead, let’s go to my speciality subject: winter beauty products.
Obviously, this begins with the most sacred spot in your house in winter: the bathtub. If you’re not having a bath every day in winter, you’re doing it wrong. One of the many reasons I refuse all social invitations in winter is because I don’t have time to go out in the evening, what with my very packed bathing schedule.
There are two essential ingredients for a winter bath: bath oil and bubble bath, because, while most bubble baths will dry out your already dried-out winter skin, bath oil counteracts the drying. I don’t have any science to back up that theory, but it sounds good to me, so that makes it true – that’s how facts work today. The ultimate bath products come from Jo Malone, Cowshed, Elemis and Laura Mercier; feel free to justify the cost of these by telling yourself you’re saving money by not going out for the next five months. Dr Hauschka, Neal’s Yard and This Works are slightly cheaper, and the high street can be pretty decent, too; try Soap Glory and, of course, Radox, the king of bubbles. For extra heat – and there can never be enough heat in winter – give yourself a salt scrub before getting in the tub. My favourites (see here and here) are from Ren, which are expensive but last for ages.
There are only two brands that have ever been able to deal with my flaky skin without running away in horror, and they are Neutrogena and Kiehl’s. Admittedly, the latter’s Crème de Corps does turn your palms orange, although I see that as a rather amusing plus. You have to get your kicks where you can in winter. Speaking of hands, there is only one acceptable hand moisturiser and that is l’Occitane, because it works and because it doesn’t make your hands greasy and gross.
Finally, the face. Now, some of these products are a bit spendy but, as I said before: I don’t go out and, as Jennifer Aniston told me many times, I’m worth it. The only way I can get through a winter’s day without looking like Old Mother Hubbard by the end of it is if I put on a serum, a moisturiser and some face oil. The best serum for dehydrated skin such as mine is Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair, which I wear in the day, because I’m a rebel like that. The only moisturisers that make my face feel moisturised in winter are No7 Protect Perfect and Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream, with some added SPF mixed in, and I add a drop of The Ordinary’s facial oil to that. At night, it’s the same except for a serum I use, Elizabeth Arden’s Retinol Ceramide Capsules, which a friend recommended and are actual miracle magic capsules. Then it’s No7 for moisturiser and more facial oil.
So that’s how you get through the winter as beautifully as me. Admittedly, no one actually sees me because – and I don’t know if I have made this clear enough – I don’t go outside. But trust me: I look AMAZING.
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