With the temperature hitting 31c, I’m very much aware of the irony in typing this, but now is the moment to start thinking about your autumn beauty wardrobe. Stay with me here, sisters.
I’m not talking about the cosmetic equivalent of a tweed suit and cashmere pullover. However, things should start to feel transitional after last week’s Indian summer scorcher.
Even the least groomed goddesses will be sensing a need to smarten up a bit and ditch summer boho mode.
Do carry over August’s lightness of touch, but with a little more backbone and polish.
The aim should be something work — rather than waft — appropriate, and a means of getting your brain back in the game.
As in fashion, the urge for new, beginning-of-season kit can yield expensive mistakes: purchases that work in theory, to be ignored in practice.
Skin-wise, this is not the time for high-expenditure flurries, but to make sure some of your core regime is back on track.
First off, pick yourself a budget cleanser from Simple, Nivea, L’Oréal, Garnier, Neutrogena, Cetaphil, CeraVe or Bioderma.
In terms of a not-too aggressive liquid exfoliator to sweep off summer debris, I favour Liz Earle Smooth & Glow Exfoliating Tonic (£20, boots.com): spurring cell turnover without irritation.
For complexions that are looking a little mottled and dull, Ren’s Summer Glow Up 3 Step Kit (£98, renskincare.com) would be my choice.
This trio contains the brand’s best-selling brightening toner, Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic; its award-winning Brightening Dark Circle Eye Cream; and Overnight Glow Dark Spot Sleeping Cream, which claims to reduce the appearance of dark spots after seven days.
You can also get an autumnal boost from Beauty Pie’s new Youthbomb Breakthrough Repair Cream (£49 for members; non-members, £175, beautypie.com), launching on Wednesday.
It’s stuffed full of peptides, those short chains of amino acids that act as building blocks for proteins such as collagen and elastin, responsible for skin’s strength and texture.
In practice, this means activating defences against stress, limiting signs of damage, and giving your face more zest.
And do not — repeat not — stop using a high SPF. I’m still loving Hello Sunday: The Everyday One SPF50 (£18, boots.com), which doubles as a fetching moisturiser.
Fans of a skin tint rather than foundation are now spoilt for choice. The latest is from Clarins, and has been two years in the making.
Its Tinted Oleo-Serum (£39, clarins.co.uk) is a luminous, buildable skincare/slap crossover. If you love the brand’s nourishing lip oil, this is it in complexion guise.
This is not the time to invest in some vast, exorbitant new eye shadow palette. You need to get the feel of the next few months: what clothes you’ll be wearing, what your autumnal mood is going to be.
However some winning duo from, say, MAC, Zara, or Kiko will add instant polish.
Start lining your lips again, rather than merely swiping on a balm. Studio London’s Power Pout 12H Precision Lip Liners in ten shades (£3, superdrug.com) are brilliant.
I’ve also stockpiled more Studio London’s Flaunt Flawless Blusher (£5) because it’s just so damn good.
Grab a Studio London Define The Lines Precision Eyeliner in Loyal Brown (£3), which is softer and less strident than black after a break, and another in Cream (£3) to use on the inner lid to look alive.
Brush up your brows and declare yourself back in business.
RACE YOU TO IT
Sign-up for the John Lewis Beauty Advent Calendar 2023 (£195, johnlewis.com), which launches at midnight.
Worth £921 (31 products in total with 16 full-size).
Brands include Charlotte Tilbury, Aromatherapy Associates, Acqua di Parma and Frédéric Malle. A cracker.
MY ICON OF THE WEEK
The actress, 44, says Alma Harmony laser treatments (from £350, [email protected] for your nearest salon) are her ‘go-to for results you can see instantly’.
She also rates the Nurse Jamie Uplift Facial Massaging Roller (£55, fenwick.co.uk), and the Nurse Jamie Beauty Bear Age Defying Pillow (£67.60, amazon.co.uk).
For those who can’t bear to say goodbye to summer, the Bertioli Water Meadow Candle (from £35, bertioli.co.uk) will help to prolong it.
I’m yet to go on holiday and have been relying on this and its Water Meadow bathing range to stay sane. As in the golden age of toiletries, scent is very much medicinal here.
A fusion of anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial water, mint, apple blossom and thyme, its aroma inspires the deepest of deep breaths.
It reminds me of the old Laura Ashley No 1, or possibly No 2, fragrance, and frock shopping with my mother.
It makes me not merely breathe, but want to weep — in a therapeutic, de-stressing sort of way.