Friday, 5 March 2010

Products vs politics

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

I know I should be writing about Chilcot. It really is a banner day for us political geeks, what with the Prime Minister finally giving his evidence and all. As a concerned citizen, I should be following every word. I dutifully turned on the BBC news channel, and after about five minutes I felt so cross and demoralised that I decided to write about face creams instead. That'll learn 'em.

I spend excessive amounts of time getting very, very cross about the beauty industry. All those idiotic made-up cod-scientific terms, all those bogus claims, all that awful emphasis on cheating, beating and battling age, as if the worst thing a woman could ever do is grow older, make me mad as a wet hen. At the same time, being a mysterious creature of infinite contradiction (or, in other words, a human being) I love a good product. My strong feeling is that as long as you understand that any given potion will not change your life or perform miracles on your face, it is quite safe to buy a nice moisturiser. As in all things, it is a question of degree.

Sarah, in her role as beauty editor of The Times, often sends me things to test. I feel very important and grown-up as I do this, and send her detailed and emphatic feedback, half of which never ends up in print, because it's only one column and there is never enough room. I am currently acting as guinea pig for a new line which I suspect may turn out to be one of the most irritating of things: a product which actually works, but is not that much fun to use. When I say works, I do not mean it made me look instantly five years younger (nor do I even think that should be desirable), but my skin did appear rather soft and smooth this morning when I woke, which was a surprise, because it has been made sad and cross by all this hard weather and the central heating that must chug away in my house so I can write without my fingers freezing. So: there was a result, but the creams and serums do not have the heavenly scent and feel that I prefer in products. There is a sense of useful but not beautiful. I shall bash on and see, but I am not entirely convinced.

It made me think of the products I really do love. I like almost anything from Origins, because it all smells so divine, and they have a real talent for texture. I adore Nuxe dry oil, which smells of summer and goes on luxuriously with no hint of greasiness. I love the little bottles of camomile oil from Darphin, which really do soothe a troubled skin (you can see the difference almost instantly, it's like magic).

A while ago, Sarah and I came up with the idea of testing organic products against the cutting edge skinceuticals (horrid, ugly word for creams which carry a promise of scientifically developed active ingredients). She would use the artificial ones and I would use the organic ones, and then we would compare. Sadly, this rather interesting experiment got sidetracked, for various complicated reasons I can't remember, and so it never ended up in the paper. I was sad about this, because the very, very nice people at Spiezia had kindly sent us a carton of stuff to try. Spiezia is a little company in Cornwall that really puts its money where its mouth is. All its products are made by hand on an organic farm; they recycle like crazy, avoid animal testing, and shun chemicals. I had so much fun for the six weeks I was a Spezia girl. Everything felt delightful on my skin, smelt outrageously lovely, and did seem to have a benign effect. They make no stupid promises about erasing signs of age or turning back the clock, but they produce good stuff that makes the skin happy. I am always banging on about how the secret of a great soup is that it must be made with love. At Spezia, you really do get the sense that they make products with love. And who knows what difference that might make? I like the idea, anyway.

They are quite expensive, but not outrageously so, and I think you are very much getting what you pay for, rather than shelling out for a brand or swanky packaging. So if you want to give yourself a little mad March treat, I recommend them without reservation.

Spiezia moisturiser

Spiezia body scrub

You can do mail order here:

Tomorrow: a serious disquisition on moral relativism. Or, hand creams I know and love. Who knows where the muse will take me?

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