It may seem churlish to mention it, but there is a problem with the beauty industry: the sheer superfluity of it. Where to start? What to use? And even if one succumbs to buying a product for every niche problem, how to pack them when one travels?
This is why, for many a white-coat working away in the labs, the holy grail is the multitasking product. Simplification is the name of the game. They’ve been at it for some time, of course, and there are now foundations that also nourish, fight free radicals and have anti-ageing properties (most particularly, Sisley’s Skinleÿa, £110 for 30ml); primers such as Guerlain’s Météorites (£42 for 30ml) that prepare the skin for make-up while at the same time also adding colour and luminosity; and, naturally, lots of moisturisers with tints and SPFs.
There’s also what Nicky Kinnaird of Space NK calls “the classic multitasker of all time – Eve Lom’s cleanser [£55, for 100ml], which not only removes eye and face make-up, but is also a toner, mild exfoliant, skin softener and radiance promoter”.
Terry de Gunzburg, a busy mother of four and the genius behind Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Eclat, spends much of her time trying to simplify beauty regimes without compromising on performance (“I know what it’s like to be short of time,” she says). She’s now raised the bar with the By Terry Hyaluronic Eye Primer (pictured, £35 for 7.5ml), which is a terrific primer to put on the lid and brow as a base for make-up – I can vouch for the fact that it keeps eye shadows from creasing and holds them in place. At the same time, it also cuts down on any redness, deals with puffy eyes and plumps up those tiny lines (its secret is exceptionally high levels of hyaluronic acid, which penetrate deep into the skin).
Then for hair there’s Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray (pictured, from £18 for 75ml), which is fantastic to have when travelling and after exercising. It is a volumiser (fashionistas will have noted that big hair was hot on the catwalk), a texturiser (great for up-dos), and can also be used as a dry shampoo or hair refresher (for those post-gym moments when you don’t have time to wash and blow-dry), or if you just want to extend the life of your last blow-dry.
And finally, another boon for the busy traveller: Cane + Austin’s Retexturizing Treatment Pads (pictured, £48 for a 30-day supply). Developed by a New York-based dermatologist, each pad is a one-step cleanser and exfoliator containing glycolic acid (the smallest alpha hydroxy acid, or AHA), which moisturises as it sloughs off dead skin cells. The pads also contain witch hazel, which tones as you apply it, and they clarify the complexion and minimise the appearance of pores. Finally, each pad leaves a protective antioxidant deposit of vitamins A, C and E, together with natural compound CoQ10, helping to restore and smooth the skin. Add a moisturising sunscreen and your foundation, and you’re good to go. Men, it seems, love them, too.