BEAUTY CLINIC: Instant softening | Daily Mail Online

Jo and Sarah answer real questions from readers: to put your query, go to  

Q Taking off winter woollies and thick tights has revealed some un-beautiful patches of very dry skin, elbows, feet, shins – and the rest! What’s the best product for (almost) instant softening?

A If you are happy to use a product that makes no pretensions to be natural, then we highly recommend CeraVe Moisturising Cream for dry to very dry skin, £14.50 for 454g, from a very popular US drugstore brand developed with dermatologists and newly launched in the UK. As skincare expert Caroline Hirons says, CeraVe is ‘a great range to investigate’, and a true beauty steal in our book. 

We tried CeraVe Moisturising Cream on rough scaly heels (after buffing) and were amazed at the immediate transformation. Daily use really makes a difference. (Cracks in skin, which can affect older people particularly on feet and hands, can let in infections so it is important to treat them.)

The CeraVe effect is attributed mainly to three essential ceramides (oils found naturally in the skin) and hyaluronic acid. The second ingredient (after water) is glycerin, and petrolatum (petroleum jelly) is quite prominent in the ingredient listing too. (Ingredients are listed in order of the amount in the product.)

If natural products are your preference, we suggest turning to Green People, one of our favourite organic ranges. Try Sugar Scrub, £21 for 160g, with – yes – sugar plus skin-softening oils, followed by Body Butter, £21 for 135ml, a multi-tasking body balm. When it comes to feet, Charlotte Vohtz, founder of Green People, suggests massaging in Body Butter before bed then popping on clean cotton socks. Et voilà! Super-soft feet in the morning. 

Beauty Bible loves… Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter, £30. We’re not sure how to categorise this. Even our friend Charlotte’s not sure what it is, describing it as ‘the ultimate high-gloss, high-glow celebrity skin filter in a bottle’.

So: since we couldn’t quite get our heads round that, we took ourselves off to John Lewis to have it demo-ed on skin – always a great way to check out any new make-up product.

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter. Described as ‘the ultimate high-gloss, high-glow celebrity skin filter in a bottle’

And what we can report is that this is an amazingly flattering, versatile innovation which makes skin look very soft-focus and gently glow-y. (The ‘high-gloss’ tag is a bit off-putting – used judiciously, it’s way subtler than that.)

You can deploy it in several different ways. First, as a primer – a few dabs with the over-sized doe-foot wand of the light-diffusing mixture, blended into the complexion under foundation (forehead, cheeks, chin).

Secondly – and this is what we’ve been doing – you can actually mix it with your foundation. This is fantastic at this time of year, with your regular ‘winter’ base; the light has really shifted out there – and suddenly, velvety, matte foundations look all wrong. A few dabs of Hollywood Flawless Filter, blended into foundation (in the palm of the hand works best) does the trick brilliantly at making your base look just right for now.

Thirdly, you can use it as a highlighter in its own right – on the tops of the cheekbones (provided you’re not lined there), above the cupid’s bow, down the nose…

There’s a terrific tutorial on her website (find it here). But to be honest, for fun (and for best results), we suggest you follow in our footsteps and get it applied in store. (Find her locations here.) That way, you can discover which shade is perfect for you – admirably there are seven in all (3 Light/Medium seems to be our best match). 

Charlotte’s make-up pros are all incredibly highly-trained, positively evangelical about what they do – and frankly, no excuse is too slim for us to hoist ourselves up onto a stool and let them work their magic.