News, Culture & Society

BEAUTY CLINIC: Stay well over the holidays

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

Q. Once I stop work for the holiday, I often come down with a bad cold, which really spoils things. Is there anything I can do to prevent this, or hasten it along if it does get me? I would also like to know the best concealer for a red nose – so I don’t look so grim in all those family photos…

A. This is a really common occurrence. Once you stop dashing to get to the ‘end of term’, your immune system takes a nosedive and the bugs have a field day. Here’s what we keep in our cupboard for just this time.

To help ward off infections:

OptiBac Probiotics For Daily Immunity, £11.29, the vast majority of immune receptors are in the gut and this blend of natural plant extracts and vitamin C is formulated to help your immune system fight invaders. 

Better You DLux 1000 spray, £6.95 for 15ml (100 doses): more than half the population has insufficient levels of this vital vitamin (in fact a hormone), which is produced in the skin in reaction to sunlight. Top up levels in winter to help your body with many functions including immunity. 

If you are laid low:

A.Vogel Plantago Tincture, £10.50 for 50ml: traditional herbal remedy used to treat catarrh, congested sinuses and middle ear infections. Indispensable when you’re suffering cold-related deafness. 

A.Vogel Bronchoforce Chesty Cough Ivy Complex oral drops, £10.50 for 50ml: this helps to ease breathing and calms the coughing reflex as well as reducing chest spasms. 

For flaky nose and chapped lips:

Pommade Divine Nature’s Remedy Balm, £14 for 30ml: the original super balm, which Jo swears by for ‘nose dandruff’ and the head-clearing properties of camphor. Also great for any minor skin injuries. 

Beauty Bible Lip Balm, £6 for 8g: the only product we have ever put our name to; it’s based on organic shea butter, vitamin E and aloe vera and is the most nourishing, and probably the best value, lip balm we know. 

For camouflaging a red nose/face:

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer, £20.40, or NYX Professional Makeup Gotcha Covered Full Coverage Liquid Concealer, £7, two of the excellent products that can help disguise that Rudolf look. Whichever product you choose, make sure it is matte not light-reflective and that it’s the closest to your skin tone. Gently de-flake your skin first by rubbing with a soft washcloth dipped in warm water, then apply a light moisturiser and let it sink before putting on foundation – we like Clinique Redness Solutions Makeup, £28.50, which immediately camouflages redness all over your face. Then dot with concealer (on a brush rather than a finger as the oil can transfer to the skin) and tap in. Whisk powder over the top for staying power and to mattify any oiliness. 

If you are really scarlet then consider applying a pale green colour corrector, again with a brush. Try NYX Professional HD Photogenic Concealer Wand in the shade called Green, £6. 

Finally, a thought: one of the quickest ways to pick up infections is from other people’s germs on surfaces of all kinds. Pop Dr. Bronner Organic Lavender Hand Sanitiser in your bag; it is said to kill 99.9 per cent of known germs. Spritz it on hands, keyboards, phones, desks and on handles in public loos. £4.99 for up to 500 sprays. 

Beauty Bible loves… 

Annick Goutal candles, £44.10. It is, of course, the time of year for scented candles. Flickering on the hall table, above the mantelpiece, in the dining room as you greet guests. But if you’re anything like us, you’re always a bit stuck when a candle’s flickered its last about what to do with the vessel.

Well, the fact that Annick Goutal’s new candle collection – strictly, La Maison Goutal collection (there’s been a bit of a name-change) – is refillable is just one of the reasons we’re loving it.

The fact that Annick Goutal’s new candle collection – strictly, La Maison Goutal collection (there’s been a bit of a name-change) – is refillable is just one of the reasons we’re loving it

Six glorious vessels, in jewel-like tones. And six glorious scents, from the seasonally-perfect Une Forêt d’Or (conjuring up ‘that moment after a walk in the forest when you decorate the house with snow-dusted pine-branches, fresh oranges and mandarins’) through to the summery heaven that is Une Maison de Campagne, with its notes of blackcurrant, red berries and roses, via smoky Bois Cendrés, with its smoked and amber-y woods. (There’s also Un Air d’Hadrien, which captures in candle form the wonderfully zesty, classic Annick Goutal Eau d’Hadrien scent.)

If for any reason you don’t want to refill them – and once you’ve burned one, you can of course choose any other from the range to take its place – the glasses would make gorgeous posy vases.

Flickeringly fabulous, all round.