Your beauty MOT
Oxfordshire-based entrepreneur Charlie Fowler is the owner of cult brand MOA, so who better to take us through our beauty paces?
This is the ideal time of year to do some at-home beauty pampering and maintenance – after all, it’s not like all your friends are having wild nights out without you (you’re not guys, are you? ARE YOU?). What’s more, I find it’s around now that my nails, hair and skin all need some serious TLC in the face of plunging temperatures, fierce central heating and my abject laziness on everything beauty-self-help related.
So where to start? Beauty entrepreneur Charlie Fowler seems like a good place to head for advice on how to do a DIY winter beauty MOT. Goring-based, Charlie happens to be the founder of MOA, a unisex organic skincare brand whose multi-purpose Green Balm – think an organic, herbal Eight Hour Cream that contains the healing hedgerow herb yarrow – is en route to becoming a national cult beauty buy. Basically, she’s a whizz on all things natural and organic.
You’ll be pleased to hear that Charlie isn’t going to tell you to get lots of sleep and drink lots of water (tell us something we don’t know *yawn*) – instead, she has some properly useful tips on how to give yourself a winter beauty MOT. Start the engines, here we go, and over to you Charlie.
If your face feels dry and tight you’ll see a big difference if you use a balm or cream cleanser rather than a foaming, soap-style one. For me, this really helps blitz flaky patches. I use my Green Balm or Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa. You remove it with a warm muslin cloth which acts as an exfoliant – and means you don’t need to add an exfoliator into your regime. Be sure to rub the cloth over your lips to remove any dry bits. I also like to do a mask once a week – this Herbivore clay one is great for drawing out any nasties and improving skin texture. With any facial products, you see much better results if you spend some time properly massaging them in. Facial massage buffs your skin, it can help break down scar tissue from blemishes and it increases blood flow and lymph drainage. If redness and scarring are a particular problem, seek out products containing rosehip – people rave about its healing properties.
I know everyone rushes to see their hairdresser before Christmas but I think February is a brilliant time of year to head to the salon, especially if you’re considering a big change of cut and/or colour. I had mine chopped last week and it’s a really pleasant way to reboot for the new year (as opposed to a hardcore exercise regime or scary diet). Salons are quiet right now so you get great service and a pleasingly tranquil hour or so to yourself. Back home, I like a hair mask in winter – we tend to use them on our faces but neglect our hair. Whack one on while you have a bath and wrap your hair in a towel. If you want to keep things natural, use argan oil or coconut oil and rub it into the ends.
Hands and feet
It’s good to have a break from nail polish at this time of year, to give your nails chance to get rid of staining. I’ve also got into the habit of using a foot buffer once a week to get rid of horrible gnarly skin. My hands are very dry too so I put tubes of hand cream at key points around the house – in my bedside drawer, by all sinks, in my handbag, by my computer – so I remember to use it. I ramp up use of cuticle cream – I love Dadi Oil – and pile on foot cream before bed, then put socks on top. You wake up with the softest feet.
I find something very pampering about using a body scrub – they give me that relaxed, spa visit feeling even though I’m at home. This Nathalie Bond one is lovely. Try to remember to do it once a week, paying particular attention to your limbs. The extratime you spend scrubbing in the shower or bath you save when you come out of it, as you don’t need to apply body lotion as your skin is already silky. You could also try massaging in a rich body oil before you shower, rather than afterwards. It’s an ayurvedic way of doing it which is said to lock in moisture.
It sounds really obvious but have a bath! It’s a relaxation cliché but it’s rare we actually make the time to enjoy one when it only takes one minute to have a shower. I’ve started scheduling in my baths – sounds a bit weird but if that’s the only way you can carve out 30 minutes of therapeutic time then do it. Make it a new ritual on, say, a Friday night or Sunday morning. Light a candle or oil burner, lock the door to fend off any unwelcome visitors (it can’t just be my kids who immediately demand entry the minute I get in the tub, can it?), and – this is crucial – leave your phone in another room.
MOA products are available via MOA.London, in store at Feather And Nest in Wallingford and at Cara London Shoes in Oxford and Goring