Hannah Betts’s Better…not younger: Sorry, but I just can’t give up my addiction to posh face oils

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Skincare-wise, all of us have our thing. After anything with a high SPF — the ultimate essential for me and most dermatologists — I love an oil. 

As summer gives way to autumn, there’s nothing I relish more than layering face oil under my sunscreen or slathering my aching features in an aromatherapeutic slick come evening. 

If I open my desk-drawer-cumdressing table… actually, I can’t, because it’s crammed with glass bottles full of golden shimmer — 30ml of oil lasts a long time. 

My latest joy is Augustinus Bader The Face Oil (£68 for 10ml, augustinusbader.com). The original cult cream made me break out in tiny pimples — a reaction to a preservative. 

As summer gives way to autumn Hannah Betts will be using face oil under SPF. UK-based beauty expert currently adores Augustinus Bader The Face Oil

However, Professor Bader’s (slightly Sunday-roast-scented) oil is heaven on my complexion, imparting instant gleam thanks to TFC8, or ‘Trigger Factor Complex’. This patented tech comprises more than 40 ingredients and was created following 30 years of research and clinical study. 

My other daytime favourites are simpler: Willowberry Nutrient Boost Face Oil (£26.99 for 30ml, willowberry.co.uk), designed for hydration past 40; Trilogy Aromatic Certified Organic Rosehip Oil (£36.50, trilogyproducts.co.uk), that globally loved classic; and Charlotte Tilbury Collagen Superfusion Face Oil (£25 for 8ml, charlottetilbury.com), which is scented with soothing lavender.

By night, I favour Neom’s sleep-inducing Perfect Night’s Sleep Face Oil (£43, neomorganics.com); Votary’s best-selling Intense Night Oil: Rosehip & Retinoid (£135, votary.co.uk); and my ‘If everything else vanished, I’d be extremely happy with just this’ obsession — Dr Michael Prager’s Night Oil With Retinol (£90, pragerskincare.com). When I put it on, by morning all is glorious. 

At this point, I should disclose that legions of professionals detest face oils, seeing them as superficial, at best, and positively damaging, at worst. 

A Skinceuticals facialist was appalled the other day when I confessed my love of using oils for cleansing and moisturising. Dermatologists frequently warn against them. 

Dr Anita Sturnham is a GP specialising in dermatology, who has a brand called Decree and a clinic on London’s Wimpole Street. Her position is clear: ‘Most skins do not benefit from oilbased products. They feel great — I love their sensorial properties — but I do not love their impact. 

Hannah (pictured) admits that many skincare professionals detest the use of facial oils, seeing them as superficial, at best, and positively damaging, at worst

Hannah (pictured) admits that many skincare professionals detest the use of facial oils, seeing them as superficial, at best, and positively damaging, at worst

‘Oils tend not to have any benefits, and can lead to dehydration, inflammation, pore congestion and bacterial overgrowth.’ When she tells me that my face appears in good nick, she notes: ‘Perhaps you use other products that counteract the negative impact of oils — good fighting evil and keeping the skin neutral. 

‘I’d need to assess your hidden dermal layers to see whether your regimen is leading to issues that may present themselves in the future.’ 

But Arabella Preston, the co-founder of Votary, is in the pro camp: ‘You know your skin better than anyone else,’ she cautions. 

‘As you age, maintaining a healthy and resilient skin barrier should be your number-one goal. Our skin is full of natural lipids (oils). As we age, just like all the other good stuff — collagen, elastin etc. — our oil levels decrease. Skin is dryer and therefore more prone to sensitivity. That’s why you need to up your hydration. Plant oils are a really good way of doing this.’ 

Dr Prager agrees: ‘Anti-oil propaganda shows how much false information is dispensed by the beauty industry. There’s no science behind any of these arguments. The free fatty acid chains in an oil work like an antioxidant, aiding repair and stabilising cell membranes.

‘There’s a reason why natural oils have been used for thousands of years. They’re a highly effective way of protecting skin — far more so than designer moisturisers. 

‘Brands add ceramides and peptides into synthetic moisturisers, but they are already part of natural oils. All this is down to the quality of the oil.’ 

To oil, or not to oil? All I can tell you is that they work beautifully on me, and many other midlifers. So pay your money and make your choice.

RACE YOU TO IT 

Philip Kingsley Bond Builder Restorative Oil Lipid Shield (£26, philipkingsley.co.uk) hit the shelves at the start of this month and is already adored. The lightweight hair treatment replenishes lipids lost from heat styling and chemical processing. Customers say that after one use, hair feels stronger, shinier, softer and more buoyant. 

philipkingsley.co.uk 

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MY ICON OF THE WEEK

PRINCESS ANNE

The Princess Royal, 72, (pictured) is an icon. Princess Anne refused to take a hair stylist or make-up artist on her Australian tour this year, preferring to do it herself

The Princess Royal, 72, (pictured) is an icon. Princess Anne refused to take a hair stylist or make-up artist on her Australian tour this year, preferring to do it herself

The Princess Royal, 72, is an icon: straight-backed, tireless and doing her late mother proud. Princess Anne refused to take a hair stylist or make-up artist on her Australian tour this year, preferring to do it herself. And recreating her up-do for Netflix series The Crown took two hours, whereas it takes the Princess ‘ten or 15 minutes’ to style her hair. 

GOLDEN GLAMOUR 

This can be mixed in with moisturiser or foundation for a gleaming complexion. 

opvbeauty.com 

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Make the most of the late summer rays with these 35 shades to take you from sunkissed days to bronzy nights.

boots.com 

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The glinting, gold-flecked eyeshadow comes in six luminous hues and lasts for up to eight hours. 

sisley-paris.com 

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This limited-edition blush, highlighter, bronzer and finishing powder palette promises golden glamour. 

hourglasscosmetics.co.uk 

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Rihanna’s supersized shimmer powder delivers head-to-toe radiance. 

fentybeauty.com 

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COSMETIC CRAVING 

Created while he was Prince of Wales, Penhaligon’s Highgrove Bouquet (£155, penhaligons.com) marks a collaboration between King Charles III and the scent stalwart. And it’s an absolute blinder. 

The sun-filled, suave and simple floral fragrance opens with weeping silver lime, which eliminates any cloying aspect. It is a paean to Gloucestershire summers, all warm wood, lavender, mimosa and powdery orris root (iris). 

The packaging is eco-friendly, and ten per cent of the proceeds will support The Prince’s Foundation, providing training in areas such as traditional arts and crafts, horticulture, fashion and textiles, and sustainable food and farming.

penhaligons.com 

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