Every month our Beauty Editor Julia Alfert sorts through her top 5 beauty products. On to the November picks!
The beauty-wheel isn’t constantly being reinvented. Creams stay creams and good creams stay good creams – unless something fundamentally changes in the formula. Since I never get tired of trying out new products, copying something, or bringing back new things from my travels or strolls through online shops, what it comes down to is that on one side, it’s my job, but on the other, it’s my passion.
There are all sorts of new products and treatments, and that makes them worth trying out. Because they have beautiful packaging, or what they promise to do, or the ritual attached to it – and sometimes because of all of this criteria at once – I draw in new beauties. And as long as you don’t completely change up your beauty routine every day, that’s also nothing so terrible. Why be limited in your selection when you can have it all?
Here are my favorites for November:
1. Precleanse by Dermalogica
On my last trip to Paris, I finally made a personal stop by the much talked-about shop Oh My Cream in the Montmartre district. Up until that point, I had only known the French beauty mecca from its online presence. The look of the site and the selection of products, however, was so auspicious that a visit to the Parisian shop had been on my to-do list for some time. There was plenty to marvel at – some I already knew, others I had to ask the employees about (and that’s a requirement for working at Oh My Cream, being able to explain each product with a good amount of expertise and visible enthusiasm).
Their in-house Beauty Bible, L’Essentiel de Beauté, was put into my hands and the three house rules for skin care recited in a chorus. First, a plant-based facial oil to protect and provide intensive care. “Only one?” I asked swottily, still thinking rather self-assuredly that I already know all three ground rules and practice them. Second, a fruit acid or enzyme exfoliation treatment for intensive cleansing and prevention – check.
And third, double-cleansing. “Whaaaat?” I’m all ears now, having actually never heard of that and of course wanting to try it straight away. And as far as getting the right consultation was concerned, of course I was in exactly the right place.
For the first step of this cleansing ritual, I decided for Dermalogica. Until now I had known the brand from our dear Julia who, among others, has been raving about it for years, but had never tried one of the products for myself. Dermalogica Precleanse is a light cleansing oil that is massaged onto dry skin and then rinsed off with water, at which point the oil changes consistency into a light cream emulsion.
I learned from Oh My Cream that cleansing with oil as the first step is important for thoroughly removing surface dirt from the skin, which comes from external environmental factors. Oil is the most effective for taking away surface dirt, cleanses, and nourishes at the same time. The skin doesn’t dry out, but also doesn’t become greasy. Therefore, cleansing oil is good for all skin types.
2. Lait Onctueux Capital Sensitive Cleansing Milk by Joëlle Ciocco
For the second cleansing step – there’s no doubt here – it’s the Cleansing Milk by Joëlle Ciocco, which is categorically sold out at Oh My Cream. They explained to me that it is one of the favorite products of Parisian women. Joëlle Ciocco products are hard to come by – they’re available online, at a few select shops, or at the institute where treatments are also offered with their own-brand products.
After a few weeks of testing, I get a sense for why the products are so popular. The cream doesn’t only smell improbably good, but also feels so good that you forget now and then that you’re not dealing with a treatment cream, but rather with a cleansing cream that you have to, with a heavy heart, rinse off again.
The rich texture contains shea butter, jojoba and almond oils to work against impurities and smooth the skin’s surface, vitamin E and A to combat skin aging, and calendula, arnica, and orange blossom to reduce inflammation and increase radiance. Yes, you still have to wash the cleaning milk off again unfortunately.
3. Liquid Gold by Alpha-H
An exfoliator is also on the Oh My Cream care plan, so I took the opportunity to get a new one. Liquid Gold, the name of the chosen product, is applied daily like a tonic – that’s also new territory for me. The name of the product recommended by Oh My Cream is so promising, however, that it didn’t take me long to get over that and try it. I apply Liquid Gold in the evening after cleansing and before serum and night cream. The tonic for the evening is enriched with glycolic acid. This works to renew the skin, but also works like an exfoliator to remove dry cells from the skin’s upper layer. The skin can breathe, is clarified and smoothed, and looks radiant and fresh in the morning. It’s like a facial that works while you’re sleeping.
4. The Honey Mud von May Lindstrom
American model and mother May Lindstrom, whose name sounds very Swedish, has devoted herself to natural cosmetics – and we’ve already reported on her. The Blue Cocoon Balm is an ongoing favorite. New to the Lindstrom family is The Honey Mud. Recently tested, and immediately loved.
First of all, there’s the great consistency which, I have to confess, required some effort to fully cover my face with. The thick, slightly sticky – and yet fluidly creamy – consistency is very reminiscent of a dessert with honey. No wonder, there’s quite a bit in it. Honey, not dessert! And to be sure, as we’ve come to be accustomed to with Ms. Lindstrom, only the best raw honey, combined with white clay and plant oils.
I tried the product as a masque and started to love the consistency even more during the treatment time. Because, unlike most healing earth or clay masques, the cream didn’t become hard and crumbly, rather staying supple and cloaking the skin in a kind of protective coat under which the effect could optimally unfold. After rinsing it off, the skin feels soft and thoroughly moisturized and even smells like it! The product can also be thinned a little with water and used as a cleansing cream.
5. SOS Hydra Recharge Cream by Mádara
Clearly it’s November, but somehow I’m still surprised year after year by the quick and especially dramatic start of Winter here in Berlin. My skin is just as shocked, and always needs to take a moment to adjust. This year, the SOS Hydra Recharge Cream by the skincare brand Mádara is making it easier. Coming from Riga in Latvia, I had already discovered the brand a few years ago and asked a cousin living in Switzerland – the products were hard to get in Germany – to bring a selection of shower gels and lotions to Berlin.
Recently I discovered Mádara again, and this time also the brand’s facial care products. I’m especially impressed by the SOS Cream. The pale pink lotion is light in consistency but, at the same time, is intensively nourishing. Discreet in fragrance, gentle on the skin, and not too weighty or all-enveloping, it’s the perfect cream for me. It’s my skin’s little breather during my morning care ritual, and it does it good throughout the day.
Translation: Melissa Frost
Originally from Hamburg, Julia Alfert moved to Berlin from Paris in 2010. After completing her studies in Art History and trying out different jobs, her path led her to Harper’s Bazaar, where she worked as Fashion & Beauty Assistant until mid 2015. While she’s harboured a love for all things beauty-related for as long as she can remember, her discovery of the written word is recent. When Julia isn’t busy trying out different creams, oils, and sprays she writes and styles for an assortment of magazines and websites.