I’m Edwina and I’ve just joined YOU magazine as its (and your) resident all systems go beauty director. It’s a dream job and I’m thrilled (and proud) to have it. We have big plans for our beauty coverage here. Apart from this weekly column you’ll notice a revamped beauty news page and we’ll have more regular beauty features, too. And we don’t plan to simply blithely converse on the subject, we want to be part of a bigger and broader conversation. We have opinions and we won’t be afraid to share them.
That’s not to suggest that we won’t be talking about the everyday things. I’ll be testing the latest launches, revealing my first-raters and championing the haven’t-been-beaten-yet beauty greats. I’ll be obsessing over serums and skincare as well as make-up and ‘getting the glow’ – which has surely become one of the most overused phrases in the beauty lexicon alongside ‘like your skin, only better’. It’s time to find a new, more useful language for talking about what works. It’s also worth declaring that I am not here as a representative of beauty brands. I’m here to trial and question. I’m here at YOU for you.
But about the beauty business: it can get a bad rap. Sometimes it deserves it and I’m happy to call it out when there are issues that must be addressed. It’s also an industry that many feel can over-promise – though it is regulating itself – and the truth is that creams can only do so much (nothing, I’m afraid, will make us look 20 except being 20). But technology means that advances are being made all the time.
In truth, though, and as proud as I am of my job title, I do have reservations about the word ‘beauty’. It seems a little outmoded to me, much in the way that the term ‘anti-ageing’ has become a limiting idea that suggests only youth is worth valuing. Beauty implies some endless quest for perfection that women (and increasingly men) should be engaged in. It comes with centuries of our power being held in how we look rather than what we say. Perhaps I feel more strongly about this now that I’m in my 40s myself, but I don’t think so.
In the same vein, I have a slight problem with what we take ‘beauty’ to mean. I think of my topic as more of what the French call bien-être, finding ways to feel better about yourself, more confident, even healthier. And nowadays the world of beauty is intertwined with the wellness movement. From vitamins to spirituality, it can all have an effect on your epidermis. And YOU will be covering it all.
But hey, let’s not get too heavy just yet. As much as there are bigger issues to talk about, believe me that I know as well as anybody the joy of riffing about a favourite product – and I’ll be doing plenty of it. I hope you’ll join me, and join in!
Need to know
One thing you’ll hear me talk a lot about is environmental beauty. As with any other industry, the beauty biz needs to look – and is already looking – at how much waste it is producing. So it’s hugely encouraging that Ren’s packaging for its Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Anti-Fatigue Body Wash (£22, renskincare.com) is now made up of 20 per cent reclaimed ocean plastic (hence the slight grey hue to the bottle) and 80 per cent recycled plastic. The pump is also now fully recyclable as it no longer includes a metal spring. More products from the range will be similarly packaged soon.
Name to know
If you haven’t heard of London facialist Jasmina Vico, above, then it’s time you did. Many a famous face has ditched their old faithfuls to gravitate to her Wimpole Street treatment rooms where she performs everything from facial massage to peels, needling, LED therapy and dispenses sound advice. Get on her client list while you can (jasminavico.com).