My poor face has had a tough time of it recently - snow, sleet, wind, rain, medication that seems to remove all moisture from my cheeks, plus long haul travel. Add in a dose of the flu and it all adds up to one dreary, grey complexion with patches as dry as Dorothy Parker's wit, and what can best be described as cheek dandruff (you'll be pleased to hear I don't have any pictures to accompany that part of the story).
My usually dry skin tends to be pretty responsive to a bit of love and I have some go to products which rarely fail me in colder months - namely Aromatherapy Associates Nourishing face oil (£39), The Microdelivery Peel by Philosophy (£59), Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate (£36). But the combined attack of these various forces meant nothing worked, or at least not for long.
How New York Killed My Face: Transatlantic travel, a cornucopia of weather conditions, strong cocktails and hanging out on top of very tall buildings were just a few of the contributing factors to my skin's downfall. If you look closely, you can see red patches beginning to appear - the one on the end of my nose being particularly fetching.
I became curious about Clarisonic skin cleansing systems after spotting their electronic brush type gadgets in a few different friends' bathrooms and wondered why precisely none of them had mentioned their newfound discoveries. Straight away, I knew it had to be good - REALLY good - for them to keep quiet.
After a bit of research, I tried the Clarisonic Mia 2 (£130 from Space NK) - a smaller, travel size version of the original. Whilst the fact that everyone seemed to have one but no-one was talking about having one indicated something incredibly special, I wasn't expecting to see any kind of results for a while, never mind the big old list of claims trumpeted on the Clarisonic website.
"Removes more makeup than manual cleansing... Helps to prepare the skin for your usual skin care regime... Leaves skin feeling smoother and healthier... Tightens the appearance of visible pores... Helps remove sebum... Helps to improve the appearance of skin tone and texture... Then does the washing up". OK so I made the last one up but you get the picture and an idea of what my attitude was to reading all this.
The incredible Clarisonic Mia 2 skin cleansing system £130 from Space NK stores and www.spacenk.co.uk
I was so excited to try it out after the initial charging period that I totally discarded the instructions and went freestyle, gently rubbing the handset's soft Sensitive bristles in circular motions over my face for around five minutes - which it turned out was four more than you're meant to use it for which may explain why after that first use I looked and felt like I had someone else's face on.
Suddenly my crumbling visage was not only healthy looking but my skin felt so soft, smooth and plump that honestly it just didn't feel real. I kept touching my face (I know, I know, spots next for me, yeah, yeah) in disbelief, expecting the effects to wear off but no, the next morning there it was, my amazing new face.
If anyone's interested in the science bit behind it (I have to admit, I'm rather more interested in the results and having a go than in the whys and hows), Clarisonic skin systems use a special, patented sonic frequency of over 300 movements per second to cleanse skin more effectively than regular washing, removing more dirt and sebum and smoothing skin in the process. Some of the other Clarisonic systems can be used on the body too - I'm not sure there's a gadget invented that's ready for my jelly yet but it's definitely next on my wish list.
I am utterly hooked on this incredible piece of beauty kit - hand on heart (and bouncy babies' bum style face) the Clarisonic Mia 2 has totally transformed my skin and, unlike my sneaky friends, I'm now evangelical about everyone at least trying it out. Don't get me wrong, I'm no expert, I'm just a girl who likes her products and gadgets and having nice skin, so really I have no idea if it'll work for you but I've tried a LOT of stuff in search of facial fabulousness and can't think of anything that has proved as instantly, dramatically transformative so do yourself a favour and at least have a little go on one - I absolutely will not be parted from mine now and my only regret is not having tried it ages ago. If anyone's interested in seeing the results, I'll post pics on my FightForYrWrite blog shortly (as soon as I've had my hair done - roots...).
The Clarisonic Mia 2 is available exclusively from Space NK until February, comes in white or pink and costs £130.