How to look good by candlelight

Parties may not be high on the agenda right now, but there are still ways to dress up and have fun. So, whether it’s a candlelit dinner for two or an intimate gathering with a few friends, it’s about turning it into an occasion – and the same goes for our beauty regimens. NEWBY HANDS explains how to prep from the waist up


Admittedly, dinner-party beauty (DPB) is not a new term – LA-based dermatologist Dr Harold Lancer mentioned it to me several years back, when discussing how he famously prepares clients for red carpets and award dinners – but this holiday season, it seems particularly apt as dinners become central to our socializing. “It’s about focusing on what others see when you are sitting at a dining table,” he explains. “Many people are so intent on treating their face that they don’t step back and look at the whole tapestry. I have patients who have spent a lot of time and money on their face, but put them in an evening dress and the texture of the skin on the shoulders, arms and hands doesn’t match. It’s like setting your dinner table with all the flatware and stemware mismatched.”

It’s important to look at the whole picture in order to ensure everything looks equally good, says Dr Lancer. “People don’t just stand in front of you during a conversation, they see all angles,” he points out. “It’s always said that other people first look at the lips or the eyes, but we know that the mind actually looks at global concepts first before it gets onto the details.”

His approach to achieving glowing and glossy skin is pleasingly straightforward, but: “You need the discipline to do it. If you want great skin on all your body, it’s not about starting with procedures, it’s about using the right products,” says Dr Lancer. “You should see a difference from the very start, but significant change and repair takes up to three months.”

Start with the basics. “Every day in the shower, polish your skin with a scrub, then cleanse and nourish it with the right cream. And take the time to treat everywhere – hands, legs, back, elbows – with each step.” (According to Dr Lancer, the skin on the inner elbows is the first place to show signs of aging, so nothing should be missed.) It’s a simple and basic routine that Dr Lancer has recommended for both the face and body for years, and is the basis of his eponymous body range, of which, for me, the standout star is his excellent Method: Body Nourish. A real game changer, with 10% glycolic acid (it can tingle), hyaluronic acid and oils – plus a subtle blurring finish that leaves bare skin looking instantly better – it’s like an in-spa treatment in a tub. Body oils (Uma Oils Absolute Anti-Aging Body Oil is gorgeous) can be great on ultra-dry skin and areas such as shins, and while oils don’t hydrate, they will seal in the effects of hydrating and nourishing creams and gels used beforehand.

For some, this daily regimen may be enough; as with our faces, it’s the regularity that makes the difference. For more specific issues, use targeted products. “Try vitamin C for brightening, or a retinol at night,” says Dr Lancer, adding the backs of hands, elbows and décolletage to your ‘to-do’ list of places to use your facial skincare on. Many aestheticians report that vitamin C is particularly good on the backs of the elbows, where the skin gets dull and dark; Lixirskin Vitamin C Paste makes a good two-minute pre-evening brightening treatment. Or simply using a favorite nourishing face mask on your chest and backs of hands (layered over a hyaluronic-acid serum) is fast and effective. I prefer using a cream mask here, as you can massage any excess in for extra skin plumping. If your skin is oily, choose more of a gel base, such as Tata Harper’s Hydrating Floral Mask; or if your skin is dry, something deeply nourishing such as La Mer’s The Intensive Revitalizing Mask. Sisley’s incredible Black Rose Cream Mask is a great, medium-textured all-rounder, creating a difference you can see in just 10 minutes.

Dr Lancer also recommends introducing AHAs. Key to glowing skin, they are also good for smoothing little bumps on the backs of the arms. The Alpha Beta Peel Pads by Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare are easy to use here – and, thanks to the BHAs, they can also help treat any breakouts on the chest or back. While the ingredients list of Révive’s brilliant Supérieur Body Nightly Renewing Serum reads like a high-tech face cream (with glycolic and lactic acids, HA, and niacinamide), it smooths, firms and rejuvenates. Another body-treatment discovery is the Legology range. Designed to make legs feel lighter, the Exfo-Lite Leg Exfoliator salt-and-oil scrub (oil and salt or sugar body scrubs instantly make skin look so much better), followed by the Air-Lite Daily Lift for Legs, massaged into upper arms (and waist, if needed), will leave skin beautifully gleaming, pleasingly de-puffed and even looking a little more streamlined.


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