It’s recently dawned on us that as we’ve got older, we’ve started to complain more. We spent the summer moaning about the uncomfortable heatwave (admittedly, that was mostly V, M seemed perfectly happy!!), and no sooner did the weather cool down and our central heating systems crank up, than our skin started to tell the tale. And now we can mostly be found moaning about that. Tight, dry and sometimes flaky, skin at this time of year is not a pretty picture. And one we go to great lengths to avoid at Verymakeupmad.

Cue the introduction of a balm (actually, multiple balms) to our daily skincare routine. These days, balms are ‘all the rage’ and with plenty on the market to choose from, we’re bringing you the lowdown on a few of our favourites.

First up, Cleansing Balms – an indulgent, cocooning way to remove makeup (even waterproof mascara!), grime and all manner of ‘yukkiness’ at the end of the day. And they promise to keep skin hydrated and supple, unlike certain other cleansers, which strip skin of oils, leaving it feeling uncomfortable. These balms melt onto the face and are designed to be removed with a cloth or flannel, soaked in hot water. Eve Lom Cleanser, £55, was the ‘wonder balm’ of the 90’s – one of the first on the market, and the cleanser that everyone wanted to get their hands on. Its still just as popular today. M has used it religiously in recent years, always sticking to Eve’s ritual of placing the hot cloth over the face 3 times (rinsing in between), to remove every last scrap of dirt. She loves this balm, but has stopped using it for the time being, as she finds the slightly medicinal scent a little overpowering and her skin needed a break.

V, on the other hand, used the balm ‘back in the day’. She was happy enough, until the time that she was invited for a facial with Eve herself (V was Beauty Editor of Vogue at the time). All was going smoothly during the treatment, until Eve barked sternly at her: “Are you constipated?” (something to do with V’s congested forehead apparently). This put V off Eve Lom products for a while…and for the record, her digestive system was working very nicely, thanks very much! V’s now considering going back to the cleanser though, especially since her skin has definitely been on the dehydrated side since she hit her 40s.

Other cleansing balms that get the Verymakeupmad stamp of approval are Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm, £47, which contains wonder anti-ageing ingredient, moringa seed extract, and which smells heavenly, and Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, £23, which makes most financial sense and which transforms at lightning speed from solid balm to liquid oil. It’s magic!

Moving on from cleansing balms, let’s talk lip balms. We love them. We hoard them. M has quite the collection (she’s officially obsessed with Clinique Pep Start Pout Restoring Night Mask £16!) Whether you go for a squeezy tube (we love the Glossier Balm Dotcom, £10), or stick form (it’s hard to beat Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick, £20), your lips will thank you for it over the coming winter months. Our other favourite balms have to be: Eve Lom Kiss Mix Lip Treatment, £16, (which also comes in gorgeous, tinted versions); Nars Orgasm Afterglow Lip Balm, £22 with its signature ‘Orgasm’ golden peach shimmer; and the delicately rose-scented ByTerry Baume De Rose Lip Care, £39, which is certainly not a steal, but which delivers the perfect amount of non-sticky, long-lasting hydration. *VERYMAKEUPMAD TOP TIP- try adding some balm to an old toothbrush and brushing your lips with it for the ultimate exfoliating treat*

Finally, there are the balm “all-rounders”. The wonder products that tackle dry skin, redness, rough elbows and heels, cuticles, dry hair. You name it… there’s a balm to fix it! A little goes a long way, and these thick pastes, when warmed between the palms, soften and work their magic. (We’ve even been known to use Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant,£28, as a glossy highlighter on cheekbones and eyelids.) Check out Egyptian Magic, £24.50, which will last you a lifetime and as well as delivering hydration, can also be used to reduce scars, stretch marks, minor burns and rashes. Another new Verymakeupmad balm discovery is Pommade Divine Nature’s Remedy Balm, £14, which has something of a cult following, with loyal fans declaring it ‘magic’, ‘a miracle’ and that they ‘couldn’t live without it’.

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Last but not least, these cute, tinted, multi-purpose balm sticks that add a dewy hint of colour to lips and cheeks. We love a ‘multiple’ product, so think they’re a great addition to your makeup bag – Olio E Osso Balm, although at £27, they’re a little pricey!

And we can’t sign off without mentioning Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm, £45. We fell hard for it last year (so hard, in fact, that M invested in a super-duper, Christmas edition vat of it, that she’s still wading through!) and this year we’re loving the new shades it comes in. It doesn’t really belong in any of the Balm categories above. It’s an indulgent, pearlised creamy Balm that V uses as a foundation primer, M uses alone for a glowing complexion, and we both dot on our cheek and brow ones as a highlighter. If you haven’t tried it… you should!

So our Verymakeupmad advice to you this season is to ‘go big on balms’. You’ll be guaranteed head-to-toe hydration, and it seems there’s no end to what you can do with a balm!

As ever, you can comment below or email us at hello@verymakeupmad.co.uk for any personal recommendations or advice.

Love and ‘balmy’ nights (get it?!),

Vikki & Mala xx

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