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Wednesday, 14 September 2011

A little bit of me time with Avène

DD is finally in the bath after running around in circles until she's dizzy and narrowly avoiding braining herself on the sharp granite edge of the bathroom sink. ("Ok, that's enough of that, it's bathtime now" says I. "I'm dancing at the moment." Says she. Oh well, that's alright then.) I now know I have about twenty minutes to potter about within earshot of the bath while she plays quite happily, singing and chatting to her toys. This is my prep time. Prep her room for bed (light dim, sleeping bag ready, milk in position, sleep toys strategically positioned, noise machine on) and prep myself for wheee it's me time! the evening (make-up off, comfy clothes on, glasses to replace contacts). Tick, tick, tick.

Normally I whizz through all this but tonite is different. Tonite I'm going to take my time with my prep. Tonite, get me, I've got a routine to try out. For a while after DD was born the closest I got to a cleansing routine was a baby wipe over my face twice a day (it was a bleak time, to be fair). Then once I got my act together I started using the Simple range again, nice and gentle on the skin, with the occasional luxury product thrown in for good measure. But I've never tried Avène. Until now.

Launched in 1990, the Eau Thermale Avène skincare brand was created to capture the healing benefits of Avène Thermal spring water to soothe sensitive skin. Originating as rain, the water filters through the Cévennes Mountains absorbing minerals and trace elements for 40 years until it reaches the mouth of the ancient Sainte-Odile spring. I admit I was a bit sceptical at first but apparently over 300 biological, pharmacological and clinical studies have been conducted by Avène and independent researchers to substantiate the water's skin soothing and anti-irritating benefits. I'm keen to see if it really is as soothing as it sounds.

The experience
I turn the packaging over in my hands, lovely clean, white boxes with apricot writing (there's something so lovely about a new beauty product, I always want to savour the moment before I open the box...). I'm trialling the Avene Gentle Toner, Gentle Gel Cleanser and Light Hydrating Cream. The first two are in good generous size bottles, 200ml each.

I try the Gel Cleanser first. It's for normal to combination sensitive skin, not quite my type as I have dry skin but let's see how it does. I pump out a few squirts into my palm and gently massage onto my face with wet fingertips as directed on the box. It smells fresh and feels lovely and cool on my skin. Apparently this cleanser is very rich in the Avene thermal spring water that contains natural soothing and anti-irritating properties. A quick splash of bath water to rinse it off and pat dry. All the make-up's gone and my face feels clean without feeling 'tight'. So far so good.

Next the Gentle Toner. Now this one is for dry and very dry sensitive skin so it should be perfect for me. Nice flip top lid (I'm forever losing the tops of bottles) and that fresh smell again. I thought my skin was clean after the cleanser but I'm always surprised by how much extra grime a toner can remove. I wait a couple of minutes for the tell-tale tightness but it doesn't happen. Very nice.

Finally the Light Hydrating Cream. The packaging says it's suitable for day and night use. I usually need a very creamy night cream so wonder how this will fair. It's super light and not greasy at all. Unfortunately after a couple of minutes I get a bit of tightness. Not rich enough for me. But it does have a nice matt finish which would work well under make-up as a day cream I think.

The verdict
So what do I think? Overall, I'm impressed. I'd never used the range before and the gel cleanser and toner are keepers. I'm not as convinced by the hydrating cream, think I'd need something richer for night time. What I do like about Avène is that the whole range is designed for sensitive skins of different types and there's a skin diagnosis tool at you can use to find the right products for you. They're about mid-market price (the light hydrating cream is around £11) and worth looking out for in Boots if you're running out of your usual brand.

Disclosure: Avène sent me a set of three skincare products to review. The views expressed in this post are my own.

Image: Ambro /

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