Hannah Betts' Better…Not Younger

Hannah Betts’ Better…Not Younger: Why you need to layer up your beauty regime, too…

  • Hannah Betts explains the go-to layering technique for moisturised winter skin
  • UK-based beauty expert advises to slather from thinnest to thickest textures
  • This allows the former to absorb without the latter providing a barrier

How’s your skin looking? Yup, mine too.

At the beginning of the party season my complexion was plump and polished, poised for a spot of slap and away we go.

I checked back in with it this morning to find it grey, grim and sore.

It’s been freezing outside and in, I’m whacked and our collective perma-germs are no help at all.

What’s to be done? Sisters, it’s time to get layering. For, much as we may long for a one-pot solution to knackered, middle-aged, December face, the answer is less what to slather on as how. I’m talking mid‑winter layering, loading and, what the social media kids call ‘slugging’. Yes, you read that right.

The basic rule of thumb is to apply your complexion kit from the thinnest to the thickest textures. Stock image used 

No two faces are the same, in the way that no two bodies are identical, meaning that, in unguents, there’s no ‘one size fits all’.

Lotions and potions have become terribly specific. And, just as a shot of neat gin is never going to be as potent as a perfectly mixed martini, the most effective skincare will be found in a cocktail bespoke to you.

The basic rule of thumb is to apply your complexion kit from the thinnest to the thickest textures, to allow the former to absorb without the latter providing a barrier, so cancelling out any benefit.

Starting from cleansed skin, follow this order: toners; water-based serums (hyaluronic acid, say); eye cream; denser serums (an oil-based vitamin C, or vitamin A, perhaps); moisturiser; face oil and finally SPF.

If the consistencies feel much the same, then apply the product that actively targets your issues first.

So for hormonal spots this might be a salicylic acid serum, or for pigmentation issues Vitamin C. And remember that Vitamin C is traditionally applied in the morning given its protective properties, and retinol at night because it makes complexions sensitive to sun.

I’m not for a moment advocating that your steps need to be this numerous or elaborate —merely that, layering-wise, this is how things will best interact.

My winter day routine is pretty simple: an oil cleanser, then a gentle exfoliating toner to whisk away dead cells. Next, I’ll indulge in a quick massage of a good oil. Try Willowberry Nutrient Boost Face Oil (£26.99, willowberry.co.uk). I add a layer of the best-selling, weather-defying Sisley Ecological Compound (from £90.45, allbeauty.com), then sunscreen (yes, even in winter). For the latter, the dewiness of Thank You Farmer Sun Project Water Cream SPF50 (£18, feelunique.com) is a cold-weather godsend.

Spot the deliberate mistake? According to the theory outlined above, I’m doing things the wrong way around towards the end. Moisturisers are water-based, delivering hydration; oils work as an occlusive barrier to help trap said moisture in. What can I say? My face prefers it that way and I’m sticking with it.

On chill winter nights, I go beyond layering and get loading: piling on nutrients and moisture with abandon. A TikToker might tell me I am creating ‘dolphin’, ‘doughnut’, ‘butter’ or ‘jelly’ skin. Whatever, I’m just a 51-year-old striving for cells with bounce.

I suppose I ‘slug’, in a manner of speaking. Slugging is the Korean beauty trend that advocates fashioning a snail-trail type Vaseline mask on top of one’s skincare to lock in hydration. Only I won’t use Petroleum Jelly — that way madness, a trashed pillow and raging acne lies. Instead I deploy a heavier moisture hit over the top of oils and serums at this most withering time of year. That’s just plain sense. Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré Nourishing Moisturiser (£13, boots.com) is ideal.

And I will certainly slug lips, eyebrows and cuticles.

To do this, I’ve been enjoying Wildsmith’s award-winning Ceramide Lipid Repair Balm (£25, wildsmithskin.com), ceramides being a waxy, water-proofing substance that midlife skin begins to lack.

Rub lips with a wet flannel, dab dry, then slug away.

Eyebrow growth potion brushed on? Seal it in place with your salve. Cuticles oiled? Now lock that goodness down. By morning, everywhere should be as plush and pillowy as your complexion.

Then keep up the good work until the cold snap — and the drunk splurge — have ended.


Already a vast U.S. craze, Maybelline 4-in-1 Instant Perfector (£12.99, superdrug.com) has hit these shores. Its seven shades can be used as foundation, highlighter, bronzer or contourer. Fans declare it a budget version of Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Flawless Filter (£36, charlottetilbury.com).



Mariah Carey 

Mariah detests mascara, loves false eyelashes, refuses to be seen in fluorescent lighting sans sunglasses and swims in evening gowns!

All the 53-year-old diva wants for Christmas… is to bathe in milk, then be massaged into a 15-hour slumber in a room filled with 20 humidifiers to keep her vocal cords hydrated. She detests mascara, loves false eyelashes, refuses to be seen in fluorescent lighting sans sunglasses and swims in evening gowns!


From £5.40, amazon.co.uk

Baste your forehead (or aching muscles) for an immediate festive chill‑out.

£6, stories.com

A soothing concoction of fig leaves, jasmine, salted musk and coconut water.


£85, chanel.com

Repeat after me: ‘Everything is fine: I am veiled in a scented shimmer of No5.’

£9, hrhiggins.co.uk

Instead of comfort-eating, take solace in this sublime, antioxidant-rich tea.


£40, joloves.com 

Christmas may be chaos, but this room spray is festive joy in a bottle.



Sometimes a woman has to take matters into her own hands and offer herself the supreme self-gift. Or she may want to treat a beleaguered pal. Or split some precious beauty bounty with her daughters. Aromatherapy Associates The Ultimate Wellbeing Hamper (£262.50) is the cornucopia — a picnic basket brimming with 12 full-size aromatherapy wonders worth £514. It was £350, but is now 25 per cent off. Inside is the great British brand’s full collection of essential oil blends, its atomiser to aromascape your home, six of its sensationally soothing sleep bestsellers — known as the Deep Relax range — plus a chic navy sleep mask.


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