Outdoorsy Fragrances and Clean Skin: Your Back-to-School Beauty Guide

Pin It
Courtesy of Commes des Garçons

From escapist fragrances to make-up that won’t compromise the state of your clean conscience, here’s what you need to know for a beautiful season ahead

Get outdoors

Comme des Garçons’ latest fragrance, ERL Sunscreen, utters the last whispers of summer. Bright top notes of bergamot and solar accord, meet overripe lily of the valley and heliotrope middle notes and base notes of warm-skin musk and cedar in an off-kilter cocktail typical of the CDG olfactory catalogue. A touch of chlorine, a sort of plastic sun-creaminess and a choice of pleasing inflatable or laser-cut foam packaging make this collab with low-key California fashion brand ERL just too addictive to be confined to the summer months. 

There are yet more fragrances set to see us into autumn: Tom Ford’s Ombré Leather transports you to the desert, with notes of cool spices and floral leather provoking images of sand-whipped skin among sunrise-soaked dunes. Dior’s modern classic Sauvage has had an update in Sauvage Elixir – the same fresh spicy juice but elevated with a special lavender essence tailor-made by perfume maestro François Demachy. Meanwhile, inspired by the serenity of the sea breeze and made to smell like salty skin that’s been warmed by the sun, Kenzo Homme Intense blends the freshness of pink peppercorn with the warmth of fig wood and sandalwood accord in a sultry but fresh combination somehow reminiscent of 90s nightclubs.

And for this month only, Le Labo’s peppy ginger-cedarwood blend Cedrat 37 is available in London. As one of the City Exclusive series its usual home is Berlin, but after a nearly two-year casual travel hiatus, London-based Cedrat addicts will be thrilled to pick up their poison back home.

Be kind

After months of abusing our lower-faces with sweaty, scratchy masks and eschewing lipstick, It’s high-time for the incoming wave of niche beauty brands boasting ‘clean’ ingredients lists on the backs of their products. Made to treat skin with kindness, Bobby Brown’s newest brand, Jones Road Beauty, features a limited collection of beauty products that each command hero status. Based on Bobby Brown’s philosophy that “the world doesn’t need more beauty products. It needs better beauty products”, Jones Road Beauty holds itself to the highest standard, with over 2,700 potentially harmful ingredients being banned from their formulations. Everything is incredibly easy to use; each simple pencil (like the Face Pencil, which is an ‘everything stick’ that camouflages redness, discolouration and dark circles) or balm (try the Miracle Balm for a light-reflecting wash of moisturised sheen – anywhere) can be dabbed and drawn on effortlessly, helping you to fall back in love with make-up as we emerge – sceptical of heavy faces and formulations, lest they be squashed by a polypropylene mask – from the events of the past 18 months.

Saie is another kind-to-skin make-up brand that blemish-prone complexions will welcome. Their Sun Melt Cream-Balm Bronzer is seamless, buildable and easy to blend – adding a sun-kissed gleam to screen-ravaged, city skin while feeding it with colloidal oatmeal, antioxidant-rich grapeseed oil and elderberry extract to hydrate, even tone and defend against free radical attack. Their Dew Blush too treats skin to a swathe of brightening, soothing and moisturising ingredients, all wrapped up in a water-based gel that effortlessly melts into skin without streaking. Press into cheekbones, nose and – for the daring – the brow bone.

On the topic of kindness, Dr Barbara Sturm’s Hand Wash envelops dirty, tired and over-sanitizer dry hands in a comforting cruelty- and fragrance-free formula that won’t strip skin of its natural oils. Using plant-based tensides (also known as foaming agents) derived from coconut oil and glucose to deliver a deep but gentle clean, the luxurious cocktail of aloe vera, glycerin, panthenol and purslane extract moisturises, soothes and protects against the elements. The Body Wash also intensely hydrates – ensuring skin is soft and supple to the touch, but never stripped or ‘tight’ feeling.

Time for lipstick

Lipstick sales plummeted during the Covid-19 pandemic – somewhat unsurprisingly. But if any lippy were to reinvigorate widespread love, it’s the latest drop of Rouge Hèrmes. Widely loved for Pierre Hardy’s exquisite packaging and expertly perfected pigments, the French fashion house’s newest métier excels with each new release. This season an autumn-ready packaging palette of school uniform colours – red and grey, forest green with black and claret and blue – are offset by three delicious velvet matte shades (Orange Brûlé, Magenta and Rose Tamisé). Objects of pure beauty – they’re a worthy new season accessory, especially when carried in their classic tan leather pendant case, seen on the label’s Autumn/Winter 2021 catwalk.

Back-to-school facial 

Repent summer skin sins with the Prager Hydrogen Facial, which will jet cleanse your pores with hydrogenated water, and follow up with lymphatic drainage and LED treatments to boost collagen production – renew, refresh and rejoice. Dr Barbara Sturm’s Summer Facial meanwhile, makes for the perfect post-holiday hydration boost, using quenching frozen ice cubes of the brand’s world-class hyaluronic acid, imparting long- and short-chain hydration to multiple layers of the epidermis and leaving visitors refreshed for the new season.