Everything I Know About Beauty: Ingeborg Van Lotringen

As a beauty director on glossy magazines and a columnist on national newspapers, award-winning journalist Ingeborg van Lotringen has been trialling and testing the latest from the beauty world for over 25 years. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of ingredients and treatments that deliver, knows what works and where you should spend your money. We asked her for the rules she follows herself and the products she’s never without.

All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however we may make commission on some products.

Repeat Skincare Buys

“My permanent standbys include Garden of Wisdom’s Salicylic Acid 2% Serum. Everyone needs a 2% salicylic acid without alcohol, as it is guaranteed to subdue spots and uneven tone. This one isn’t expensive, it’s the best, and you can use it as an overnight exfoliating peel as well. Thanks to Medik8’s r-Retinoate Day & Night, I can now use retinoids. It’s powerful, but it doesn’t irritate my skin, and they’ve added a big dose of vitamin C as well. I’m sure it’s the main reason my skin still looks good. For SPF, Ultrasun is the best – I use the SPF50+ Face Tinted formula. They think of everything in terms of superior protection, skin-friendly formulas, textures and environmental responsibility. I use the La Roche Posay Respectissime Waterproof Eye Make-Up Remover. It has the perfect balance of oil and water-based cleansers and no hidden harsh ingredients. I’ve never found a better one. Finally, I love the Korres Lip Butter in Wild Rose, which I’ve worn for 15 years.”

Favourite Tweakment  

“You do get to the point where great skincare will keep you looking fresh for your age, but it will no longer prevent you suddenly looking much older. And because I can’t believe I’m 52, it rankles. That’s when only tweakments can keep you on a level. But there’s an art and a science to choosing them so that your features don’t change, but your face remains as it is and your skin doesn’t become haggard. Basically, you don’t want to turn back the clock (impossible), you want to use tweakments to stop your face ‘going downhill’ and remain at the point of ‘a vibrant 40-something that looks really good for her age’. That’s what I believe is a reasonable thing to aim for. I think skin boosters/injectable moisturisers – Profhilo is the most famous – are the future. They don‘t change your face at all, but they penetrate where skincare can’t, so they make a big difference to the quality of your skin. There are new ones coming out with active ingredients like peptides, so they’re literally becoming injectable, age-reversing skincare. That’s quite exciting and game changing, too.”

…& What To Be Aware Of

“Tweakments are unbelievably expensive and the really good doctors are often more expensive than average. I can only do so many because, as a beauty journalist, I get to try them for free. So, if you want to do any tweakments, I would always advise you spend time finding a doctor you’re comfortable with and who will discuss all the options and make a plan with you, based on your budget. The best are the ones who will talk you out of the stuff you don’t need or shouldn’t have, and who offer less costly alternatives.”

Invasive Treatments

“I’m extremely wary of all the heat-based treatments such as Morpheus8: they work, but they function by doing damage to your skin so it needs to renew itself, which makes it look younger. But if you inflict too much damage and too much inflammation, your skin will start to deteriorate; it’s a very delicate balance. It’s easy to overdo it, especially with thin skin like mine. A new heat-based treatment, called Sofawave, is exciting – it’s ultrasound technology that appears to be relatively low on aggression but high on collagen-boosting results. I had it but, as always with these types of treatments, it takes three to six months to see results. I’m waiting with bated breath. Overall, I’m much more in favour of fillers to replace lost volume and bounce – and don’t advocate pumping up parts of your face to give you features you weren’t born with, because it can never look right. Done well, you can’t see it at all. I had a face full of them last year and no one had a clue, but it totally halted my downward-face spiral. It’s why so many celebrities still look the way they do. But you need a really good doctor who sees you as a whole and not as a set of individual features; be careful as it can be a route to disaster!”

My BIGGEST REVELATIONS over the years have been UNDER EYE CONCEALER, BLUSHER and TINTED BROW MASCARA – they’re enough to TRANSFORM a tired-looking face.

Experts To Try

“In my opinion, some of the nicest and most honest doctors are Wassim Taktouk at the Taktouk Clinic, Vicky Dondos at Medicetics, Sophie Shotter at Illuminate Clinics and Sarah Tonks and Debbie Thomas (she’s not a doctor but a laser specialist) at D.Thomas Clinic.”

Beauty Routine

“My routine hasn’t changed much. In my head, I’m still in my early twenties (I am 52) and I basically do the same hair and make-up as I always have. My biggest revelations over the years have been under eye concealer, blusher and tinted brow mascara – they’re enough to transform a tired-looking face. I have just started to use lots of hair masks and bond-building hair strengtheners, like K18. This is because a hairdresser told me my hair was thinning out and looking damaged. That happens with age, infuriatingly.”

Make-Up Favourites 

“The Code Beautiful VLM Volumising Lengthening Mascara is a favourite. This brand is not very well known, but this product is unbeatable. It separates, builds, volumises, lengthens and doesn’t smudge. I’ve tried hundreds but this is the one I constantly use. I don’t leave the house without eye pencil, but the majority aren’t up to scratch – most smudge, especially when eyes get saggy. Beauty Pie’s Ultra Colour Pro Gel Eyeliner doesn’t – it goes on like butter and is the best I’ve tried. I’m not a big fan of foundation but, if I wear one, it’s always Shiseido’s Synchro Skin Radiant Lifting Foundation. It’s undetectable and beautifully glowy. I like Vichy’s Dermablend Corrective Foundation, too. It’s the best undereye concealer – I know it says it’s a foundation, but I don’t use it that way.”

Ingredients To Know

“Thankfully, I got into daily sunscreen in my late twenties and never looked back. I also knew quite early on that good skin is all about prevention and consistency, so I’ve been religious about proper cleansing, hydrating and side-stepping any kind of inflammation. Starting early with vitamin A and C means your skin gets accustomed to them and you can safely dial up the potency of your retinoids and vitamin C serums as you get older; they’ll keep your skin from falling off a cliff. Basically, not much has changed, but some of the stuff I use now is more powerful and more advanced. You see that mostly in the brands I choose. In my thirties, it was all Estée Lauder and Clinique, which are great for maintenance, but now it’s the clinical brands like Medik8, Neostrata, Revision and Meder Beauty that I like to use. They’re not cheap and not glamorous but you pay for the formulations, not the packaging.”

Thankfully, I got into DAILY SUNSCREEN in my late twenties and NEVER LOOKED BACK.

Advice To Follow

“Learn to love exercise – any exercise. It’s essential for your physical and mental health, and therefore for your skin, and everything else. Prevention is everything: start caring for your skin and hair as soon as you can and you will barely notice you’re ageing. By this, I mean cleansing, hydrating and protecting your skin, but never aggressively. HRT has also been a game-changer for both my skin and overall health.”

Beauty Rules

“I avoid anything aggressive. Alcohol, sulphate cleansers, fragrance, rough scrubs and tons of acids will undermine anyone’s skin (and scalp and therefore your hair). I know that if I eat loads of rubbish, I’ll look rubbish. There’s no two ways about it. Lips shrink and your naturally raised lip edge disappears with age: suddenly, bright lip colours make your mouth look mean. So, I always blend colour around the edges with my finger to soften the lip line and make my lips look fuller. I layer hair volumisers, thickening sprays, mousses, and a hydrating spray on dry ends to bring out my waves and the illusion of more volume.”

Go-To Inspiration

“I actually get the most inspiration from the doctors and scientists and formulators I get to speak to in my job. Beauty sells dreams and often a lot of nonsense, but also self-confidence and a lot of unbelievable science and technology. The people on the cusp of that are really inspirational.”

Mistakes To Avoid

“Using tons of makeup in your teens and twenties is a mistake to me. It’s great seeing people experiment with colour and having fun, but committing to a shop dummy mask of make-up when you’re in the prime of your life seems so sad to me. All these gorgeous girls, and I can’t actually see their faces.”

PREVENTION is EVERYTHING: start caring for your SKIN and HAIR as soon as you can and you will BARELY NOTICE you’re ageing.

Earliest Beauty Memory

“It was a Lux soap ad where the blonde lady was ecstatically soaping her cheeks with the tips of her fingers. I was always trying emulate her. How was I to know you should never wash you face with soap?”

First Make-Up Find

“An iridescent purple chubby eye pencil by Theatre (a big brand in Holland). It was the colour of Prince’s glittery purple mac so, obviously, I needed to wear it.”

Niche Discoveries 

“There are a lot of great, honest brands that are focused on skin health that don’t make silly promises – and they work without being majorly expensive. There’s Gallinée, which also does great stuff for hair; SkinGredients; Curél; Garden of Wisdom at VictoriaHealth.com does brilliant serums at really good prices. I also love Les Senteurs – it’s a place where you can find and understand scents that you would otherwise never know of. Buying perfume should be a slow and considered process; it requires a peaceful place with knowledgeable advisors who have no allegiance to a particular brand.”

Finally, A Few Biggest Learnings

“Always pull your lid taut with one finger when you apply eye pencil, or you won’t get it close enough to your lashes. Moisturise your nails; cuticle oil is the best thing for strong and flexible nails – forget hardeners and ‘superfood’ treatments. I also always tell people to put lip balm on before bed – overnight, your lips really dry out which ages them quite fast. It’s also worth using any skincare you no longer want on your body – why not? Lastly, invest in epilators – like Braun Silk-Epil. They save so much time and hassle – and money, if you usually get pro waxes. I don’t know why so few people use them, it’s really not that painful.”

Follow Inge @TheOgBeautyBoss and shop her book ‘Great skin – Secrets The Beauty Industry Doesn’t Tell You’ for more beauty tips and honest advice. 


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