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Most of the beauty rituals my mother swore by in the eighties have fallen out of favour since then—notably, home-perming with a solution that smelt like pool chlorine and mowing the lawn in a bikini and a glistening layer of SPF-nothing baby oil to achieve an all-over tan.
But keeping a tube of Eight Hour Cream in her purse, and by her bed and by the phone so she could always be moisturising is still practise for her, and for me and every woman I know who is too busy not to hydrate their elbows while on hold, tame their brows in a lift and nourish their cuticles in traffic.
Nearly 90 years since it was released, Eight Hour Cream is still one of the most popular multitaskers in the beauty realm. Celebrities from Victoria Beckham to Gal Gadot to Kourtney Kardashian claim it as their favourite illuminator, in-flight treatment, and under-eye rejuvenator, or in Prince Harry’s case, lip salve for when you’re trekking in Antarctica. Since a tube sells somewhere in the world every 30 seconds or so, it makes sense that Elizabeth Arden has created a suite of Eight Hour products.
A few weeks into winter, my skin is already drier than a desert grave and I am tempted to layer on all Eight products at once. I resist the urge given that my neglected dermis might not cope with the sudden attention. I trial them over a week instead, with the hope of looking more radiant at the end than my mother did after a mayonnaise mask.
I spend extravagantly on makeup but when it comes to night cream I am peculiarly tight-fisted, even though I know foundation can only look so good on skin that has the texture of a bathroom scourer. At 35, I swore off night creams with a supermarket price point but I’m not all the way to La Mer, which is why even before I open it I am dedicated to liking Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant Nighttime Miracle Moisturiser. It is $40. And, like the original balm, it contains shea butter, lavender and vitamin E, ingredients that I do not have to Google to know what they are and what they do; hydrate, calm and repair.
It takes the smallest amount to cover my face, but after a few minutes it feels as though the product is still on top of my skin, rather than absorbed into it. I am not sure if that is good or not, until I go back and read the part about it being a gel, designed to do exactly that—seal the skin to retain moisture. And it does. In the morning my face feels so unusually smooth, I stand in front of the mirror for 10 minutes just touching it, and not wanting to sully it with even the spendiest makeup.
Then I remember Tuesday is Eight Hour Great 8 Daily Defense Moisturiser, which is a broad-spectrum SPF and also a primer, a nifty barrier between your complexion and makeup. It’s the newest addition to the collection, and available exclusively on mecca.com.au for the next four weeks.
Due to my overnight prep, the product glides onto my skin and, as a translucent gel, does not leave an Elizabeth 1-style residue behind. It shields from UV radiation with SPF 30 (every daily SPF I own is an inadequate seeming 15) and even protects against pollution.
Although technically it was for tomorrow, my developing obsession with hydration means I just need one quick spritz of Eight Hour Miracle Hydrating Mist, then ten more, and then I need to take it to work with me because it’s like a two-second spa visit between emails.
I am now very big spritzing. Eight Hour All-Over Miracle Oil is also a spritz and, obviously, like the others, serves many functions—essential now that I am unimpressed by products that only do one thing. It’s also the one online reviewers are going the most bananas over.
I apply it liberally, forgetting that I am putting on gym tights afterwards and worried that I am going to struggle like Ross from Friends getting leather pants on. But lingering greasiness is not a problem and my just-shaven legs do not burn like fire when it goes on either, a first in my depilatory life.
When you paint the front door, suddenly the hallway looks shabby. In this metaphor, my hydrated face is the front door and the rest of my body is the hallway. On Thursday, I break out Eight Hour Cream Intensive Moisturising Body Treatment and then, because it’s just there, Intensive Moisturising Hand Treatment. Right away, I know it will do the promised eight hours, which is a) excellent but also b) means the hand treatment is not necessarily your desk-drawer moisturiser, because the richness causes some keyboard slippage. To me, they are applied before bed and when you wake up, as skin-like silk moisturisers. I go to sleep wondering if there is such a thing as too hydrated.
Having inexplicably ignored my Antarctic-trek-looking lips, I open Intensive Lip Repair Balm. It is also intensely rich, so, after today, I will save it as a night treatment and stick to the original balm for day. As a squeezy tube, you can apply it directly, whereas the Repair Balm is a pot.
For people who are ambivalent about opaque lip colour, there is also the Lip Protectant Stick Sheer Tint. It is fine to be sceptical about lip products that are meant to last all day—we’ve all been hurt before—but I put Sheer Tint (in the bright red berry shade) on first thing, keep rubbing my lips together and the hydrated feel is still there at logging-off time. It makes me wonder why there aren’t lipsticks that replenish your lips for an entire working day.
When a beauty brand that knows what it’s doing drops an entire range in one go, you want everything straight away. But because each of the Eight Hour products is based on the original formulation and offer overlapping benefits, you cannot make a mistake choosing one over the other. A mistake is only trying to frost your own hair with peroxide and a shower cap you had stabbed holes into like my mother, circa ’85.
Words by Meg MasonJune 2019
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