I wasn’t in the job a wet week when the trip to France beckoned, and off I went, totally green

In the summer of 2007, I was sent to France for the launch of a new skincare category from pharmacy brand, Vichy. Almost a year previously, in late 2006, I’d founded Beaut.ie, and 10 months after that, I was asked by Image magazine to cover their then beauty editor’s maternity leave. It was an amazing time and one of incredible opportunity. But I wasn’t sure. Could I? Would I?

Yes, I would: I jacked in my web design job (a job I’d been in for 10 years) and took the role, even though I didn’t know what would happen at the end of the contract. I just felt that it was too good an opportunity to pass, and it was time to take a risk. I wasn’t in the job a wet week when the trip to France beckoned, and off I went, totally green at this beauty editing game. 

The launch was for Vichy Aqualia, a new, non issue-specific line of hydrating products that sit alongside the brand’s skincare ranges, and are for you if hydration’s something you want to add into your routine. Anyone can have dehydrated skin; it’s not just the purview of a drier skintype; in fact it’s very common to be oily and dehydrated.

So this launch was all about addressing that. And by-the-by, it was also amazing: pre-recession, there were budgets, and oh boy they were spent.

Flown into Paris, we were trained down to Vichy with masseuses on board and individual lunches provided by Laduree. Gala dinners, spa treatments (which, I must point out, are not like the ones we enjoy with soft lights and softer touches; no – these were, er, efficient) and a helicopter ride down from the mountain source of Vichy’s famous water all featured.

I also met Elaine Butler-Doolin (then Social and Personal beauty editor; now Bespoke Beauty owner) on that trip and we’ve remained fast friends ever since. It might have been my first big press trip; but it was also one of the best.

So not only do I follow the fortunes of Aqualia with interest as a result (I feel a bit invested in it), but I also think it happens to be a bloody good product range too; adding that shot of extra moisture when skin needs it most.

vichy aqualia thermal products

Aqualia Thermal Serum, €24,Tube, €15.50, Pot, €23

Vichy’s just gone and made the range better, too: new packaging is the superficial part of the makeover, but then there’s the fact that it’s now got an improved concentration of hyaluronic acid. It always had it; now it’s got more. Good news!

Often when we think we’re ageing, we’re actually seeing fine lines caused by dehydration; a product like this can help pump moisture back into the skin and banish those marks.This is often the ‘secret’ in anti-ageing products, and is the reason why, if you keep your skin well hydrated and cared for from your twenties, you’re likely to need minimal interventions later.

New ingredients in the form of aquabioryl (which seems to be a proprietary inclusion for hydrating) and carageenans (derived from red algae) add extra moisturising properties. All feature across the range, which contains a serum (the most concentrated hit of hydration), and creams in two textures for differing skin types.

Aqualia’s been around for a few years now and has swapped products in and out over the course of them – have you ever tried anything?