A monthly collection of five of our favourite things done, seen, tasted, heard, smelt, worn, bought, savoured, enjoyed, touched, liked or loved.

This month’s favourite five is a little different to the norm; we have a VERY special guest writer who has kindly taken some time to take us through her favourite beauty products.

Our wonderful guest is the gorgeous Tessa Passmore. Tessa has been a beauty editor for close-to six years and has tried, tested and spritzed a multitude of good (and some really bad) beauty products. We thought it would be a wonderful treat to get some advice from her, given her vast amount of knowledge in the industry.

First things first – some info on this stylish beauty expert.



I’d always wanted to work in magazines – particularly fashion – and after studying English literature and media at UCT I embarked on a whole bunch of unpaid internships. This included a fashion internship at Marie Claire to try and get a pedicured toe in the door.

After a short stint in London (which included a PR internship at Stella McCartney) I arrived back in Joburg on the job hunt and I ended up as a features writer at Essentials magazine. A position as a beauty editor became available and its there that I learnt the ropes of the industry.

A few years later I swapped over to the Sunday Times when they launched Fashion Weekly, a weekly dose of all things fashion and beauty and now I’m also involved in the glossy, biannual offshoot of this called the EDIT. I love beauty but am particularly passionate about skin health. It really is a science these days and you can pinpoint exactly what technologies and ingredients are gaining traction as the years go by.

I recently attended a conference where an international dermatologist is pioneering future sun-care to include an IRA (infrared) protection factor (this is the infrared rays from the sun – not your computer screen), which has been linked to long term ageing of the skin and skin cell abnormalities. So one day our sun-cream will have an SPF for UVA, UVB and IRA rays. How interesting is that?

We asked Tessa to choose her favourite beauty products for us. Although she has so many on her list of must-haves, she has selected five six of her absolute best below!

1. SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Antioxidant Serum, R2126

If you’re serious about sun damage and photo ageing then you should invest in this little amber bottle. I’ve been to countless launches where dermatologists and plastic surgeons harp on about the damaging effect of the sun and with my fair skin, I’ve had enough painful, blistery sun burns to know that sun care is an absolute necessity. This product should be used in conjunction with a sun cream and it boosts the efficacy of it. Its basically very high potency of stabilized Vitamin C (15% L-ascorbic acid), vitamin E (1% Alpha Tocopherol) and SkinCeuticals’ own anti oxidant discovery, 0.05% Ferulic Acid. A few drops of this on bare skin in the morning will help protect your skin from the sun and pollution by latching onto to those rogue, harmful free-radicals. After using it for a few days, your skin cells will create a reservoir of the serum, helping retain the protective properties over time. It also reverses signs of skin damage and gives your skin the most exquisite glow. There are three anti-oxidant serums in the range and this is the one I use, but a good aesthetician will be able to recommend the best for your skin type. This will slow down the ageing process and help prevent the future need for peels or laser treatments.


2. Plain Ordinary Moisturising Balm, R310

Sensitive skin means that anything with too much fragrance, active ingredients or essential oils can be very irritating. I met Dr. Claire Jamieson, the founder of this pure and simple range, and I love her no nonsense and educated approach to skincare. This balm is made from 5 of the highest quality ingredients including vegetable wax and olive wax. I like to use this balm on lips, cuticles, heels, elbows or anywhere that needs some attention and unlike a lot of ‘natural’ products, this doesn’t dry up quickly.  The rest of the range is equally lovely if a classic, simple skin care range is what you’re after. More info can be found on their website

3. Clinique High Impact Mascara, R230

When I use this people ask if I have eyelash extensions. The right amount of volume, no clumping and it doesn’t take an age to apply. Clinique mascara’s are some of the best!


4. Chanel Les Beiges– Harmonie Poudre Belle Mine Mariniere in No1 and No2, R855

Or anything Chanel really. Their seasonal makeup campaigns are always executed to perfection and the products are sublime. Expensive yes but they last a long time – especially these powders from the Les Beiges range. The products are quite fragranced but the act of swooshing a brush loaded with shimmery highlighter across your cheek bones is an experience in itself.

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5. Environ C-Quence Eye Gel, R329

This has stopped fine lines from forming around my eyes. It’s actually incredible how well it works! Environ is a seriously affordable range of products that contain Vitamin A (the most essential anti-ageing ingredient as far as I’m concerned); some people can’t stand the smell but if effective skincare for the healthiest skin is what you want, use Environ. The Derma Lac lotion is amazing for pilaris keratosis (chicken skin on legs and arms) – I like to douse my feet in it and pop on some socks. The next morning feet are soft and smooth.


6. Eucerin – anything

Not the sexiest looking brand but if you have hyper-sensitive skin, give this range a bash. Each product is backed by legitimate clinical trials proving their efficacy. The AtoControl Bath & Shower Oil, R140 is super gentle and moisturizing. Add to the bath, a sponge in the shower and use it when shaving legs – my dermatologist even recommends it. They’ve also just launched an SPF 50 sun cream for oily skin (it is mattifying) that works remarkably well – and doesn’t leave a white residue.

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Thank you Tess for some great advice, these are definitely going to be making it onto our beauty wish lists! You can find Tessa’s weekly beauty column in the Sunday Times Fashion Weekly supplement, and for subscribers, look out for her write up in The Edit on the 20th September. 


4 Comments on Favourite Five – Beauty by Tessa Passmore

  1. Alison
    September 1, 2015 at 1:11 pm (4 years ago)

    Loved this post.. So interesting and added some things to my shopping list for sure!

    • spruce
      September 3, 2015 at 6:26 am (4 years ago)

      Glad you enjoyed it Alison 🙂

  2. Terry
    September 1, 2015 at 7:16 pm (4 years ago)

    Excellent ideas and suggestions from Tessa- wonderful post

    • spruce
      September 4, 2015 at 8:58 am (4 years ago)

      Thanks Terry 🙂


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