Ecological Compound by Sisley

I struggle not to use this every day. It is one of my top five products and I’m rarely without it

£64, 50ml
£105, 100ml

Launched: 1975
Tested: Almost every day from 2002-2008

Stockists: tel: 020 7591 6380

Ingredients: manufacturer would not provide saying the ingredients are printed on the product.

This compound is made to be used your regular daily or nightly moisturizer, or on its own. But really over the age of 25 or so it won’t, very probably, be enough on its own.

The idea of it is that it protects your skin from environmental factors: pollution, stress, wind, that bitchy girl who works opposite you…

It’s said to boost the performance of any cream you lay on top of it (it also boosts collagen production).

I have no idea if it does, what I do know is that I struggle not to use this every day. Even when I’m meant to be using other serums (that go under moisturisers) I reach for it. It is one of my top five products and I’m rarely without it.

Try this if you suffer from fragile skin, are prone to thread veins or a reddened complexion, coincidence or not but since using this any slight thread veins I had didn’t get any worse and, miraculously (although I’m not claiming this product did it) one particularly visible one disappeared. It comes in a glass bottle which isn’t ideal for light traveling, but you only really need a squirt a day, so it lasts ages. Highly recommended.

Annalisa Barbieri was in fashion PR for five years before going to the Observer to be fashion assistant. She has worked for the Evening Standard and the Times and was one of the fashion editors on the Independent on Sunday for five years, where she wrote the Dear Annie column. She was fishing correspondent of the Independent from 1997-2004.
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How tribunal fees silenced low-paid workers: “it was more than I earned in a month”

The government was forced to scrap them after losing a Supreme Court case.

How much of a barrier were employment tribunal fees to low-paid workers? Ask Elaine Janes. “Bringing up six children, I didn’t have £20 spare. Every penny was spent on my children – £250 to me would have been a lot of money. My priorities would have been keeping a roof over my head.”

That fee – £250 – is what the government has been charging a woman who wants to challenge their employer, as Janes did, to pay them the same as men of a similar skills category. As for the £950 to pay for the actual hearing? “That’s probably more than I earned a month.”

Janes did go to a tribunal, but only because she was supported by Unison, her trade union. She has won her claim, although the final compensation is still being worked out. But it’s not just about the money. “It’s about justice, really,” she says. “I think everybody should be paid equally. I don’t see why a man who is doing the equivalent job to what I was doing should earn two to three times more than I was.” She believes that by setting a fee of £950, the government “wouldn’t have even begun to understand” how much it disempowered low-paid workers.

She has a point. The Taylor Review on working practices noted the sharp decline in tribunal cases after fees were introduced in 2013, and that the claimant could pay £1,200 upfront in fees, only to have their case dismissed on a technical point of their employment status. “We believe that this is unfair,” the report said. It added: "There can be no doubt that the introduction of fees has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of cases brought."

Now, the government has been forced to concede. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Unison’s argument that the government acted unlawfully in introducing the fees. The judges said fees were set so high, they had “a deterrent effect upon discrimination claims” and put off more genuine cases than the flimsy claims the government was trying to deter.

Shortly after the judgement, the Ministry of Justice said it would stop charging employment tribunal fees immediately and refund those who had paid. This bill could amount to £27m, according to Unison estimates. 

As for Janes, she hopes low-paid workers will feel more confident to challenge unfair work practices. “For people in the future it is good news,” she says. “It gives everybody the chance to make that claim.” 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.