When your skin is very sensitive, the last thing you want is to try a new product. So flicking through my fashion magazines, I sigh and skip past the Beauty section with an eye roll. My face will fight back, you see, if I dare to play around with a finely honed routine… It’s already fed up with the cold and drying weather.
However, some new products have crept in over the winter. Not the sort of change that would rock the boat – like if I threw out my gentle cleanser and went to town with an exfoliate. Just little additions that have helped boost my mood through these past few dreary months. So I thought I’d share them (by the way, nothing is sponsored):
Soaps and Shower Gels:
You may disagree but I believe a bath is better than a shower (so much more relaxing!) and, with that, I always pick soap over shower gel. There’s something exciting and luxurious about unwrapping the paper of a new bar of soap, which I associate with childhood holidays and hotels. Besides, I like to think that soap lasts longer and saves on plastic use (though the soap’s environmental credentials definitely depend on the ingredients and processes used to make it!). There’s a subtlety to the smell that’s more appealing than a vibrantly perfumed and coloured gel.
But there are draw backs. I spent several months of 2018 working through a multi-pack of basic, citrus-scented supermarket soap (six bars for £1). Which probably says a lot about my sense of self-worth at the time…I smelt like a freshly cleaned toilet. The soap was harsh enough to disinfect all sorts of surfaces. Not exactly luxurious!
Thankfully, I’ve recently used a few soaps I’d recommend: the Wild Rose from Scottish Fine Soaps has a lovely nostalgic scent. This fig and jasmine soap from Sainsburys is wintery in all the best ways, and feels like a treat without spending much. As a massive convert to the body lotion from Senspa’s Relaxing range (see below), I’m keen to try the soap bar as well.
I have also secretly flirted with a couple of shower gels. I quickly used up a free sample of Prismologie’s Citrine & Bergamot because it smelled heavenly. My mum gave me Molton Brown’s Fiery Pink Pepper for Christmas and it’s gorgeous. Both full sized bottles are a little luxurious price wise (£30 and £22 respectively) so definitely worth stretching them out with a loofah!
Body Lotion – Senspa Relaxing Body Butter
I didn’t intend to be converted to a body butter – I’m too lazy or cold to hang around in my towel slathering on moisturiser! But this one was free with a magazine subscription, so I thought I’d do a trial…
I now love it, and the difference came down to time of day. I apply this Senspa Relaxing butter last thing at night, to the same points where I’d spritz perfume. I really think it helps me wind down and improves my sleep. As well as the obvious lavender, it contains bergamot, patchouli, geranium and jasmine extract (all organic). The combination sounds old-fashioned but – I promise – it doesn’t smell like the dressing table drawers of the elderly! It’s just very calming.
Fragrance – Beauty, Calvin Klein
I’ve only recently got back into perfume. I avoided it for a long time, for a range of reasons. Partly logistical – my favourite bottles stayed in my room in Glasgow whilst I was away at university and then down in London. Partly social – my partner isn’t too keen on perfume (is “I like your natural musk” a compliment? Asking for a friend…). Also, I just hate sitting next to someone drenched in a very heavy scent.
But when I staying with my parents over Christmas and into the New Year, I started exploring the perfume I’d accumulated over the years. It was an opportunity to experiment and find what scents I like now, as an adult. The sweet, sugary smells of my teens have lost their appeal. But I rediscovered one that was gifted by a neighbour as a Christmas present a few years ago – Beauty, by Calvin Klein. It’s not the most popular CK scent (or currently listed on their website) but it’s still widely available. The scent is light but not too girly, with a cedar base note and hints of jasmine.
So now we’re clean and subtly fragranced, let’s get on to hair:
I’ve mentioned this before but Moroccan oil is brilliant. I used to only ever get to enjoy it when my hairdresser finished off my (very occasional) cut and blow dry. But I bought a tiny bottle with some Christmas Amazon vouchers and my hair has noticeably improved over the past couple of months. It’s so much softer and tamer. If you have thick, heavy hair, I’d really recommend trying it. Just rub a small amount through the lower half of your hair after showering. I love the scent as well – it basically doubles as a hair perfume.
I associate ‘scrunching’ for curls with my early-noughties school years: canned products that squirt on like whipped cream, leaving my hair really brittle with curls that snap or go limp by the end of the day. So I approached this gel with a certain amount of trepidation. I’m glad to say that the technology has improved since 2004 – the jelly absorbs in, leaving my hair soft rather than crunchy. I scrunch it into the end sections of my hair, and defined curls form as my hair dries. It works just as well with a quick blow dry as it does when I leave my hair to dry naturally. The curls lose their shape by the next day but hey, you can’t have everything. At least it’s sulphate and silicone free.
And finally, a recommendation for dry lips:
Lanolips 101 Ointment: This is stocked everywhere but I’d never tried it until this winter. It is a bit stickier than I like (I prefer absorbing balms to a gluey-stays-on-lips texture). But it certainly lasts and repairs dryness very effectively. It’s designed to also be used on cuticles and hands, added to your moisturiser, applied to chapped heels, dry noses…the list goes on! So it’s a handy one for winter, but also useful to stick in your summer holiday suitcase.
P.s. This is just a little (growing) blog so none of these products are sponsored, gifted by the company or in any way affiliated! They’re just a few things I like, after some thorough testing!