This is the time of year when I’m all about a bit of hunkering down. Well that and, depending on plans, also prepping for any New Year celebrations. But both of these eventualities are an excuse for me to do some lounging around with a side order of self-indulgence, which generally revolves around baths or showers and skincare.
On the shower front, there have been some swanky launches of late. The Californian-based haircare brand Ouai has been branching out. Its Body Cleanser (£24, libertylondon.com) has a delicious citrus, rose and amber aroma and lathers into a luxurious foam.
Le Labo has extended its Tonka 25 fragrance into a Shower Gel (£37) and a Massage and Bath Oil (£45, lelabofragrances.com). Both are special, though I veer towards the oil, which makes for great tub time with its warm, woody and musky fragrance laced with vanilla.
Also brightening up bath time is Willow Serenity Bath Salts (£29, willowbeautyproducts.co.uk). These are really finely milled, so you won’t find yourself sitting on a lump of the stuff. Plus they smell good – jasmine, neroli and camomile – and are infused with muscle-soothing magnesium.
When it comes to face masks I’ve become a convert to Summer Fridays Jet Lag (£22.50, cultbeauty.co.uk) for serious hydration and a face-freshening boost. It’s packed full of chestnut extract to exfoliate, vitamin C to brighten and niacinamide to work on fine lines and pores. Apply and leave for ten minutes then wipe away.
Speaking of exfoliating, I have returned lately to the Goldfaden MD Doctor’s Scrub Microderm Exfoliator (£34 for 50ml, cultbeauty.co.uk or £120 for 200ml, harrods.com). Its super-fine texture never feels harsh and buffs away enough dead skin to leave your complexion looking fresher and allow your products to really penetrate.
I’ve also been trying Purity Paste by the Croatian brand Saint Iris Adriatica (from £15, siadriatica.com). Intended for the face and body, I’ve been using it on my body and applying it with the accompanying brush. They say it’s warming – though in truth I haven’t felt any heat – but it does slough away dead skin and leave everything smoother. It feels indulgent to apply but make sure your bathroom isn’t chilly as there’s a bit of standing around while you leave it on for three minutes.
For some more luxury, I highly recommend Neom Organics Intensive Skin Treatment Candle, (£40, neomorganics.com). For a very relaxing night-time routine, light the candle and leave to burn for 30 minutes. Blow it out and allow to cool for two. It takes a bit of trust to pour the melted oil on to skin – it has been formulated not to become too hot – but I go slowly just in case. Then rub it in wherever you need some good moisturising. Both the warmth and the smell (lavender, jasmine and sweet basil) are deeply relaxing and a wonderful treat to self.
3 top trends for 2020
Treatwell, the hair and beauty bookings app, predicts that more will be more when it comes to falsies next year, and we’ll be ‘taking a leaf out of Twiggy’s book’. As a whole the category is up 36 per cent year on year, but Russian volume lashes – a super-fine lash that can involve anything from eight to 20 false lashes added to one real one – has seen a 794 per cent increase. On top of that, Cult Beauty, the website that’s always ahead of the curve, predicts that lash care will ‘become an important sub-category’. Think everything from lash repair kits and oil-free make-up remover to lash growth serum and much more.
We’re already used to skincare gadgets (see the rise of home LED face masks) but you can expect some interesting tools on the cosmetics side of things in 2020. Cult Beauty is currently looking into the Mink printer, which is set to launch next autumn and, according to Mink’s website, will enable a 3D printer to turn images into wearable make-up. Or check out the Opté skincare system. Currently available in the US, this is a device that scans the face for imperfections then delivers foundation to the parts of the skin where it is needed. ‘The idea is that it creates a much more natural look,’ says Alexia Inge, co-founder of Cult Beauty, though she points out that this is first-generation stuff.
According to Alexia, this is a trend that will continue to grow thanks to today’s tech. She cites Augustinus Bader – whose cell-renewing cream is said to be so effective that it’s the only skincare you need – as an example. ‘There’s so much going on in this product that you can use it on its own, and if you have a great cleanser you’re gold.’ Of course, if we use fewer products we’ll also need less packaging (an ongoing focus of the industry). ‘It chimes with the times and we all need to be consolidating our consumerism,’ says Alexia.
Beauty assistant: Alice Robertson