About Beauty Bible

The first Beauty Bible book was launched in 1966, and since then there have been six bestsellers in the series, including The 21st Century Beauty Bible, The Green Beauty Bible and The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible. Beauty Bible's mission is to help real women take a short-cut to products that truly work, and in addition to being a completely unbiased voice in the world of beauty, the books and website feature the real-life observations of over 20,000 women who've tried products for Beauty Bible since its launch, making this the biggest-ever independent survey of beauty products ever carried out in the world.

Posts by Beauty Bible

The Best Face And Body Scrubs For Your Skin

Pink Body Scrub top down view

To paraphrase the Daleks, there is one beauty action more important than any other, this month. ‘Exfoliate, Exfoliate!!!’

Because by now, the central heating’s been on for months. And did you know that your clothes have actually been acting as a wick these past few months, extracting moisture from your body? The problem with dry skin is that it starts to look flat and sometimes flaky. Dry skin doesn’t refract light in the way healthy, dewy, plumped-up skin does. (Which is why our skin rarely looks better than on holiday.) Simply piling on moisturiser, though, doesn’t cut it. Dusty, dry surface cells just don’t soak up nourishment and moisture (never mind all those pricey anti-ageing ingredients you’ve sprung for) the way that new cells do.

We have a positive arsenal of scrubs and exfoliators in our bathrooms. They’re among our favourite products because over the years, we’ve figured out that they really are the fast-track to better-looking skin. So this month, we thought we’d point you in the direction of some of the best face and body scrubs.

Let’s start with the aptly-named Neom Organics Real Luxury Body Scrub, a sugar-grained confection which is infused with the most blissful blend of jasmine, Brazilian rosewood and lavender, working to transform tired, dull-looking skin with its natural blend of jojoba and sunflower oils. Another longstanding favourite buffer is Aromatherapy Associates Polishing Natural Exfoliating Scrub; the exfoliating ingredients here are salt – and, more unusually, coffee grains, which are terrific for scruffing skin without scratching. It also has the most sublime frankincense and grapefruit scent. (And it’s a fact that when we love a product’s smell and texture, we’re more likely to use it diligently and often.) We also definitely need to give a shout-out to the product which so impressed our testers for the Beauty Bible Awards 2019: Temple Spa Sugar Buff, infused with uplifting oils of lavender, eucalyptus, patchouli, clove, rosemary and grapefruit, suspended in a skin-nourishing base of olive oil, grapeseed oil, fig and pomegranate extracts.

Its unisex scent means Sugar Buff is a good one for the kitchen sink, where anyone in the household might like to scrub up after grubby tasks. On which note, we also rate Margaret Dabbs Exfoliating Hand Scrub, a brilliant prelude to a lavish slather of hand cream, when hands need some serious, transformative TLC. And with the day soon to dawn when we’re going to stash away our opaques for a few months, we’d point you in the direction of This Works Perfect Legs 100% Natural Scrub, which is great for making legs – literally – bare-able, with a single treatment. After the Himalayan salt’s done its stuff, it leaves even the most lacklustre legs looking gleamingly healthy, thanks to the base blend of sweet almond, crambe and blackcurrant oils.

The past couple of years have seen eco-developments on the scrub front, meanwhile. Happily, plastic ‘microbeads’ have now been outlawed– for ecological reasons; they were building up in the marine environment. There was really no need for them, to deliver perfectly good results, and our oceans will be the cleaner for it. But you might notice that none of our own ‘hot tip’ scrubs contain hard, crushed particles like pumice or nut shells. There are two reasons for this: a) these can scratch skin, if used over-zealously, and b) we personally find nothing alluring about having a gritty bottom from sitting on a layer of particles that don’t dissolve in water.

Salt and sugar scrubs do dissolve. The reason we sometimes choose sugar over salt is simply that we’re gardeners, and salty scrubs sting wounds acquired when (for instance) pruning roses or blitzing brambles. (As long as we haven’t been in the wars with secateurs in hand, though, salt’s fine.) Personally, we also like it when our scrubs come in an oil base, which not only makes for easy application – small, gentle circles should be fine, NB – but also leaves skin nourished with a veil of oil. We can then smooth on body butter afterwards, for a skin-quenching double-whammy.

If scrubs aren’t your thing, you can buff skin with a loofah or a mitt – but the ultimate skin-blitzer is the now-legendary Dermasuri Deep Exfoliating Mitt, which you use damp, on the body. As beauty experiences go, it’s extraordinary – and ‘ewwwww’-inducing, in a sort of irresistible way: you literally watch balls of grey skin build up as you slough, ready to be sluiced away in the shower or bath. (You might have a little temporary pinkness afterwards, but the brightness of the newly-revealed skin is extraordinary.)

Faces, meanwhile, need exfoliation just as badly as what’s below the vest-line. Again, we have a wide range of weapons at our disposal. (Jo’s bathroom shelf generally resembles one of those arcade games – to be found at the end of her street in Hastings – where pennies are meant to cascade off the front as you roll yours down the slot.) The watchword here, though, should always be: ‘gently’. If you’re over-zealous, skin can suffer – so we always abide by a tip given to us years ago that facial exfoliants should always be massaged in with the ring finger, as it’s harder to apply over-zealous pressure.

In terms of facial exfoliators, we’d recommend, however, that even scrubs recommended for daily usage are actually used two or three times a week. (Nobody needs more exfoliation than that.) Still, gentle enough for our liking is Green People Age Defy+ Soft Buff Skin Exfoliator, which features bamboo stem and bentonite clay particles, to help clear clogged pores. It’s formulated with enzyme exfoliants, too, which are optimal for faces because they deliver radiance via an enzymatic action which dissolves the dead cells rather than physically scrubs them away. We also love the skin-brightening effect that LIXIRSKIN Soft Clay Rubber has; this dual-action ‘no-bits exfoliant’ and mask features keratolytic enzymes to break down the dead cells, which are drawn to the white clay in the formula. Remove immediately with warm water (like a normal facial scrub), or leave on for five minutes as a skin-refining mask. And let’s give a shout-out to iS Clinical Tri-Active Exfoliant, which offers the triple-whammy of botanical enzymes, salicylic acid and eco-friendly microbeads – it ticks the box of being kind to skin, but is impressively powerful.

So don’t leave it till the bikini season’s looming (aaaaaargh!) to get in the habit of blitzing your skin. Face or body, regularly removing those cells – and the watchword, always, is ‘gently’ – is one of the best favours you can do to your skin. We promise you’ll almost hear your ‘new skin’ slurping up whatever you choose to smooth into it, afterwards…

How To Spring Clean Your Beauty Stash

Beauty Bible Makeup

Time flies. And the evidence of that is almost certainly there, in your make-up bag/on the bathroom shelf or your dressing table. It’s ridiculously easy to let expiration dates on cosmetics fly by, or say to yourself: ‘I’ll get round to washing my make-up brushes at the weekend.’ Only – invariably – you get a much, much better offer. (Let’s face it: almost anything is a better offer…)

But just as reorganising your clothes seasonally allows you to identify gaps and make room for new finds by disposing away older items, so it can be hugely satisfying to spend an hour or two cleaning, caring for and organising the beauty products you’ve lavished your hard-earned money on and figuring out what’s missing from the line-up. So: this is the perfect time to edit your kit – and prepare your beauty stash for spring. (Before the sun really comes out and all anyone wants to do is loll around outside. )

First off, check expiry dates. You’ll probably need specs for this – or maybe even a magnifying glass – but this should really be done twice a year. Beauty products do go ‘off’ and lose effectiveness. Beyond that, there’s a potential risk of bacterial infections or breakouts. If anything’s gone beyond its best-before date (or you’re in doubt), throw it out. Use your nose: does anything smell ‘off’? And use your eyes, too: anything which has separated really needs to go. Mascaras, meanwhile, should always be ditched after no more than three months – or sooner if you have any kind of eye infection.

As a little PS, we also like to reassess what our skin may need whenever we finish a bottle or jar of anything. Are we restocking on autopilot? Have the needs of our complexion/hair changed? Beauty habits are all very well – but beauty ruts aren’t.

Be ruthless about disposing of products you haven’t used in a while

Fact: if it’s more than six months since you put a product on your face or body or hair, the realistic chances are you’re never going to use it again. This can be a really hard thing to tussle with; it seems like such a waste. A half-way house, if you feel torn about throwing something out, is to put it centre-stage on the shelf of products that you use every darned day: cleanser, toner, moisturiser. If you still haven’t opened the jar or bottle after a week passes and it’s been staring you in the face, consider it to have signed its death warrant.

Don’t put packaging straight in the bin, though

Be sure to recycle wherever you can – glass jars and plastic containers can often be put in with your other recyclables. Again, you’ll probably need a magnifying glass for this (we’re never without one!), but look on the bottom for the numbers identifying what kind of plastic it is, for recycling. (Although many councils nowadays do all the hard work for us and recycle what they can, without the need to separate. Or the need to go blind figuring out WHAT to separate).

Dispose of last year’s suncare

Sun protection isn’t cheap – so this can definitely hurt. But not as much as sunburn hurts. SPFs should never be ‘over-wintered’, but bought afresh each season to ensure optimum protection. This is the time to invest in a new SPF 30 minimum, for the coming sunlight season. (It is coming, we promise.)

Organise a ‘kit-to-go’

This is a good time to assemble a travel kit-bag with small pots of the products you like to use – for face, body and hair – so that you’re packed for any emergencies. Just add cotton pads, a needle and thread and you’re good for any last-minute getaway invites. Ditto to save time before your next trip, put together in-flight essentials and stow them in a zip-top, security-friendly plastic bag. Job done. Several Brownie points awarded.

Clean your brushes

Brushes are prime breeding grounds for germs – and every make-up artist we’ve ever spoken to recommends washing them once a week. Use just a little gentle shampoo on the bristles and swirl against the side of the sink till the water runs clean. Alternatively, you can use a professional brush cleaner which will be solvent-based – but to be honest, even though most of the solvents evaporate after you’ve done this, we still prefer the old-fashioned washing-in-warm-water technique, which feels more thorough when done correctly.

Let the brushes fully air-dry before using; leave them to dry with their ends over-hanging the edge of the counter, resting on towel so they don’t roll off. (And maybe set a diary reminder on your phone for you to do this more regularly than oh, once every spring…)

Reorganise what you have

Harness spring time’s glorious throw-the-windows-open energy to take an honest look at what’s left, and figure out how to display it more attractively. Group like with like. (It’s easier to see what you have that way.) Find pretty containers: upcycled candle jars, hand-painted vintage teacups, trays and acrylic beauty organisers.

It’s all too easy, though, for a bathroom shelf to become like one of those arcade games where you roll a penny down a lot and small change cascades off the front of the shelf. (Are we the only people to have bruised our toes with products that have fallen off when we’ve tried to add one product too many to an overcrowded…?)

So we suggest that for the Zen feeling it gives you, tidy away anything you don’t use every day, tidy away – face masks, perhaps, or depilatories/razors (as well as any medical non-necessities). Notwithstanding this neatnik advice, Jo’s tip is to keep this ‘non-everyday’ beauty stash in a glass-fronted cabinet – as all too easily out of sight can be out of mind.

The 2019 Beauty Bible Awards

Beauty Bible Awards 2019

For the past 21 years, our mission at Beauty Bible has been to cut through the hype and help women take a short-cut to products that really, really do what they say on the tin/jar/tube. We began by publishing the results in our Beauty Bible series of books, then last year put the awards online (Beautybible.com) for the first time.

The Beauty Bible Awards are judged by real women – in panels of 10 – trialling full-size products in real-time over a period of up to four months, then feeding back. Results are always amazingly consistent – and after what feels like an epic year of sending out products to over 1,000 testers, we’re delighted to declare the winners of the Beauty Bible Awards for 2019!

It comes as no surprise to us that so very, very many winners can be found right here on VH – so here’s just a small selection of the Gold winners (and one rather special Silver!) that are showcased on Gill and Shabir’s site, with a handful of the real-life rave reviews from testers’ detailed feedback. (You’ll find many more in-depth comments on our own site.)

Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Facial

Cue drumroll, cue trumpets: a spectacularly splendiferous score (an average of 9.3/10 across our tester panel) for one of this superfacialist’s star products, designed to ‘recreate the effects of a Skinesis facial overnight.’

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS:

‘This oil is totally amazeballs! Within 24 hours skin felt ridiculously smooth, plump and moisturised. After using for a while, it looks smoother and plumper – so much better – and I have had compliments. Just lead me to the next bottle…’
‘Loved the product a lot. It smelt absolutely amazingly relaxing and helped me sleep. Within 30 minutes my skin felt softer, plumped, silky and brighter. Promised to lift, firm and make skin feel like cashmere – it did all of that’
‘People have commented how well my skin looks on make up free days, which is amazing.’

Aurelia Repair & Brighten Hand Cream

The second Gold in a row for Aurelia in the hand cream category for this rich but swiftly-absorbed product, with its glorious blend of vetiver, ylang ylang, lavender and patchouli.

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS:

‘This was like no other hand cream I have ever tried. For a start, it smells like you’ve just walked into a spa. The application in unreal, as it instantly absorbs into the skin. Results leave you with hands so soft they could rival a two-year-old’s. And my nails are in brilliant condition’
‘10/10! This lovely hand cream moisturised my old crêpe-y hands, LOL! Definitely has anti ageing properties. I will definitely be purchasing once this runs out’
‘I have never paid this amount for a hand cream before but I do think its worth the price.’

Lanolips Lemonaid Lip Treatment

This little tube of whipped balm is a thirst-quencher for dry lips, slicking on via an angled dispenser to deliver a zestily lemony treat.

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS:

‘My lips get very dry and I use lip balms all the time usually every 15-30 minutes all day, but I could go longer without reapplying this as it stayed on and actually moisturised my lips really well. By the end of two weeks they definitely felt better’
‘I love that the balm has a slight shimmer, without being obvious’
‘Very moisturising. I use every night as I have dry lips due to cancer of the oesophagus and not being able to swallow, eat or drink. I think it could be recommended to cancer units in hospitals and used by the patients to alleviate dryness.’

Beauty Bible Lip Balm (Aloe+Vitamin E)

Well, we are very proud that we scooped an Award in our own trials! This is the only product Beauty Bible has ever put our name to (and is exclusive to VH here): chunkily-shaped, it glides on beautifully and is amazingly nourishing. But don’t just trust us on this – listen to what the testers had to say!.

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS:

‘Liked this better than any other balm I have tried as it wasn’t at all sticky but properly moisturised my lips, rather than just sitting on the surface. Despite this very cold winter weather, they have stayed soft and lush looking and feeling’
‘Fab product. I loved this balm, which moisturised my lips excellently over the winter cold months, quickly improving texture and softness. It changed the appearance of my chapped lips; I was able to put lipstick on and it didn’t ‘bleed’ after.’

De Mamiel Dewy Facial Mist

The winner in our ‘Instant Face Saver’ category is a serum from the renowned holistic facialist and acupuncturist that works like a facial mist, spritzing onto the face to deliver a blend of hydrating, nourishing ingredients that shield the skin against environmental damage.

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS:
‘Simply spritz this liquid mist over the skin, inhale the uplifting scent, and watch your skin becoming, soft, smooth, dewy and refreshed, also uplifted in a rejuvenated way’
‘A pick-me-up in a bottle, like a breath of fresh air for the skin and senses’
‘I used the de Mamiel spray later in the afternoon to perk up my skin – it feels moisturised and plump after – and my mood. The scent and the fine mist make this a product that I found myself looking forward to using.’

This Works Perfect Legs Gradual Tan

Our own go-to for bare leg S.O.S.-es. won Gold in the Gradual Tanners category – so next time you have to reveal parts of your body that are currently swathed in vests and opaques, make sure you’ve this to hand. (Even though it says ‘Legs’ in the name, it’s great all over!)

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS:

‘A lovely body treatment. The tint is instant and the very natural colour develops gradually over two to three days, as if I have been on a sunny holiday’
‘I was thrilled that a self-tan product used on pasty white skin looked so natural; skin absorbed it very quickly and I felt as if I’d used a smooth, pampering body moisturiser. An instant tint with a slight glow,but doesn’t scream ‘I’ve been tangoed…’

Aromatherapy Associates Renewing Rose Body Oil

No question that yet again, the divine rose fragrance – always so, so consistently popular with our testers over the decades – helped nudge this AA oil towards its high score.

OUR TESTERS’ COMMENTS:

‘Top marks for this lovely fragranced oil, which absorbed within a few minutes. Skin was immediately soft, a lot more nourished and beautifully fragranced’
‘My skin had a glow from the start and it was particularly effective on my dry feet and elbows; legs look very moisturised and my scars, stretch marks and dry patches all look 100 times better’
‘I was blown away by the sheen it left on the skin. My lower legs looked ten years younger, I really mean that! They were perfectly smooth and looked like I had leg make-up on!’

New Year’s Habits

a lit red candle surrounded by darkness

Have you ever, ever kept a New Year’s resolution beyond – oh, about 3rd January? Maybe 1st February, if you’re really pushing it? That’s because New Year’s resolutions are often completely unrealistic goals. Going to drop three dress sizes. Going to walk five miles a day. Going to give up chocolate completely. (Were we MAD???) 

 

But what actually works, we find, is to focus instead on getting into good habits. And when you sell it to yourself like that, there’s an implicit sense of forgiving. Fall off the wagon for a day, or eat a Twix, or forget to drink those two litres of water, and it doesn’t feel catastrophic at all. You can just gently nudge yourself to do better tomorrow, rather than feeling like you’ve blown it.

 

Good habits don’t happen overnight, of course. 21 days is often quoted as the minimum, but often it’s longer than that. The average is actually two months – 66 days, to be exact (according to the most famous study into the subject, by University College London health psychology researcher Philippa Lally). But don’t let that put you off. And don’t aim ridiculously high; honestly, it’s the small changes that can make the biggest difference, because they’re achievable. 

 

So, here are our top recommendations for little habit shifts that could pretty much change your life – and your wellbeing levels – by the time 2020 rolls around…

 

Eat every few hours. (Don’t wait till you’re ready to gnaw your arm off.) It’s such a common misconception that skipping meals helps you lose weight. In fact, that’s going to impact on your blood sugar levels, making you ravenously hungry – often turning to caffeine or a sugar hit, as an antidote, keeping you on that rollercoaster. Sometimes, we might feel we need to skip meals because we’re working to a deadline, or because we’ve got a big dinner coming up – but far better to snack healthily. Keep a power bar (not one of the sugary ones), a banana, some almonds or other nuts in your work bag, so that you’re never without something healthy to nibble on. 

 

Make enough dinner to take leftovers to work. It’s so easy to grab a sandwich (always unappetisingly chilled) for lunch, when we really could do better than that. We’re not sure about the concept of meal-prepping on the weekend for the week ahead that is sometimes suggested – we’d rather spend our weekends out there in the fresh air, yomping the hills or planting bulbs, thanks, but what is perfectly realistic is to cook a little more supper and bring the extra to work next day. (Team Beauty Bible does this and Jo’s fridge is home to many a healthy Tupperware-d leftover waiting to be re-heated for lunch!) 

 

Put your workouts in your diary. Think of them as an appointment with your healthier self. We are great believers in the power of self-care. It’s not selfish; whenever we have to take care of anyone else, we need to take care of ourselves, first. (The analogy is that in-flight message which tells you to put the oxygen mask on yourself, before helping anyone else.) It can feel hard to squeeze in a workout, or a walk. But if that’s a fixed point in your diary, it’s easier to plan around it. (We generally find that our energy levels are boosted by a power-walk or a yoga class, and that work goes much more smoothly afterwards when we’re back at our desks. So it’s a win-win.)

 

Buy yourself a big water bottle, and keep it on your desk.It’s now possible to get very generously-proportioned water bottles to keep water cool and encourage day-long sipping. You probably wouldn’t want to carry this size around with you (we like the Chilly’s 750ml bottle, BTW), but get through one in the morning and one in the afternoon and you’re two-thirds of the way there with your daily water goals. And whenever you feel stressed, take a glug of water. It’s amazing how it cools the brain as well as the body.

 

Set a limit on social media. We find the new ScreenTime social media limiting app pretty scary, actually, in terms of how quickly we can ratchet up half an hour of scrolling through Instagram pics or watching daft Facebook videos. (We find it much easier to avoid Twitter. Fact: nobody is ever, ever going to go to their grave wishing they’d spent more time on Twitter.) But for 2019, we’re really, really going to try to stick to our self-imposed limit – and maybe even reduce it over time. It’s way, way too easy to get lost in social media – so what we really find helps is having a book or a Kindle or a glossy magazine with us at all times, so there’s no risk of mindless scrolling because there’s nothing else to do. If it’s hard, switch your phone off. You really have to think twice about how important seeing someone’s latest ‘selfie’ is, before switching it on again just to look at that.

 

Above all, be kind to yourself. See above – but you should never, ever feel guilty about carving out time in a busy life just for you. Maybe for a massage. Or a class of some kind. Or even for a nap. We live in incredibly stressful, uncertain times and it’s only by charging up our batteries that we can be expected to cope – so never feel bad about doing the things that help you do just that. And above all, try really hard not to beat yourself up if habits do sometimes slip. Don’t throw your hands up and go, ‘Well, that’s that, then. I’ve failed.’ Just get back on the horse (as Sarah would definitely say), and re-establish your goal. No biggie. 

 

And have a wonderful, healthy 2019, won’t you?

The Beauty Bible’s Gift Edit

top down of a white present wrappe din gold ribbon on pink background

We do not want ornaments. We do not have room on our bedside tables for any more books (lovely as they are). We definitely don’t want ‘joke’ presents which sit around in a bag in the hall awaiting a trip to a nearby town, to drop them at a charity shop. (Lest the giver finds their singing bass –and yes, we got those – in a nearby Oxfam.) We’ve reached the point where what we really, really want (to quote the Spice Girls) is something that makes us feel pampered, or perks up our faces, or shifts our mood. And working on the basis that buying friends and family the things you rate so much you’d be thrilled to receive them yourself is a darned good place to start your shopping, here’s what we’re asking Santa for, for Christmas 2018 – from stocking fillers to splurges.

Margaret Dabbs Fabulous Cracker, £12. It’s a cracker! No, it really is – but it’s our kind of cracker, which pulls to reveal a 15 ml of her Nourishing Nail & Cuticle Serum, a cult favourite sized to slip perfectly in the handbag for on-the-go massaging into the nail area. (We like to do this whenever someone’s keeping us waiting. Much better for your nails and cuticles than scrolling through Instagram.)

Temple Spa Breath of Life Aromatherapy Inhalation Essence, £12. We’d rather find this in the toe of a stocking than a satsuma (and that’s saying something). A head-clearing ‘whoosh’!, it’s perfect for anyone who finds the festive season a bit stressful but is also very protective against winter bugs, via its uplifting but also antibacterial/antiviral essential oil blend of eucalyptus, menthol and tea tree.

Soapsmith Bloomsbury Bath Soak, £14 for 350ml. This water-softening soak is a rose bouquet garlanded by honeysuckle, primrose and peony (romantically designed to recreate the smell of flowerbeds in Bloomsbury Square gardens), infusing the water with a revitalising blend of Dead Sea salts, Epsom salts and cocoa butter. (Give it to a busy mum friend with a voucher for babysitting her kids while she takes a long, indulgent bath.)

This Works Sleep Power Nap Spray – Travel Duo, £15. The latest sleep-beckoning innovation from This Works is an aromatherapy-powered spritz to help you optimise even the most fleeting opportunities to snooze, with a clinically-proven blend of vetiver, lavender and chamomile. Can you hear us snoring from there?

Neom Organics Happiness Home Mist, £18. We all want our homes to be filled with the scent of happiness during the festive season – and this just is a ‘happy’ smell, with its positive, uplifting blend of white neroli, lemon and mimosa. (Sure beats Febreze.)

Biobelle My Diary Of Beauty Secrets Facial Mask Kit, £24. Oh, we love a face mask – that invitation to ‘relax for 15 minutes’ while it gets to work. (Oh, alright then!) We also love the design of this kit, like a secret diary that flips open to reveal six sheet masks for different skincare actions: soothing and hydrating, brightening, glow-boosting, age-prevention, firming, moisturising and more. That’s like giving someone six excuses to take time out and pamper themselves.

Hayo’u Beauty Restorer Lite, £35. We’re massive fans of facial massage, and these polished jade stones – from Chinese medical practitioner Katie Brindle – are just miraculous for draining lymph, eliminating puffiness, boosting glow and generally banishing tension in a clenched jaw at the end of a stressful day.

Aromatherapy Associates Miniature Bath & Shower Oil Collection, £40. This has probably appeared in every single gift guide we’ve ever collated – and it probably always will. There is literally nothing out there to rival the mood-shifting power of Aromatherapy Associates oils, which fill the entire house with fragrance via a single capful. (Too many of them to count have won Beauty Bible Awards, over the years.) Here’s the entire line-up, in 3 ml miniature form, all dressed up for Christmas this year with a stunning Maria Grachvogel print.

Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Refine & Glow Miracle Collection, £42. Aurelia’s products have done so well with Beauty Bible testers – again, pretty much everything in this generously-proportioned print bag has scooped one of our awards over the years: Miracle Cleanser (30 ml), Refine & Polish Miracle Balm (15 ml), a little 2ml size of the gloriously neroli-scented Cell Repair Night Oil, with a bamboo muslin cloth for every day (or more probably night) of the week.

And a stocking filler-y PS: Beauty Bible Lip Balm. Small blowing of own (angelic) trumpet here: our only ever beauty product, chunky and luscious and gloriously rich in shea butter, vitamin and E and aloe vera. We launched it quite simply because it’s the best balm Team Beauty Bible has ever, ever tried ourselves – and everyone whose stocking we tuck it into agrees. And let’s face it: when cold, Christmassy winds blow (actually infinitely preferable to grey, warm gloom), can you ever have too many lip balms?

Have a great one, with love from Jo, Sarah (and our elves).

Beneath The Layers: Winter Body Care

beauty-bible-feet

You know that saying, ‘Out of sight, out of mind?’ Well, that’s how an awful lot of women of our acquaintance regard the skin under their clothing, during the cold months. We pile on the vests, socks, gilets, gloves, scarves, tights – often all at once, resembling some kind of Michelin woman, when the weather’s bad enough. And unless we heat our houses to tropical levels (which at Beauty Bible we definitely don’t), there’s definitely no temptation to dance around naked, or even near-naked, at home.

All of which can be an excuse for not attending to the skin on our bodies. (At least until it’s time to start thinking about what it might actually feel like to be warm again, and want to peel off some layers – which usually happens around April, in our experience.) It’s easy to get lazy because that body skin is basically rarely on show except in the privacy of a steamy bathroom – because if you’re anything like us, you’re nipping into your flannelette PJs pronto, the minute you take your day clothes off.

Actually, those clothes themselves pose quite some challenges for body skin: fabric physically ‘wicks’ moisture from the body’s surface, drying it out. Thus the bottom line is that if you’re not lavishing lots of TLC from top-to-toe, you’re going to end up with skin that is dull, dry and flat-looking – and feels like nothing so much as sandpaper.

Aside from wanting skin that just plain feels nice to the touch – and isn’t tight or itchy – there’s another really good reason for continuing to give your body plenty of TLC, during the upcoming months. Well-moisturised cells allow for healthy ‘cellular communication’ – so your skin doesn’t just appear younger, when moisture levels are kept topped up; it actually behaves like younger skin, better able to renew itself. Our advice, then, is to turn on the heated towel rail, warm up the bathroom – and take a few minutes to nourish from neck-to-toe after showering or bathing each time, with the following favourite ‘finds’ of ours. They should transform caring for your body, year-round, from a beauty chore into a positive pleasure.

Start by using an oil scrub on knees, elbows, feet and shins, each time you bathe. The great thing about oil-based scrubs is that they literally leave a ‘slick’ of oil on the skin’s surface. (Often, a gorgeously fragrant one.) Work gently into areas that are particularly prone to roughness, in circular movements. Salt or sugar scrubs will dissolve in the water, leaving a fine layer on the surface that clings to skin as you get out of the water; we still like to moisturise afterwards, but this thin veil on the skin is a great ‘base coat’ for a rich cream. Our favourites include NEOM Organics Real Luxury Body Scrub, £34, with its divine scent of jasmine, lavender and rosewood; upliftingly-fragranced Temple Spa Sugar Buff, £23; and Green People Sugar Scrub, which nourishes with a blend of shea butter, rosehip, pomegranate and coconut oils.

If you skin is really bumpy and ‘chicken skin’-like, meanwhile, it may be Keratosis Pilaris (KP). Shabir writes very well about this here, – it’s a problem which affects nearly 40% of the population – but our go-to topical product for this is always Ameliorate Transforming Body Lotion, £22.50, a great treatment for rough, bumpy skin, featuring a combination of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and a special hydration complex. Impressive stuff.

The cold weather watchword, pretty much regardless of skin type, is:  ‘more’. More moisturising, more often. We actually like to double-moisturise, applying first a body lotion, then maybe an oil or a richer butter to ‘lock in’ that moisture. Our faves include the incredible Aromatherapy Associates Nourishing Enrich Body Butter (this jasmine-scented mega-treat seems expensive at £55 for 200ml, but we suggest you put it top of your ‘Dear Santa’ list right now); Soapsmith Bloomsbury Body Butter Melt, £12, and the super-affordable Jason Nourishing Cocoa Butter Cream, £6.99.

If you prefer an oil, or want to add another layer of skin TLC over your body butter, we’re fond of Weleda Pomegranate Regenerating Body Oil, £24.95 (to Jo, it smells a little like Guerlain Shalimar!); Ilapothecary Feminine Happy Oil, £40, which has a mood-balancing blend of essential oils including heavenly rose – and again, there’s a bargain option in the form of good old Jason Vitamin E Oil 5000iu, £6.99.

Pay special attention to elbows, heels, cuticles. These can get actively scaly and flaky during winter. DO NOT PICK! That’s rule number one. Secondly, after you’ve scrubbed (see above), apply an ointment-style balm and work in circular movements to get under every raised cell. If you keep this on your bedside table, it will remind you to do this every night. Lanolips 101 Ointment Multi-purpose Superbalm Lips + Hands + All Over, £10.99, is terrific for the task, while we’re also big fans of Pommade Divine, £14, with its wonderfully camphoraceous scent.

Be nice to your feet. You have pedicures in summer – why not winter? We almost make ourselves yawn afresh by repeating the mantra (yet again) that happy feet make a happy woman, but we believe in having year-round medical pedicures (from the wonderful Margaret Dabbs), to remove hard skin build-up and check in with foot health generally. In summer, we book in once a month – but once every six weeks minimum in autumn, winter and early spring, too. Because feet are closeted in lots of layers, inside shoes and boots, they can get sweaty – leading to problems of athlete’s foot. There will also be times – party nights, yoga classes – when your feet will emerge from those opaques and go on show. And how much nicer to be able to look at glamorously painted toenails and well-tended cuticles than feel embarrassed about getting your hooves out?

So: stay warm, stay snuggly – but underneath those cosy layers, be sure to stay smooth and soft, too!