The central heating’s on. (Wow, that happened early, didn’t it?) The Wolford opaques have been excavated from the winter clothes drawer. And if we’re not careful, ‘out of sight, out of mind’ could be the watchwords when it comes to bodycare over the next few months. When we’re clad in Heattech vests and thermal socks and generally cosied up against the elements – always remembering that gorgeous Danish phrase, ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes’ – bodycare can go on a back burner. (With that pan of warming soup, perhaps.)
But even though skin may not be on show, it’s as important to focus on bodycare in the cold months as it is when you’re in a swimsuit. Moisture in skin makes for healthy cellular communication: when those electrical charges can pass between cells, their ability to repair and renew is optimised. (As we’ve said before, moisturiser is in itself ‘anti-ageing’.) Winter conditions – and even the clothes we wear – are the enemies of well-moisturised skin, however; tight clothing actually ‘wicks’ moisture from the surface of the body (think of your clothes as giant blotting paper!), while central heating makes for desert-like conditions atomospherically, further evaporating water from the skin.
So: scroll down to read about some of our favourite below-the-vest-line nourishers to be found on VH. But meanwhile, do also follow these tips to keep skin in tip-top condition – under your multiple layers.
Never apply body products to damp skin. It’s a complete myth that this boosts skin’s moisture levels; in fact what it does is dilute the ingredients and spread them further than they were designed to spread.
Double-moisturise. If skin is super-dry, apply one layer, allow to sink in, then reapply – ideal for seriously dry zones. Alternatively, ‘lock’ in moisture with a body oil on top.
Try a ‘shower oil’ (or in-shower moisturiser). Or do as make-up artist Bobbi Brown does, and sloosh on a body oil while you’re still in the shower, then pat skin dry.
Switch to a body butter. Look for shea butter, cocoa butter (and other nut butters) on the label: ultra-nourishing choices for the colder months. In fact, many of the options we’ve featured below are butters rather than lighter lotions – which we find don’t deliver the deep glug of moisture needed at this time of year…
BetterYou Magnesium Body Butter. A gloriously rich, almost ‘whipped-textured’ addition to the BetterYou Magnesium range – and just the best way to enjoy the sleep-inducing powers of magnesium, we’re finding. Dreamy in every way: wonderfully skin-replenishing – and quite possibly dream-inducing…! As is…
This Works Sleep Plus Dream Body. Probably half-way between a butter and a lotion in texture – but non-greasy – this features This Works signature sleep-beckoning blend of chamomile, vetiver and lavender, which are ‘time-released’ – emitting little wafts as you slumber. We love to smooth this into the chest and shoulders before bedtime, lie back and b-r-e-a-t-h-e – and are asleep before we know it. It also features age-defying retinol, for a firming action.
Temple Spa Body Truffle. We’ll give you a little sneak tip-off here: this has done VERY well in the upcoming 2017 Beauty Bible Awards – which we’ll be announcing in October. And we mean VERY well…! (NB We’re not really surprised; the facial Skin Truffle itself notched up the highest-ever score for a ‘miracle cream’ in previous testing.) As we raved on our Beauty Bible site previously, ‘this is utterly luscious, heaven-to-apply, instantly skin-improving, luxurious, indulgent, gorgeously-scented… We could go on with the superlatives!’ Sure, this is a major indulgence (notwithstanding the generous size of the jar), but the price-tag reflects the luxe ingredients, which include black summer truffles, cashmere, rose quartz, Champagne, silk and gold. (Which leaves a stunning, slightly shimmering finish that improves the look of skin from first application.
InFiore Kashmir Body Balm. InFiore’s fragrances are just so seductive – and we especially love this one, which blends earthy, grounding patchouli (very de-stressing at the end of a tough day) with neroli and sandalwood. This is a traditional ‘balm-style’ product (i.e. a blend of oils and waxes which softens on the skin, at body temperature), delivering enduringly velvety-soft skin.
Barefoot Botanicals SOS Dry + Sensitive Daily Rich Body Lotion. Lighter in texture but just great for anyone with touchy skins (either on a permanent or occasional basis). It’s unscented – which is relevant; for many sufferers of itchy skin, it can be the fragrance in a product which triggers trouble. This is far from a ‘basic’ product, though – effectively and pleasurably moisturising.
Ameliorate Transforming Body Lotion. This is also a real ‘treatment’ product – but again, actually pleasurable to use while it targets some serious challenges, including properly rough and flaky skin, Keratosis Pilaris and ingrown hairs, exfoliating with the naturally occurring AHA lactic acid. (We would never use AHAs on the face having experienced soreness in the past – but body skin is thicker, and a quite different matter.)
Aromatherapy Associates Enrich Body Butter. Another heavenly-scented skin treat, this also has an ‘airy’ butter texture which sinks beautifully into all those dry, rough areas, soothing them with a blend that includes mega-nourisher murumuru butter and babassu oil. If you like floral fragrances, this is probably the one for you – a truly divine blend of jasmine, tonka and patchouli. (We acknowledge that some of these body butters seem highly-priced – but we’re told Santa’s definitely on his way. And appreciates a heavy hint or preferably a note.)