Beauty Bible Loves

From the bestselling Beauty Bible team: our latest product finds and classic faves – because they're worth it!


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Bodycare

R.I.P. Wisteria Lane.

Jo still needs something, actually, to get her over the demise of Desperate Housewives (we all need a guilty viewing pleasure, and this was hers).

This luscious creation from Crabtree & Evelyn could be just the cheering thing.  Incredibly nourishing and jam-packed with softening shea butter, evening primrose, rosehip and olive oils.  Really prettily-scented, too:  soft and sweet, and we definitely get the peony and magnolia alongside the wisteria in the sweet white floral bouquet, which really clings to skin once you’ve massaged it in.  (And if you’re bothered about these things, it’s formulated without mineral oil, propylene glycol, phthalates or parabens.)

Wisteria not your thing? The same formulation’s also available scented with Rosewater, Iris, Lily or Lavender.  (Our guess: Bree would definitely go for this one, though.)

It comes in a whacking great glass jar which is definitely dressing-table-worthy – but so heavy, actually, it could double as a lethal weapon.

Which if this really was Wisteria Lane, it probably would…

UK readers find Crabtree & Evelyn Wisteria Body Cream at www.crabtree-evelyn.co.uk/£22 for 200g – click here
US readers find it at www.crabtree-evelyn.com/$36 for 7 oz – click here

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Mostly we tend to focus on specific products on Beauty Bible Loves, but we’re hard-pressed to settle on one favourite from this fab range.

Jo stumbled upon it in Provence while making her little movies with L’Occitane:  they also happen to own the Couvent (convent) – and with founder Olivier Busson being the entrepreneur that he is, it probably wasn’t going to be long before this wonderfully fragrant collection of bath/shower/bodycare/skincare/footcare/fragrance and more broke out of the gorgeous, meditative spa and made a bid for global stardom.  (The spa itself is within the former convent, and if there’s a more peaceful place for a treatment we’d like to know about it.)

The name comes from the first inhabitants of the convent (then a monastery):  the ‘Minim Brothers’ (meaning “the least”, which reflects their humbleness).  Later, Franciscan nuns took over – but the last nun left the building in 1999, and L’Occitane swooped, creating a world-class hotel.

The smells, as you might imagine, are out of this world.  We like the packaging, too, which features the shield that can be seen on the cool, thick limestone walls of the convent.  And if we’re forced to come up with a shortlist of must-haves, this is it.  (NB  We haven’t even got round to trying the skincare yet, but meanwhile these are pure body bliss…)

Le Couvent des Minimes Energizing Shower Gel.  Wonderfully uplifting whoosh of verbena and lemon, perfect for those mornings when your get-up-and-go got-up-and-went.

Gardener’s Hand Healer.  Does what it says on the tin (or rather, tube);  jam-packed with the high levels of shea butter you’d expect from any brand linked with L’Occitane.

Eau des Minimes Cologne.  A simple, classic, botanically-infused cologne:  oh-so-French, oh-so-refreshing.  (Think:  grapefruit, blood orange, lemon, rosemary, wild pansy, lemon balm, hollyhock, neroli and benzoin.)

Leg Soothing Lotion.  Love, love, love this (and the ‘matching’ Hiker’s Foot Healer, too):  ivy, red vine, cypress and spearmint work to improve micro-circulation and ease heavy legs, while grapeseed oil and shea butter nourish thirsty skin.  The Alpine mint, lemon and May Chang scent effectively awakens our senses, as well as our weary pins.

Formula No. 303 Hydrating Body Sorbet. Fabulous gel-creme texture, superb lemon-verbena scent, and wonderfully refreshing on a hot day.

Le Couvent des Minimes?   We’re almost religious in our devotion…

 

 

UK readers find the range at a couple of locations for now (or buy via the US website, below, which ships internationally);  it’s at Tesco Newport, Tesco Horwich and Tesco Dudley.

US readers find Le Couvent des Minimes at www.usa.lecoventdesminimes.com/from $6.50 (for Pure Vegetable Soap) to $45 (Eau des Minimes Cologne) – click here for the full website (and do have a good meander round)

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Something for those days when the treacle you’re wading through has finally turned to toffee.

We suggest spraying this round the office and taking a deep, meditative, mind-focusing breath, to enjoy the amazingly nerve-steadying benefits of bergamot, nutmeg, black pepper, sweet orange, lemongrass and Kaffir lime.  Jo, in particular, loves the zesty scent (with its grounding undertones) when she’s on deadline.  ‘Helps me power through’, she says.

It can also (unlike most room sprays) be spritzed onto the body, if you’re needing a little extra boost in the mind-clearing department…

We like Sranrom generally, actually – their subtitle is ‘The Philosophy of Wellbeing’ and their aim is to promote urban wellness, better sleep and mindful living through body/home/skin treats which are all formulated with really fantastic blends of essential oils.  (Fellow yoga bunnies in particular will adore them.)  Everything we’ve smelled to date has been fab, fab, fab.

Sranrom is the brainchild of two young Thai businesswomen who (if they’re anything like us) need all the mind-clearing they can muster, with a new venture to run.

You say it ‘sa-raan-rom’, a Thai word which describes feelings of pleasure, serenity and contentment.  We say:  that couldn’t be more apt.

UK readers find Sranrom Clear Mind Aromatherapy Room & Body Mist at www.sranrom.co.uk/£18 for 100 ml – click here

 

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If ever a body lotion was designed for cooling summer use, this is it.

You know how some creams can feel claggy, in warmer weather?  The Sanctuary’s, by contrast, is seriously refreshing:  a featherweight gel-lotion which nevertheless packs a nourishing punch to leave skin instantly velvety.  This is dress-and-go stuff.

At the same time, it manages to bring down skin’s temperature.  (Though it’s not menthol-y, or pepperminty:  instead, there are lift-your-spirits citrus notes of grapefruit and orange in there.)

Though they don’t market it as such, Beauty Bible thinks it would also make a great after-sun.

Better still, keep it in your hotel mini-bar.  It’s the cocktail skin needs after a hot day on that beach.

UK readers find The Sanctuary Replenishing Hydra-Tonic at www.boots.com/£10.25 for 200 ml – find it here

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We’ve never been too keen on applying ingredients like aluminium, propylene glycol or parabens to the underarm area.  (Sure, the jury’s still out on parabens/safety, but it still boggles our minds slightly that brands still use them in an under-arm product when there’s no need.)

Crystal deodorants are a brilliant alternative, then.  But they’re not always user-friendly.  (It feels downright weird, to us, swiping a lump of rock across the sweat-zone.)

So these are a brilliant on-the-go solution:  wipes (akin to facial cleansing cloths or baby wipes) which you can swipe under the arms – first thing in the morning, or even on-the-go if things get a bit hot ‘n’ bothered.  They don’t leave white marks, either, yet the natural mineral salts blitz odour-eating bacteria, while gently conditioning your armpits with aloe vera and grapefruit seed extract.  Why, even the packaging’s been glammed up by PitROK:  you wouldn’t be ashamed if these were spotted poking out of your Anya Hindmarch handbag.

And we just got the name.  Finally, after all these years.  ‘Pit’ for armpit;  ‘ROK’ for the minerals.

Duh.  (And only one of us is blonde.)

UK readers find PitROK Deodorant Wipes/£2.49 at Morrison‘s supermarkets (the sexy new packaging’s not on-line yet but you could e-mail them at pitrok@severndelta.co.uk for an update;  meanwhile the slightly old-fashioned packs are on-line at www.amazon.co.uk if you click here.)

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We love a Union Jack as much as anyone (if not more).  And you should see our bunting collection…!

But while we could have indulged in a lot of premature flag-waving in the past few weeks, overloading this site with everything from Union Jack tweezers to trios of red, white and blue polishes, we’ve held off till the Jubilee Weekend end for a real goodie:  award-winning Brit brand Elemis’s fab Best of British kit.

Open up and you’ll find all sorts of products that have played well with Beauty Bible testers over the years:  high-scoring Pro-Collagen Marine Cream age-defier, Melting Cleansing Gel, Wild Lavender Hand Lotion – plus the Tranquil Touch Indulgent Bath Elixir and Body Polish.

There’s a saving of £34 on the whole lot – it’s just £45 – and you comes in a Union Jack box that really is nice enough to keep.  (We’ve already decanted a load of USB sticks into ours.)

It’s just gone on sale in time for Her Majesty’s big weekend, and is as nice a way to flag-wave in the privacy of your bathroom as anything we’ve seen.

Have a great Jubilee Weekend from us, then  We’ll be settling down with a box of Biscuiteers corgi biscuits, a glass of champagne/elderflower, and hitting some street parties.  Bunting to the fore…!

UK readers:  Elemis Best of British Collection/£45 – call 0117-316 1888 for your nearest stockists

Back Wednesday, with more.

 

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Yoga bunnies, this one’s for you.

Or for anyone, come to that, who needs to feel a bit more chilled.  (Hang on, we’re still counting hands…)

We’ve always marvelled at the way certain fragrances can shift our mindset, instilling calm or transporting us through time and space.  In this case, impressively, we really are whisked straight to a yoga shala in India, cool breeze coming through the verandah doors, while incense trails curl up towards a thatched roof.

Well, you get our drift:  this range – from a leading Aussie naturals brand – is infused with divinely calming scents like rose attar, vetiver-y khus attar, blue lotus and champa incense, familiar to many yoga devotees.  (It’s a magnolia-like scent from the ‘Indian flower of love’.)

The collection’s extensive but all the fragrances mix-and-match well and cry out (chant out?) to be layered;  we especially like the champa-scented Meditate Body Butter, the Meditate Hand Cream with Jasmine and Meditate Shower Gel.  Not much is available on-line yet – it’s at selected Tesco stores (they’re pretty rubbish at on-line beauty) and Debenhams Oxford Street (worth a detour if you’re in the area), but Debenhams is offering one Natio Meditate Uplift Set on-line:  Meditate Hand Cream with Jasmine Attar, and the khus attar hand wash (see below for details).

The whole lot would be perfect for a yoga kit-bag, for a post-class shower.

Before you go om again…

PS  You might like to know we’ve a fab prize draw to win the whole Natio Meditate collection at www.beautybible.com if you click here – we’ve three entire sets on offer, each worth over £85.

UK readers find Natio Meditate Uplift Set at www.debenhams.com/£16.50 – click here
Australian readers find the range at www.natio.com.au/$9.05-17.23 – click here

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Cue soundtrack from Jaws.

That’s basically the sound of summer approaching.

Beaches.  Swimwear.  Skimpy tops.

Which means just one thing:  if you aren’t already body brushing, it’s time you started, because there really is nothing (in our opinion) to rival this, for helping to smooth out lumps and bumps and generally boost body circulation.  In terms of banishing cellulite, we believe body-brushing tops the effectiveness charts.

The key is:  you’ve got to do it daily – absolutely every day -  for a few minutes, and always using sweeping movements towards the heart.  (So:  up the legs and arms.)  This clever brush from Temple Spa fits over the hand (rather like the brushes Sarah uses to groom her four-legged rescued steeds), making it really easy.  The bristles are Goldilocks-esque:  not too scratchy, not too soft – just perfect.

And the bonus is:  because it revs up circulation, you really do feel as if you’ve been for a brisk walk, too.  A great waker-upper for the morning.  Summer and winter…

UK readers find it here at www.victoriahealth.com/£16

PS  This fab brush features in a prize draw on our main www.beautybible.comsite, alongside with other brilliant summer body blitzers from Temple Spa.  Click here to enter…

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We’ve always been a bit scared of massage candles – a bit phobic about the combo of burning wax and delicate skin.

This blissfully Rose de Mai-scented Skin Soothing Massage Candle from Oskia, however, has completely converted us, after a fabulous massage at their new Treatment Rooms in Covent Garden yesterday.

As if the heavenly straight-from-a-rose-bower scent wasn’t lovely enough, the combination of oils – including coconut and soybean – is incredibly skin-nourishing.  Skin’s still completely velvety 24 hours later, even after a bath (and no body lotion to follow, which is almost unheard-of).

Of course you blow out the candle before use, waiting till there’s a nice pool of warm wax – but the useful pourer in the corner of the oval candle makes that really easy to do.  And there’s something about the just-right warmth of the wax that just instantly nudges muscles into a state of relaxation.  

OSKIA founder Georgie Cleeve is a former Condé Nast food editor who set up the brand with her husband (they conceived it on their honeymoon!), and is a passionate believer in natural ingredients and nutrition, basing the range on MSM (a sulphur ingredient), which is great for skin (as well as joints, etc.)  Do check out the rest of their story here on the OSKIA site.  (We’re very keen on the fact it’s all manufactured in the UK, in Monmouthshire…)  Our testers already love the OSKIA Micro Exfoliating Balm (it’s won an Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible Award), but sometimes it takes meeting the founder of a brand to open our eyes to it properly.  Well, they’re open now.

And massage candles?  We’ve really warmed to them, now.

UK readers find OSKIA Soothing Massage Candle at www.oskiaskincare.com/£34.50 for 200g – click here

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Can a texture be ‘clever’?  We think so.  Because this definitely is.

It’s what Aveeno call a ‘Creamy Oil’ – and it’s just that.  Richer than most body lotions, but really, really nourishing.  Gorgeously lush and velvety, actually.  Tag-lines on bottles often over-egg the pudding, but in this case, ‘Moisturises like an oil, absorbs like a cream’ absolutely sums this up.

Only unlike an oil, Aveeno Moisturising Creamy Oil does sink in really, really fast – it even makes a great handcream (apply to hands and you’re keyboard-ready in seconds) – and isn’t, well…  It sounds so obvious but it isn’t oily (and messy) like an oil.  No stains on your best clothes (or your bedclothes).

It does have a strongly marzipan-esque scent and we know the world’s divided into those who love marzipan and those who leave it on the side of their plate.  It’s actually quite Grip-Fix-esque (if you remember that craft glue, from school) – but we love it.  Key ingredients are sweet almond oil (no surprises there), but also finely-milled colloidal oatmeal, which is naturally skin-soothing:  all things Aveeno are good choices for touchy skins, because of that.

If you’re getting your shins out anytime soon, this is a perfect way to banish that crocodile handbag look and restore suppleness and a healthy look, all over.

Well, almost all over.

UK readers find Aveeno Moisturising Creamy Oil at www.boots.com/£7.15 for 300 ml – click here
US readers find Aveeno Creamy Moisturizing Oil (NB slightly different name and packaging) at www.drugstore.com/$8.49 for 12 fl oz – click here

 

 

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