Sometimes something so very, very simple can make us so very, very happy.
Like a new hand cream. But especially, this hand cream. And if you share our affection for the fresh, sweet scent of orange blossom, it’ll probably make your day, too.
La Maison des Senteurs Fleur d’Orangier Hand Cream ticks all our many other hand cream boxes. Doesn’t take long to sink in. Doesn’t leave hands greasy, but soft and moisturised. (We’re pretty keen on the fact that the lightweight, handbag-friendly tube’s made of 25% recycled plastic, too.)
But really, it’s the fragrance – oodles of orange blossom and a touch of petitgrain – that seduced us. So light, uplifting, cheery – and pretty-pretty-pretty…
UK readers find La Maison des Senteurs Fleur d’Orangier Hand Cream at www.marksandspencer.com/£3.50 for 75 ml – buy here
For the contents alone, we’d be lusting after this new Balance Me Beautiful Skin kit.
But the gorgeous gold bag kinda brings out our inner rap star – because (in a good way) we have been gold-diggers from way back.
As regular readers know, Balance Me – founded by sisters Rebecca and Claire Hopkins – is a favourite brand of ours, and this is either a fab way to discover the range in useful trial sizes, or (if you love it as much as we do) to get your hands on the range in a format that’s travel-friendly.
Inside this, then, you’ll find four treasures. There’s 100% Natural Radiance Face Oil with its unique blend of eight essential oils. To soothe and brighten tired eyes, find Wonder Eye Cream. Super Moisturising Body Wash is exactly what it says on the tin (er, bottle) – but the pièce de résistance is Super Moisturising Hand Cream, winner of an Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible Award, and one of the most fah-bu-lous hand-softeners ever.
Several times lately, Jo’s been using it on public transport (like the good beauty editor she is, making the most of ‘down-time’), and strangers have asked her what the glorious scent was. And been surprised to discover: it’s a hand cream, not a perfume.
What we plan to do, then, is slip the travel sizes in our spongebags – and decant our make-up into bag itself.
Which doesn’t just deserve a gold star: it is a gold star.
UK readers find Balance Me Beautiful Skin Kit at www.balance.me.co.uk/£20 – buy here
One of the weirdnesses of being a beauty editor is eating mince pies and listening to carols when the sun’s blazing outside (we get to see seasonal goodies months before Santa’s packing his sleigh), but we certainly did feel Christmas had come early in another way when we encountered Forest Secrets iRejuvenate at the Urban Retreat Christmas preview.
From Dr. Barbara Olioso’s all-natural range, this is a multi-tasking hand and body cream that feels just the right texture: not-too-rich, not-too-light, not-too-anything – just perfect for leaving skin soft as Rudolph’s muzzle. (Wthout the whiskers, of course.)
Referred to as ‘the cream of wonders’ by Forest Secrets, it features milk thistle oil, glycerine, cocoa seed butter, chlorella, honeysuckle extract – and has a really nice, geranium-y fragrance.
We really like the delivery system, too: no fiddly lid, just twist the cap and a nozzle appears (and duly disappears again, once you’ve dispensed the body-quencher).
Happy Chrismas, every body…
UK readers find Forest Secrets iRejuvenate at www.forestsecretsskincare.com/£25 for 125 ml – buy here – and arriving soon at www.beautique.com
Just as tout le monde is poised to return from les vacances, we bring you: our favourite travel set of summer. Better late than never, we feel. (And we’d be happy to slip this in our luggage anytime.)
We’re long-term fans of Diptyque‘s bodycare, and this features four favourite finds from the range in a black-and-white drawstring bag, inside a lovely box. (We’re upcycling ours to store USB sticks in the office, since it’s way too nice to throw away).
Unusually, all the products in the range have different fragrances, but they seem to fuse together prettily. (And though we’d expect nothing less than fab smells from Diptyque, the products are impressively high-performance, too.)
We think you’ll love the lot. Let’s start with the Fresh Lotion for the Body (50 ml size), with orange blossom water: light, but skin-quenching. Apply it after the Revitalizing Shower Gel for Body and Hair (a useful multi-tasker, this), which has a wake-up scent of bergamot and peppermint. (Comes in a 50 ml size, here.) If your body needs a buff, Smoothing Body Polish does that gently and thoroughly with jojoba beads and silica microspheres, a sloosh of pomegranate seed oil for moisturisation, a scoop of peach butter – and a dash of jasmine floral water, for a lightly heady scent. (The kit features a 50 ml tube.)
You may also be tempted to slip the Luxurious Hand Balm in your handbag, after the holiday’s over: a sinks-in-fast balm with a fruity hint of ripe apricot, plus tonka bean. (The 30 ml size is super-bag-friendly.)
Just crying out for a stylish boutique hotel room, to unpack it in, we think.
UK readers find Diptyque The Travel Collection at www.johnlewis.com/£35 – buy here
What are all the smartest loos wearing, these days…?
For years, of course, it’s been that good old Molton Brown Naran Ji duo – but as of now, there’s competition. As sleek-looking as you’d expect from the designmeister Sir Terence Conran comes this pairing of Bath Wash (good for hands, too) and Body Lotion, with a simple, minimalistic look – and a delightful floral/citrus scent that delivers wafts of lemon, orange and mandarin.
There’s a woodsier option, too, based on Oudh – and fashionably brown in colour. (On balance, we’d say this one’s ‘Hers’, and the Oud’s ‘His’, in the battle of the bathroom shelves.)
Can’t afford the Conran sofa? (One of those is still on our interiors wishlist, after too many years to count…) This duo may just satisfy your Conran lust, and leave you with a couple of grand change.
Though less comfortable to sit on, of course…
UK readers find Conran Bath and Body Set ’2′ at www.mankind.co.uk/£34 for the duo (300 ml each) – buy here
NB If you take a couple of seconds to go to Mankind via our www.beautybible.com website – here – and enter the code BEAUTYBIBLE at checkout, you’ll receive a 10% discount on the price – and on everything else on the site
Nothing worse than opening your suitcase to find your cleanser/moisturiser/body oil’s leaked all over your best holiday gear.
No chance of that, with these.
Somewhat akin to the Lush massage bars, Palm & Sole Solid Oil Moistursers look like lumps of cheese – but in contact with skin they melt at body temperature. True multi-taskers, they can be used on face, neck, body, hands and feet to deliver nourishment. Honestly, if space in a suitcase was a real issue, you could get away with one of these – and it’d certainly last for the whole vacation. (Targeted at dry and mature skins, NB.) Once used, it gets a little soft – but hardens up once it’s back in its aluminium ‘house’.
The solid moisturisers come in a screw-top travel tin, and of the four fragrances we really enjoy Sparkling: a prettily uplifting blend of rosemary, melissa and bergamot.
Almost makes us wish we were headed to a music festival to put it through its paces properly.
We said ALMOST.
UK readers find Palm & Sole Solid Oil Moisturiser at www.palm-and-sole.com/£14 for 30 ml – click here (and enjoy free postage and packing till the end of August 2012)
We’re slightly putting our reputations on the line here – but we don’t think you’ll ever find a better hand cream, at a better price, than this.
The name may sound like something out of a Carry On film – but this is really very special, packed with (almost totally natural) ingredients including lashings of almond, wheatgerm, pomegranate seed and passion fruit seed oils, white willow bark extract, aloe vera and manuka honey. It’s as rich as it sounds, but it sinks in to leave hands satin-soft.
The story behind it’s really inspiring: 26-year-old paediatric nurse Antonia Steven developed it when she was herself signed off work because her sore, cracked hands (the result of frequent hand washing and use of those beastly-if-necessary sanitizers) were actually posing an infection control risk. Yes! Nurse is the result, after it soothed not only her hands but universally those of her colleagues.
And now it’s worked its magic on Jo’s. Following a recent wrist operation, she was suffering from ‘handruff’ – the hand equivalent of dandruff, with skin so dry it was flaking off. After a single application of this extraordinary cream her skin was back to normal and is now healthy and moisturised again.
So we will most definitely be carrying on, with this. Oh, yes, nurse.
UK readers find Yes, Nurse! Intensive Moisturising Hand Formula at www.victoriahealth.com/£5.49 for 50 ml – just click here
(Do go via the Victoria Health page on our site, though – just click here – to enjoy an automatic 5% discount added at checkout)
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
It’s the truly gorgeous aromatherapeutic smells that have us hooked on Wild Planet. The founder of this natural and organic bath/body/fragrance line, Eileen Holford – based in Kent – clearly has a talent for creating fragrances that puts her up with the best in the business.
First we were seduced by this gentle, moisturising Wild Rose Geranium Hand Wash, left. (Big fans of rose geranium, us.) Just like rubbing the plant’s leaves between your fingers.
Then we lit the Vintage Rose Candle and got really quite excited: the divine scent of burying your nose in a dewy tea rose, with powerful, deep undertones of patchouli.
And when she began using the sumptuous 100% Organic Rose & Jojoba Shea Butter on her hands and feet last thing at night, wasfting off to sleep with nostrilsful of rosiness, Jo felt she’d made a real discovery. (Even if she later found out that it’s meant for thirsty faces, as an intensive overnight treatment…!)
But we say: follow your nose to Wild Planet. And your senses are in for a real treat…
UK readers find Wild Planet/£8.95-19.95 at www.wildplanetproducts.com - click here
There isn’t a woman alive who doesn’t love this hand cream.
Or if there is, we haven’t met her.
And a little bird tells us that maybe, just maybe, this is what The Queen herself uses to pamper her paws after all that manic hand-shaking. (Clarins have long held the Royal Warrant, although beyond that: Our. Lips. Are. Sealed.)
What we can say is that to celebrate the Queens Diamond Jubilee, Clarins is offering a bumper-sized limited edition tube – and not only will you save a chunky £12 on the price of the equivalent number of slatherings, but they’ll give £1 per tube to support the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (which rewards inspirational craftsmanship, to nurture British talent).
Certainly, this super-smoothing cream ticks all the boxes: it is ultra-nourishing, smells absolutely and totally gorgeous, and is packed with botanicals like Japanese mulberry extract (targets pigmention) and myrrh (a known nail-strengthener). Crucially, it sinks in really fast to leave hands ultra-soft. None of those embarrassing moments where you’ve applied your hand cream and can’t turn the handle to get out of the loo.
Not that HM goes to the loo, of course…
UK readers find Clarins The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Limited Edition Hand and Nail Treatment Cream/£26 for 200 ml at www.houseoffraser.co.uk if you click here