Friday 30 January 2015

Get well oiled for beautiful skin

Sarah Caden

Published 12/06/2013 | 11:38

Pictured, from left: Aromatherapy Associates Inner Strength Bath and Shower Oil; Clarins Splendours Shimmer Body Oil; Aveda Beautifying Moisturising Oil; Human+Kind All-in-One Body Oil; Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Or Multi-Usage Dry Oil Golden Shimmer

Have you seen your legs lately? Well, it's time to pay them some urgent attention and for that, you need an oil.

A recent poll -- OK, it was idle chat between three people about to embark on sun holidays -- revealed that Irish legs don't see the light of day for at least nine months of the year.

There's no point, at this stage, in preaching that we should exfoliate and moisturise our bodies all year long and not just when a full-body reveal is imminent.

Attempts to describe the state of our limbs, as summer wardrobes were taken out of storage and tried on, saw white, dry skin likened to silver-birch bark, snakeskin, elephant hide and polar-bear legs, and that was before anyone touched on the subject of hair removal.

In situations such as these, your average body lotion won't cut it. An oil is what you need in an emergency. Oils are much richer and they almost instantly turn scale-like skin into something resembling a smooth surface. True, you need to stand around in the nip for a few seconds more to let them sink in, but it's summer and finally it's time to strip off.

Best Overall

Aromatherapy Associates Inner Strength Bath and Shower Oil, £39, see

This product is pricey, but it wins out for the fact that it really works on the most winter-ravaged skin. The brand recommends that you use it in the bath or before bathing, rather than after washing. It's so rich that it doesn't simply rinse off -- though you shouldn't scrub or soap it -- and, afterwards, your skin is left soft and fragrant. "After a few days of rubbing a small bit of this over my legs before showering, they were like different limbs," said a panellist. "Well worth the splurge."

Best Sunny Shimmer

Clarins Splendours Shimmer Body Oil, €37, Clarins counters nationwide

The summer release from this brand includes various eye, cheek and lip colours, as well as this bottle of shimmering oil. The hazelnut-oil base has a lightly nutty fragrance that is enlivened with the scent of mandarin, grapefruit and ylang-ylang. "It's a bit like pouring liquid gold on your skin and the smell is amazingly summery," a panellist said. "It's luxuriously moisturising, too."

Best Multi-Purpose

Aveda Beautifying Moisturising Oil, €28, Brown Thomas; House of Fraser, Dundrum Town Centre, D16; selected spas and salons nationwide

This brand does a range of oils with titles such as "calming" and "energising", as well as this one, with its rather big promise of beautifying. It's an oil that can be used on the skin and scalp to good effect, either in or after a bath or rubbed in ahead of shampooing. It smells of bergamot and rosemary, delivered in a bland base of jojoba oil. "I took this at its word and used it everywhere, including on my feet, which look far less dessicated as a result," said a panellist.

Best Simple Value

Human+Kind All-in-One Body Oil, €14.95

Free of parabens, chemicals and ingredients known to trigger allergies, this oil boasts its abilities as a product suitable for all the family -- from babies to mothers-to-be. It includes vitamin E, arnica, sunflower, wheatgerm and avocado oils, among others, but the smell is nicely neutral and very easily absorbed. "You don't have to wait too long for this one to sink in after a shower, which makes it less of a palaver for a lazy sort like me," said one panellist.

Best Twist on a Classic

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Or Multi-Usage Dry Oil Golden Shimmer, €35, Clerys; Arnotts; selected pharmacies nationwide

This oil is the shimmering sister of the classic multi-usage oil; equally rich in Vitamin E and six precious oils, including hazelnut, macadamia and sweet almond oil. It's a dry-feeling oil that is free of mineral oil and silicones, though not everyone will want shimmering particles in their hair. "This made my legs look great and slightly sun-kissed," said a panellist. "The moisturising effect lasted after the glimmer was gone, too."

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