A soft touch: Hydrate your moisture-starved skin
This is no time for rough and scaly skin, says Sarah Caden, so the panellists put some softening treats to the test
We all know that our skin will look soft and very grateful if we apply a modicum of moisturiser to it, so regular application of some makes perfect sense. It's funny, then, how many of us can't make a habit of slapping a bit of cream, lotion or oil on our bodies.
Maybe it's the miserable weather that makes us averse to standing around semi-clothed, slathering on softening stuff, or the fact that we don't get to bare anything below the neck for most of the year. Then, however, summer comes, and we often regret neglecting our mostly unseen limbs.
Regret is an empty emotion, however, and even deciding to form an all-new body-pampering habit is a bit of a waste of time and energy. Instead, you could try introducing a little luxury to your bathroom shelf. Something nice can prove more a pleasure than a chore. If nothing else, the fact that you've spent a few quid may induce you to use it.
Our five favourites this week are body treats that will quickly turn snake-like skin into something softer, smoother and, in some cases, beautifully scented. Even better, our best overall is a travel size, so you've no excuse for not keeping up the good work on holiday.
Dr Hauschka Rose Body Oil, €8.89, selected department stores, health stores and pharmacies nationwide
If you like this brand's Rose Day Cream, then you'll love the deep scent of this body oil, which speaks of dark-red roses, and is very grown up and gutsy. The soothing rose oil is combined with more bland jojoba and sunflower oils, and is suitable for sensitive and stressed skin. Oils make a great summer option for the body, as they don't evaporate from the skin's surface as fast as a lotion or cream, and they also leave a flattering sheen. This is a neat, 30ml travel size, suitable for carry-on luggage, at a decent price. "Brilliant, long-lasting silkiness and a gorgeous smell," said one panellist. "A few drops in the bath are good, too."
Best Glimmery Glow
Clarins Shimmer Oil, €37, Clarins counters nationwide
A gorgeous product if you have a tan or even if you don't. Either way, it will add a golden glow, as well as moisturising magnificently. Hazelnut oil is the key moisturiser, which soothes and softens. The scent is composed of mandarin, grapefruit, ylang ylang and tonka bean, which combine to a beachy, toasty effect. And, finally, the tiny golden shimmer pearls give that glow. "A product to prolong the effects of a holiday even as your tan fades," said a panellist. "It's so summery, and gives such soft skin."
Best All-Over Oil
He-Shi Sublime Dry Oil, €24.20, selected department stores nationwide, or see www.he-shi.eu
This new launch from He-Shi, an award-winning self-tan company, is a multi-purpose dry oil that is ideal for keeping tanned skin supple. Jojoba, rosehip and avocado oils make up this product, which has a lightly nutty scent, goes on easily and finishes to a comfortable, can-get-dressed dryness very fast. "This lifted the ashy dullness my skin can take on in summer," one panellist said. "Really brilliant on my legs, which get dry-looking very easily. Also, the big bottle would last for ever."
Best Fresh and Flowery
Roger & Gallet Lait Sorbet in Fleur D'Osmanthus, €14, selected pharmacies nationwide, or see www.marksandspencer.ie
If you can't be convinced to make a semi-regular habit of a light lotion such as this, then you're simply a hopeless case and should embrace your summery scaliness. The description of this lotion as a sorbet is fitting, as it has a cool and fresh feel on the skin. It also sinks in fast and, in the case of this particular fragrance, a lively, lingering floweriness. "I was able to get dressed in no time after using this," a panellist said. "Soft skin and no greasiness at all."
Best Scented Sparkle
Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche Shimmering Touch, €50, Chanel counters nationwide
Chanel can always be relied on for delightful companion products to their fragrances and this is a cute summer treat if you are a fan of the green, zingy, floral Chance Eau Fraiche. The little pot contains a gel-like moisturiser that you won't slather all over, but it's silky, scented and cutely shimmering with pale-gold and jade sparkle. "This is a fun bit of body moisturiser," said a panellist. "It was gorgeous on tanned shoulders and collarbones. It totally replaced my perfume in my holiday wash bag."