Monday 22 December 2014

The Panel: Soften Up

Sarah Caden

Published 26/02/2013 | 15:14

From left: L'Occitane Honey Whipped Body Cream; Clarins Moisture-Rich Body Lotion; Ren Neroli and Grapefruit Body Cream; Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion; Decleor Moisturising Body Milk

It’s not just February, it is the end of February and high time we stopped being winter-weary.

One should, of course, respect the ‘ne’er cast a clout’ rule of thumb for another few months, but one should remember that the time for the shedding of warm layers comes around quickly and it’s always a shame to find that your skin has turned to scales under them. It’s time, now, to start applying some unguent to your under-wraps body.

This is not a country for lounging around your bathroom for post-shower pampering, however. This month and next, and maybe even the one after that, it is wise to get dry and dressed with Olympic speed. So while it might be best to apply body lotion when your skin is warm and still slightly damp, many of us can’t bear to hang around half-naked after a shower. Before bedtime would do just as well, and the heat under the blankets will boost the benefits.

It’s about forming a habit before the need becomes urgent and, even better, starting to believe that spring will surface. This year, you’ll be ready for it.

BEST OVERALL

 L’Occitane Honey Whipped Body Cream, €21.95, L’Occitane shops nationwide The “whipped” part of the title refers to the texture of this cream, which is reminiscent of a mousse, though the label calls it a souffle. The effect is that it feels fluffy to the touch, but it is then creamy and rich to apply and rub in. Despite that creaminesss and its 10 per cent shea-butter content, it sinks in fast and leaves skin softened, with a milky, honey scent. “This feels like real pampering, but it’s not a sticky-skin palaver, which stops me from dreading a drawn-out process for which I have neither time nor that much interest,” said a panellist.

BEST RICH WRAP

Clarins Moisture-Rich Body Lotion, €36.60, Clarins counters nationwide With shea butter, candlenut oil and orange blossom wax, there’s no denying that this is a rich lotion, but it also has fruit acids to refine and slightly exfoliate the skin, so it’s not just a case of simply loading on the unguent. “Love the smell, love the feel, love the effect,” said one panellist. “There’s a bit of a wait before dressing, but the soft feel lasts and lasts.”

BEST CITRUS ZING

Ren Neroli and Grapefruit Body Cream, €20, Arnotts; or tel: (01) 461-0645 This is a great option for those who eschew artificial ingredients and seek out labels such as “sulphate-free” on the stuff they use on their skin. With this brand, however, there is no compromise on quality or cuteness. A nice, light lotion, with jojoba oil, shea butter and an antioxidant derived from rice bran. “The neroli lends a nutty edge to the sweet citrus of the grapefruit,” a panellist said. “A fresh option that puts spring in your skin, with a hint of summer.”

BEST SENSITIVE TYPE

Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion, €5.25, available nationwide There are panellists who swear by this stuff and even use it on their kids, which is the ultimate stamp of approval. Colloidal oatmeal is the key ingredient — finely milled oats that are often used to treat the itchiness of psoriasis, eczema and other conditions, but which also work a treat on regular dry skin. “This stuff is wildly inoffensive, which is a winner with me,” said a panellist. “It’s soothing but not heavy, and has an almost cooling, refreshing feel.”

BEST LOVELY LOTION

Decleor Moisturising Body Milk, €39.20, selected salons and spas nationwide This is a very thin lotion, which many people favour for high-speed soaking-in, without leaving any trace of product on the skin. This lotion includes coconut and vitamin E and meadowfoam oils but it’s not at all greasy. “I like this for the fact that it obviously does your skin good — it’s definitely less raw and ravaged — but with the minimum of fuss and without hanging around. A little goes a very long way, too,” a panellist said. Sarah Caden

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