Well oiled: A cushion against the January weather
We know this is a bad month to mention indulgence -- and also that suggesting self-indulgence in January is even worse. So, when it comes to selling yourself on the idea of oils, you need to think of them as a form of nourishment. See, doesn't that sit better?
Maybe that's slightly stretching it, but it is the truth that the application of oils, anywhere on the body, can only do you good in this bitter and bleak month.
Oils have become big beauty news in recent years, and most of us have become convinced of their usefulness.
One can't fail to be impressed with their multi-functioning talents, working brilliantly on hair, body and face. They can be used as pre-shower products, in-shower products, moisturiser boosters, even as oil-control products. It's only about finding the right oil.
Some oils, depending on hair and skin type, will make you look like you're ready to be put into a hot frying pan, but the right oil won't. The right one will lend suppleness, softness and, crucially, a cushion against the January weather and blues, which makes them practically a health product, right?
Kiehl's Superbly Restorative Argan Dry Oil, €39.95, 35 Wicklow St, D2; Dundrum Town Centre, D16; Arnotts
This is what it says it is -- an oil. Admittedly, it contains oils other than the Moroccan argan oil, such as apricot kernel, sesame and jojoba, but these do not take away from the quality. And it is a dry oil, as advertised, which means that you can dress immediately, while the skin is left more supple-feeling and silky-looking. "I like the plastic bottle, which makes dropping it out of slippy hands a less terrifying prospect," said one panellist. "It also adds to the no-nonsense feel of the whole product."
BEST LUXURY OIL
Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Body Oil, €53, Brown Thomas Dublin and Cork
This is deliciously dangerous stuff, with a cologne-like fragrance and a silky texture. The oils involved include olive fruit, grapeseed and date seed, which add to the Mediterranean theme, and they soak in fast, while the scent lingers longer than a cologne might. The fact that the posh-looking bottle is plastic negates any concern that your big spend will end up smashed on the bathroom floor. "Sometimes scented oils sacrifice the oil for the fragrance, but this balances both," said one panellist. "The scent is luxurious, but the effect of the oil on my skin is noticeable."
BEST HAIR OIL
Ojon damage reverse Instant Restorative Hair Serum, €26.50, from selected branches of Boots
This hair product contains silicones, as well as oil; this is a plus for those people who find pure oil to be too much for their hair, but silicones are, we accept, a no-no for some. The big sell here, however, is ojon oil and rouge oleifera -- both are betacarotene and essential-fats-rich extracts, derived from the ojon nut. "Two drops did my full head of damp hair, which then blow-dried smooth, soft and very shiny," said a panellist.
BEST BATH OIL
Emma Bridgewater Live Well Look Well Black Iris Bath Oil, €20, Marks & Spencer
This is a good-value, high-quality product, with a scent that reminds us of a fragrance from one of the very high-end candle and skincare companies. The scent is a velvety floral, with cedar and cardamom, while the oils include sweet almond and blackcurrant seed. "Deep and dark, and expensive-smelling," said a panellist. "I love an old-school soak and that slippy-skin feeling afterwards."
BEST SCENTED OIL
L'Oreal Professionnel Mythic Oil Le Parfum, €30, selected salons nationwide, see www.lorealprofessionnel.co.uk
You know the way your hair smells after a visit to the hairdresser? Well, this is it. This brand's Mythic Oil goes part way to achieving this, but its chief function is for smoothing and shining. It's an oil-based scent first, and a hair smoother second. "It smells gorgeous -- fresh and creamy," said a panellist, "and it worked well on midday flyaways and frizz."
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