One of the worst things about January is that sense of being stuck in the house, thanks to the awful weather and the inevitable new-year social drought.
Being housebound doesn’t have to be a downer, though — if you decide to make a treat of it, you’ll quickly banish those January blues. Try a nice bath with a waft of soothing aromas, a good face mask and some post-soak pampering with a rich body lotion, and you’re well on your way to a great night’s sleep and a seriously virtuous feeling on awakening the next day. And by this dull month’s end, you’ll be revived and restored.
Take a little time over every step of your nurturing night in. When you’re cleansing your face pre-mask, take an extra minute to massage in the product with your fingertips, using small, circular movements. Go mad and try two masks, one to exfoliate, followed by another to rehydrate and soften the lovely new skin cells you’ve uncovered. Then apply your usual moisturiser and awaken with a lovely new-face feeling the next day. A new year and a new you, without the need to shell out on an exorbitant gym.
Voya Lazy Days Seaweed Bath, €16, House of Fraser, Dundrum Town Centre, D16, Dublin Airport and selected spas and salons nationwide It’s nothing more than a net bag of (clean) seaweed, but this natural product is replete with minerals and vitamins and has tremendous healing abilities, which parched winter skin could do with. “The seaside smell is pleasant and not overwhelming, and I loved the way the water felt silky against my skin,” said one panellist. “It’s like a spa treatment at home, and the bag of seaweed can be used again as an exfoliating mitt, making it recession friendly.”
BEST HYDRATION HELPER
L’Occitane Immortelle Brightening Moisture Mask, €57.95, L’Occitane stores nationwide We don’t normally go for the manufacturer’s jargon, but the description of this as a “brightening bath” is pretty much spot on. A pale-blue gel-cream, it feels cool and soothing on the skin, and the essential oil of immortelle is credited with the moisturising, smoothing effect. “The feel of this is like giving your skin a drink, and that’s the visual effect, too,” said one panellist. “It’s equally good as a night-in treat or a pre-night-out pick-me-up.”
BEST LIMB LOTION
Elemis Pro-Collagen Body Cream, €67, Harvey Nichols, Dundrum Town Centre, D16; selected salons nationwide This is a pricey product, but very, very nice. Any fans of the Pro-Collagen face creams will know the deal: it’s a rich, highly hydrating formula that soaks in speedily, while the slight shimmer in this body lotion leaves a nice sheen on the skin. “This is a treat, no question,” said one panellist, “but it feels like a treat going on, too, and a little goes a long way.”
BEST SOOTHING SOAK
Aveda Calming Composition Soothing Oil, €27.50, Brown Thomas; House of Fraser, Dundrum Town Centre, D16; selected spas and salons nationwide Bubbles can be drying, but a few drops of a good bath oil like this can restore the skin’s suppleness and soften any scratchiness. “This is a kind of top-to-toe treatment, if you massage it into the scalp as well as bathing in it,” said a panellist. “My skin and hair were soft and I smelt like I’d been to a posh spa.”
BEST FRESH FACE
Kiehl’s Over-Night Biological Peel, €48, 35 Wicklow St, D2 A thin lotion that you use at night, after cleansing and before moisturising, the urea content gently peels away dead skin and the high concentration of hyaluronic acid, among other ingredients, seriously boosts hydration. One night of it is like the effect of a good scrub; a month of it will really show in your skin’s texture and tone. “I love how this is like a scrub with superpowers,” said one panellist, “and you don’t have to do any work. My skin is so soft.”