Several new beauty products have caught my eye recently, and some have gone on to become firm favourites. Let's start with those good folk at Lush, based down on the Dorset coast. Flying Fox Shower Gel contains four types of honey, burdock root, jasmine flower, ylang ylang, cypress and palmarosa oils, giving it an overwhelmingly gorgeous scent - the jasmine remains on the skin all day long- and this has now become my shower gel of choice. I can recommend their Oudh Heart perfume, with its warm, woody, exotic notes, while the Charity Pot moisturiser has also established itself in my affections. The Charity Pot gives 100% of its profits to organic farms in the Philippines to ensure the survival of species lost to monoculture. Containing almond oil, cocoa butter, ylang ylang oil, geranium oil and gardenia extract, it has a slightly odd scent but is incredibly moisturising and easily absorbed; the skin loves it, drinking it in immediately and deeply.
Another moisturising lotion that I can recommend is the new National Trust Garden Wild Rose and Camomile Body Butter. This is inspired by Sissinghurst Castle's garden in Kent with its roses and camomiles, and ingredients include avocado oil and shea butter, which hydrate and protect the skin in a rich and luscious cream with a gorgeous floral scent. Also from the National Trust comes the Countryside Cowslip and Meadowsweet Body Scrub. This is a very gentle body scrub, inspired by the hay meadows and hedgerows of the Golden Cap area of Dorset. It smells fresh and invigorating and is very kind to skin, not leaving it at all dry.
While we are on the topic of scrubs, the small company Greenleaves Herbal Healthcare, with their 100% natural Clay and Herbs Skincare line, has recently come to my attention. As the name would suggest, the powdered products are made from clay and herbs, and should be mixed with a little water and massaged on. They include the Purifying Acne Masque, a cooling mud-based mask that thoroughly cleans but does not dehydrate skin; the Exfoliating Body Scrub, a warming, gentle paste that leaves skin soft and clean; the mild but effective Gentle Facial Scrub; and the Hand and Foot Scrub with refreshing peppermint, to invigorate and exfoliate.
One other excellent scrub that I'd like to mention is the Green People Fruit Scrub, a superb exfoliating facial scrub with rich oils and herbal and fruit extracts, including apricot seed, aloe vera, rosemary, lavender, mandarin, bergamot, lemon, witch hazel and marshmallow. The smell is appealing and it has a wonderful texture, leaving skin beautifully smooth and not too dry.
Evolve is another company whose products impress: their Multi-Peptide Double Cream, with its slightly coconut-y smell, is a rich anti-aging moisturiser with natural peptides, nut oils, amino acids and hyaluronic acids to smooth skin, reduce winkles and lock in moisture. Their Daily Face Wash, meanwhile, has a very light, pleasant scent, and is mildly detoxifying, containing aloe vera and goji berries to sooth and protect, and natural sugars and African moringa seeds to cleanse.
On the topic of face washes, I must mention JooMo, a new company producing skincare for young people. They are passionate about using 100% natural ingredients in all their products: their face wash features honey and orange and employs the SaponinJ Skin Repair system (this contains saponins, essential oils, sea salt and natural sugars to repair and rebuild the skin's natural defences). It also includes clove leaf oil, and smells strongly of cloves--it feels very Christmassy every time you wash your face! It is non-lathering, with a very gentle but soapy cleansing action that leaves skin feeling squeaky-clean.
If you're looking for a bubble bath with a hint of the luxurious, try Jane Packer's Green Orchid, Vetiver and Lemongrass Bath Milk, which brings luscious floral scents to your bath and creates soft bubbles.
I've stopped using moisturising lotion or cream entirely at night time and have moved wholesale over to facial oils instead. Fushi's Rosehip Oil is a favourite. Fushi have been awarded the Ethical Organisation Award and their rosehip oil leaves skin healthy, glowing, and full of good nutrients.
So much for the body and face. For the hair I would recommend Osmo's Deep Hair Mask, an intensive deep repair mask for hair needing some extra TLC, whether it is dry, brittle or over-stressed through colour or other chemical treatment. It contains deeply nourishing ingredients, including jojoba, patchouli oil and ylang ylang extract, has a very pleasant sweet scent, and works best if left on for ten minutes or so. After conditioning, try Amargan's hair oil. The Amargan range includes oil, styler, spray and cleansers for hair, and features Moroccan Argan oil as one of its main ingredients. The unique ultra-light and non-greasy formula results in a hugely impressive hair oil that immediately imparts beautiful shine, without making the hair oily. The gorgeous floral scent is an added bonus.
Finally, if you're planning to get away somewhere a little warmer to catch a last bit of sun before the English winter sets in, ensure that you pack Charles Jordi's Mozzi Gel to ward off mosquitoes. This really works, and comprises essential oils, which means no nasty chemicals on your skin. I was greatly impressed by this, since all other anti-mosquito products that I have tried either didn't work or smelt horrendous. This smells lovely and is easy to apply - an invaluable product! --Em Marshall-Luck