Nourishing. Nurturing. Comforting. Soothing. That’s what we all need as we head towards the longest night of the year. We need it on all levels – in our surroundings, in our hearts, and in/on our bodies.
My bowl is warming up – less salad now and more warming grains and pulses. The fire is lit more often and a candle always burns, in my office, on the kitchen table while eating, in the living room while relaxing.
My skin feels the need for more nourishment too. I tend to use oils – both for face and body – in the colder months. My dear friend, Jane, had sent me Annee de Mamiel’s Autumn oil which has kept my face feeling soothed and de-stressed for the last few months. It’s good, really good, but at £67, it’s expensive. It’s also very much a night oil. Not just because it’s rich but also because the scent is quite strong. I like it and I find it soothing before sleep, but I wouldn’t want to sniff it right through the day.
When I don’t have such largesse, I often plump for Wild Wood Grove’s argan’s facial oils – I’ve yacked on about these before, but I figure it’s worth reminding you just how good they are. I can never quite decide which I like best – the jasmine or the sandalwood. They also do a great men’s face oil – men all too often forget to moisturise their skin and those products that are available are often stuffed full of nasties. This one looks great – am very tempted to get some for James. Their face blends cost from £14 so won’t break the bank. Highly recommended.
I’ve also been testing out Belenos Skin Botanicals, a new UK brand recommended by Phil at Hands On clinic in Braunton. Once again, these are good value – packaging is kept simple and their facial serums and elixirs cost just £9-£10. They keep them free from unpleasant chemicals, using organic oils where possible. I tried the Repair Elixir and it’s certainly good food for stressed skin. I found the scent just a tad overbearing for a day serum but that’s a personal thing. It also has Sea Buckthorn in it which gives it a strong orange colour. Yes, it tinges the skin a little – I don’t mind that but if you’re wedded to a porcelain complexion it’s worth bearing in mind. Again, they have a range for men, including ‘beard tonic’ and ‘beard balm’ for the hipsters in your life. But let’s not get started on beards, eh?
The real superstars in their range, for me, are their body and bath oils. They sent me Love Potion #3 (there are three in the range) and it’s delicious – all my favourite scents (amber, sandalwood, chocolate, jasmine, all blended together). Okay so it does contain fragrance but there are no real nasties here. It turns my evening bath into one big warm watery hug. It feels like a caress on the skin and a kiss to the mind. And, in these drear dark dank days, that is surely what we all need.
For more hints on living seasonally, check out The Natural Year – my book on seasonal living.
Note: bear in mind that, just because something is ‘natural’, it isn’t necessarily going to suit all skins. Some essential oils are not suitable for everyone. These ranges all indicate which blends aren’t suitable for certain people and conditions. However, even if you don’t have contraindications, some oils might not suit. I’d suggest doing a patch test.