There are two beauty products I use so regularly it’s unthinkable not to have them in my bathroom: one is a moisturiser for the face; the other a moisturiser for the body. Creams, lotions, butters, balms, oils, gels — for me, a body cream is as essential as knickers or shampoo.
There are many duff body creams, so finding one that works for you is like striking gold. With body creams or lotions, price is not a guide of effectiveness. One of my favourite body creams is Neutrogena Norwegian formula deep-moisture comfort balm, for just e6.57.
Expensive body creams can feel luxurious, are richly scented and have a velvety texture that is incredible on the skin, but others have an overpowering whiff, don’t rub in well and don’t improve your skin.
If you have dry skin, start with a body butter. Fabulously rich and deeply moisturising, body butters melt on application, leaving your skin coated in an unctuous layer of hydration.
I’ve recently rediscovered The Body Shop’s coconut body butter, e18.95.
It’s excellent, and leaves the skin supple and comforted. The downside is a strong sweet scent that stays on the skin for a few hours after application — great if that’s what you want; not so great if you wear perfume.
For a more natural cream, try Crabtree & Evelyn’s new avocado, olive and basil skin nourishing body butter, e27.49. Or take it a step further with L’Occitane’s 100% pure shea butter, from e8.95 for 8ml, which needs to be melted in the hands to soften it before application. Still, it’s great for areas of dry skin, such as elbows, knees or heels, and with only one ingredient (shea butter), it’s ‘natural’. The small, 8ml tin is good for travelling.
Body oils have graduated from being a massage tool to bona fide moisturiser, and they’re a great choice for summer because of the sexy, glistening sheen they leave on the skin. They also leave the skin super-soft.
Previously the preserve of more expensive, exclusive beauty companies, there are cheaper ranges available, although the quality is not as good. If you can, splash out on Clarin’s body treatment oil relax, e44.73 (truly divine), or try Espa’s detoxifying body oil, e37.48.
A fresh gel can be a godsend on hot summer days when the last thing your skin wants is a thick, claggy cream. Gels also tend to be more complex than regular body lotions, and usually have some added benefit of firming or cellulite-bashing (be wary). Kept in the fridge, they make a great refresher on a super-hot holiday. Liz Earle’s naturally active hip and thigh gel, e21, is the best I’ve tried, so give it a go.
Finally, if you like a lighter lotion for summer, you’ll be spoiled for choice this season, but I’m opting for Burt Bee’s carrot nutritive body lotion, e11.05. Yum.
Remember to lightly exfoliate several times a week (even just with a mitt) to make sure your skin is perfectly prepped. Even the best moisturiser won’t be able to penetrate layers of dead skin, so slough it off for the best results.
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