At times like this small acts of self-care feel more important than ever. And if you're looking for a gift to send to someone who's struggling, step right this way for inspiration
We know that in these trying times buying new beauty products probably isn't at the forefront of your mind - it's not in ours, at least. Having said that, the products we've already got at home have been seeing us through the pandemic, acting as day brighteners no matter how small they might seem.
At times like this small acts of self-care feel more important than ever - and even if you disagree, there's no denying that we have more time than usual to indulge in face masks, soaks in the tub and the like. Here's what has been seeing team GTG through hours at home and the occasional video meeting.
Loved by Melanie Macleod, digital writer
"My body care routine is usually quite pared back - a shower gel in the shower (groundbreaking!) followed by a body cream afterwards (normally using Byredo's Bal D'Afrique ) however since I've been working from home, I've started to luxuriate in my routine, adding in products and generally taking as much time over my body care and I do on my face. Here's what I've added into my regime since the pandemic took hold."
Pixi Rose Blend Body Oil, £24
"I love a body oil, but there’s not really a place for them in my daily life, sadly. I normally need to get dressed straight away after my shower, so there’s no time to let my skin luxuriate in an oil - not unless I want to be a greasy mess in my skinny jeans all day. Since wokring from home though, all that has changed. Now I don’t need to rush out the front door and onto a train I have time to lavish my skin every morning with this body oil. Sure, nobody else can appreciate how soft and velvety my legs are, nor enjoy the delicate rose scent, but I can and for now, that’s enough."
Carbon Theory Body Bar, £7.50
"Last week we had a feature on site about what we wash our bodies with and until now I’ve been exclusively in the loofah camp (I know Victoria finds them gross, and I know they’re not good for the environment, but i just love the suds…) Anyway, since self-isolating I’ve been using this body bar, and I might just be converted. The natural vitamin E beads exfoliate my skin, working wonders on in-grown hairs (TMI? Sorry) while charcoal and tea tree oil calm inflammation and draw out deep bacteria. My skin feels fresher than ever and I can’t see myself turning back to the loofah when life returns to normal…"
D’Alchemy Neck & Decolletage Wrinkle Refill, £40
"I’ve been thinking about adding a decolletage product into my nighttime routine for a while, but after getting home late from spin, then cooking dinner and only just managing my double cleanse, I haven’t found the time. Until now. I have no excuse not to do a many-stepped routine and so I started using this delicately scented cream. It absorbs quickly, giving a moisturising feel to the area of my bod that I’m most worried about getting crepey. It promises to reduce the appearance of lines and instantly fills in wrinkles that are there for an immediate filled in, plumper look. Maybe by the time I'm allowed to go outside and wear a bikini it'll be perfectly smooth?"
Loved by Ophelia Froud, associate editor
"My own beauty wardrobe has been pared right back self-isolating but there are some clear winners that make me smile every time I use them."
Neom Essential Oil Diffuser: Wellbeing Pod, £90
"This wellbeing pod is a must-have for me on so many different levels. It’s a plug-in ceramic diffuser that I fill up with a blend of water and essential oils every morning and switch on. It lights up and for the next three hours sends the most beautiful smells throughout that are calming and soothing. This package comes with four scents which range from “Make you Happy!” with neroli, mimosa and lemon blended essential oils to "De-Stress" a blend of lavender, jasmine and rosewood. There is also the "Boost Your Energy" blend of Sicilian lemon and fresh basil plus a "Sleep" blend of English lavender, sweet basil and jasmine so you can take your pick depending on your mood. I’ve now got three going in different rooms and was enjoying them so much that I have been sending them to friends in need or to thank a friend who has been dropping food parcels to my mum as she self-isolates. They sell out fast so be quick!"
Dyson Coralle Hair Straighteners, £399.99
"Until now I’ve dashed off for a weekly blow-dry and then add a top-up of dry shampoo to keep my thick, mid-length locks glossy, tonged and groomed. Over the years I’ve tried and failed to establish an at-home hair routine due to time and technique. Both limited on my part! But last week that all changed when I had to start doing my own hair. After a quick eight-minute blast with my Dyson hair dryer I followed with a road test of the new cordless straighteners . Would they join the other unsued hair tools piling up in my bathroom cabinet or would they be a game-changer?
"Sleek, shiny and cased in a beautiful velvet pouch these won my heart from first use. They were easy to use, heated up fast and turned my messy frizz into a polished look in less than ten minutes. But apart from sleek straight locks, the best bit was the technology. The Dyson Corrale straightener is the only straightener with flexing plates that shape around your hair, gathering it together on each pass which means you can achieve the same style but with less heat – and half the damage. The design also means you can also use it on the go cord-free. Kitchen styling anyone? I could go on about the clever whizzes at Dyson and how it works but let’s face it at £399 we just need to know if such an investment beauty tool grooms our locks quickly, easily and with less damage than other straighteners. The answer is a huge yes. Run don’t walk."
Color Wow Root Cover Up, £28.50
"Roots starting to show on your blonde highlighted hair? Yup mine are too. But dab this genius product on your roots to make them less obvious. The precision mineral powder covers up roots in a flash and it’s water-resistant so it lasts a couple of washes. There are different shades for different hair colours and it’s a quick and easy job to dab the dry powder on. It’s a “didn’t get to the hair salon on time” game-changer. Wax, dye and paraben-free What’s not to love apart from they are selling fast so snap them up while you can."
Loved by Jemma Thompson, digital designer
"Like many, I’m taking self-isolation as an opportunity to get around to the things that I usually put off or never have time to do, even down to my beauty routine."
Scientia Dawn Elixir and Dusk Elixir, £32 each
"One of my main aims it to finally nail a religious skincare routine. As much as I love to swap products in and out, recently to no surprise this has caused havoc on my skin. Until I tried Scientia, a new brand focused on aromatherapy, the mind and making you feel and not just look good. They currently have two products in the range, the Dawn Elixir and Dusk Elixir, jam-packed with a blend of 23 natural and vegan essential oils. I love everything about this brand, obviously the Insta-worthy packaging is a starting point but mainly the concept. You apply Dawn and Dusk Elixir at different times to maximise on their key properties. Dawn is the equivalent to your morning coffee, it’s energising thanks to a dose of ginger, helps courage and confidence with fennel and boosts radiance whilst protecting you from UV rays and environmental pollution. Dusk will soothe you to sleep, with notes of lavender, ylang-ylang and frankincense whilst giving your skin the chance to repair and recover with a mix of fatty acids, omegas and antioxidant and bakuchiol , perfect for boosting collagen production and combating premature ageing. It’s a chance to sit and breathe and has become my daily ritual in a time with no structure and I couldn’t be more grateful."
Amika Soulfood Nourishing Mask, £20
"Now don’t get me wrong, I love a mask whether it’s hair, face or even foot, I’m there! But a mid-week hair mask? I’ve never had time for that. But I think I might be converted thanks to this weekly deep treatment hair mask from amika; leave on for seven minutes in hair heaven and you’re left with locks so nourished, dry and dehydrated hair becomes a distant memory. It contains jojoba seed oil which locks in moisture and helps to strengthen alongside vitamin C that works to repair and protect hair. Plus the scent is so delicious you would want eat the tub and it’s vegan and cruelty-free!"
Loved by: Victoria Woodhall, editorial director
"I’m keeping up my morning ashtanga practice at home while my yoga centre is shut and to be honest, motivation is tricky when you are sharing a small space with a family. A really good mat is a big help here. We've bought a Donnay table tennis table, £199 for the garden so I'm excited to try this new sport with my children and make sure I spend enough time outdoors. Beauty wise, I'm taking the time to try out some facial tools."
Kin Yogamats Sumatris washable eco mat, £55
"If you are looking to buy a mat for home practice I’d highly recommend this newcomer eco brand designed by yogis for yogis. I use two different ones regularly. My staple is the charcoal black Primal mat £75 , which has more cushioning than other similar super grippy mats I have tried (it’s 4mm but feels thicker) and is made of natural rubber with Eco-PU (polyurethane). The one pictured here is the lighter 'skinny mat' which I use at home on carpet or on a studio mat (back in the pre-isolation days...). It becomes super grippy if you lightly mist it with water or build up a sweat. It’s machine washable with a rubber base and microfibre top. Plus is’s just stupendously pretty, which adds just that extra oomph to my motivation."
The Nue Co Functional Fragrance, £20 for 10ml
"When I first sniffed this, I thought it was a dead ringer for Le Labo’s cult fragrance Santal. It has those earthy spicy notes with a hint of sweetness that are just addictive. I kept smelling my wrist and almost wanted to eat it (these are strange times!).
"Intriguingly, it’s been developed not by a perfume house but by nutritional supplements’ disrupter brand The Nue Co. Using research by neuroscientists at the University of Geneva Brain and Behaviour Laboratory they've developed an anti-stress supplement in smell form. A top perfumer has also had a hand in this unisex scent, which elevates it from being simply one of those hempy good-for-you things. You just want to keep sniffing it - which is really the point. It has a kind of mental resetting effect and, in my case, curbed the urge to stress snack. It reminds me of Christmas spices - that'll be the cardamon and green coriander. But there’s also iris in there cedarwood, myrrh, amber and violet. At £20 it’s the perfect care package gift for anyone struggling right now."
BeautyBio GloPro Facial Microneedling Tool, £199
"I have had this sitting in my cupboard for at least a year and lockdown has been the perfect chance to get my teeth into micro-needling . It helped that I met BeautyBio’s founder Jamie O’Banion recently - I had no idea how old she was but the eldest of her three children was 14 and she looked like a teenager. I wanted what she was having.
"I do it twice a day on a clean face, having swiped first with Skin Prep cleansing pads £39 it comes with (I recommend buying more). It’s not at all painful (the needles are 3mm) it feels pleasantly prickly and all the while the micro-trauma generates a rejuvenating response. Afterwards, your skincare sinks in much more deeply and quickly thanks to the microchannels you’ve created - therefore it gets to where needed. The microchannels stay open for five minutes and after that you can put makeup on.
"I’m totally sold on BeautyBio skincare, by the way. Jamie’s family have made skincare for the biggest names in beauty for decades and she is incredibly knowledgeable on ingredients right down to the molecule. I use the Daily Intensive Vitamin Cocktail Serum, £85 which has antioxidants and peptides, after needling in the morning and her Nightly Peptide Serum, £105 with retinol at night. After two weeks I can already see a difference in the softening of my lines. Addicted!"