October 4th 2017
It feels a tad indulgent to shop for yourself at this time of the year with all the Christmas gifting going on, but while these aren't necessarily products you'll 'need', we can guarantee you'll want them.
From a frizz-fighting budget hair mask to a hand scrub that's luxurious but effective and a steam straightener that's kinder to your over-styled hair, here are the health and beauty finds we're seriously impressed with this week...
Why we love it: “Delivers super sleek, smooth results in half the time.”
Review: “When it comes to styling my hair I am all about the low-maintenance life. However, years of bleaching my blonde locks has meant that my damaged hair is prone to extreme frizz, something which can take hours to tame and can damage my hair further. So when I heard about the Steampod by L’Oreal I thought it sounded like a dream, promising to be ‘50% smoother and faster compared to a regular straightener’ as well as boasting ‘a kinder approach to heat styling’ due to the high-pressure steam system. It’s safe to say now I am addicted to this tool! My morning hairstyling routine has been slashed in half - it smoothes and straightens the hair in record time. The built-in comb works in unison with the larger straightening plates to allow you to tame huge unruly chunks of hair at a time, with the steam delivering super sleek results almost instantly. There are a number of different heat settings available to allow you to tailor the tool to your own hair needs. The gorgeous new limited edition Midnight in Paris design would make a wonderful Christmas gift for the beauty addict in your life too. My only gripe would be that it’s a little bulky and therefore not ideal for travelling, however anything that allows me an extra 5 minutes in bed in the morning is a winner for me.”
Reviewer: Alexandra Harrison, Administration Assistant
Why we love it: “A hydrating intense hair treatment that really works.”
Review: “While I am a huge fan of a regular face mask (many a glossy pick has been dedicated to my favourites!) I have probably been guilty of neglecting to look after my hair in the same way. I have very thick hair and although it’s not frizzy it is rather annoyingly flyway. The best bet in fighting flyway is to keep hair healthy and moisturised, which the Noughty Intense Moisture treatment is perfect for. Firstly, it smells divine and has a lovely silky rich texture, which I applied quickly and easily to damp hair and left on for the recommended 20 mins. My hair immediately felt softer on rinsing, and my trusted Tangle Teezer was left with no work to do at all as it just glided through my hair. Since using it, my hair feels notably silkier, and looks shiny and glossy without any heaviness or build-up of the product (plus, it smells great). What’s more, this treatment is 97% natural, cruelty free and vegan friendly, and is also free from petrochemicals, parabens, sulphates and silicones. Quite an impressive list of credentials and all at only £8.99 for a substantial pot - affordable and effective.”
Reviewer: Kully Buhal, Head of Business Development
Why we love it: “Makes taking this vital vitamin a pleasure.”
Review: “During the winter months, 40 per cent of us have low levels of vitamin D and I’ve tested low in it recently myself. It seems that every year more benefits of this key vitamin are being discovered (healthy bones and teeth, immune and muscle function to name but a few) and it’s the one vitamin that Public Health England recommends that everyone takes in the winter months. It’s only stored in the body for six weeks, so our supplies from summer sun soon run out and we can’t get enough from our diet to meet our body’s needs.
"I haven’t always remembered (or been bothered) to take my drops or tablets, but in apple and blackberry gummy form, strangely the reluctance vanishes! I don’t have to nag my D deficient 14-year-old either, especially as she struggles swallowing tablets.
These vitamins are sugar-free and use healthier sweeteners xylitol and stevia. They contain 25mcg of vitamin D3 – the daily dose recommended by GP Dr Sarah Brewer for optimum health in winter (the PHE recommendation is 10mcg) and in the form most easily absorbed by the body.
Healthspan have thought of everything really, including the child-safe lid (it’s not for under-fives) and a discounted subscription service. They do contain gelatine, though, so not suitable for veggies and vegans.
Reviewer: Victoria Woodhall, Editor
Why we love it: “A great way to feign wide awake eyes.”
Review: “Many products have tried and failed over the years to coerce my poker straight eyelashes to show any signs of shape. A multi-stage approach is needed and Eyeko’s new Cushion Curler set complete with travel-sized Lash Alert Mascara has proven particularly effective in this regard. Extremely comfortable to use, the Cushion Curler’s malleable silicone pad and contoured cage lightly grips and lifts lashes to produce a naturally looking (and pinch-free) curl that only takes around seven seconds to perfect. When combined with a couple coats of the accompanying mascara, eyes are left looking defined and lashes lengthened and curved - the perfect combination of products in my opinion to make tired eyes look much more awake.”
Reviewer: Ayesha Muttucumaru, Senior Features Writer
Why we love it: “A unique way to wear your scent that’s perfect for winter.”
Review: “With temperatures plummeting, I’m wearing more layers than a French pastry and while this has left me incredibly warm, any spritzes of perfume to my wrists, decolletage and neck are unsurprisingly being smothered by a mixture of wool, flannel and pleather. I’ve been looking for ways to mix up my fragrance wardrobe without changing the clothes in it and a hair perfume has provided the ideal way to do so. Rich and enveloping yet lightweight in texture, Tom Ford’s new Black Orchid fragrance has become a fast favourite of mine this season thanks to its cocktail of notes that include black truffle, ylang, patchouli, black orchid, vetiver and sandalwood and blend of hair softening ingredients that add subtle luminosity to dry ends (it even contains UVA and UVB filters too). With my hair often being the only thing I leave exposed when venturing out in snowy conditions, it allows me to get my fragrance fix without giving up my fleece.”
Reviewer: Ayesha Muttucumaru, Senior Features Writer
Why we love it: “It elevates an at-home mani to a luxe new level.”
Review: “Look, you don’t need this. You can make a perfectly functional body/ hand scrub at home using coconut oil and some rough salt crystals, but sometimes payday calls for a fancy ‘treat-to-self’, and this ticks that box ten times over. Softening and just the right level of gritty, you only need a tiny squeeze of this lush fragranced exfoliator to slough off dry, hard skin and those funny flaky skin bits around your cuticles. Work it into dry hands (or feet - even more ‘home spa’ worthy), then rinse with warm water and stroke your silky new extremities all day long. I didn’t even feel the need for hand cream afterwards, but given the current sub-zero climes, it’s probably wise to ‘belt and braces’ the bodycare for longer lasting hydration. If you’re planning on painting your nails afterwards, this creates a lovely nourished canvas, akin to going to a salon, although without the thorough cuticle work. A spendy indulgence, but one that I’ve used three times this week already (as grooming goes, a quick scrub is very low maintenance with a high soft skin yield). The much-loved Byredo rose scent lingers for hours afterwards too. It’s lavish, but I love it.”
Reviewer: Anna Hunter, Senior Features Writer
Why we love it: “A flattering trio to blush and highlight, that brings a healthy radiance to the cheekbones.”
Review: “I never invest in a blush palette, it’s that step of makeup I never bother with (my colleague Anna Hunter, blusher expert is probably shuddering at this statement!) but I might be convinced after trying this Zoeva edition. On first look this palette is a little alarming, but fear not, those bright pops of colour are in fact deceptively flattering and can be built up to your desired intensity thanks to the sheer powder formulations - especially good for someone like me who isn't used to a pop of cheek colour. With two blush tones to choose from - Privacy, a bright fuchsia and Holistic Balance which is a deeper violet-mauve - these strong pigments instantly boost my pale complexion and are subtle enough to make me look healthy rather than clown-esque. The highlighter is the winning number for me in this palette though. A shimmering champagne hue, it brings a slight lift and radiance to my cheekbones, without being too shimmery. Enriched with vitamin E and free of parabens and mineral oils, and at such a great price, it's ticking all the boxes for me.”
Reviewer: Sarah McGinnis, Art Editor
Why we love it: “A spot-fighting concealer that blends like a dream.”
Review: “I may refuse to leave the house without mascara, but concealer is probably my favourite product - because I wouldn’t have survived my teens without it. But I wish I’d had this brilliant stick back when I was battling those spotty school years; back by popular demand, Eucerin’s blemish concealer has relaunched and I’m not surprised it’s so well loved. A creamy, high-coverage, easily blended concealer stick, it contains salicylic acid - the spot-fighting ingredient we’re always banging on about - to help treat the spot while you cover it. Eucerin advises to top up through the day, and I must say coverage-wise I needed to as it’s got quite a lot of slip, but that also makes it a dream to use on stubborn, sore blemishes that need careful camouflage. My only quibble would be that they need more shades (it’s only available in one, which luckily suits my fair-ish skin), but I can’t fault the formula - I swear any pesky hormonal spots have disappeared faster than usual after using this regularly.”
Reviewer: Judy Johnson, Digital Editor
October 4th 2017
June 21st 2019