Like a good skincare junkie I am constantly testing and trying out new products. When I find a product that blows my hair back, I see if I can make it better by combining it with another mind melting product. It’s kinda like taking Spider Man and giving him Superman’s powers. These products together take skincare to a previously unknown level…

Hydrating B5 and Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight mask

I absolutely adore Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 and I absolutely love Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight mask. Put the two together and you have a match made in heaven, which works the best for dehydrated and dry skin.

NeoStrata’s Smooth Surface Daily Peel and Kiehl’s Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate

This combo is killer. The Neo Strata pads contain glycolic acid which exfoliates and increases cell turnover to clarify pores, refine skin texture and improve skin tone. Just before bed, apply the Kiehl’s Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate, which continues the exfoliating/cell renewal theme, followed by your favourite facial oil or cream and you wake up in the morning with GLOWING skin. Most times when I use this combo, I get lots of compliments about my skin. 

Australian Gold Self Tanning Lotion and Caribbean Tan Darkening Drops

Australian Gold makes a good self tanning lotion that comes out looking super natural, never orange, and fades evenly. The only down side is that a) the colour is a little bit too light and b) the lotion is slightly tinted, but doesn’t have the strongest colour guide. I have a problem with sunless tanners that don’t have an adequate colour guide, because where am I rubbing it in my skin? By adding Caribbean Tan’s Darkening Drops, the colour is intensified and the colour guide is stronger. Winning. You can even mix the Darkening Drops in with your regular body lotion to create a customised colour for your skin tone.

Beauty Blender and The Body Shop’s Vitamin E Hydrating Face Mist

Sometimes I’m too lazy to wash my Beauty Blender sponge. I also like the look of a more natural to medium application of foundation versus caking it on. Because of this I simply spritz some of The Body Shop Vitamin E Hydrating Face Mist onto my beauty blender before I squeeze my foundation onto it, and hey presto! A beautiful looking complexion in 2 minutes flat.

Batiste Dry Shampoo and INOAR Kálice Multi Purpose Oil

I love dry shampoo because who doesn’t love something that extends the life of your blowdry/styling efforts? Also because of the volume it gives me, and this specific Batiste XXL variant gives gooood volume. By day 3, when my ends are looking a little dry, I just smooth on some INOAR Kálice, which is a blend of 7 precious plant oils, and which smells insanely delicious, and my hair looks healthy and shiny again!

Do you have any favourite product combinations?

 

I love going into The Body Shop when they run their 2 for 3 specials. Who doesn’t like free stuff? After hearing Caroline Hirons talk about a few of these products, I felt compelled to go and check them out.

Getting straight to the good stuff, let’s talk about Drops Of Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask. It’s described as an overnight sleeping mask, enriched with Edelweiss stem cells, that leaves skin looking bouncier and feeling replenished.

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It has a strange, firm, jelly-like texture which almost makes it difficult to scoop up. I usually apply it after my facial oil has sunk in, and give it another 30 minutes to settle in before I go to sleep, as it can be a bit sticky on the pillow. What I really like about the mask is that a little goes a really long way, and it smells beautiful. I feel like it does smooth and refresh my skin, and I wake up to more hydrated skin. The jar is quite heavy, so wouldn’t be ideal to travel with. I give it an 8/10. Available for R320 for 90ml.

I got the Oils of Life Intensely Revitalising Bi-Phase Essence Lotion because essences seem to have a firm spot in a lot of Korean beauty routines, said to aid in hydration, skin repair and cell turnover.

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This essence contains seed oils from around the world, known for their revitalising and repairing properties on skin – Black Cumin seed oil, Camellia seed oil and Rosehip seed oil and is meant to be used as the 1st step after cleansing: a daily lotion that provides instant visible results while preparing and activating skin for the next steps of your routine. The Body Shop promises that skin feels instantly replenished with moisture and appears softened.

Even though they mention it as the first step after cleansing, I usually apply it after I’ve toned. I shake the bottle to ensure that oil and water are mixed, and pat it in. Since I’ve been using it, my skin is ever so slightly more hydrated. I give it a 7/10. R205 for 160ml.

Because I can never say no to a good facial oil, I got the Oils of Life Intensely Revitalising Facial Oil.

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Containing the same seed oils as the Essence – Black Cumin, Camellia and Rosehip – The Body Shop claims that this lightweight daily facial oil revitalises skin, replenishes moisture, revives radiance and visibly reduces the appearance of aging. It does live up to the claim that it’s lightweight. It smells exotic and quickly sinks right in. My skin is revitalised and radiant after I use it, and I love that it’s made from 99% oils of natural origin. As a guideline they suggest using 1-2 drops on your face, but that is if you are an ant. I must have a big ol’ face, because I use 5 drops at a time. Granted, there might be a little excess, which I can always tissue off, but when it comes to beauty and anti-aging, better too much than too little, I say. This oil gets an 8/10 from me. R290 for 30ml

I got the Oils of Life Twin-Ball Facial Massager as a nice accompaniment to my various oils and moisture masks, especially after Caroline Hirons mentioned it.

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I know that facial massage is beneficial, that’s why facials are good for the skin. Massage improves skin tone and circulation, and reduces puffiness and wrinkles. There is a special massage that The Body Shop designed for this facial massager called the Facial Dance Workout (check it out here) which stimulates blood flow and lymphatic drainage, to leave your skin feeling energised and looking radiant. I really like using my facial massager, but haven’t used it enough to say whether it has improved my skin tone, elasticity or reduced any wrinkles. It feels nice and cold in the summer months, and in winter I just warm it before I use it. I’m more likely to remember to massage my skin if I have an actual tool for it, so it’s a pretty cool thing to have. Available for R220.

Because my skin is naturally dry, I like to fortify it with hydrating creams in winter, and since I had heard so much good about the Vitamin E Intense Moisture Cream, it was a no brainer.

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The Body Shop claims that it is a luxurious, silky moisturiser formulated especially for dry skin that locks in moisture to provide long-lasting hydration and protection. Out of all of the products I got, I like this one the least. It is beautifully silky and smells really soft and gentle, but I feel like the moisture/hydration it gives is very average. I can’t say that it moisturised for 72 hours – and that claim makes no sense, as at least every 24 hours, you’re going to wash your face. I found this to be rather lacklustre, so it gets a 5/10. R160 for 50ml.

For fun, I got the Drops of Sun Glow Creator.

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This little bottle is like sun in  jar. The drops blend easily into foundation or body lotion to give you an extra bit of bronze. It works well to darken my foundation, but isn’t dark enough to bronze my limbs. I don’t use it all that often, but I’ll give it a 6/10. R250 for 15ml.

What Body Shop products can you not live without?

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and I love everything about it! I love decorating the Christmas tree, listening to Christmas music, the Christmas cheer in the air, being with loved ones and eating festive food (you know you’re getting old when you start to enjoy mince pies).

Naturally, anything Christmas spirited takes my fancy. The other day I was out and happened to walk into the Body Shop, as you do. I was introduced to 3 limited edition Christmas ranges: Frosted Berries, Spiced Apple and Vanilla Chai. I decided to get a body scrub, shower gel and a body butter, but wanted to mix up the flavours some. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a cupboard full of different flavoured teas, but Chai is NOT my thing. Suffice it to say that I didn’t get any of the Vanilla Chai scented products.

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The Frosted Berries Shower Gel (R99 for 250ml) is light and fruity and delicious in the shower.

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The Frosted Berries Softening Body Butter (R170 for 200ml) smells incredible. It leaves my skin lightly scented and hydrated for 24 hours. I can’t get enough of the smooth and creamy texture of this body butter, it’s literally what dreams are made of.

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The Spiced Apple Exfoliating Sugar Body Scrub (R190 for 250ml) is insanely good and smells like cinnamon spiced apples. It leaves a subtle hint of fragrance on the skin and leaves my skin so smooth and soft. I usually use it before I apply fake tan, and even though ‘they’ say you shouldn’t have anything on your skin before you fake tan, this body scrub gets rid of any old skin and gives my dry skin a shot of moisture before I apply my FakeBake (which can be quite drying).

If you love all things Christmas, get down to The Body Shop immediately and scoop up some festive goodies.

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A good cleanser is really important to me because if you don’t cleanse your skin properly, your products can’t penetrate, and your skin has traces of makeup on it. Yuck. I love the beauty guru that is Caroline Hirons and last month when I was in the market for a new cleanser, I came across a post on her blog where she mentioned The Body Shop’s Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter. It’s like a hobby of mine to find out as much information about a product before I buy it, so onto the net I went. I read reviews saying that the cleansing butter caused someone to break out because it was too heavy and how it was difficult to remove. Even though Caroline didn’t mention the Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil, it got a lot of positive reviews and, given my love for oils, I decided to get it as well as the cleansing butter.

So, which one is better?

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The Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil is a lovely make-up remover for the whole face that smells pretty (although I’m pretty sure not like camomile itself – if the tea is anything to go by). Two pumps of the oil gently melts away make-up and impurities, leaving my skin feeling clean and pampered. I always second cleanse with a gel cleanser because I don’t think that water alone can wash an oil away. When I first started using it, and I wasn’t doing the second cleanse, I got a few pimples. Once I started second cleansing and my skin got used to it, that all stopped. The only thing I don’t like about it is that my bottle leaks. The label is peeling off and the shelf where it sits is permanently oily. I’ve tried locking it which seems to help. All in all, it’s a wonderful product and for the price of R190, I think it’s a winner.

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My only experience with cleansing balms has been via Ren’s Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Balm and I wasn’t blown away by it. The Body Shop’s Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter on the other hand rocks my socks. It smells just as pretty as the cleansing oil and the texture is so creamy, it just melts into your skin. After massaging it into my skin, it gets rid of every last trace of make up. Once I’ve rinsed my face with some warm water, I then go in for the second cleanse. Compared to the oil, I find the balm a bit more laborious to wash off, and there’s no way you can’t not double cleanse after using it. This product is a real treat and at R190, I think it’s great value for money.

Who wins?

I can’t declare an official winner because I like both of them and I think they work equally as well. If it came down to convenience, I would opt for the oil because its a quick pump and off you go. With the balm, you have to screw open the lid, grab some in your hands (I always end up taking far more than I should) and then screwing the lid closed.

Which formula do you think you’d prefer?

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As the dryness and cold of winter sets in, so we start to experience drier and drier skin. This has happened to me for the past 5 years but I am elated to report that NOT ANYMORE! I have cracked the dry skin code, folks.

First up, I love a hot shower. Dermatologists say that hot showers aren’t good for you because they turn the natural oil in your skin to liquid, which then rinses away, removing that oily/protective layer from your skin. I say they can go suck it. In an ideal world I would have marble EVERYTHING, lots of designer shoes, I would wake up with perfect hair, I would eat whatever I wanted consequence-free and I would have warm showers in winter. But this isn’t the ideal world. So, this is how I have my cake and eat it…

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In the shower

I use L’Occitane’s Almond Shower Oil (R545 for 5ooml) because it isn’t harsh and doesn’t strip skin like some shower gels do. It sounds counter-intuitive to put oil on your skin when you want to clean it, but this oil emulsifies with water and cleans skin gently. I squeeze out one pump, rub it all over one leg, and then go in with my Body Shop Body Polisher (R49) and give myself a scrub. Even though it’s expensive, a little goes a long way. I’ve had my 500ml bottle for over a year now, but I do also use other shower gels because I like variety. I’m also a huge fan of Lush’s Buffy (R125). It’s an exfoliator in bar format and contains ground bits of rice, beans and almonds. I first use a shower oil or shower gel and then go in with Buffy to smooth my skin. Buffy came about when the product designer, whilst on a trip to Brazil, was inspired by the women who rub a mixture of sand and suntan oil on their backsides to improve circulation and reduce cellulite. She came home, mixed together cocoa and shea butters (to soften and moisturize), ground rice, almonds and aduki beans (to polish and smooth) and Buffy was born. Once I’ve scrubbed myself (Buffy is quite rough, which is good for thighs, bums and rough areas – I don’t use it on my torso and anywhere else that’s sensitive), I wash off any remaining bits and then dry myself. It’s like an in-shower moisturiser that exfoliates and conditions too. No need for body lotion. At R125 a bar it is quite pricey, but I only use it once every 2nd/3rd day. After using Buffy, and because I don’t use it everywhere, I like to use a light body cream like Bio Nike’s Defence Body Hydraboost Moisturisation Fluid just in case. It works to top up the moisture and is great for sensitive and intolerant skin. If I’ve showered sans Buffy, I like to either use Avène’s Akérate 10 Body Cream (R250 for 200ml) or Bee Natural’s Luxurious Body Butter (R102 for 200ml) in Rose Absolute. The Avène body cream is quite intense and is a bit sticky initially, but it keeps my skin nice and hydrated. It’s also hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and designed for sensitive and intolerant skins. If I feel like it’s too bland, I’ll just add a few drops of orange or lavender essential oil to it in the palm of my hand. The Bee Natural Body Butter is more luxurious and smells divine. Because of it’s balmy texture, it also keeps skin soft and moisturised.

For the face

I used to use a micellar water followed by a gel cleanser every night. I also used to manually exfoliate my face every other day because the cleaner and shinier and smoother the better, right? Wrong. Dead wrong. A day after scrubbing, my skin was so smooth and lovely. Two days on and it was dry and patchy. Same thing with Retinol. I’ve stopped using it because I found out that it can wreak havoc on dry skin, making it drier. I’ve also learnt, courtesy of the facial wizard that is Caroline Hirons, that I should use gentler products on my skin. I gave up my regular micellar water (which is lovely, just not for my skin) for a cleansing oil, the Body Shop’s Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil (R175 for 200ml), as step 1 before a cleansing cream (one that I already had from the States). During this process of transformation, after a week or so, I noticed a few pimples, and decided that I needed to clean my skin another way. So I tweaked my routine and it works like a charm: if I use a micellar water, which is the new Hydrabio H20 Micelle Solution from Bioderma (R200 for 250ml), especially made for dry skins, I’ll second cleanse with a cleansing cream and a face cloth (The Body Shop’s Pomegranate Softening Cream Cleanser comes recommended by Caroline Hirons). If I use a cleansing oil, I’ll second cleanse with a gel cleanser, typically Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Wash (R395 for 200ml). I’ve also gone cold turkey on all granular exfoliators and only use my beloved REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask (R595 for 50ml). Once I’ve cleansed my skin, I use Clinique’s Clarifying Lotion 1 (R380 for 400ml), which is a gently exfoliating and hydrating toner. It will change your skin and your life.

If you’re embarking on a product formula switch, see what works best for you and fine tune your routine.

Next up, during the day I use Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate (R700 for 30ml), followed by Avene’s Tolérance Extrême (R300 for 50ml) and at night I go for either Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate or a hydrating serum (like Hydraluron) followed by any of Vichy’s Aqualia Thermal creams (R420 for 75ml) for maximum hydration. I keep Dermalogica’s Antioxidant Hydramist (R550 for 150ml) in my desk drawer to keep my face moisturised during the day. Mid-morning I just spritz 2-3 sprays on my face and I’m happy.

When it comes to face masks, I absolutely adore Bioderma’s new Hydrabio Masque (R250 for 75ml). I apply a few drops of Nautica Organic Rosehip Oil (R150 for 50ml) underneath, and then let it work it’s magic. I also like Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask and Avène’s Soothing Moisture Mask. On days where I don’t wear any makeup, I stick to a very simple routine. I don’t double cleanse (because why?) and I use Nautica’s Organic Rosehip Oil to moisturise. I think foundation can be quite drying so a makeup-free day once a week is a must.

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I take Best 4 Adults Brain Power Krill Oil capsules daily, and have an app on my phone called Waterlogged that motivates me to drink enough water during the day. Drinking water isn’t fun in winter, but I notice that when I don’t drink enough, it shows on my skin, so I make sure I get the correct amount via loads of green and other herbal teas, as well as water.

Phew! That was a lot of info. I hope it helped, lovelies.

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