As a beauty writer I’ve always found writing about fragrance to be the hardest thing. How do you describe an emotion? The way we all respond to the same fragrance is wildly different and that’s what makes us unique.
I switch up my scents seasonally: in Summer I crave flowery aromas like jasmine and orange blossom, whilst in the colder months, I’m drawn to sultrier extracts such as amber, wood and patchouli. I want my perfume to feel like it’s enveloping me, soft and warm like a cashmere wrap. And this seasonal shift actually makes sense: when its hot and humid, the body releases fragrance much more than when it’s dry and cold, so it goes to reason that we want to wear richer scents in winter as they travel less. Here are my personal favourites:
Jo Malone Myrrh & Tonka
A beautiful oriental with obviously myrrh and tonka bean, but it’s the unexpected dash of lavender that makes this truly special.
This is so sexy and comforting at once. Overly vanilla-ish scents aren’t usually my vibe –but here it’s slashed with bergamot, jasmine and iris which lends it an elegant powdery trail.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Grand Soir
Warm, fleshy and luxurious…but never overpowering. The way the amber and spanish labdanum notes intermingle is simply smouldering.
Diptyque Benjoin Boheme
Spicy and balsamic accords of sandalwood and Indonesian patchouli leaf make for an intense, fleshy skin scent.
Kiehl’s Original Musk
Originally named ‘love oil’ and unsurprisingly so: patchouli, musk and ylang-ylang are married with neroli and bergamot for a memorable long-lasting scent that will stay with you all day or night.
Is my ultimate. I love it so so much. The warm amber, cut with incense and benzoin is what gives it its addictive quality.
Tom Ford Vert Boheme
Earthy, cool and robust, this riff on a classic green scent is perfectly balanced by feminine magnolia and flowery violet leaf.
It’s a fact that in winter, the skin’s protective barrier is at its most vulnerable: Lower humidity levels due to colder temperatures, coupled with elevated thermostats suck moisture out of the skin’s outermost layer, which leads to tightness, flakiness, itchiness and at worst painful cracks. Whilst most of us are pretty good at looking after our faces, whatever lies below the neck, often gets sadly neglected. Here are some tricks for getting through the cold patch smoothly.
1 Shower Correctly
You’re thinking ‘has she gone mad? Now she wants to tell us how to take a shower!’ Yes indeed I do – because as tempting as it may be to dilly-dally in a steaming hot shower, it strips away your skin’s protective oils. The solution? Cut down on shower time and turn the heat to lukewarm instead of piping hot. And most importantly: chuck your soap. Soap breaks down your skin’s lipid layer even more aggressively than hot water. Instead try a non-stripping cleanser like Eucerin Urea Repair Plus Replenishing Body Wash (perfect for very dry skin and even eczema and psoriasis) or my daily fave Origins Salt Suds Body Wash (so softening and smoothing for normal to dry skin).
2 Upgrade your Body Lotion
Here is a fact for you: facial skin has more oil glands than the skin on the rest of your body (except the chest and back – hence why some people get breakouts there). So it stands to reason that everyone needs a richer body lotion for oil-deprived areas like legs and arms. For normal/dry skin lookout for formulas with humectants like glycerin and urea (I like E45 Intense Recovery Lotion and Soaper Duper Zingy Ginger Body Butter) and for very dry flaky skin go for more occlusive ingredients like Shea Butter (such as L’Occitane Ultra Rich Body Cream).
3 Double-Lock in Moisture
When my skin is seriously scaly I do this: After showering, I apply Elizabeth Arden 8hour All-Over Miracle Oil to my still wet skin and rub it in. after toweling my skin dry, I add a layer of body cream on top to seal in the oil. The result is the softest skin EVER.
4 Grease Up your paws
My hands suffer most in winter because I’m rubbish at wearing gloves, so they get cold, red and really rough from being outdoors. And the reason is that wind is actually very damaging because it removes surface oils from the skin, which leads to chapping. During the day I wear Ultrasun SPF30 Fast Absorbing Hand Cream as I get the sun protection too. And at night I cover my hands with Udderly Smooth Extra Care Cream, which is literally a miracle cure.
5 Make Foot Time
Feet are mostly hidden away in winter – but out of sight, should not mean out of mind. I slather Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Cream over my feet before climbing into bed and when they are in serious need of relief, I apply a tick layer of Aquaphor Healing Ointment and slip into cotton socks.
I’m pretty lazy when it comes to my hair. The truth is that I’m just not very good at styling it, so I rely on a great cut that looks as good air-dried as blow-dried (I’ve been going to Luke Hersheson for as long as I can remember). And strategically placed colour is crucial to my hair looking good –Adam Reed is a total hair genius, I would be so lost without him. Then when it comes to my at-home hair routine, it’s kind of basic, but very considered – because I believe that the less of an expert you are, the more you need to bank on great products to do the job for you – these are what I currently use day to day:
Iles Formula Haute Performance Shampoo
Christophe Robin Antioxidant Conditioner
Kérastase Crème de La Crème
Onira The Mask
Percy & Reed Radiance Revealing Invisible Dry Shampoo