At this time of year I turn my attention to a rich organic, natural day cream. My criteria: hydration that lasts all day, no nasties and a magical ingredient or two that promise to give me younger, plumper skin. I now also insist … Continue reading
After years of trying to tame my wild curls I finally have my hair routine nailed. So here’s a walkthrough of the products that are giving me happy hair days, with some tips I’ve picked up along the way. Hair … Continue reading
It’s at this time of year that a full on burka makes sense to me. Christmas indulgence, sun and sleep deprivation, and cold weather make me want to bury my scaly skin and dry hair under a layer of clothes … Continue reading
If there was one thing I badly needed last week it was a bit of pampering. And fortunately for me I live just around the corner from The Spa at Dolphin Square, a Moroccan inspired haven with a traditional hammam and rhassoul, and a range of treatments.
Once we had changed into the dressing gowns and slippers provided we took part in the traditional Moroccan hand washing ceremony before chilling in the relaxation room with mint tea, dates and almonds.
I had booked in for the Argan Facial, which uses La Sultane de Saba products. La Sultane de Saba take their inspiration from beauty secrets from far-flung places. As a result they smell AMAZING! (The Spa told me the brand uses only natural ingredients but I haven’t been able to check myself. They are paraben-free, according to the website.)
For the next 55 minutes I was treated to a supremely relaxing facial. As my face was ‘steamed’ Monica, my therapist, massaged my feet and during the face mask I was given a head massage. A facial, reflexology session and an Indian head massage in one treatment! At the end Monica left me to rest for a bit before taking me back to the relaxation room. Bliss. There was no hard sell on the products afterwards either. Just a friendly recommendation to use lavender oil on any spots to clear them up quickly and safely.
I’ve had a few treatments at The Spa and none have disappointed; the therapists are highly knowledgeable and very friendly to boot. What I particularly love is the way you feel like you’ve been transported to a genuine Moroccan retreat when you go in. Everything from the lighting to the decor lets you slip away from the hectic pace outside. Well worth a visit.
Argan Facial, £75 for 55 minutes, The Spa at Dolphin Square.
Nuxe is a staple in the bathroom of many French women. Its Huile Prodigieuse has long been the go-to for adding shimmer to a Mediterranean tan and I’m very excited that they’ve recently launched a fragrance version. In general, I’m a big fan.
So when I hit the Paris pharmacies to pick up a face cream their new Bio Beauté range caught my eye (bio being French for organic). I decided that the Bio Beauté Smoothing and 24HR Moisturizing Light Emulsion with clementine cells was for me. And I was very taken in by the packaging promises:
- 98.8% of the total ingredients are from natural origin
- 72.4% of the total ingredients are from organic farming
- 87% of testers said their skin was more supple, 90% said more velvety, and 86% said smoother
I was also taken in by the big box which actually holds a rather small 40ml tube!
The cream, sorry, ’emulsion’, smells amazingly tangy (so avoid if you’re not a fan of citrus scents). Designed for normal to combination skin it strikes just the right balance of lightweight versus hydration, which some natural creams definitely struggle with. Great if you don’t like greasy creams or for use in the summer (especially under a natural UV cream). I like my face creams super rich so I will probably go for their dry skin version next time. But my skin feels very soft. I didn’t use it religiously day and night as suggested, but I would highly rate this as a natural face cream. And my face smells delicious!
Unfortunately you won’t find this on Nuxe’s UK website yet, but it is available on the French pharmacy website cocooncenter.co.uk (along with Weleda’s cold cream, which I highly recommended a while back). Delivery is €9.90 which is about £8 so might be worth it if you felt like stocking up. I’ve got a feeling the Nuxe Bio Beauté brand might have some real pearls amongst its products and I’ll definitely be picking up their emulsion for dry skin on my next trip (or asking my mother in law to bring some over!). I’ll chase them to see if there are any plans to introduce this to the UK market and update you here.
Bio Beauté Smoothing and 24HR Moisturizing Light Emulsion: Approx €16.90 for 40ml
Natural credentials: Clementine cells and poppy petals to moisturise along with pear seeds to smooth lines. 98.8% of the total ingredients are from natural origin and 72.4% are organic.
Available from: cocooncenter.co.uk
At this time of year my skin starts crying out for more moisturiser. For me, a rich face cream is essential and one I always keep on my bathroom shelf is Nivea’s Pure and Natural Anti-Wrinkle Day Cream. 95% of its ingredients are of natural origin and it easily matches up to any regular face cream I’ve used.
Rich enough for use day and night, it’s made with extracts of argan oil and burdock fruit, which has been touted for its powerful anti-ageing properties. It’s not got SPF but what it lacks in UV protection it makes up for in skin thirst quenching punch.
Nivea Visage Pure and Natural Anti-Wrinkle Day Cream: £4.99 for 50ml
Natural credentials: 95% natural with extracts of argan oil and burdock fruit.
Available from: Boots, currently at the reduced price of £4.99 (normally £8.90).
I’ve used quite a few Dr. Organic products (available at Holland & Barrett) over the years with varying results. In general, I’m not a big fan of their shampoos…
Unfortunately, their Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo is no exception. It’s very difficult to work through the hair and lather, despite the fact it’s got sodium lauroyl sarcosinate in it (so not that natural). My (dry and curly) hair felt really “stripped” after I rinsed it, which isn’t what I expected from a product with ‘oil’ in its title. Maybe this would suit very greasy hair types.
The smell was another bugbear; I felt like I’d been transported back to one of those hippy shops from the 90s where you buy incense sticks and suns and moons to hang on your walls. Woof.
But I had a total Jekyll and Hyde moment when I used the conditioner! Pow! It smelt divine: spicy, (that’ll be the clove oil), exotic and good enough to eat! Its detangling properties were also fantastic – I used less than I normally would and it was knots out and smooth hair in. No mean feat when you consider my curly and coarse mop of locks.
There’s lots of hype about argan oil and I wouldn’t like to say whether this was the magic ingredient or not. But I would certainly rate this conditioner. On a recent trip to Morocco we picked up gallons of argan oil and I’ll be putting it to the (not terribly scientific) test soon. More in coming weeks.
Dr. Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner: £5.99 each
Natural credentials: Lots of natural and organic ingredients and free from parabens but contains sodium lauroyl sarcosinate to get the shampoo foaming, which didn’t even work. Think of these as naturally inspired and striving to be as nasties-free as possible without compromising on performance, rather than 100% bona fide chemical-free.
Available from: Holland & Barrett