Monday, 18 May 2015

Skincare for Scent Lovers - Part 1, Fragrant Faces

Are you thrilled by the lure of the lux beauty product? It seems that me that the love of scent and a desire to slap some wondrous lotion on your face and body parts are often linked.

In this post I’ll be revealing some of my favourite beauty products, all chosen because their scent is of equal magnificence to their ability to make your skin function pleasingly. Menfolk- you can use these too. Man stuff (unless it’s a specialist shaving unguent) often contains the same ingredients as girl stuff but just sports a grizzly/tecky name. For example, Clinique’s ‘Clarying Lotion’ for girls is the same product as their ‘Scruffing Lotion’ for boys. It’s just that the second sounds like it will make you the victor in a fight.

I’ve always been a beauty hall devotee. In fact, it was the discontinuation, some nine or ten years ago, of an enchanting spiced liquorice scented body mist by French aromatic skincare brand – Decleor, that set me on a (vast) mission to find a replacement. Googling led me to Fragrantica’s description of Caron’s exhilaratingly beautiful ‘Eau de Reglisse’, which I rapidly purchased. And that was it, niche fragrance obsession – the inception.

Here is a small selection of facial skincare products that delight my nose as much as my skin. They were all purchased myself and are products that I’ve used for a long enough time to appreciate how fabulous they are. Next month I’ll repeat the article focusing on body products for the scent lover.

Elemis – Pro Collagen Cleansing Balm (cleansing porn)

This is my nighttime cleanser. It’s a bit of a faff for the morning, but I’m the type that thinks that simply cleaning your teeth at 7am is a deed worthy of a round of applause. This gloopsome oily cleansing balm is an olfactory delight to use when you do have time in the evening for a joyous few minute’s pamper. Despite being very strongly scented, it doesn’t make my sensitive skin get shouty. In fact it calms it down. It basically smells like you’ve taken all of your essential oils collection and stuck them in a pot together. You massage it into your face (you can enjoy this for ages as it remains oily) and then remove it with a warm damp cloth. If you are feeling decadent you can lie in the bath and let it do it’s thing for ten minutes before you wash it off. Your face is left exceptionally soft and without any trace of oily residue. It helped to decrease my hormonal chin pimples and improve general moisture levels.

Recognisable notes:
According to the website, rose and mimosa are the key botanic ingredients. However it also contains essential oils of lavender, geranium, chamomile and eucalyptus which I sense are more aromatically prominent.

Elemis products are pricey if bought singularly from a department store. But by signing up to their online newsletter and those of partner retailers (QVC in the UK), you’ll find value sets or ‘try me’ packs that offer a significant saving. They are frequent and generous with discount codes.

Jurlique – Rosewater Balancing Mist

This toning and hydrating mist is simply an exceptionally good quality rose hydrasol with a few added active natural ingredients such as marshmallow and grapefruit extracts. The smell is exactly the same as my precious bottle of Rosa Damascena Absolute. I’ve never really seen the point of facial toners but I use this one therapeutically in the day time. I spray my face with it when I need a moment of euphoria, generally if I’m tired or fed up at work. It works. I feel better. It should be called rose rehabilitation.

Mid range. Again, signing up to newsletters and keeping your eye out for value packs reduces the expense. My £18 50 ml bottle tends to last about 6 months (unless I’m having a bad day and soaking myself upon every hour).

Nuxe – Crème Fraiche de Beaute 24H Soothing And Moisturising Cream and Masque Crème Fraiche de Beaute.

I love French pharmacies. There is seemingly one on every street in Paris, stacked full of allsorts of bottles of promise and bargainous eau de colognes that don’t exist in the UK. Nuxe is a classic French pharmacy brand that first seduced me many years ago on a trip to our holy city of scent.

Crème Fraiche de Beaute is one of those rare moisturisers that manages to be light and refreshing to use without being ‘light’. It’s deeply moisturising. But the lightness of texture means that your make-up doesn’t turn into a slippy fright mask over the course of the morning. Crucially for my eager nose, it smells decadently white floral, with an overriding neroli scent that lasts long into its wear. It’s basically an orange blossom garden for your face.

Masque Crème Fraiche de Beaute is a cream-gel hydrating mask with the same extraordinary scent. Again, it’s excellent for bathing decadence. As it doesn’t dry out, you can use it right up to your eyes which (if like me, you are discovering that you are mortal and thus beginning to get wrinkly) is pleasing. How did that happen?

Affordable. The Nuxe website has great offers and a loyalty scheme that actually means something. Currently, jars of the Crème Fraiche range are being sold with a free rose scented cleansing water which is equally lovely and great for taking your make-up off in bed after a late night when wobbling at the bathroom sink is a Herculean effort.

Clarins – Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil

Clarins created three aroma therapeutic treatment oils that you use as a nighttime moisturiser (all in a light hazelnut oil base), selected according to your skin type. If you are scared of oiling up your face, please don’t be, skin likes oil. It doesn’t mean that you will be greasy.

The blue orchid variety aims to treat dehydrated skin. My skin is not particularly dehydrated but I do use this now and again simply for the delight of the fragrance. According to the website, the primary botanical oils are rosewood, patchouli and blue orchid. I have absolutely no idea what blue orchid smells like but there is more patchouli in this bottle than lingers in the air at a goth convention. It’s beautiful - sweet, earthy and powerfully sensual. For those of you who like to scent-up at bedtime, this might replace your perfume, and additionally present you with comforted supple skin in the morning.
Those of you with a dry skin type can opt for the sandalwood variety, which has ‘proper’ sandalwood in it, you lucky lucky people.

The £32 30 ml bottle will last a year, that’s rather good value. I’m currently using a sample bottle (pictured) which my local Clarins rep gave me when I bought some shower gel. In fact she gave me most of the contents of her sample drawer. I think it’s OK to present your Clarins rep with a thank you kiss.

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