Christmas is over, self love in the form of shovelling various forms of sweets and snacks is (meant to be) a thing of the past, people are making New Year’s resolutions left, right and centre. But rather than choose something to restrict or give up, which, let’s be real, are always the most fun things – cake, alcohol, shopping -it’s just left us looking for a new way to indulge. If we had to pick a resolution, it would be the pursuit of self-love and a little more ‘me’ time. Winter is ravaging our already hard working skin, lack of sleep is making it look like Yorkshire tea will be coming to us for spare bags when theirs run out and not forgetting the central heating we have a love/hate relationship with. Why must something so cherished as on demand warmth screw our skin over like that?!
Mumma’s, we hear you. ‘Me’ time? With a small person to wrangle? You must be joking, right? Well, no. We promise it’s totally possible, maybe with a little help from the sleep God’s or the other half/grandparent, but you can do it.
We’re not saying bugger off to the Maldives on a (very well deserved) holiday, though we will always encourage that if you have the option (lucky cow). But more of a ‘find an hour, just one hour a day for you’.
Below you will find a list of break the bank and budget face masks, moisturisers, eye patches (not the pirate kind), make up remover and body moisturisers to make any skin feel loved again and anyone feel pampered.
FRESH – Soy Face Exfoliant
Fresh is a store we have trouble visiting without leaving slightly bankrupt. Their approach to skin care is the ‘less is more, be kind and gentle’, and while this sounds like great dating advice, it also works wonders when it comes to skin care. Fresh focus on calming and caring properties found in nature, you won’t find any nasty chemicals in their products and for those of us still battling acne past our teen years, this is worth a try. Cucumber, rose hip and jojoba seeds take away the harsh texture found in some exfoliants and gentle buff away dead skin cells to reveal revived looking skin. It’s not an over night miracle in a tube, but with repeated use this will help calm even the angry of skin and help restore peace.
THE BODY SHOP – Vitamin C Microdermabrasion
On the flip side to Fresh, we chose a slightly more intense exfoliant without compromising the quality of natural ingredients. This is more of a once a week treat, with fine particles of garnet stone to mimic the core of the microdermabrasion treatment in salons. We don’t recommend this is you have sensitive skin, it’s a little tougher on dry patches and could cause irritation if you have acne. If not, scrub away! Those tiny little stones will scrub your face to a brighter tomorrow.
LUSH – BB Seaweed
A staple in our fridge – yep, we did say fridge. (Face masks don’t get any fresher than this and the ingredients call for it to be kept refrigerated). Lush have been a love affair of ours for years. After working our way through pretty much all of them, BB Seaweed has come out on top for it’s exfoliating and soothing qualities. In the past, spotty and sensitive skin has called for a more delicate approach to skin care. This is where the rose and aloe vera come into play helping calm redness, the rosemary oil help regenerate damage and the gentle millet flakes buff away dead skin. A triple threat of kindness much needed in the harsh Winter months, we couldn’t recommend this more.
SISLEY – Express Flower Gel
Discovered in the duty free, the price tag alone (£85 for 60ml) is enough to make anyone second guess this purchase, but believe us when we say this is worth every damn penny. Road tested on a flight from London to L.A, then every subsequent flight there after, this gel face mask is a 3 minute miracle. Cooling on the skin, this face mask is specifically designed for dehydrated and tired looking skin. Wether it’s the Iris and Lily extracts or just some kinda witchcraft, Sisley have managed to bottle sleep and deliver it to your skin in super fast time. We’ve even been known to sleep in this baby for even more of a refreshed and toned look come morning.
ESTEE LAUDER – Stress Relief Eye Mask
Not the cheapest on our list, but if you can get over the initial shock of dropped £30 on some eye masks, then these are a little luxury you’ll make time for. You get quite a few packets in the box, we’re going to guess 10 since the website doesn’t specify. Estee Lauder recommends ‘playing soft music or reading a magazine’ while luxuriating for the ten minutes needed for these little patches to work their magic. But we will just suggest trying to use them the second you have finally wrestled your kid into bed for nap time. Best kept in the fridge before use, these smell fresh and like wearing the fanciest of organic cucumber slices on your poor, tired eyes. We’ve noticed an increase in tightness around the eye area after use and brightening to the skin, so really it’s probably worth every penny of that £30 after all…
SEPHORA – Rose Eye Mask
Not the easiest to get your mitts on, Sephora own brand products are something of a bad secret in the UK. We all got super excited when rumours swirled they’d finally open a store in Westfield Stratford here in London, then collectively were heart broken when it didn’t happen. But, if you can find a friend, lover or kind parent to pick you up anything on their travels to Sephora baring countries, get about a million of these eye masks on your list. From avocado to green tea to rose, each packet contains a pair of eye masks packed full of nutrients promising to reduce puffiness and add a twinkle back to your sleep deprived eyes. Trust us, these work. Even if they might terrify your kid when you are caught trying to sneak that tea break in on the sofa with their Christmas chocolate stuffed in your mouth and these slapped on your eyes.
ELEMIS – Japanese Camellia Oil Blend
Recommended by Elle. (Bottles of this were used during her pregnancy.)
The smell of camellia and almond oil together brings back memories of lazy days spent on sandy beaches and the idea of jumping on a plane to Hawaii, sticking two fingers up at the miserable Winter weather as you take off. For those who haven’t used an oil before, it solidifies in cool temperatures but a quick run of hot water over the bottle melts just enough for a pampering massage. The oil takes a little longer to soak in but doesn’t feel greasy or rub off on clothing, leaving you relaxed and ready for that sneaky gin mixer before bed.
PALMERS – Cocoa Butter Formula
A cult classic, I’m sure we’ve all slathered this on willy nilly during pregnancy. Greasing ourselves up like prized pigs, praying that stretch marks will be a thing of the past (or never exist) because of the magic this cocoa butter is meant to work. We don’t need to say much about this product, because it’s all been said before and it’s all true. Makes you smell like a delicious chocolate, makes your skin soft and smooth, helps calm crazy rashes after shaving. Pure witchcraft in a bottle. Praise be to Palmers!
CLINIQUE – Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator
Recommended by Amy.
This was a cheeky freebie but she promises when it runs out, she will splash the cash on it because it’s just that good. The name is a major spoiler alert, maximum moisture without having to slather on layers of this lovely oil free, gel based loveliness. It soaks in quickly, leaving a slightly dewy but refreshing feeling to the skin.
Clinique do skin care well, they have since our Mum’s were teens and it’s hard to argue with the generations of avid users who come back time and time again to this brand.
NO 7 – Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Face Cream
Recommended by Kirsty.
Remember when this was first launched and women were literally grabbing arm full of the stuff, trying to stock up because it literally sold out within hours? Well, you don’t have to resort to a fist fight with Mary next door for this line anymore but the hype is still very much a long lasting one. It may not banish wrinkles for good (like it promises, but let’s be honest, nothing but Botox will really fix that) or reverse months of missing sleep, but it will treat your skin to the kind of hydration that leaves it silky smooth and plump like a babies bum.
Have any of your own ‘can’t live without’ products for a bit of self love? Let us know!