I'm really not the sort to get excited about bath products. This is largely down to the fact that my bathroom is currently a damp, festering hell hole.* No wallowing luxuriously in the tub for me, alas, but rather a short, bitter shower under a lukewarm dribble. Two of my current three favourite products are in the list because they make this bleak shower experience that little bit more pleasurable.
The first is L'Oréal Kids So Strawberry shampoo (and conditioner) because it smells exactly like the Hubba Bubba strawberry bubblegum I loved when I was small. Seriously, I just stand in the shower sniffing this stuff straight from the bottle – some actually went up my nose once. I know, I’m hardcore.
As it’s for kids, this stuff is incredibly gentle and leaves my feeling soft and manageable – and smelling faintly of strawberries (just like Willow when she gets addicted to dark magic in Buffy season 6!) I know I could or should be washing my hair with posh, grown-up products, but right now I feel like regressing to childhood and using these – they’re comforting, fun and so fantastically cheap! Ah nostalgia. When I finally have a functioning tub to soak in, I might get myself some Matey bubble bath too...
Because I saved so much on my shampoo and conditioner, I felt able to justify buying a rather more indulgent shower gel – the Japanese Rose from one of my favourite beauty brands, Korres. The scent is intoxicating – even if your tiles are falling off the walls, you can imagine yourself in a English country garden on a baking hot summer’s day, the rose smell is so authentic (yes it’s called ‘Japanese Rose’ but I’ve never been to Japan so I’m working with what I know.)
The very smallest squirt of this shower gel goes a really long way, whipping up a lovely foamy lather with one of those body puff things, and it feels like it’s conditioning skin at the same time, putting moisture back in rather than stripping it out – there’s no tight, dry feeling like you get with some products.
Apparently it’s all thanks to wheat proteins which create a protective layer on the skin and Active Aloe which is packed with an alphabet’s worth of vitamins and helps reduce the signs of ageing – and there I was just wanting to get clean! Oh I’m also a sucker for a nice bit of packaging and Korres always delivers on that front too. £8, cultbeauty.co.uk
Speaking of lovely packaging, here’s my third pick for the week – Aesop’s Geranium Leaf Hydrating Body Treatment. I love Aesop’s stores – there’s one just down the road from me on Redchurch Street that looks like an old fashioned apothecary, with rows of brown glass bottles containing intriguing looking unguents that smell divine.
This particular bottle holds a rich, fragrant oil (a blend of Sweet Almond, Hazel, Wheat germ, Bergamot, Mandarin orange and geranium leaf) and you’re meant to massage a teaspoon of it into damp skin from head to toe (or add a few drops to a bath, but I don’t have that option, not that I’m bitter).
As we’re currently experiencing a Narnia-like, never ending winter, I’m not planning on showing any more skin than I can help, so I’m just using this on my legs at the moment and it feels lovely (not oily, if that makes sense?), while the fragrance is genuinely uplifting and invigorating. £23, cultbeauty.co.uk
What these three products have got me thinking about is how infrequently I ‘pamper’ myself – even if that’s only applying hand cream, or a face mask, or a body oil. I do the essentials – shower, wash hair, shave legs etc – but simply can’t be bothered to do more than that. It feels like a waste of time and a bit self-indulgent.
But I’ve just had an epiphany: that’s the point of pampering – massaging a luxurious body oil into your skin at a leisurely pace is a glorious, wonderfully self-indulgent waste of time, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. So I’m going to make a concerted effort to book some time-wasting beauty product application into my diary from now on.
*but not for much longer thankfully as we're Getting The Bathroom Done. Yippee!