[Sorry for not giving you links, but I thought choosing one website (e.g. the US one) over another would be unfair to some of my readers. Search engines are your friend, though. ;) ]
Oh, my. I could swear I had a nice intro for this post already saved, but now, for some reason, it's gone. I can tell you it was pretty witty, though, and I couldn't retype it now for the life of me. I guess I have my witty spells -- and this morning I'm obviously not in one. Well, what the heck. I'll still let you know what my favorite Lush products are, and why I think they make amazing Xmas gifts and reliable staples.
So why Lush? In the original intro I had my argument very nicely laid out, and though I can't try and be so thorough now, I'll tell you this. Looking at the price (okay) and the quality you get (real organic stuff with gorgeous looks and delicious scents) it's the best deal out there. What with my really sensitive skin -- and I mean really -- I've had to try many of the organic/paraben free/hand made products from high street brands to Saturday market producers alike. I've tried so many, I would actually blush to my toes listing them all. So I won't. I'll just say that after long years of struggle I found what I was looking for and I'm not budging any more. If they decide to discontinue any of these, and not replace it with a comparable product, they owe me a recipe. Because sadly you can't stock this stuff -- it's that organic.
Let's see my staples first. I might keep this list updated, as I'm sure to forget something. Or I might just acquire new favs to add to it.
All time staples
This is relatively easy, because with my very dry, very sensitive skin I can't experiment so much. So once I find something that works, I have to stick to it. Just a note on my skin type, though. I know some of you might be sighing now thinking that whatever products I'm about to recommend would only work for this particular skin type. But I learned a long time ago that branding products according to skin types is a marketing gimmick, nothing more. Your skin has no idea what type it belongs to or what scientists say it's supposed to like. Your skin knows better what it needs than anyone else, and it's desperately trying to give you hints. What you always have to keep in mind is the basic principles (how your skin actually works; learn from books, friends in the field or the tons of biology-centered vids on Youtube) and what the signs are trying to tell you. Funny thing, for instance very oily skin conditions might have the same roots as very dry ones, therefore trying to dry your skin out might only make it worse. Try to find out why it might be producing all that oil. Is the weather too dry or too cold? Is your skin trying to make up for a loss of oils deep within its layers due to a recent diet change? Just to give you an idea, for a good while I was suffering both from dry skin and moderate acne. Since most of the remedies involve drying your skin out, all the tricks I used proved to be counterproductive. I had to realize that there was a link, and decided to moisturize the heck out of my skin and use an oil-based BB cream to cover the spots. And I was astonished to see that after a couple of weeks I could completely get rid of the BB cream... So, if, after some research you think you want to give my staples a try, here they are.
- Celestial: This is my go-to facial moisturizer, a light weight cream with a gorgeously light scent that evaporates as soon as you put it on. As light as it is (I don't even notice it's there), it can give you all-round moisturizing that lasts the whole day.
- British Nanny: She's my guardian angel in very cold -- or, for that matter very hot -- weather. I only apply a tiny bit, as she's a Devonshire tea type of lady. Essentially a cold cream with SPF30, it's my skin's shield against the elements. I'm not so keen on the sun factor, I'm sure it's not so healthy to dole it on day after day. But man, the Nanny has saved my skin from the rest of hell these past 3 winters, I'm not giving her up as that's my only beef with her.
- Eau Roma Water: A light tonic with all the right floral essences to regulate your skin's oil reserves. It cleans ever so gently and ensures that no germs can get between my skin and my night/day cream. Funny, though, whenever I forget to take it on a trip, I have to buy one a couple of days later to avoid total skin havoc. Whenever in a tricky skin situation (on an airplane or in a jungle), I splash it on in extra quantities and it keeps my skin rosy and fresh no matter what. Also, I have to add that I've learned to make my own, because, to be honest, I just couldn't afford the gallons I use otherwise, not to mention the occasional urgency. But it's a staple nonetheless.
- Oatfix: If you have dry skin, this is a (morning) mask to try. I won't even tell you in advance how good your skin will feel and look, discover it for yourself.
- Let the Good Times Roll: Again, oats. I love them in my cereals and biscuits, and, apparently, on my face. If you have dry skin, you know that exfoliation is a pain. Sometimes quite literally. This is practically the only way that works for me. Plus, it's oat cookies on your face. What's not to like? :D
Again, dry. Not to mention thin and frail. I've been remedying that with a henna die (Lush's or other), which makes my hair shiny and voluminous, but I still like to take extra care. Besides, I'm a short hair girl, and my husband has me keeping a waterfall of it. To make my life easier (and help me not chop the whole thing off), I use
- BIG: Doesn't work for everyone. Get a sample at the store, don't tell me I haven't warned you. It gave my dad-in-law an Afro singer hairdo, which we were grinning at for days, and that's kinda how I got my first pot. Been on it ever since. It doesn't do much of the volume action for me, almost none at all. Instead, I get tons of shine and extremely silky texture. Addicted.
- American Cream: This conditioner/detangler has the best scent ever (fresh cream and strawberries with real bourbon vanilla!). And it's practically the only reason I could keep letting my hair grow. See, if my thin hair gets unruly, it's more than I'm worth to keep it long. And so the Cream has saved my hair from the scissors these past 6 years. It's surprisingly light and yet has an exceptionally long lasting effect, even if you use it only once a week. (Not that I could resist the scent that long.) Kudos.
- Henna Fuzz Ease: The heavy weight champion. I use it around twice a month, does basically the same thing as the Cream, with some additional shine and, for me, volume.
Oooh, this is going to be a long one. And I might forget some still... I guess I'll have to update it a couple of times. :)
So my skin in general is quite OK. It's dry and all that, but manageable. I still have some tricks up my sleeve to keep it gorgeous instead of OK. Here's what they are.
- Hottie and Tender Is The Night: OK, basically the only real thing I do is apply a 'massage bar' at least once a week. But not at all the way you would normally. Listen well, children, this is a real beauty secret, perhaps my only one. Somewhere, in a magazine I once saw an article about winter skin tips. And there was one that astonished me. Because it was so simple I felt stupid for not having thought of it before. It was one line, no explanation. But it stuck with me. Use a moisturizing bar instead of soap. That's it. And that's precisely what I do with these babies. I stand in the shower (a bath would melt the bar away), and while keeping my skin warm, I slide the bar all over it. Then, because I live with a man who abhors lotion on wives, I take a half-hearted shower to get rid of the excess. Do this twice a week (once in summer) and your skin is photo ready.
- The Comforter: My go-to bath companion. :D
- Flying Fox: My favorite shower gel ever. Can't stop loving the scent. If they come out with the perfume, I swear I'll bathe in it, use it as a fabric softener, muck the floor with it, spray it around the apartment in general, and perhaps even drink it. OK, maybe not that. Or just a tiny bit. I'm so addicted.
- Sweetie Pie: Who could resist this little... erm... cutie pie? It slides around like a little ball of cheeky jelly and smells exactly like my vanilla cupcake doll used to. Consider me hooked.
Here we go. Now I can tell you about all the stuff I like, though I really shouldn't. These are not things I cannot live without, simply things that make life so much sweeter -- and bubblier :) Some I know from previous holiday seasons, others I just happened to stumble on. And there are a couple I'd just like to try. :)
- Sandy Santa: As I said last year... Hands down, the best scrub I've ever tried. Takes a bit of getting used to how this little delight works, but once he's in motion, he'll rub all but your happy thoughts away. That is, if you can get your hands on it.
- Christmas Eve: Another foam bar. Cute looks and amazing scents make this one a favorite.
- Mmm Melting Marshmallow Moment: I don't thing I have to explain this one... :) I still haven't managed to try it, though... and I can't see if offered this year either. :(
- Baked Alaska Snowball: Go check the description... :D
- Hot Toddy: Come on, it's sparkly red shower gel!
- Snowman Jelly: *.* Looks like a Sunday dessert... Yummy!
I hope this helps some of you hunting for gifts -- or simply looking for some products to try.
Also, thanks for bearing with me throughout this slightly messy post. :)
If you're interested in my tech wishlist for this Christmas, don't forget to check out the next post, in a couple of days.
Happy Yule Tide everyone! ;)