Pass the face masks! You know the drill. As the evenings get darker and pandemic-related curfews loom – with work, family and social media on repeat – the only plausible solution is a little you-time and an I-need-this-to-feel-good purchase. While there’s no magic bullet to avoiding stress completely, blocking out some dedicated moments in your diary for indulgent self-care picks can help you look after both your mental and physical health. Here, we offer a selection of splurge-worthy ways to spoil yourself for winter and beyond. From fine fragrances to luxe skin serums, these are the products that spark joy in our (extensive) beauty routines. Relaxation incoming.
A two-minute glowing skin smoothie
When it comes to skincare, what we put in our bodies affects our skin as much as the topical lotions and potions we put on it. Your body is a temple and all that. So, sometimes the key to clear, beautiful and blemish-free skin is treating the problem from the inside out. Nothing makes our heart (and Instagram feed) sing like a beautifully-crafted smoothie – especially the new SKOON. Skin Elasticity Skinside Out All-in-One Beauty Smoothie with over 50 ingredients including MSM, vitamin C and marine collagen for soft, smooth and glowing skin. We love using the raspberry and mango-flavoured daily sachets in an ultra-creamy mango smoothie that contributes to a better complexion, made with chopped kale, mango chunks, pineapple chunks, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, ground flaxseeds and almond milk. The superfoods also have vitamin C, which can help enhance the effectiveness of your sunscreen.
R549.95 for 30 7.5g sachets from www.skoonskin.com
A foundation and primer for a filter-free glow on your next Zoom call
In the winter months, skin tends to crack, break and itch more than usual. Still want your skin to look natural and dewy? Quench your complexion with the new Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Skincaring Foundation. Thanks to a concoction of hyaluronic acid as well as vitamins C and E, this long-wearing foundation gives the skin a moisturising boost while offering light coverage, an enhanced glow and a plump feel. It’s the perfect choice to zap those winter flakes, but the most gorgeous glam starts with a good canvas. Apply it after the secret to your glow-up – the hyaluronic acid-filled Elizabeth Arden Flawless Start Hydrating Serum Primer with serum-like texture – let it set for a few minutes and you’ll see how perfect your skin looks … but you won’t see the foundation. We can personally attest to the dewy sheen and pillow-soft finish that these products, which double as skincare staples, give dry skin.
R585 and R475 from Woolworths, Edgars and Foschini
R499 from www.smooch.store and ARC Store
A swoon-worthy lip scrub for the sweetest bisou
While gentle cleansers, moisture-boosting serums and shine-enhancing oils are must-haves in any winter beauty arsenal, dot your i’s and cross your t’s with one final step this year – the By Terry Baume de Rose Lip Scrub. The price tag may be more in line with what you’d want to spend on a lipstick, but trust us … By Terry’s fail-proof creamy formula has achieved cult status for a reason. This OG beauty product is legitimately a miracle moisture worker that’s sure to leave you (and your special someone) nothing short of smitten! Containing rose butter, rose wax, rosehip oil, black rose extract and pastel rose extract – mixed with buffing sugar crystals – it will leave lips not only soft, but sweet, too. As for that gorgeous pink colour and so-good-you-want-to-eat-it rose flavour? Consider it the cherry on top. Simply massage the scrub onto your lips in a circular motion, then wipe away with a cotton pad soaked in toner.
R590 from Metropolitain Cosmetics
A transporting fragrance that’s almost as good as real travel
Consider Mugler Angel Nova your secret weapon for full-on glam in seconds. Wearable and worth your attention, this Mugler offering takes a detour from its signature gourmand notes and ventures into the amber-floral zone. Top notes of raspberry and litchi give way to a heart of Damask rose, while the base of Akigalawood (reminiscent of patchouli with a hint of pepper and fine agarwood) and vanilla-like benzoin provides an unforgettable trail. It’s a concoction that embodies glamour and bombshell beauty – perfect for those who like to announce their arrival and leave a trail that lingers long after they depart. If this doesn’t excite you, do take a look at the bright, raspberry-pink star-shaped bottle (which is now ‘standing’) that it comes cased in. It’s a new type of feminine and we’re here for it. When your precious perfume dwindles away, you can have it refilled with fresh juice at a Thierry Mugler beauty counter.
R1,230 for 30ml, R1,500 for 50ml, R2,250 for 100ml or R2,080 for the 100ml eco refill from Edgars, Foschini and Truworths
A hand cream that will make your desk feel a little more scenic
A New York holiday might not be on the cards, but the Glasshouse Fragrances I’ll Take Manhattan Hand Cream can at least inject a little glamour into your day. It’s all about the scent with this luxe, highly ‘grammable hand cream that’s enriched with shea butter and apricot kernel oil. Inspired by the buzz from the City That Never Sleeps with notes of exotic orchid, blood orange, black rose and musk, the blend leaves hands – or arms, or anywhere else you might dot some on – smelling addictively good. There’s a lot to love in this ultra-chic tube: The brand’s signature scent that will keep the luxury going for hours, the rich formula that working hands will appreciate (and put you on the path to better manis) and how damn good it’s going to look on your bedside table. There’s no hand cream quite as irresistible! The fragrance is also available in a triple-scented soy candle, reed diffuser, hand wash and body bar.
R499 from Woolworths
A warm candle and diffuser for when the days start to turn cold
Gone are the days when fancy candles remained unlit and were used to make windowsills look pretty. Now, more than ever, our homes need some TLC. The Amanda-Jayne Candles Ginger Cake Natural Scented Soy Candle hasn’t only become Instagram’s bread and butter, but it’s ideal for burning in your home office to stay intensely focused – yet relaxed – throughout the day. The sweet smell of its natural, hand-poured and cruelty-free mixture is also destined to be the hero of your next night in (AKA every night) with a boozy cocktail. With rich, seductive notes of sticky vanilla and ginger pudding as well as soft mandarin undertones, this warming candle is the ultimate pick-me-up. We recommend pairing it with the matching Amanda-Jayne Candles Ginger Cake Scented Reed Diffuser, which contains 50ml pure essential oils and naturally harvested rattan reeds, to elevate your entire apartment aroma-wise.
R350 and R579 from www.amandajaynecandles.com and Poetry
Bath tablets for an opulent soak
Chanel No 5 lovers, rejoice! It’s now possible for you to bathe in the iconic fragrance that turns 100 this year. In honour of that milestone, the brand has released a 17-piece collection of limited-edition (in other words, stampede-inducing) No 5-scented bath and body products, including a shower gel, body lotion, body cream and body oil. In our opinion, the real star of this release is the Chanel Factory 5 Collection The Bath Tablets, which dissolve in water. Housed in a reusable white tea tin with a simple Chanel logo, they’re the beauty product equivalent of a plush robe: Luxurious, très chic and just a little bit extra. Elevate your nighttime routine by lighting some candles, putting on peaceful music and tossing a tablet into a bathtub filled with warm water. The delicate, forever-intoxicating floral scent will transform your bathroom into a fragrant oasis and cling to your skin long after your bath is over.
R1,335 for a tin of 10 from Chanel fragrance and beauty boutiques
A body scrub and oil for all-over perfect skin
A first port of call for healthy-looking limbs is the REN Moroccan Rose Otto Sugar Body Polish to slough away dead cells, which make skin look dull and lifeless. This viral body scrub made of scrumptious-smelling rose oil, tea extract and cane sugar feels indulgent and, as Instagram will tell you, makes a good #shelfie prop. It smells like a lush bouquet of delicious, expensive roses (but in a clean, modern way), while chunky grains leave every inch of you glowing and thoroughly exfoliated. A few pumps of the REN Moroccan Rose Otto Ultra-Moisture Body Oil – a supercharged hydrator and radiance booster – on damp skin right after your bath or shower is the perfect choice for an at-home treat. Formulated with ceramide-like carthame oil and lipid-replenishing macadamia oil, the luscious formula will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a five-star spa, even if you’re applying it in your bathroom. Heaven.
R850 each from www.rencleanskincare.co.za and Woolworths
A scrub that invigorates not only your scalp, but your mind, too
One of the best-loved scalp scrubs in the business, the Davines Solu Sea Salt Scrub Cleanser makes a fab weekly treatment. It promises to improve scalp health in a flash without being too harsh, so it’s ideal if you’re a sensitive soul. The purifying scrub utilises salt crystals sourced from a local farmer in Italy, which act as a natural exfoliant, to revitalise the scalp and eliminate product buildup for refreshed, squeaky-clean hair. Massage into a lather on wet hair, then rinse until the salts dissolve – the whipped sea salt blend lathers up wonderfully and, of course, there’s a very sophisticated botanical scent to lure you in, too (we especially like that it isn’t overwhelming). You’ll notice the way it leaves your scalp feeling clear and flake-free, roots incredibly clean and lengths full of movement. PS: It’s free of sulphates and parabens, so if you’re looking for a product without any of those, you’ll want to click ‘add to cart’.
R425 from www.completehairdressingsupplies.co.za and Carlton Hair
An Instagrammable serum that you need on your shelf
Don’t be deterred by this serum’s marital name. The new Smooch Skin Honeymoon Glow is so much more than a one-time-wear treatment. While the mesmerising holographic packaging is tempting, it’s more of a bonus than an end goal. This fresh, clean brightening serum lifts dark spots like magic and is a fantastic way to introduce the power of skin-perfecting vitamin C to your skin. The ingredients pack a very powerful punch: With vitamins C and E as well as hyaluronic acid, this product also gives the skin a boost of moisture that helps improve radiance for an overall fresh appearance. It also takes the guesswork out of how to layer these actives. Our skin literally sucks this product up, creating a supple, vibrant look that’s perfect for the new normal of no-makeup look. Putting it on is an absolute delight! Applied in the morning, you’ll notice the skin looking supremely plump and dewy after only a few uses.
R499 from www.smooch.store and ARC Store