The only resolutions we’re making this year are beauty resolutions. The way you look and feel can set the precedent for the months ahead. Plus, the ritualistic aspect of self-care and wellness helps provide structured self-reflection and moments of mindfulness. So, what better way to start the new year than investing in yourself? These fresh beauty drops – including a detoxifying clay mask, a hydrating body oil and one of the classiest scents to hit your pulse points – will propel your beauty routine into 2022. Repeat after us, “I deserve it.”
Editor’s pick: REN Bio Retinoid Youth Concentrate
Traditional retinol is a long-term game-changer for the skin. Not only does it stimulate collagen, it also smoothes fine lines and wrinkles, speeds up the normal exfoliation process and stimulates the internal hyaluronic acid in the skin, keeping skin plump and bouncy. But there’s a natural alternative that’s hot on the heels of the hero ingredient. Bakuchiol – a buzzy, 100% plant-based retinol alternative that comes from the seeds and leaves of a plant native to Eastern Asia – has exploded in popularity as we seek out gentler (or vegan) products for smoother texture, less hyperpigmentation and restored elasticity. It’s no surprise that clean beauty brand REN is all aboard the bakuchiol train. This night oil – which is completely safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding – is a gentler option than many retinols on the market, but still packs a strong punch. In the mix are bakuchiol, organic rosehip oil, sea buckthorn oil and many other natural extracts to further help renew skin texture, improve firmness and add back plenty of moisture without causing irritation. The serum-in-oil texture both applies and soaks into skin beautifully (make sure to give it a good shake before using), so you never have to worry about ending up with greasy residue on your pillow. And we’d be remiss not to mention the brand’s sustainability efforts – this product boasts a recyclable glass bottle with a dropper made from post-industrial recycled material. You’ll love this supercharged elixir as much as we do.
R1,075 from www.rencleanskincare.co.za
SVR [B3] Hydra Essence
Looking to achieve ‘honey skin’ status? This power-packed essence is your ticket there. If you’re a skincare 10-stepper, you probably know all about essences – the liquid treatments that efficiently infuse the skin with hydration. They’re used to increase cell turnover as well as to prep, balance, brighten, restore and replenish the skin. The Korean-born skincare category is traditionally applied between the toner and serum step. It might look like a simple bottle of water, but this skin essence is so much more. Slightly thicker in texture than other essences but still great for layering, this formula – with vitamin B3 and two hyaluronic acids with different molecular weights – is exactly what you need. Because it’s packed with a ton of humectants, it draws in moisture and keeps it there. We also love how it fills and plumps fine lines (albeit temporarily, but still) so much that we don’t mind adding another step to our skincare routine.
NeoStrata Glycolic Microdermabrasion Polish
Through all of the double cleansing, face masking and layering of serums, exfoliating is hands down our favourite step in our skincare regimen. Regular exfoliation aids us in removing layers of dead cells and brightens up our complexion – and the even, velvety-smooth skin you’re left with feels pretty good, too. We’re particularly obsessed with NeoStrata’s new, brilliantly effective glycolic acid facial exfoliator. This highly potent formula works wonders with the help of glycolic and lactobionic acids, which target deep in the pores to unclog pores, improve texture and soften dry patches. The finely milled alumina crystal particles scrub away dead cells and allow for a glowing complexion. This product also doubles as a great first introduction to chemical exfoliators for those who wish to expand their skincare horizons. Introduce it into your routine once a week if your skin is on the dry side, or twice a week if your skin is oily and acne prone.
Exuviance Purifying Clay Masque
Whether you’re looking to indulge in some self-care, get a dull complexion back on track or resolve an excess of late-summer shine – multitasking, mineral-rich clay masks are the way to go. Upon discovery of this mask that delivers supercharged results, our world was rocked. It’s not just the stellar ingredient listing – the perfect blend of kaolin clay and provitamins A, C and E – but the texture and scent that make it so remarkable. It’s quite fluffy in texture and smells earthy but clean. Just trust us when we say it’s so good: It dramatically purifies the skin, creating a youthfully dewy surface – anyone with an oily T-zone or who uses a lot of makeup may find a saviour in this product. You’ll be glad to have this mask at the ready when your complexion craves a cooling sensation, too. Moreover, it doesn’t leave your skin feeling tight, which is a rare feat for clay masks. Ten minutes with this bad boy will make you feel like a whole new person.
R555 from www.dermastore.co.za
The Cotton Company Zarif Handwoven Robe
Picture this … a quiet weekend at home surrounded by candlelight. Face mask? Check. A glass of wine on the counter? Check. The latest Netflix series uploaded and ready to be binged? Double-check. The only thing missing is a robe to help you reach peak cosiness and live out your fanciest hotel dreams. Keep the luxurious feel of The Cotton Company’s signature towels, blankets and throws made from 100% Turkish cotton by investing in their comfier sister. Delicate and gentle on the skin, this chic robe for luxe lounging has wide sleeves, deep pockets and a long belt. It’s a happy medium between barely-there-feeling robes and ultra-plush options. Prepare to never want to take it off! No longer exclusively reserved for bedtime, if you’re heading on a trip, this knee-length number can double as after-bath wear and a kimono should you run out of vacation ‘fits. Wrap yourself in it 24/7 as a gesture of the self-love you deserve.
R1,180 from www.thecottoncompany.co.za
Moroccanoil Brumes du Maroc Hair & Body Fragrance
Perfume isn’t just for the skin. Moroccanoil’s first-ever fragrance offering, which sits among its hair and body care products, is a lighter, fresher way to experience the brand’s iconic signature scent. The result is a light mist that disperses all over your hair and body. However, it’s more than an unnecessary luxury. While traditional fragrance formulas tend to be loaded with alcohol that can dehydrate hair, this hair mist has been designed specifically for scenting your mane, so it’s free from any drying ingredients. A couple spritzes imparts that ever-recognisable mix of spicy amber and sweet floral notes, as well as ingredients like moisturising glycerin and nourishing argan oil. The lightness of this hair perfume makes it perfect for everyday – it will leave your hair and body smelling like you spent a day on the Mediterranean Sea. Whilst the notes aren’t overwhelming, it lingers (subtly) for most of the day for extra luxurious strands.
R530 for 100ml from select salons
NUXE Huile Prodigieuse Neroli
Are you looking for an indulgent investment for those treasured moments of self-care? Recently, we’ve been enriching our routine with NUXE’s new neroli-fragranced dry oil that soothes our body, hair and nails. Harnessing the power of nature, this iconic French oil has been given a green makeover – it’s the first certified organic Huile Prodigieuse made with 100% natural-origin and vegan ingredients. As always, it comes packaged in a beautiful glass bottle worth investing in for its aesthetic value alone. If you thought body oils were only an antidote to dryness, think again. The multipurpose product is brimming with precious organic oils, including plum and sesame, to deliver a powerful hit of nourishment to the skin while improving overall texture, tone and glow. The subtle neroli scent of this oil will follow you throughout your day. Top tip: Apply it as part of an unwinding ritual before bed to reap the rewards of a well-rested night’s sleep.
R595 from www.orleanscosmetics.co.za as well as select Woolworths, Foschini and Truworths stores
Nivea Naturally Good Oil Infused Shower Gel – Honeysuckle & Organic Oil
More of us shower every day rather than bath, so it’s in our best interests to make our daily showers a spa-like cocoon of calm. First of all, what are you washing with? We like to buy this affordable drugstore gem in bulk to ensure that we never, ever run out (the horror!). Despite the price, it feels just as special as more expensive options, packed with 98% natural ingredients including responsibly sourced organic oil to help your skin retain moisture and softness long after you’re done showering. The unmistakable blend of zesty oils is perfect for post-summer holiday to keep your tan on point and skin hydrated. Plus, the gel-oil formula isn’t suspiciously sudsy, rinses completely cleanly and never leaves a greasy residue. Nivea offers several versions of this product, but we like this one for the equal parts fresh and sweet honeysuckle scent. We’re serious when we say that it’s the closest thing we have to bottled sunshine.
R61.95 from Clicks and Dis-Chem
The Body Shop Avocado Body Butter
Once regarded as a chore, nowadays the meditative process of massaging in a luxurious body cream is an enjoyable – and effective – ritual. Perhaps we’ve all got a little more time to indulge now, or maybe we’re in search of a beautifully scented cream since it’s summer and more of our bodies are on show. Whatever the reason, The Body Shop can be trusted to create brilliant butters and whip-thick treats that serve as a small tonic for anyone aching for a spa day. The newly relaunched Body Butters (now certified vegan) hydrate without being too heavy and still smell as good as they always did. Promising 96 hours of hydration, 96% natural ingredients including sustainably sourced Hass avocado oil make this a spectacularly enviable thick, dense cream. On the ingredient list lineup: Handcrafted Community Fair Trade shea butter, cocoa butter and Brazil nut oil – each added for their unique properties and sensorial experiences.
R220 from The Body Shop and Clicks
Judith Leiber More Is More! For Her
Meet the most exciting, beautiful and bonkers innovation in fragrance! Anyone familiar with famed accessories designer Judith Leiber’s over-the-top jewelled clutches won’t be surprised that this fragrance is called “More Is More!”. Her whimsical designs that often took on weird and wonderful shapes (a peacock, an eggplant or a strawberry ice cream cone, say) are favoured by the fashionable and the famous. This elaborate eau de parfum is like drenching yourself in champagne sparkle (think piling into the backseat of an Uber in a jumble of sequins, lipstick and blow-dries, then asking the driver to crank up the music) – and it’s the self-gift you deserve for dealing with 2021. With three separate scents (a fruity gourmand, citrusy-green zest and creamy floral) and seven possible combinations in one mind-blowing package, this gold bottle gadget is the ultimate accessory that can boost our confidence – like a pair of invisible stilettos.
R2,499 from select Foschini stores