LIVING COLUMN Seasonal skin and hair care, the natural way.
As colder days arrive, simple steps can help us to keep that lovely summer glow
During the winter months, it can be tricky looking after our skin and hair. The arrival of colder days means cosy opaque tights (a very good thing) and funky, woolly hats (even better for a bad hair day), but it can also mean dry, aky skin as we move from the biting cold wind outdoors into rooms warmed by central heating.
So, how can we keep that lovely summer glow going?
It’s all about moisture. You’ll be amazed at how drying conventional soaps can be, for example: look instead for handmade soaps that are made from ethically sourced natural ingredients and don’t contain sodium laurel sulphates, parabens and synthetic fragrances. I love the gorgeous Roseum wash, suitable for face, hands and body from LA-EVA, which comes in lovely recyclable glass bottles (www.la-eva.co.uk).
We know that old adage of not putting anything on your skin if you wouldn’t eat it, and for me this couldn’t be more true of coconut oil, especially during the winter months. Organic virgin coconut oil is excellent, both as a functional food and as an all-over moisturiser – check out the ethical one from Dr Bronner (www.drbronner.co.uk).
Getting oily is good for your face, too. I love the boost of moisture that comes from using facial oils, and the ritual of applying them also encourages me to take time for myself and my skin in a busy season. You can of course buy gorgeous natural facial oils – Elise Marques London is one of my favourite stockists (www.elisemarqueslondon.com). Founder Michelle Margaret Marques discovered the power of natural aromatherapy scents when she was a frazzled parent of young children. She realised their e ect on our wellbeing and went on to develop natural products to enable people to practice self-care – the strapline for the brand is ‘You Matter’, which I love. I use their Enrich Facial oil, 100% natural and brimming with a blend of neroli, sweet mandarin, rose wood, almond, star ower and bitter orange oils, which is perfect for nourishing the face. You can also easily make your own bespoke oil to nourish and revive. Take a 30ml glass bottle and add a nice base oil, such as cold pressed grapeseed oil, or carrot oil. Add up to 15 drops of your favourite essential oil. You can use a few drops of eucalyptus, if you feel you are coming down with a cold, lavender is very relaxing or rose is wonderful if you are feeling hormonal, although always check before using any essential oil if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Our hair su ers too, as we go from summer to winter, especially the ends, which are so often exposed to the cold as they sit outside of hats and scarves. “There comes a point where a good maintenance cut is the only way to strengthen dead ends,” says award-winning organic hairdresser Tabitha James Kraan (www.tabithajameskraan.com). “However, this is where prevention is better than cure. Using good natural hair oil will really help to protect, strengthen and seal dry, weak ends and prepare them to receive moisture for longer. Natural is important here, as goodness from your moisturising products can travel through a natural oil rather than being coated by a siliconeor plastic-based oil.” She has developed her own Scented Organic Hair Oil, which is ideal for winter hair woes. You can use it either as a pre-wash treatment to bring life back to dull, dry hair, or apply a small amount as you style.
For me, looking after my skin and hair during these colder months is the ultimate in self-care for my mind, too. I like to settle in for the evening, taking time to wash my hair and have a bath and then apply oils to my hair, hands and feet. Before bed, I wrap my head in a towel and put on gloves and socks, to lock all that moisture in. The next morning, after a good rinse, everything will feel soft and smooth, and I’ll feel fully relaxed.