I love COS for their knitwear and underwear in equal measures. These bras made it into my basket before you could say ‘Dolce & Gabbana esque’. I love the modern, soft and gentle shapes of their designs, that flatter the natural female curve. I loathe nothing more than underwear that hoiks you up, creates giant, padded spheres somewhere up by your chin and a squished together ‘mono-boob’ scenario. Yuck. If you like Gap Body’s comfy, everyday range that still manages to feel feminine and sexy, have a look at COS. They might tickle your fancy.
So, I wrote a long rambling post about post-natal exercise, and here is step two: beauty.
While I am not going to promise you a magic potion to lose you inches while you sit on the sofa (I would be kicking back in the Caribbean if I had *that* formula patented), I have been using a couple of products over the first year of motherhood that I can vouch for, that really make a difference to tone, texture and appearance of your skin.
First up: Decleor’s Slim Effect. I have lost 7 inches off my waist since January and while this calls for all sorts of fanfares and air-punches, it also leaves behind crepey, uneven skin. This, from Decleor’s body range, is heralded as a ‘localised contouring cream-gel’. I have been using it exclusively on my tummy (from boobs to hips) for 8 months or so, every morning. It’s gel texture means it absorbs almost instantly, and I love the fresh grapefruity, zingy smell. The ‘science blurb’ promises to ‘promote a reduction in current fat cells and help prevent the formation of new ones. Stimulating microcirculation, restoring elasticity and firmness and reducing the appearance of cellulite.’ Big claims huh?
Take from that what you will, but the tone of my skin has most definitely improved; this may be down to it’s hydrating properties but the actual texture of my skin has improved, too. The loose, crepey appearance has seriously tightened up and all in all it looks smoother and firmer.
I’ve also been using Soap & Glory’s Sit Tight Intense XS Special Super Strength Body Firming Serum (£16.50, available at Boots).
Apologies for the generic product shot but I ran out of this last month after 3 months trialling but again, another winner in my book. I would say 80% of this product’s efficacy is in the application. There are three clever metal massaging balls on the base, through which the serum is dispensed. The firm massage technique (brisk upwards strokes) does wonders to dispense with fluid retention and, used daily on my thighs and bum, I can definitely see a decrease in the ol’ orange peel. WARNING: This stuff is HOT (in the heat sense), in fact scrap that, it’s like burning hell fire, applied to your limbs for a good five minutes. Alarming at first, but swiftly becomes reassuring that ‘something’ is working. That ‘something’ is the ginger extract that stimulates the lymph system and there’s a huge hit of caffeine which is proven to pep up tired, saggy skin (a triple espresso for the dermis if you will).
Finally, the one I had the least expectations of, as perhaps it had the biggest job to do. Nip+Fab’s Bust Fix.
After 10 months of breastfeeding I held out little hope that anything, other than a surgeon’s knife, could improve the fullness and firmness of my 38Ds. And yet… I’ve got through one tube of this and already have the second on order (Nip+Fab is the mass market little sister of Rodial, the high-tech beauty range famous for its super-effective, targeted skincare products). I don’t hold much sway with a lot of it’s big claims to ‘add fullness to your cup size and reshape and sculpt your silhouette’ – can anything topically applied the skin *really* change the structure and size of a body part? – but the firmess, skin texture and tone have all definitely improved. That in itself is worth buying it by the caseload, in my book.
So that’s it, switch up your generic body cream for one of these if you’re looking to tone, tighten and smooth skin, they actually do what they say on the tin.
While packing for a weekend in London this morning, I realised that my current favourite body products have a certain theme – namely their citrus twang. I’m not sure if it’s the need for something fresh and clean to counteract all the spicy, wintery scents around at the moment, or whether I’m just hankering after an olfactory reminder of the Amalfi Coast. Wild herbs and the almost sweet, sun-warmed skin of an Amalfi lemon are, for me, intrinsically linked to my husband’s family town (Ravello) and (not that I married him because of it or anything…) my favourite place in the world.
First up, a long-time favourite, the blood orange and white pepper body butter from Bliss. I was already a huge fan of the sugar scrub in this bestselling scent from the US spa gurus, so when a generous travel-size body butter arrived with this month’s Harpers Bazaar I was pretty chuffed. I love that the white pepper makes sure the fragrance stays clear of any ‘candied’ notes, it’s not too sweet, not too spicy and a great one for those back of the arm/elbow/knee dry patches in winter (the lemon and sage is great, too).
The Jetsetting Blonde has been picking me up bottles of this dual-purpose lemon and vitamin E oil from Burts Bees, Stateside (so much cheaper) for a while. You can add a capful to the bath or, as I prefer, baste it onto wet skin when you come out the shower. It’s a really ‘happy’, clean smell that doesn’t interfere with any perfume I’m wearing but just keeps the scaly skin at bay. Also, worth noting for new mamas, I swear that applying this daily to my tummy post pregnancy has SIGNIFICANTLY reduced my stretch mark scarring and faded my c-section scar fast. Much kinder to the skin than bio-oil (full of nasty petrochemicals), too.
A new addition this week, Basil Lemon body milk from Korres. I wanted something a bit runnier that sunk in immediately for my legs. The basil adds a really fragrant note to this zesty moisturiser, I love anything from this Greek apothecary brand so perhaps a little biased here, but a great all-purpose ‘slather it on liberally’ product.