Pamper products: new for the new year
January 6, 2014 | By:

These five new products for bath, body and brain should inspire you to make me-time a priority. Selected by Caroline Phillips (and next week, new must-try treatments)

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When life seems like a half-empty glass, there are lotions and potions that will make it seem fuller

New year, new bath. Guess which is one of my favourite products for a Happy New Year? If you haven’t already tried it, now’s the time.

pampering-product-ilaIt’s something that is beyond organic. That starts and ends with purity. The ingredients, all plant and mineral, come from remote areas around the globe and are considered to have high vibrational energies that work subtly on the energies in our bodies, having a healing effect.

This magical pot contains rose damascene. Himalayan salt crystals rich in ionic minerals. Meditative sandalwood. It is a Sanskrit word for ‘earth’, and has earth and wisdom at its heart. C’mon! Need more clues? I’m talking about ila, you goof. Just loll in a tub of Bath Salts for Inner Peace by ila for a serene 2014. Enough said.

Bath Salts for Inner Peace by ila, £49 for 500g


New-products-for-the-new-year-REN-150If you want to come up smelling of (more) roses, though, choose REN’s Moroccan Rose Otto Firming Crème Riche. It ticks off the three Ps: performance, purity and pleasure. What’s more, it’s super light (they call it a soufflé body cream but Team Cupcake would probably call it a whipped texture).

It’s won awards for its firming properties. It rehabilitates stressed skin and is super non-greasy and absorbent, leaving the skin silky smooth. It smells good enough to eat and it’s suitable for all skin types.

One of the ingredients, Hydroxyproline – an amino acid – improves the skin’s elasticity. The Rose Otto oil (from Moroccan rose) is hydrating, anti-inflammatory and stress relieving, and the Camellia and Rice Germ oils repair and restore lost moisture.

It is made with only 100 per cent pure plant oils, and is free from parabens, sulphates, mineral oil, petrolatum, silicones, synthetic colours and fragrances (phew!). Gently massage it in to clean skin until it’s absorbed, then close your eyes and be transported to a Moroccan rose garden.

Moroccan Rose Otto Firming Crème Riche by REN, £36 for 200ml 


New-Products-for-the-new-year-Heliocare-150You may find it’s sunny in that rose garden. Otherwise, who the hell reviews sun cream in January? Someone who has the dermatological health of the 50-something in mind. Someone who wants to flag up that even when it’s cloudy, it’s imperative to wear sun cream. That’s who.

You may not be lolling in the soleil right now. But an everyday, year-round sun (UV) protection is essential to avoid sun or photo-damaged skin. Heliocare is arguably the best anti-ageing UV protection product on the market. A key ingredient in it is the unique and natural (here we go…) Fernblock Photoimmunoprotection Technology, extracted from a fern originating in central America. (Said fern was originally an aquatic plant but adapted to life on land by developing its own natural protective mechanisms against UV radiation.)

It combines a factor 50 SPF that is non-comedogenic (i.e. not pore clogging or acne inducing) and, deliciously, is a gel that melts into the skin immediately and invisibly, so you don’t end up with that waxy zinc look. My skin improves massively when I wear it, whereas other SPF creams clog up my pores.

There are also Heliocare oral capsules, if you prefer popping your Fernblock.

Fernblock by Heliocare, from £20


New-products-for-the-new-year-Shiffa-200You don’t exactly get a genie if you rub this bottle. But almost as good. It’s an Indian head massage in a bottle. Anoint your bonce – just scalp, or locks as well – with a few drops of this calming blend of perfumed oil and you’ll float off to Planet Tranquil. Medical doctor Lamees Hamdan, who hails from Dubai, journeyed throughout the Middle East, India and Europe searching for rare and powerful organic plants and oil blends, unearthing natural healing wisdom from the regions’ ancient cultures.

In this case, she came up with grape seed and jojoba seed oil, lemon balm, sweet birch bark, lavender oil and Roman chamomile flower oil for Shiffa’s Relaxing Hair Oil, to soothe the scalp and mind. Sweet birch bark further relaxes any monkey mind.

Lemon balm relieves anxiety while aromatic lavender comforts and calms, all sending you to olfactory nirvana, with sweet almond and evening primrose oils to nourish dry hair and scalp (and they say it may even help to prevent hair loss). It can be used as a conditioning hair treatment and washed out after 30 minutes, or left overnight for more intensive care.  Now that’s an uplifting New Year’s message in a bottle.

Relaxing Hair Oil by Shiffa, £50 for 100ml from Selfridges

PS: want to wake yourself up at your desk? To feel perky? If you need something invigorating there’s Shiffa’s Invigorating Hair Oil. With wild mint, protein-rich nettle leaf, enlivening rosemary, it’s kerpow-lite; gently reviving and stimulating. And helpful for balancing an oily scalp.


New-products-for-the-new-year-Folate-130New Year’s blues after the end of all the festivities? But been reading that vitamins and supplements are a waste of money? Well, hang about. New to the market is Solgar’s Folate, which claims to target low mood and mild depression.

Like other B vitamins, folate does a lot of jobs, from helping to maintain normal blood formation, psychological function and immune system function. But first it has to be converted to its active form biochemically.

Metafolin® (calcium-L-methylfolate) requires no conversion because it is bioidentical to the bio-active form; in other words, it is ‘body-ready’. Which is useful for folk whose bodies have difficulty converting folic acid to its active form.

The thing is that folate deficiencies, sometimes caused by the body not absorbing it properly, may lead to an increased risk of visits from the black dog. The European Food Safety Authority has looked at the claims for folate, particularly its effects on those aspects of brain and nerve functions that determine concentration, learning, memory, reasoning and resistance to stress. It concluded that there is a beneficial physiological effect.

Its part in reducing tiredness and fatigue is also helpful. Plus, the Solgar supplement is fashionably free of gluten, wheat, dairy, soya, yeast, preservatives and artificial flavours or colours. Bye-bye black moods…? Let’s see.

Folate 1000 µg (Metafolin®) Tablets by Solgar, approx. £27 for 120 tablets, from all good health stores