Helene Ravlich: Winter beauty and wellness

Winter is most definitely here – so why not make the best of it by embracing the chill and trying some fresh beauty and wellness tips on for size?

There are so many things which can help - we offer seven ideas.

Warm Up With Fragrance
As the wintery chill bites and the winds howl, reach for a beautiful new fragranced candle (or two) and transform your home into a cosy haven you won’t want to leave. You can also warm things up everywhere you go by adopting a new signature scent, with some fragrance notes lending themselves to nights snuggled up under a blanket outside your favourite local restaurant or at home in front of the fire. To infuse warmth into the chilly months, the most inspired fragrance selections lean towards notes of smoky woods, toasted nuts, sweet vanilla and sparkling citrus. These scents create an inviting atmosphere, transporting you fireside and into a warm embrace throughout the winter season. Much like a snug scarf, your chosen fragrance becomes an essential accessory, adding an extra layer of cosiness to your winter wardrobe.

Laura Curtis, MECCA’s Fragrance Education Manager, says that in cooler weather, “We often crave warm, cosy fragrances that make us feel comforted and nostalgic. Our olfactory receptors are also more constricted in cooler temperatures, so richer, more powerful fragrances can be worn to ensure that our scents last through the day and make an impression on the people around us.” She adds that “edible notes like vanilla and cinnamon, woody notes like sandalwood, cedarwood and oud (also known as agarwood), and the amber accord of balmy, resinous notes are particularly sought after in wintertime.”
Some of her top recommendations include the evocative Maison Margiela REPLICA By the Fireplace (which I have as a candle but now definitely need as an EDT) and Ellis Brooklyn’s Vanilla Milk Eau de Parfum. “Similarly to perfumes, home fragrances that evoke the sensation of a crackling fireplace, the scent of family dinner cooking in the oven, or the texture of cosy cashmere blankets are perfect for creating a warm ambience in the depths of winter,” says Laura. Floral Street’s Fireplace candle is a great choice, as well as Byredo’s Altar, which reinterprets prayer candles, bringing a modern edge to the heady mix.

A Winter of Wellness
As the owner of HANA, Sara Higgins is passionate about the benefits of saunas for wellbeing. “Believe me when I say that regular sauna sessions will be a game changer for your winter wellness routine,” she says. “The heat from the sauna improves circulation, eases muscle tension and detoxifies the body. Additionally, saunas boost your immune system, helping you fight off winter colds and flu. Aim for at least two sessions per week.”

She is also keen to emphasise that now is the time to really nourish your body by incorporating seasonal produce like root vegetables and leafy greens into your diet. “These foods are rich in vitamins and minerals that support your immune system,” says the wellness hero, “and don’t forget to add warming spices like ginger, cinnamon and turmeric, which can help improve digestion and circulation.” While it might be tempting to stay indoors and be less active during the winter, Sara emphasises that regular physical activity is crucial for maintaining your overall health. “Engage in activities that you enjoy, such as joining a run club, yoga, Pilates, or even brisk walks in the fresh winter air. Staying active boosts your mood, energy levels and immune function, helping you to stay vibrant and healthy throughout the season.”

Lastly, prioritise light. “Winter is a time when you are exposed to less natural light and tend to spend a lot more time indoors under artificial light,” says Sara. “Make it a priority to get outside in the morning once the sun is up. This practice can do wonders for your mood, help to decrease your stress levels and keep your sleep/wake cycle in check. It's also a lovely ritual to sit in the sun with a warm cup of your favourite tea, soaking in the natural light and tranquillity.”

Treat Your Skin
With the winter weather right on our doorstep, it’s the time of year when the chilly winds outside coupled with the dry indoor heat can often leave your skin feeling tight, itchy and dull. To combat this, incorporating oils, thicker moisturisers or hydrating serums and toners into your skincare routine can provide deeper hydration and help mitigate the effects of trans epidermal water loss, as can treatments that hydrate and soothe.

When it comes to skin health when the mercury drops, the team at Caci on Ponsonby Road most definitely know their stuff. For the winter months, Registered Nurse Rose says her favourite word is “Biostimulation! Start looking at treating your skin health from within with the skin hydrating treatment, Profhilo. Our new Caci Signature Peel is also a great option to stimulate collagen and elastin.” The latter can be paired with LED light or a hydrating infusion, depending on what your skin needs on the day.

Skin Therapist Michaela warns of exposing your skin to more extreme temperature changes over winter, “Like the chill outside, wind, indoor heating and hot showers. Combat any potential damage to your skin barrier by drinking plenty of water and nourishing the skin topically. I love Murad’s Revitalixir Recovery Serum and Intense Recovery Cream, which is a great night time repair combo.” In clinic she is reaching for a hydrating Sonophoresis Skin Infusion, while fellow therapist, Ash recommends Murad’s Cellular Hydration Barrier Repair Mask for when skin is feeling compromised. “It’s an intensely soothing and deeply hydrating overnight treatment that repairs dry, red and rough skin at a cellular level.”

Personalised advice is key to getting your skin looking its best, and Caci Ponsonby offers free consultations including an Observ skin analysis so you can take a bespoke approach and get things glowing well in time for summer’s return.

Cleanse With Care
Even if you change out nothing else in your skincare routine this winter, I highly recommend you put a new cleanser on your shopping list.

Investing in a nourishing cleanser that will remove makeup and dirt as well as keep your skin’s barrier intact is essential for happy skin. Consider the likes of Augustinus Bader’s luxe Cleansing Balm and Drunk Elephant’s Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser your new best friends. Suitable for use around the eye area, both formulas transform from an oil to milk when splashed with water, providing a deep cleanse that leaves the skin comfortable and radiant. If you prefer an oil to cleanse, you can’t go past local brand The Facialist’s Super Skin, a vegan and cruelty free, transformative cleansing oil that balances and soothes your skin. Enriched with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, it goes beyond traditional cleansers to deliver radiant, healthy skin – most definitely the end goal! (HELENE RAVLICH)

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