Silky, smooth products to give your skin a treat
As summer fast approaches, what are the best products to help your body look its best? Pippa Bailey investigates further
The skin on your body has many of the same problems as that on your face - roughness, discolouration, dryness, signs of ageing, a build-up of sebum, plus irritations such as ingrown hairs and keratosis pilaris (little bumps, most commonly on the upper arms, caused by a build-up of keratin in the hair follicles).
But it also benefits from many of the same ingredients - hyaluronic acid, retinol, glycolic acid, clay, salicylic acid, essential oils - as well as those such as shea and cocoa butters, which can cause breakouts on the face but are generally fine for use on the body. Skincare that is made for the body often makes claims such as being fat or cellulite-busting that rarely (if ever) stand up to proper testing.
Thankfully, an increasing number of brands are offering products that take skincare-quality ingredients and put them to good use in bodycare. These are the ones that we found made a real difference.
Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Body Cream: £7.99, Amazon
First of all, this smells absolutely divine and lemony and is very lightweight so doesn't leave you wet and sticky for ages after application. It contains a triple whammy of lactic, glycolic and salicylic acids to exfoliate away dead skin and encourage skin turnover. Our tester found that, applied once a day, it left skin smooth and glowing, and was particularly effective for preventing the ingrown hairs she usually gets on the backs of her thighs.
Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Body Treatment: £54, SpaceNK
This oil is beautifully light and non-sticky and contains anti-wrinkle ingredient matrixyl, Collageneer (which stimulates the synthesis of collagen), plus vitamin A, E and C and a whole load of oils such as argan and jojoba. After massaging five pumps over the body every night for two weeks, our fifty-something tester found a great improvement in the elasticity and appearance of her skin.
REN Guerande Salt Exfoliating Body Balm: £23, REN
Guerande mixes exfoliating grains of sea salt with almond, olive, peppermint, basil and rosemary oils to leave skin smooth. For a more effective scrub, use it dry and wash off in the bath or shower; more sensitive skins will find it best applied to wet skin, where the warm water provides a little more slip between scrub and skin.
The Chemistry Brand Hyaluronic
Concentrate: £28, Escentual
This is a gel-like formula and sinks into skin incredibly quickly (sort of like applying hand sanitiser), comes in a big pump-dispensed bottle and is very good value for money.
The Chemistry Brand Retin-Oil: £20, The Chemistry Brand
Retin-Oil contains 1% retinoid, plus vitamins C and E and fruit oils, and we found it helped reduce crease lines around the neck and bust and improve the appearance of scarring. We'd happily use it on our face; another winner from The Chemistry Brand.
Rodial Bee Venom Body Serum: £65, Rodial
The only body product in the Bee Venom range is this serum, which also contains anti-ageing retinol (see above), exfoliating AHAs and BHAs, and softening rose and honey: a real powerhouse combination. Our tester saw an improvement in lines on the bust and upper arms, plus general improvement in elasticity, smoothness and redness.
Clarins Renew-Plus Body Serum: £41, Clarins
This has a slightly chemically scent, but there our niggles end. Apply morning and night to leave skin silky smooth, and to improve tone, redness and discolouration. We like to use it while on holiday to keep skin in good condition while tanning, and find it completely prevents peeling once you get home.
Transforming Body Cream: £27.50,
Ameliorate is a hero brand made specifically for people with keratosis pilaris or those who struggle with very dry skin. It is thick so a little goes a long way. Applied twice a day to affected areas, it is the most effective combatant we've found against our KP.
Murad Detoxifying White Clay
Body Cleanser: £11.69,
Upgrade your usual shower gel to Murad's creamy body cleanser, which keeps pores clear without stripping moisture, thanks to a blend of oils and amino acids, plus root ginger for a pep-up.
Aesop Breathless Body Treatment: £25, Liberty
The blend of almond, macadamia, jojoba and orange oils in this body oil smells at once heady and refreshing. It's rich but sinks in well, so doesn't leave your limbs sticky and greasy. Massage a few drops in, paying particular attention to dry areas, after any other products before you go to bed.
There's something here for every skin concern, but our suits-all bargain buy is Nip + Fab's Glycolic Fix Body Cream.