Those cold, dark nights are drawing in, and long gone are the refreshing showers of sticky summer days. I could insert a little moan here about cold weather and lack of daylight, but actually I love autumn and winter, plus any excuse for a long hot bath and pampering session and I'm there, with a blanket! So this is my slightly indulgent, but super relaxing and comforting autumn / winter pamper routine...
Any bath-time experience gains instant spa-style relaxation points when you add candles, and as this is an autumn / winter routine, I've gone for the most appropriate candle in my stash - Pumpkin sugared doughnut from Bath & Body Works. I apologise for featuring something you can't easily get hold of outside of North America, but these candles are my addiction, and any chance I get, I have someone bringing me these from across the pond. I won't tell you how amazing this smells, because that would just be rubbing it in, but if you fancy something similar you might want to try Apple Pumpkin from Yankee Candle.
For pretty bath water, it has to be Lush, and I've picked out the Lush Northern Lights bath bomb. I've shown it here in the plastic wrap you get when you order online as they can be a little crumbly. In the bath this fizzed around unleashing jasmine and ylang-ylang scented clouds of lilac and blue, and even some teeny tiny little stars! Maybe not quite the spa-like zen experience some might go for, but Lush brings out my inner child - coloured bath water for the win :)
Bath-time is also scrub time - a step I often skip through sheer laziness and one I rarely attempt in the shower due to the increased likelihood of falling over. However in the winter my skin will get scaly if not given the required amount of attention, so The Body Shop coconut body scrub has come to my rescue. It has a gorgeous tropical coconut scent which I adore - I love all things coconut anyway, but this one's seriously coconut-y and amazing. It's a great creamy scrub with a fair amount of grit to really slough off that dry skin, and the coconut oil is really moisturising too.
I like to take a bath when have at least an hour to spend lounging around with a book or watching something on my ipad (lately I've been addicted to Pretty Little Liars, but since I've devoured all of the available episodes I'm now getting into The Carrie Diaries, fyi). So that I can still claim to be multi-tasking, it's at this point that I might put on a hair mask and set about giving myself a mini facial.
Firstly my face gets a deep down cleanse, and right now I'm enjoying the DHC pore cleansing oil which has a gorgeous scent (I think it's neroli). I'll spend time really massaging it in to my skin before removing it with hot water and a muslin cloth. It gets my skin really clean but without being at all stripping - my face actually feels well nourished after using this. I don't find it practical to use oil cleansers in the morning, but for night-time or in the bath, to me they're a luxurious little skin treat.
Once my skin is squeaky clean I'll use a face mask or two. Depending on how my skin's behaving I might use two different masks at the same time - one on my t-zone and the other everywhere else, or I'll use them one after the other. Here I'm using the Dermaquest mini pumpkin mask, which granted looks a little bit like baby food, but it's spot on for the season containing actual pumpkin pulp, and it smells deliciously spicy. It's an anti-bacterial mask which breaks down excess skin cells and decongests clogged pores - good for my t-zone or all over.
I've then been following with a generous smothering of the vanilla and mandarin fragranced Aura manuka honey mask from Antipodes. Aura is a manuka honey mask which is both cleansing and intensely hydrating, and the drier areas of my skin really lap it up. I leave the mask on for about 15 minutes or maybe more while I'm in the bath, and then I remove what's left with my muslin cloth and warm water.
Once I finally convince myself it's time to leave the warm, snugly cocoon of the bath, I have a couple more treats to look forward to. Hands and feet which have gone all prune-like from spending too long wallowing in the water get slathered in the Antipodes Jubilation ultra nourishing hand and body cream. I love the packaging on this as well as the product - it looks quite Christmassy and I think I'm going to pick one of these up as a present for my mum, as she gets really dry hands. Jubilation has a fresh and fruity scent as it includes kiwi seed oil, wild blackcurrant, avocado oil and fig. It provides the skin with the essential fatty acids omega 3, 6 and 9, plus vitamins A, C and E. For extra hydration I'll pop this on before some socks and let it work on softening and moisturising my feet through the night.
My final skin treat is this luxurious Aromatherapy Associates massage & body oil in their Relax fragrance. This is a great one to use before bed, as whether it's all in my head or not, the smell of this really does make me feel more relaxed. In the absence of any willing massage participants, I'll use this mainly on my legs but also my arms to trap in the moisture from my bath. It's good to deeply moisturise and nourish my skin to protect it against the cold weather and central heating. It's not a product I'd use in the morning or when in a rush, but when I'm having an evening pamper session, it's perfect to use before hopping into snugly pjs or something from my incredibly fetching onsie collection.
Do you enjoy a good bath-time pamper in the winter?