I am really excited to be posting my Mum’s first ever blog post today! I asked her to write about her favourite five products, to which she originally claimed that she couldn’t possibly think of five. Well would you look at that? She came up with six in the end. (First rule of blogging, Mum, follow the brief!)
Anyway, even though technically my Mum is a bit older than many of my readers, I think many of you will find her suggestions useful. It’s funny, I already use one of the products she mentions and I didn’t even know it! See if you can guess which one…
Some of my favourite things.
While Esme is busy starting a new job, buying and moving in to their first ‘mortgaged to the hilt’ home she asked me to tell you about my 5 favourite products. Now by products I assume she means beauty products? (If those of you who know me could stop sniggering for a moment I will continue.) I’m not a big fan of cosmetics – Oh I was in my younger days but nowadays I just about manage to slap some stuff on my face in the mornings and that’s just so that I don’t scare small children. So when Esme said ‘products’ my first thought was washing up liquid (I know, I really need to get out more. Are you reading this Mr S?) which is the only branded product we actually buy regularly. Living in a house without mains drainage means that you can’t put any old cheap stuff that might kill the nice bugs that do all the work down the drains so we buy Ecover washing up liquid and it does what it says on the bottle, very well and guilt free. As far as the other normal products we buy, such as baked beans and mayonnaise and muesli, we always go for and actually prefer the supermarket own brands. As for the rest we are real brand sluts and will go with whichever product we want to buy that is on offer that day.
But to stick to the brief, I thought long and hard and realised that there are actually 5 personal grooming products that I buy and refuse to take cheaper substitutes for, and these are they:
Garnier Ambre Solaire Face Protection Cream spf 30+ – This, randomly enough, was recommended by my optician. It turns out that the dry skin I have always suffered from is actually a condition that was also attacking my eyes and was causing some corneal damage. He advised me that sunlight only made the situation worse and recommended that I wear a sunblock every day. I tried several and finally settled on this one. It is light enough that it can be worn every day, and I mean every day, as a moisturiser and it doesn’t have that horrid sheen that a regular sunblock does. It has made a real difference to my dry skin and my eyes have even improved too but I’m not sure how that actually works…
The cost varies enormously, from £6.00 to £12.99 per tube. I have found that it is one of those products that goes on a ‘buy one get one free’ offer every summer. Don’t ask, I have no idea why. So I buy two for the price of one each summer and that lasts me till the following year when it goes on offer again.
I also own a tube of the spf 50+ which I only use on my nose in very sunny weather (we don’t get much of that over here in Wales so it has lasted a long time.) and will continue to use until I see some celebrity endorsing the Rudolf look as the latest big thing.
Dove moisturising soap – I know, boring. But it works. As I said before I have dry skin and normal soaps always leave me feeling itchy. I’m not usually one that believes the advertising hype so was very sceptical of it actually working. But for me it is the only soap I will use in the shower and as a bonus it doesn’t really smell of anything either, so I can wear perfume as well and not have that weird soap + perfume pong going on.
Tresemme shampoo and conditioner for blondes – Although I am in my 50’s and therefore older to know better I still have my little vanities. One of which is that I hide the increasing spread of grey with blonde highlights. Having always been a natural blonde this isn’t as extreme as it sounds. I also have fine hair which gets weighed down by some conditioners. I have tried many, many different shampoos and conditioners (you should see our bathroom cabinet!) and every time I can’t get hold of this one I will try another but I always come back to this. As I mentioned we live in a small Welsh town and we don’t have much choice when it comes to supermarkets or high street chains so the only down side is that this product isn’t always available when I want some. I have now gotten in to the habit (much to the annoyance of Mr S who buys 27p a litre shampoo and thinks that even that is a bit girly) of going into supermarkets whenever we cross the border and buying in bulk to last me through till the next cross border raid.
Tresemme comes in a 500ml bottle and at £5.49 is actually very good value as it lasts a long time. It really does help keep my highlights looking good and feels wonderful on my hair. It isn’t so heavy that my hair goes flat and is generally the best value hair stuff I have found. Now if only they would re-stock Aberystwyth more regularly…
Veet ready to use wax strips for the face – I have an admission. I have a moustache. I am really sorry daughters of mine but as this is probably genetic – my mother, sister and I look like a photo shoot for the RAF of the 1940’s – you will probably get it later in life too. Luckily (!?) it is very blonde but this does mean that in bright sunlight it only shows up more. For years now I have ignored it and plucked it and probably should just admit defeat and wax it and be proud but as I said before I do have my vanities and this is one of them. So, about 5 years ago a beauty salon opened in our seaside town and I booked waxing there at £5 a pop but as it has become more popular it has been harder to get a convenient slot. Then out of desperation I found these waxing strips in the supermarket and gave them a try. OK, I admit, it is really scary pulling a wax strip off your face and it really does make your eyes water. (One of the main advantages of going to a salon is that they carry on doing it even if it hurts). I always do it after a shower so that my skin is warm, it takes about 5 minutes and then it’s done. One box at around £5.29 (cheaper in supermarkets) does up to 6 waxings for me, which is great value. They provide soothing wipes – which you really need! It is best to do this just before going to bed as the top lip can be a little sore afterwards but everything cools down by morning and it lasts up to 3 weeks depending on your hirsuteness.
Superdrug hair removal cream for sensitive skin – As I said before I do suffer from dry skin and as I have never mastered the art of leg shaving in the shower (I’m sure Olga Korbut could do it. Oh please, just look her up!) but I can’t without requiring traction later I usually use a hair removal cream on my legs. Actually I have another admission; I don’t do this very often either. Mr S doesn’t seem to mind rugby player legs in bed – that sounds worse than I intended – and opaque tights and trousers (no, not at the same time!) do hide a multitude of sins. Anyway, over the years I have tried a number of brand creams and even the sensitive ones left my legs feeling dry. I’ve actually had chemical burns a couple of times from leaving them on a moment too long. What we do for summer legs eh? But in my usual search for a cheaper alternative I bought the Superdrug’s own brand and it worked really well. One tube lasts for 2 applications – which for me is practically a summers worth – and it leaves my legs feeling very soft. Good product, great value.
Barbara Daly make-up range – I used to be a zealous consumer of the Body Shops make up and products but since they have been taken over by L’Oreal I’m not actually convinced that they are as ethical as they once were. So now the only other make up brand I use is the Barbara Daly range. For those of you who don’t know or are too damn young to care Barbara Daly was a household name in the 80’s and 90’s. I think I’m correct in thinking that she did Princess Diana’s make up for that wedding – and didn’t that turn out well? Anyway I thought that she had gone the way of ra ra skirts and big hair but last year I found her range being sold in Tesco of all places. So being in need of some items, apparently you shouldn’t keep foundation for 20 years (who knew?); I purchased some bits and pieces including a lovely face powder that goes on like a dream and is not a clogging as foundation but seems to do the same job. So next time you see some, give it a go. It isn’t expensive and seems to last a long time. I’ll let you know in 20 years or so…
And somehow I have managed to come up with 6 products I like and use. Who knew I was so vain?
I hope my honesty – I can’t believe I told you about my moustache – has helped and that you might feel able to try some of these in the privacy of your own bathroom.