Category Archives: Skincare and Body

Jarada Island, Bahrain

Yesterday along with some friends, I headed off to Jarada Island, just off the coast of Bahrain. It’s a tidal island which means it only appears for a couple of hours every day and as a result, there is not a tree or bit of shade to be seen unless you provide your own. The temperature was estimated to be 46 degree’s celcius by early afternoon so I pulled out the heavy duty sunscreen and other heat busting products to help me get through the day without looking like a lobster by the end.

I opted for Avene Very High Protection Lotion SPF50 for my face and neck, I’ve tried the emulsion version of this before but couldn’t get on with it so started using the lotion again. The formula is quite light and it sinks quickly into the skin without leaving a white cast. It’s also very waterproof so I was able to happily frolic in the sea without worrying about it coming off. I threw a mini bottle of their Thermal Water in my handbag too to give my skin some relief during the day, I love using this! It’s so incredibly refreshing and lasts for ages.

A new addition to my sunscreen arsenal is Photo Reverse Body Spray by Institut Estederm. I interviewed Lisa Eldridge for work a couple of weeks ago and she recommended the range, which I had never tried. Apparently it’s great for pigmentation and patchiness on the skin caused by sun exposure and provides a high level of sun protection without providing a specific SPF level, which is interesting. Amazingly, after 4 hours in the heat yesterday I had no redness or sunburn of any kind to report and my skin was blotch free, result! I’m so pleased with the outcome I’ve decided to order a few more of their products, even though they’re not the cheapest, from www.lookfantastic.com

 

Lastly, even though it’s not skincare, I spritzed my hair with Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray for that beachy wave look so that I didn’t have to actually dunk my head in the water. It can be applied to wet/damp hair and lasts pretty much all day without making your hair look greasy, it smells pretty nice too!

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Bioderma Sensibio H20 – New Bottle

Usually, I wouldn’t blog about something like this as it’s not that big of a deal in my opinion. But, because I will love and adore this product until I shuffle off my mortal coil I thought it deserved a mention. Dramatic, no?

If you’re not familiar with Bioderma Sensisbio H20, you should be. It’s easily one of the best, if not the best, makeup removing products on the market. I won’t waffle on too much as I’ve blogged about it before. Suffice to say, there are bottles of this everywhere, in my kit, in my makeup drawers, in the bathrooms in my house, in my Mum’s house – you get the idea.

Luckily, the Bioderma line is carried by all Boots stores across the Middle East as well as some smaller pharmacy chains, so I can fill my boots easily, albeit at a slightly more expensive price then in the EU.

Now, onto the actual point of this post. The packaging in general remain’s the same but the lid has now been changed to a new pump format. Personally, I find the current format easy to use, but I can see the benefit’s of the pump, as you will no longer have to pick it up to use, just leave the lid open and press down on it with a cotton disk, and that’s it really!

How many of you have made the move to Bioderma?

 

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Garnier Tinted Eye Roll On

Following on from their original best selling version, Garnier have tried to double their good luck by releasing a new tinted version. Having been a fan of the first one and it’s anti-puffiness abilities I was excited to try this. As with a lot of their skin products of late, including the now infamous BB Cream, only two shades are on offer – light and medium.

I was disappointed to note that light is not light at all but quite a medium toned shade, far too dark for my skin. No amount of blending or tapping into the skin will make this look right. I never understand why brands think two shades are sufficient to work for the whole female population, it’s quite ridiculous – especially when they put a phrase like “instant fairness” on the packaging. On top of this, the formula isn’t as good as the first one. It’s harder to work with and is much less gel-like, thus getting rid of it’s anti-puffing abilities. Here’s some pictures below:

Hugely disappointed by this product, but maybe it will work for the small number of us whose skin type completely match the two shades on offer. Anyone else tried it?

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L’Occitane Ultra Gentle Moisturiser

Over the past couple of weeks the weather has changed quite a lot. It’s gone from mid thirties to fifteen at nighttime with a real bite in the air. Obviously, it’s not freezing (yet) but the change has affected my skin, as it usually does this time of year. My chin, nose and forehead have become very dry all of a sudden and as I’m usually oily I had no products to hand to immediately make it better.

Luckily, I came across this lovely moisturiser from L’Occitane which has turned things around nicely. A light a creamy formula, Ultra Gentle Moisturiser is a pleasure to use. It’s hypoallergenic, fragrance free and has a generous amount of shea butter in the ingredients. I’ve been using it morning and evening to reduce the dryness on my face, and after using it for a few weeks now my skin has become baby soft. What I love about it is the texture, it’s incredibly moisturising but so light, and disappears into the skin after use.

Definitely my new favourite moisturiser for winter. I love the packaging too!

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Bio-Oil Skin Stories

As a huge fan of Bio-Oil (hello amazing skin), I love anything that they do, so when I heard about their latest campaign I thought it would be a nice thing to share with all of you. The idea of the campaign is to help women just like me and you, banish body confidence issues and help raise money for the British Skin Foundation in the process.

A recent survey found that 1 in 3 of us feel embarrassed, ashamed or worried about having scars or stretchmarks, and discovered it even effects what clothes we decide to wear. To try and change this and promote positive body image for all women, Bio-Oil started a campaign called Skin Stories to celebrate how every scar and stretch mark tells a story.

It’s main aim is to encourage women to celebrate their skin’s individuality by uploading their Skin Story as inspiration to other women, to empower them to think and feel more positively about their own skin. For every story shared, Bio-Oil will donate £1 to the British Skin Foundation to help fund research into skin health.

If you have a skin story you would like to share head on over to their page now, and let this amazing positive skin revolution begin!

Lift Activ Derm Source Serum

Vichy LiftActiv Serum 10

As a woman who suffers from sensitive skin, I exercise caution when it comes to what I put on my face, particularly when it comes to skincare. So, when I heard about this new serum powerful anti-ageing serum from Vichy that’s suitable for sensitive skin and paraben free, I got a little bit excited.

What’s special about this serum is that it contains Rhamnose, a groovy plant based ingredient that actually helps reactivate the youth producing elements of our skin, who doesn’t want that?! It also contains Hyaluronic Acid, one of my all time favourite skincare ingredients which helps hydrate and plump up the skin.

The serum itself is light and easy to use and designed to be applied over the whole face in the morning and/or night for optimum results. Its available now from Boots.com and retails at 29.50GBP for 30ml of product.

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Green Bar Moroccan Rose Plant Water

Those of you that read my blog will know that I’m not great at using all natural products. I struggle to find what I want, for the right price that actually does what it says it will. Don’t get me wrong, I’m getting better at trying things – but it”s a slow process!

When I was given the opportunity to sample some products from Green Bar, an all natural Bahrain based beauty brand, I thought why not. With no preservatives, synthetics or chemicals of any kind, it was my chance to try something really natural, sourced only from the region I’m currently living in. The first product I tried was Moroccan Rose Plant Water. Part of Green Bar’s Middle East Rosewater Collection, it promises to tone and tighten the skin whilst cooling inflammation and general redness. Having super sensitive, redness prone skin it sounded like the perfect product for me. My only reservation was the essential oils contained within, usually I veer away from oil of any kind as a result of my already oily skin. Nonetheless, I decided to try it out – all for the sake of experimentation!

The first thing that struck me was the smell, it’s an intoxicating heady blend of roses, something that although strong, is not overpowering and makes you want to keep sniffing it! I applied it after cleansing using a cotton disk and felt a very mild tightening of the skin, the scent lingers, but only for awhile and it’s quite pleasant. What surprised me was how light it is on the skin, like I said oils don’t usually agree with me but this disappears into the skin without a trace. After using it this way for a few days with no adverse effects, I also chanced it as a makeup remover. Happily, it took everything off in two disks and left my skin incredibly cool. The redness on my face was noticeably reduced after using it for just seven days and became almost cool to the touch. Result!

The retail price for a 250ml bottle is BD10 (20e/AED100), pretty reasonable by my standard’s, especially since I can see this lasting quite a long time. Overall, I have to say I’m very impressed and will be adding this to my daily skincare routine. Like I said, natural products and me don’t usually get on but I can work with this, and lets be honest, who doesn’t love to say they’re using eco-certified organic products! You can buy Green bar products directly from their website, which offers international shipping and free delivery within Bahrain.

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Review: Lush ‘Catastrophe Cosmetic’ Face Mask

I spotted Lush in Dubai recently and nearly had heart failure. Reason being, we don’t have Lush in Bahrain and everyone is always blogging about how amazing their products are. Bitter, me? Never! My BFF who was with me lives in Kuwait and has access to all things Lush so she didn’t understand my frantic arm waving and enthusiastic ‘lets go nowwww’ gestures of impatience.

Anyways, we got in there and oh my god! I wanted to eat the store. Everything looked like cakes and sweets and smelled delicious! I had to calm myself and plan a strategy to make my way through the store, thoroughly inspecting every product going. I bought a few bath bombs as Dee from Viva Adonis blogged about them before they sounded amazing.

Half an hour later I’m still there and the excitement obviously rubbed off on my friend because suddenly I turned around and she was weighed down with Lush shopping bags, hmmmm. I mentioned to the SA that I was looking for a face mask with calming, relaxing properties. She recommended Catastrophe Cosmetic, a soothing mask made with blueberries, chamomile, irish moss (I was sold when she said this) and almond oil.

It sounded perfect, so I bought it, packed it and headed home. Lush say; apply it to dry skin, leave for 5 minutes and rinse, so off I went. Its nice and thick in texture so quite satisfying to slap on to your face, it smells ok, a little strong but nothing unpleasant. After 5 minutes or so it drys solid on your face and so time to rinse off. Did it calm my face? Absolutely, I’d say that Irish moss worked a treat. Unfortunately, something else in there didn’t work a treat and the next morning I had a billion little spots all over my chin and nose. Disappointing but look, what can you do? Everyone’s skin is different. I paid about 6BD for 75grams of this, which is about 13 euro. Not bad value but, the product has to be kept in the fridge and used within 2 weeks of purchase – a little annoying as I probably have time to apply a face mask once a month.

Not put off my this, I’m on to the bath bombs, very excited to use these so will post about them soon!

Or as I like to call it, The One That Changed Everything. Yes, I know I’m occasionally prone to outbursts of drama when describing a product but there’s really nothing I can say that will do this little bottle justice. This is the serum to end all serum’s. A potent miracle that provides a high concentration of 10.5% pure Vitamin C to turn your skin into the sleek radiant wonder it should be.

A friend of mine was using this and raved about it’s benefit’s so naturally, I had to try it. As we don’t have Kiehls in Bahrain I waited (impatiently) until I was in Kuwait last week to get it. It cost around 16KD, which is about 21BD/40e for 50ml of product. The very lovely SA recommended that I use it only at night-time as it is too intensive for daytime use. Well, when she said that, I was sold! Too intensive? I’m there!

It claims to boost skin texture and radiance, reducing crow’s feet, wrinkles and other small lines as it goes, and my my my, it surely does that. I actually can’t believe what this has done to my skin, and after only a mere 4 days of using it. The formula is light and pleasant to use, it blends easily into the skin and very little product is required, two pumps will cover the whole face. Every time I apply it I get a warm sensation on my skin, which is the Vitamin C kicking in and (according to the packaging) it’s very normal. I can’t say much more about this except this is hands down the best serum I have ever used and so far, it’s completely exceeded my expectations, my skin is smoother and more radiant than it has been in a long long time. Holy Grail product? Yes yes and yes!

This week, I’ve been loving these products. MAC Studio Fix Fluid has been rediscovered, partly due my skin becoming increasingly worse and needing the extra coverage and partly because it seems to have more staying power in this heat than any other foundation I own. I’m using NW20 at the moment, which is a little on the pale side right now so I’ve been mixing it with some darker shades.

Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden has also been rediscovered. Although I’ve always been a fan of the original potion, this one really floats my boat. Now in a squeezy tube, flesh toned and uber pigmented it’s just perfect. I like to use it all over the lid and into the corner of my nose as it offer’s great concealing action as well as holding my shadow’s in place all day.

Bobbi Brown Metallic Long-Wear Cream Shadow in Starry Purple is a new favourite. Although I’ve tried these shadows before, this shade really is beautiful. Deep purple with a hint of shimmer and super creamy, it’s perfect for nighttime glam with a little liner.

Last but not least, Avene Anti-Shine Regulating Lotion. I love this! Although my skin is rarely dry and definitely doesn’t need any help when it comes to producing moisture, I still need something to control oil and eradicate that tight feeling that I sometimes get. I’ve been using this just on the t-zone and oh my, it’s just fabulous. Soothing, light and amazing at reducing shine, I can now never be without this!

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Simone Loves… Alpha-H Micro Cleanse

This is a new-ish addition to my skincare regimen. I’ve used Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant for years and such was my reluctance to try something new that I ignored all the good things I was hearing about Alpha-H… for about 5 minutes. Micro Cleanse caught my eye in particular as it contains Glycolic Acid, one of my all time favorite skin resurfacing  ingredients.

Alpha-H say the granulated formula helps dislodge oil, dirt and dead skin cells, refines skin and reveals a new freshness. Granulated means there are little scrubber type beads in the cream. As I have oily skin, I’m always a little wary of this as sometimes it can encourage your skin to produce more oil. Fortunately, it hasn’t done that and so I’ll start raving about this right about now.

I love this cleanser. Shall I go on? I love love love this cleanser. It’s incredibly effective and yet very gentle. My skin feels amazing after I use this; smoother softer and visibly brighter. It’s very easy to use too. Squeeze a thumbnail sized amount into your hand and massage gently all over the face and neck, avoiding the eye area. Work it in for about 2 minutes and rinse with warm water. Additionally, it smells fabulous; fresh and zesty.  I’ve been using it about twice a week for a couple of weeks now and have really noticed a difference in my skin. After the first few uses I expected a bit of a breakout but nothing happened, which makes me love it even more!

It cost 23.50GBP from Beauty Expert, who conveniently offer free worldwide shipping. I’m considering trying out some other products from Alpha-H now so watch this space…

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Skincare – SPF, Aging & Botox

So we’re back with part 2 of our skincare series! Last week, Dr. Lillian Khan, renowned dermatologist and brand expert for Ponds Arabia, talked us through all our favourite skincare topics; skincare Myths, skin-types, exfoliation, daily care and eyecream.

This week she kindly answers all our questions about SPF, botox, facial fillers and pigmentation, woohoo!

1.       Can the use of regular skincare really improve the texture of skin and slow down the aging process?

Yes it can, thanks to extensive scientific research and many cosmeceutical companies and their labs that are constantly looking for that modern source of the fountain of youth. Scientists were able to develop products with ingredients that can help maintain youthful skin and reverse signs of aging.
But! you have to keep in mind that even with years of research, all what they have developed are products that can slow down the aging skin but not totally stop it. There is also a lot of focus on prevention methods rather than reversing methods.

2.       How important is SPF and what factor should we wear?

Its very important!  SPF (sun protection factor) is basically a measurement of how much protection the sunscreen provides from getting sunburn from UVB light. A sunscreen with SPF 15 provides 93% block from UVB, SPF 30 blocks 97%, SPF 50 blocks 98%, SPF 100 blocks 99% of damaging UVB light. A more practical explanation would be if a person normally would turn red and start burning from sun exposure in 10 min then with a sunscreen of SPF 15 it would take him 150 min to turn red. SPF is only a measurement of UVB (sunburn causing rays) protection not of UVA (aging causing rays).

That is why you have to read the labelling of the sunscreen very carefully and get the one with a broad spectrum sunscreen that covers for both. It should be an SPF of at least 30. Apply it on all sun exposed areas of your body thoroughly 15-30 min before going out in the sun. Sunscreens lose their effectiveness after around 2 hours so you need to reapply it frequently. As for the exact amount I will quote the American Academy of Dermatology AAD: “One ounce, enough to fill a shot glass, is considered the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of the body properly.”

3.       What is pigmentation and how do we prevent it/reduce its appearance?

Pigmentation is the change in skin tone in the form of spots, patches, or over all skin colour. It is either an increase in skin melanin (which gives us our skin colour) or skin colour cells (melanocytes).
There are many causes of pigmentation, some examples are self induced (picking on pimples), enviromental (sun exposure), genetic (freckles), and hormonal factors.

In some cases you cant really prevent it from happening because of the genetic factor or the hormonal influence such as in pregnancy or taking contraceptive pills which can cause in predisposed individuals a condition called melasma. But most common pigmentation conditions become worse and darker with sun exposure, so its best to avoid it.
If you have any kind of pigmentation its always advisable to seek the evaluation of a dermatologist because there are different causes and different treatments that is best to discuss it with them.
As for over the counter creams you can start brightening creams but don’t rush the results give it a trial of at least a month or so. Most creams are slow in showing effects. If no improvement occurs then consult with your dermatologist to discuss other additive options of treatments including in clinic office treatments such as peels or lasers.

4.       How important are regular facials?

I like regular professional facials every two weeks. It is a good base unless you are on a specific treatment plan which requires more frequent visits that is placed for you by a well qualified beautician or your dermatologist addressing a certain condition that you have. Some people like to do professional treatments on a weekly basis, I find that to be a bit too harsh on the skin unless its a very basic facial. Home facials on the other hand can be done weekly if its done with a gentle cleansing exfoliation (e.g. Pond’s age miracle regenerating facial foam), toner, mask, and finishing off with a good serum (our Pond’s age miracle concentrated resurfacing serum is a good choice) according to your skin type.

5.       What do you think about botox? Why should we use it? Should it be used preventatively? Why are so many people unsure about Botox? Is it dangerous?

Botox is one of my favourite clinic treatments that I offer my patients very often! Its gives me  as a cosmetic dermatologist satisfying results for me and my patients once the effect starts showing. It can give them a mini face lift, a more youthful look, smooths out their wrinkles, opens up the eyes by lifting the mild sagging over the eye lids, and other. I do suggest it also to my patients as a preventive measure because by using it regularly it can help in delaying wrinkles from appearing.
Some of my patients are unsure about Botox because of the fear of losing the full expressions of their face, that can happen but most dermatologist’ these days have been using a method in which patients don’t have to lose all expressions. The other issue of concern with some which is also a favourable side effect to others is the quizzical eye effect or over lifting of the eye brow and that can easily be adjusted in the touch up sessions.

There is a long list of  warnings and possible side effects placed on the Botox label which I will refer you to the official Botox website in this link: http://www.botoxcosmetic.com
My over all personal and work experience with this product has been good when being used for cosmetic reasons. But my advice is to discuss it thoroughly with your dermatologist if you are considering it, and get a full consultation before you take your final decision.

6.       What are facial peels and fillers? What age should we start using them?

Facial peels are three types; superficial, medium, and deep. Most of the peels that are done these days are the superficial ones especially with the emergence of rejuvenation techniques using lasers. There are several types of chemical peels in terms of composition every doctor has his or her preference on what they like to use. My favourites are AHA, and TCA peels. Its used for many reasons to treat acne, pigmentation, wrinkles, and for rejuvenation. It can be started when problems start to appear that would be the best time.
Fillers are products that are used either for correction of what we lost or the enhancement of what we have. There are many products with many formulations. The most popular formulation is hyaluronic acid. Others are poly-L-lactic acid and calcium hydroxyapatite.
Any age above 18 can use it as needed to correct a problem such as wrinkles, fat loss in the face due to aging or disease,  a more youthful look to the hands, enhance the lips, correct defects on the nose and many other off label indications.

7.       What advice would you give to someone in their mid twenties who is just starting to look after their skin?

Its never too early to start looking after your skin or too late for that matter. Start the habit of getting into a good facial care routine that is appropriate for your skin type. Treat any dermatologic skin condition early and learn with the help of your dermatologist how to be able to control it with the proper medications. Never pick on your pimples because you can cause scarring. And stop tanning because of the sun damage that you cause in this early age you will pay for it later on and it will become more difficult to treat then. Start using gentle formulations of antiaging creams in your mid twenties it will help you in your thirties.

Questions?

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Review – St. Tropez Spray Tan

After exfoliating myself away to nothing yesterday (not really) I finally slinked off to my local salon for a spray tan. I decided to have a spray tan for a few reasons. Firstly, my friend Fiona is addicted and has been on a never ending mission for me to get one. Secondly, I rarely, if ever, sunbathe and so I’m rather pasty. Of course, there is nothing wrong with being pasty but personally, I usually tend to look more alive with a tan and finally, why the hell not!

That last sentence makes me sound so flippant and carefree when in fact I was borderline terrified. I actually had a nightmare the previous night that I had got my tan, rubbed my shoulder and it came off in one big nasty streak! I pondered possible streaked bed sheets, the tan running off in the shower, sweating, applying my makeup and so on. The reality is, I’ve used many tanning lotions and potions in my time and know the answers to all these questions but, a bit of dramatics never did anyone any harm!

So, I arrived at the salon sans deodorant/lotions, wearing a loose fitting dress and without a scrap of makeup on my face. I stripped off, tied my hair up and got into the booth. The spray tan lady applied some cream to my knees, elbows and palm of my hand to stop the product clogging or applying too heavy in these areas. She then started up the machine. Now, the feel of the spray tan is quite pleasant but the fumes are not. I was breathing it in through my nose and throat, and although it’s perfectly safe I found it a little annoying. After one layer, I was asked to inspect the results in the mirror. I noticed very little difference and opted for a second layer. Five minutes later I was done and sent over to a section of the room with fans and air-con to dry off.

Dressed and home, an hour later this was the result!

Honestly, when I compared these photo’s side by side I couldn’t believe it! I look so healthy!! When I took this photo, my skin felt quite sticky but I was assured after waiting four hours this would fade and the colour would deepen, and it certainly did. I had a shower after the four hour point and a teeny bit of it washed off but really nothing of note.

The whole experience was very pleasant, took 15 minutes and cost 15BD (30e/330AED). According to St. Tropez, the tan will last 7 to 10 days and will fade away evenly. I’m so impressed with the results that I’ll be making this a regular thing, much to Fiona’s delight I’m sure! Have any of you lot had a spray tan? Or would you now after reading this post?

Also, check out my review of St. Tropez Daily Gradual Tanner here!

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Simone Loves… Boots Pomegranate & Avocado

Like many of you, the last year or so has seen a serious leaning towards all things Soap & Glory and although I still love and use a lot of their body products, I’m branching out! Among one of my many fabulous birthday presents from a friend was Boots Hawaiian Islands Pomegranate & Avocado Shower Gel. Without sounding over dramatic (me? never!), it’s like having a shower on a tropical island surrounded by er, pomegranate and avocado. Truly delicious!

In preparation for a spray tan later today, I decided to have a good old scrub, but I wanted something a bit more luxurious then my usual Scrub Actually and something that comes in a tub! I headed over to the Hawaiian Islands stand in Boots and picked this up and oh my, it’s amazing! It smells even better then the shower gel, if that’s even possible. It’s not too gloopy or sticky and doesn’t leave a residue on the skin. It exfoliates like a dream and leaves your skin smooth and smelling absolutely delicious. I didn’t check the price of the shower gel but the scrub costs 6BD (12e/60AED).

Weirdly, I can’t find any of these products on Boots.com so if anyone know’s why that is please enlighten me. Maybe it’s a range that’s only available outside Europe?

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Simone Loves… Nuxe Golden Shimmer

What’s that song? It goes something like, ‘I’m in love, I’m in love, looooove”. I could leave it at that but I suppose I should give a bit more background as to why I’ve fallen head over heals for this product!

So, what is it exactly? Well, you might just have to ask yourself what is it not!  Nuxe Multi-Usage Dry Oil is a multi use oil (no way) that can be used to give a shimmering glow on hair face and body. What I really like about it is the formula; it’s silicone and preservative free and contains 6 plant oils which also aid in improving the appearance of stretch marks!  It’s a pump action spray that glides on to the skin, blends in beautifully and amazingly doesn’t leave a too-oily residue. It also smells delicious, like summer nights and palm tree’s. It’s uber shimmery, so looks great on an existing tan, on bare legs for a night out or just for a subtle touch of sparkle.

The only downside (why does there always have to be one!) is the price. I paid 22BD (220AED, 44euro) for the above bottle. More then I would usually pay for a body oil  but it’s just so amazing i don’t care! If you’re a little less frivolous then me, you can always opt for the smaller, and more purse friendly, 50ml bottle for half the price!

Anyone else already using this?