Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla… these tantalising scents are wonderfully redolent of the Christmas season. Lisa Botwright brings you an edit of the hottest and spiciest beauty around…
Nothing evokes Christmas quite as well as the all-enveloping scent of cinnamon. From the inviting lure of mulled wine to the pungent richness of a mince pie, it’s the central ingredient of so many delicious things that we associate with the season. The spice itself comes from the inner bark of trees native to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, and Burma, and in ancient times was so valuable that it was used as currency amongst rich traders – a few grams was worth the equivalent of a year’s wages, according to Roman writer Pliny.
It wasn’t until the 19th century that cinnamon and other spices became cheaper and more widely available to the everyday household. Victorian recipes, both sweet and savoury, began to make full use of this relatively new and exciting aromatic seasoning – adding ginger, turmeric, cloves, nutmeg and more to dishes that are still recognisable and popular today.
The health properties of spices are evident too. Turmeric, for example, is a powerful antioxidant, often used in alternative remedies for the treatment of everything from indigestion to mild inflammation. Vanilla is full of B vitamins and – like chocolate – is a natural ‘mood booster.’
With the current trend towards a more holistic approach, the beauty industry has embraced natural ingredients – and where the delicate essential oils of lavender and rose are perfect for the summer months, the English winter calls for a more comforting and robust approach. All of the gorgeous products on these two pages have been selected because of their familiar and uplifting ingredients that epitomise the holiday season.
Winter is all about being kind to ourselves: taking advantage of the dark evenings to get cosy in front of the fire, or enjoy a long leisurely soak. ‘Hygge’, as the Danish call it.
Light an Elemis ‘joyful glow’ candle, and relax to notes of vanilla, orange & cinnamon as you run a hot bath. Noble Isle’s ‘fireside’ shower gel has a delicious peppery depth. As you bathe, the added turmeric in the Kiehl’s facial masque will work wonders to give you a fantastic winter glow. Follow up with some decadent praline-infused body cream.
To really step up the relaxation – try the MONUSpa ginger massage and body oil. Finish with a subtle hint of spicy perfume: either the handy Bonnley rollerball with its warming hint of amber – or The Library of Fragrance’s somewhat original, but surprisingly lovely, ultimate Christmas ‘egg nog’ perfume.
And, of course, no bathroom will be complete over the festivities without a suitably scented handwash or soap.
Winter warming beauty? Clearly the new spice of life.
Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing
Radiance Masque £28 • Kiehls.co.uk
Ginger, Cedarwood & Sandalwood Liquid Soap
£15.50 • tanzaniteblue.co.uk
The Library of Fragrance Egg Nog Cologne
£15 • thelibraryoffragrance.com
Suma handmade natural soap
£1.99 • ethicalsuperstore.com