If there is one thing fragrance fanatics know, that’s to be seasonally appropriate when picking a perfume. As much as you may love the notes of summer, melon and strawberry have no place during the cold winter months. Think about the restaurant industry; chefs try their best to use seasonal produce to reflect the mood of the moment and so must we.
Winter is a time when you can easily switch to dramatic and impactful fragrances that you couldn’t have worn during the summer months because they are overwhelming in the heat and humidity. The winter air, which is drier, crisper and cooler, calls for headier scents. Notes that really have an impact during the winter season include; amber, patchouli, musk, ginger, fig, and woody notes like cedar, sandalwood, and vetiver.
Whether you are buying for someone else this Christmas or looking for something you can wear that reflects the festive mood and change of season, Master Perfumer John Stephen explains the how, what, and why of the summer to winter scent-swap.
The creative force behind Cotswold Perfumery, one of the UK’s most successful perfumeries, John Stephen makes fragrances for both niche brands and best-sellers for top international fragrance houses as well as the royal family: “Wintery perfumes tend to be spicier, heavier and more complex than summer fragrances, often classified in the industry as Oriental or chypre like Chanel No.5. I would say that changing your fragrance is similar to editing your wardrobe in some ways. You would not walk down the street in a summer dress and sandals in December, you switch to sheepskin boots and a woolly cardigan, and similarly, a strong sandalwood, cashmere wood, or black pepper scent is just the thing to complement this change of season.’’
When it is colder, we want our fragrance to bring warmth to the skin and have longevity—it needs to withstand blustery winds hitting your skin and layer upon layer of clothing you pile on and then peel off throughout the day, which can often take your favourite fragrance off in the process. If you can, invest in an eau de parfum, rather than an eau de toilette, which doesn’t always have the same staying power.
“Some of the most memorable and evocative of winter fragrances are those that remind us of specific experiences we may have had during the cosy winter months in front of a roaring fire, sipping mulled wine. The trick is to become aware of the fragrances around us, acknowledging at every point, those that are pleasant, new, and exciting, and putting a name to them. Being more fragrance-conscious and noting down what you like, will mean that you can choose your own individual perfume with all those ingredients that reignite thoughts of the festive season,” said Mr. Stephen.
If cinnamon, spice, and all things nice sound appealing to you, then check out some of these festive flavours to get you in the mood for some mistletoe and mulled wine:
Tom Ford Black Orchid Eau de Perfum (£43.20, $70) has become a modern classic, and its top note of black truffle is perfect for the cold, dark nights. It also gets a tick for its vetiver and patchouli notes—both of which are real winter warmers. This one’s luxury in a bottle and a mere spritz lasts a long, long time.
Prada L’Eau Ambree (£52, $76) is a sensual, feminine fragrance with (as the name suggests) warming amber notes. When layered with the body lotion it lasts much longer. Definitely one to show off on your dressing table.
Cotswold Perfumery’s Cymbelline by John Stephen (£25.95) is a best-selling chypre fragrance during this time of year with a glorious base of sandalwood and vetiver. This one’s perhaps the connoisseur’s choice, especially if you don’t want an easily identifiable fragrance. Great for those who like to embrace their individuality.
Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir Cologne, (£38, $60 ) may not be the newest kid on the block but it certainly evokes the warmth and splendour of the season; sitting by a roaring fire, pepper, spicy woods and of course pomegranate will whisk you away. One word of warning; this fragrance is now available in plenty of home accessories such as oil diffusers and candles, etc., so be sure you don’t overdo it. Ever heard of too much of a good thing?
If you think you can do better than these, and want to give fragrance blending a shot yourself, give it a try. In his spare (!) time, John runs perfume courses for both individuals and larger groups for corporate and industry training. For more information, call The Cotswold Perfumery on +44 (0)1451 820 698 or log on to www.cotswold-perfumery.co.uk.
Love from London
We may be used to it, but at BITB’s London HQ, feeling the temperature plummet hasn’t done much to lift our spirits across the pond. Having said that, the launch of Tiffany Skate, at the beautiful Somerset House ice rink, has started to make us feel a bit Christmassy, at least. Sadly, the cold weather is really playing havoc with our skin…and our diet. Like a lot of people, the cold weather tends to make some of us comfort-eat and we all know that come January we’ll regret that extra mince pie and super-sized, super-stodgy meal.
If you are likely to go on a crash diet in the New Year to get back to square one and regain your pre-Xmas figure, then be realistic. Are you able to achieve the body shape you are hoping for or are there some bulges that won’t shift no matter how much exercise and dieting you do? If so, the latest technology to hit our shores will fix those unsightly stubborn grab-able inches for good. CoolSculpting® by Zeltiq—a unique, effective, safe, FDA-cleared non-invasive treatment—targets stubborn exercise-resistant fat bulges and is gaining a worldwide following with over 400,000 treatments done so far.
Utilising cryolipolysis (literally freezing the fat cells), the revolutionary technology behind CoolSculpting® was born from the observation that children who ate lots of ice-lollies had dimples due to the loss of fat cells caused by the continued exposure to the cold. From this, a team of scientists from Harvard Medical School developed an innovative, non-invasive cooling process that could be used to specifically target fat cells, freezing them to the point of elimination. Only fat cells are frozen—they are crystallised then subsequently die and are eliminated from the body in the natural way via the liver and lymphatic system. Is it safe I hear you ask? Well, in a word, yes! The fat is removed from the body in a safe concentration just as though you were on a standard fat-loss diet.
A relatively simple and painless process, the CoolSculpting® device is positioned on the area of the body to be targeted and using a suction action, draws the fat bulge into the CoolSculpting® treatment applicator where two cooling plates are situated. The correct size cooling plate is chosen following a thorough assessment of the area being treated.
The non-surgical appeal of the treatment was a key pull for Dr Tracy Mountford, founder member of the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors (BACD) and the founder and medical director of The Cosmetic Skin Clinic, as she could see clear demand for such a solution. “There are a significant number of patients that do not want an invasive body contouring treatment; for these people CoolSculpting is an ideal treatment option and in our practice it has proved very popular.”
The patient will feel a firm pulling sensation and slight pressure followed by a numbing cold sensation. Then it’s a case of simply sitting back and relaxing whilst the CoolSculpting® device does its work. Dr Mountford says “Initially, before the treatment, patients are sceptical that such an easy treatment could deliver good results. During the treatment patients find the experience comfortable and can easily carry on with work commitments on their phones or laptops or catch up with their latest book or magazine. It’s been known for some to nod off to sleep.”
The final result is seen in around 60 days and it’s permanent. In Dr Mountford’s experience, “Most patients report an improvement at three weeks, getting better week by week up to three months.” The newly launched CoolCurve+ is a specially designed and developed applicator for smaller bodies with grab-able fat, for example on flanks, around the bra strap, muffin top, and other curves. The anatomically shaped curvature of CoolCurve+ allows for an effective fit to the body and ultimately improved tissue draw, making it easier to treat more areas and a multitude of body shapes. This means even more people can say goodbye to stubborn lumps and bumps and say hello skinny jeans and tight tops.
By the time we reach adolescence, our body has laid down all the fat cells we are going to have as an adult. So when we put on weight, the fat cells are swelling rather than multiplying. This means that once frozen, the fat cells undergo apoptosis, i.e. they are destroyed and they do not re-grow…all in one treatment. To maintain the result, it’s essential to continue to eat healthily and exercise regularly—but those treated fat cells won’t come back.
What are you waiting for? Find your local clinic and get yourself a consultation. Just visit www.coolsculpting.com. Prices start at around £800 per treatment area.
Dr Tracy Mountford, medical director of The Cosmetic Skin Clinic www.cosmeticskinclinic.com, 01753 646 660
Love from London
BITB has got some news to share, yes, your London contributor is preggo! Given the news, we’ve all gone a bit wild, thinking about pregnancy health and beauty tips, and though it’s pretty early, the thought of giving birth is already starting to scare me a bit. So for all you soon-to-be and new mummies, we’ve put together some advice on what to do if you get the war wounds to show for your little lovely when he or she finally arrives.
Oil Your Bump
No doubt your mum has extolled the benefits of moisturising your bump each day during pregnancy. She’s right of course, but we recommend going a step further; not just any moisturiser will do. In fact, we say, oil on damp skin is the best way to keep your skin in good moisture balance and condition, therefore minimising your chance of getting nasty stretch marks and scars. Think of it this way, you are prepping your skin every day for a BIG event so get it in tip-top condition with bags of elasticity so it is more likely to bounce back unscathed.
We recommend either of these two winners for pregnancy or post-birth:
Made with 100% pure plant extracts including rosemary, geranium and mint, this pregnancy essential is a best-seller that helps firm, tone and improve elasticity in the skin and can help to smoothe the appearance of stretch marks. Rich hazelnut oil locks in moisture to leave skin soft and satiny-smooth. It has a lovely natural-smelling fragrance and there are no preservatives—so nothing to clog your pores or cause irritation for the nine months your skin is at its most sensitive.
Bio Oil (£9.56)
Multi-award winning Bio Oil has become an iconic product in recent years and a household name. It’s certainly kinder on the purse if you’re looking for a less costly alternative to Clarins and we say it does the job adequately, improving the look of stretch marks and providing a good level of moisture. It’s very easily absorbed on damp or dry skin and it’s light and non-greasy. The formulation is a combination of plant extracts and vitamins suspended in an oil base.
Leaving debate to one side, if you do give birth by Caesarean section, electively or otherwise, the chances are you will have a scar to show for it. For some, this scar tells a happy story and removing it isn’t a consideration. However, for many, scars affect their confidence and for an unlucky few, their scars are disfiguring. Aside from confidence issues, Caesarean scars, depending on their severity, can also cause disproportionate weight dispersal whereby the tummy is no longer able to lay flat; bulging can occur above, below and on either side of the incision.
We’ve done some research at BITB and there aren’t many experts in London, would you believe, so we we’re all really pleased to hear of Dr Robin O’Reilly, who specialises in the post-operative treatment of women, often within just a few weeks of giving birth for best results: “I am passionate about helping women to recover their pre-pregnancy skin as far as possible. Stretch marks and scars are no longer the shameful secret that lurks beneath our clothing. Technology has moved on a long way since our mothers gave birth and with a course of sessions, I see great results amongst my patients. There’s no need to hide any longer.”
The Treatment - One of only two highly-skilled practitioners in London offering the service, Dr O’Reilly uses the FDA approved, state-of-the-art fractional laser system, Palomar StarLux® 1540. Proven highly effective in recent clinical studies in eliminating stretch marks and scarring, the treatment works to improve the cosmetic results following a Caesarian section. Laser energy is delivered in narrow, focused micro beams that create columns of heat in the skin. The heat initiates a natural healing process, stimulating skin tissue renewal, resulting in a fresher, more youthful skin in tone and texture. The fractional, non-ablative approach stimulates quick healing in the dermis while leaving the upper levels of the epidermis intact. The beams penetrate deeper into the dermis than any other competing device for effective, long-term results. With its built-in skin cooling mechanism you feel only minor discomfort during the treatment. There is minimal downtime and no lasting redness or risk of infection. A course of three treatments is advised at monthly intervals. Sessions are priced at £900.
Dr Robin O’Reilly Advanced Medical Aesthetics +44 (0)20 7286 0500.
Don’t hope for the best ladies, prepare for the worst and get scar-solving!
Love from London