There is a cruel myth that summer leaves us all sparkling. For those who have to work non-stop, August can beat February as the toughest month.
Right now, I feel half-dead – in fact, more like nine-tenths old – with permanent pain behind my eyes.
The other day I made a comment to a young woman in her twenties and she informed me that I had “impostor syndrome”. It was a time when I felt the full weight of my 50th birthday.
I would have liked to have had the energy for a vigorous return, or, indeed, an emotion of any kind. Instead, I just drag myself from sleep to sleep.
Hannah Betts shares ‘self-care’ tips for avoiding burnout as many people go head-to-head in August (file image)
A thousand-year-old idea that I’m ready to have a truck with is “self-care,” provided that means pulling myself from the brink of exhaustion via stuff that smells good.
At the time, it was called “pampering”. After containment, I think we all feel the ship has sailed, the goal being to keep from going actively insane.
One thing I always do under such circumstances – especially as someone sober for seven years in September – is dousing myself with aromatherapy oils. Now that I’m sober and can’t have a glass of wine in the bath, I demand to get drunk on ointments.
However, for some reason I’m less likely to throw money at them in the summer than in the winter, when I slather on Aromatherapy Associates, the 35-year-old British brand celebrated as the world’s best aromatherapy line. .
So thank goodness Aroma Active Laboratories, the less expensive sister brand of Aromatherapy Associates, which was launched in Boots.
Anna Teal, founder of the brand and CEO of both labels, knows that many of us are saving the early Aromatherapy Associates “for the better”, or rather the worse, circumstances – breakups, death, January – and wanted to offer something for relieve us through everyday life.
Her background is in the Boots Botanics and Soap & Glory lines, which means she has a proven track record when it comes to delivering excellence on a budget.
“It really bothered me that I didn’t know about an affordable aromatherapy line,” says Anna. “I come from a normal work environment and few of us can afford £ 50 for a bath oil.
“Even before the pandemic, I could see that women, in particular, are under more and more pressure, with a list that never ends – mother, partner, caregiver – and, all of a sudden with the pandemic, a home teacher as well. It’s a lot to take on.
Hannah (pictured) admits she would be happy to spend her life wallowing in Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath And Shower Oil and Sleep Salt Soak
The packaging of Aroma Active Laboratories is less fancy than the posh glass vials from Aromatherapy Associates and the formulas are less luxurious, but the goal is the same.
As with the main brand, these are “solution-oriented collections”: Soothe (for when your skin panics), Muscle (for aches), SOS (for when you are exhausted and / or sprouted) and Sleep ( for when you’re so tired but wired you’re about to expire).
I am obsessed with Sleep Salt Soak (£ 15), a blend of Epsom salts rich in magnesium and valerian, lavandin, ylang ylang and buddha wood that induce sleep.
During the peak of Christmas, a box was bought every minute. We immediately understand why. It compares extremely well with Deep Relax Bath and Shower Oil, Aromatherapy Associates’ cult bestseller (£ 49).
I would happily spend my life wallowing in both. Think of them as your up / down bathroom essentials.
Meanwhile, Aroma Active Laboratories Sleep Pulsepoint Rollerball (£ 8) is designed for those times when you wake up at 4 a.m. and all you can see is an abyss.
I got a little hysterical when I couldn’t locate my SOS Forehead Balm (£ 8) the other day, a push-up, refreshing, peppermint, eucalyptus and lemon balm that really does feel less psychopathic.
I have friends with dry skin who are dedicated to Soothing Solid Lip Oil (£ 8) and Rich Soothing Universal Repair Cream (£ 10 and great as a hand cream).
While the Calming Night Face Balm (£ 15) is precisely that. Makeup artists love it for the plumped complexion it provides; I love it for the freshness, lavender and patchouli it provides when pressed onto the skin. And breathe.
RUN FOR HIM!
Philip Kingsley, Bond Builder Restructuring Treatment is being hailed as a change for women over 40 who color their gray. This ultra-intensive pre-wash works under the hair cuticle to repair internal bonds.
philipkingsley.co.uk, available now online, nationwide from September 1
MY ICN OF THE WEEK
Cindy Crawford (pictured) who uses vitamin injections, Botox and collagen is Tatler’s cover girl in September
Tatler’s September cover Cindy Crawford, 55, is refreshingly honest about her approach to aging. She admits to using injections of vitamins, Botox and collagen to restore elasticity to her skin, and adds, “I have a very simple and healthy life that works wonders. I drink lots of water, watch what I eat and exercise, but I owe the quality of my skin to my cosmetic surgeon.
DESIRE FOR COSMETICS
Resistant to food, masks and even snog (yes, I tested it for you), the matte – but by no means flat – pout that you get from Stila’s Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick will not budge until that you take it off.
Lip color will also not bleed into the crevices around a rimmed mouth. Of her 14 or so shades online (more on the counter), I have a fondness for Paradiso, a bright purplish pink, almost 18th century, which obviously means her days are numbered.
Enriched with vitamin E and avocado oil, it is also very hydrating.
New shades of this cult favorite will arrive this fall. I challenge you not to get a little obsessed.
Willowberry, Nutrient Boost Face Oil is loaded with vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids for a nice boost.
Trinny London, BFF De-stress Tinted Serum is a glossy skincare / makeup hybrid that brings tired faces back to life.
Pure essential oil trio blend provides divine relief from perimenopause symptoms.
The Luna Eyes Self-Heating Sleep Mask is an aluminum-wrapped eye mask that retains heat for 25 minutes.
Shields Edit, Straight Outta Bali Robe will cheer you up. Then give this British boutique brand a chance.