• Clare

In which I finally settle for Radox

I have a bit of an obsession with expensive toiletries. In fact, the Husband despairs at the number of parcels that arrive from the likes of L'occitane, Neal's Yard and Aromatherapy Associates. All at the high end of the price spectrum.

You will clearly notice from the photo, that the bottle of Radox is considerably bigger than the bottle from L'occitane. This is because a 100ml bottle of L'occitane Lavender Foaming Bath costs £6.50, and a 500ml bottle of Radox costs £1. An equivalent 500ml bottle of the Lavender Bath is £26! Hmmmm, you see the dilemma? I also have a lot of love for Aromatherapy Associates. The smell is so strong that the house stinks for days afterwards. The Son shuts his bedroom door at night when I'm indulging in an oily AA bath, rather than leaving it ajar for the comfort of the landing light. He says he finds it hard to breathe when I'm having, what he calls, one of my "smelly baths". Luckily for him, these are few and far between, because a bottle of bath oil from AA costs £40. It's strictly limited to the Christmas Wishlist. I have finally come to my senses where bathing is concerned, and found that Radox is the way to go.

What I've come to realise, to my infinite surprise, is that just because a product costs a lot of money, it doesn't mean it's superior. This isn't true in every case; I still insist on spending more on certain items. Foundation, for one. I find it's necessary to spend a bit more in order find a type that suits your skin. Especially if you are unfortunate enough to suffer from acne (which I do). It's also important to ensure that you don't go out with a face like an orangutan's bottom! Face serums; this includes an antioxidant one in the morning, and an anti-ageing one at night. (I'm a bit of a skincare snob!) Facial Sun Cream; I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for a cream that actually does what it says on the tin, and blocks both UVA and UVB rays; rather than just turning your face into a ghostly, oil stricken mess.

On the other hand, there are plenty of products that it's completely unnecessary to spend a fortune on. Shower gel; anything with a fresh, zingy, kick you in the face fragrance to wake you up pronto. I love Clarins Tonic Bath & Shower Concentrate, especially after a long run, when I'm absolutely wiped out. The aroma really revives me. Yet, at the moment, I'm all about the Original Source Tea Tree & Mint. Frequently on offer for £1. According to the Husband, the boys use this in the showers after football, as a forfeit for anyone who's played badly. (Makes a certain part of the male anatomy freeze and tingle unbearably, so I'm told?) I like it because it literally makes your body go cold. Sounds deeply unpleasant, but it wakes my mind up instantly, and ensures I don't hang around in the shower for 20 minutes, resulting in us being really late on the school run.

Cleansers; they're only on your face for a minute, and as long as it takes all my slap off, I don't care what I use. Moisturiser; there's a lovely one from Clinique that I purchase as a treat. It really does plump my skin up, but The Ordinary also produce one that locks in moisture sufficiently for just £5 a pop. Who can argue with that? Lipstick; I've been completely in love with Clinique Colour Pop, but then the Husband picked out a perfect shade from the clearance bin in Tesco's, and I was sold. It's called Rimmel The Only One and I wear it every single day! Same goes for Mascara; I've tried every Premium beauty brand, only to settle for Rimmel Extra Super Lash from the local Chemist, after a passing recommendation from my hairdresser. My friends actually asked me if I'd had my lashes done when I first started wearing it! Lip Gloss; preferably as cheap as possible. No matter what the cost, it only lasts for a maximum of ten minutes anyway! Haircare: anything does the job really. I will say that I don't find the really cheap brands create enough foam, and their conditioners don't really have any conditioning properties. But I'm quite happy with Avon any day of the week. I'm also in love with Avon perfumes. Not all of them (some of them smell like toilet freshener,) but some of them are an amazing dupe for high end favourites. No, they don't last all day, but so what if you have to reapply a couple of times. They only cost £10 a bottle, instead of £40.

Back to bath products. I have tried many in my time. Tisserand and Espa - not strong enough. I like a really overpowering fragrance. One that's so potent, it almost gives you a headache. I'm sure there's something wrong with my nostrils! I have discovered some great products in the mid-price range, such as Kneipp and Weleda. Even the Husband likes the Weleda Arnica Bath Milk after a long run. Then, last night, a blast from the past; I rediscovered Radox for the first time in years. I could no longer justify spending ridiculous amounts of money on something that gets washed down the plughole. I decided it was worth a shot. I stayed clear of the sickly acai berry and orchid fragrances, and opted for Stress Relief Eucalyptus and Rosemary. It was absolutely heavenly. The fragrance was strong enough to permeate my blocked nostrils. It lasted for the entire hour that I was in the bath and it created a mountain of bubbles. Not a necessity, but it does seem to make me feel nicely cocooned. Even if it meant I accidentally dipped the bottom of my Kindle into the foamy mound without realising a few times. In short, I was thoroughly impressed. At last, it seems I have found a compromise that I'm happy with, and the Husband will be delighted that my bathing habits no longer require us to take out a loan.

I will, however, still treat myself to what I call a "Luxury Bath" on Sundays. I try to go for a long run on Sunday mornings of at least 8 miles or more, and my muscles usually remain sore for the rest of the day. I feel that I can justify a luxurious bath based on this alone. I think Lush has to be one of my favourite shops. The Daughter has discovered a strong liking for it too. Even the Son loves them, and he's usually a nightmare to get into the bath. The Husband usually waits outside the shop whilst we go in, staring through the window and glancing exaggeratedly from his watch then back to me again. I pretend I haven't seen him and carry on nodding enthusiastically, as the shop assistant demonstrates the latest galaxy bubble bar to the kids, who are completely taken in by the spectacle. As soon as we step outside, the Husband is on the case. "How much did that cost us then?" he mutters. "Oh, not too bad really" I say, shoving the receipt in my pocket. "Most of it was for the kids anyway". I don't mention the shampoo bar and bath oil that I've asked the girl at the till to hide at the bottom of the bag. "But they don't need it" he says, frowning. "No, but we don't go into Lush very often" I point out, which is a fact, but not one he's very happy to acknowledge.

Do you have a favourite product that you like to indulge in? What's your bath time ritual? Let me know in the comments below.

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