KARORA Cosmetics

My main problem in winter, other than miserable evenings, dark mornings and the general gloom of it all, is that my skin is often as grey as the weather. With the distinct absence of sunshine and the total lack of a winter holiday, a sun-kissed complexion is as distant a dream as the summer. Once spring has arrived, and both the temperature and my skin exposure has increased, I go full throttle into a self-tan regime; Wednesday night is hair removal, Thursday I slather it on, and on Friday it’s washed off in time for the weekend. However, such a routine is laborious, time-consuming and expensive; thus it certainly isn’t worth the hassle for the winter months, when the only skin on show is that of my hands, my face and my décolletage.

And having been around the metaphorical tanning block many a time, and tried and tested almost every tanning product on offer, it appeared there would never be an answer to my winter-tan dilemma. Many of the instant self-tans on the market contain chemicals, perfumes and stabilisers, all of which are very drying on my skin and certainly put me off applying it to an area so delicate as my face. That was until I happened across fabulous new self-tanning brand KARORA Cosmetics.

Founded in Ireland by businesswoman Karen Brown, KARORA Cosmetics is an all-natural, eco-chic tanning brand that contains no drying chemicals or nasty parabens, and thus is perfect for using on both your face and body. And unlike many of its competitors, it doesn’t have the standard fake-tan smell of digestive biscuits or tea bags. Full of a whole host of both delicious and natural ingredients, including Grape Seed Oil and Horse Chestnut Extract, KARORA’s Instant Self Tan is botanical beauty at its very best!

And thus, gone is my grey-like winter pallor, and in its place a healthy, sun-kissed glow to rival any Caribbean tan. And with its natural ingredients, and fabulous fruity smell, KARORA really is the answer to all my tanning prayers. Available at selected retailers and online.

Instant Beauty

With the remaining five days between now and Christmas booked up with office parties, jovial drinks and Christmas shindigs a-plenty, never has it been more essential to add a bit of wow factor to your beauty regime. Forget the over-done smoky eyes and nude lips combo, steer clear of tan-line tide marks that have populated our TV screens throughout the duration of 2011 and indulge in one of the below beauty treats - sure to add a bit of je ne sais quoi to your festive finery!

If you're after a bit of fluttery flirting under the mistletoe make your eyes your best asset by dressing them up in the season’s ultimate beauty accessory: Nouveau Lashes' Ultimate Collection Mink Lashes.  Made from 100% pure Mink, there is no other strip lash on the market that can promise the result of these bold but elegant lashes which are sure to give your eyes serious impact and intrigue.

Want a flashy and eye-catching nail colour for holiday parties and New Years but without the hassle of a manicure?  Rebel Nails has come out with their 22 Carat Gold Nail Wraps which can be worn over natural, gel or acrylic nails of all shapes and sizes.  With a self-adhesive, these foils are easily applied and are a long-lasting alternative to the smudging and chipping of traditional polish.  Along with the 22 Carat Gold, Rebel Nails’ Line offers a variety of prints and colours, making these easy and sturdy nail applications a great option for any occasion. Nail set: £14.95. 

Avoid the bubblegum-flavoured smellies that have become a Christmas tradition and are laden with as many additives as a stocking full of sweets this year by treating yourself or a loved one to a fusion of goodness from Rhodes to Heaven.  Using only the best natural ingredients, their all natural collection makes a great Christmas gift for those that are conscious of what they put on their skin.  All products offer easy beauty solutions by combining the benefits of multiple products into one and are perfect for women on the go.  Wrapped in Rhodes to Heaven’s stylish little black Christmas gift bag, you can choose one or two of your favourite  products in convenient travel sizes. Prices start at £12.

In the middle of winter when we are bundled up and in layers of bulky clothing and miles away from any kind of tan, our skin begins to look and feel less than glamorous.  And with more and more people not wanting to use a chemical-based product to obtain a healthy-looking tan, Karora, one of Ireland's best-selling self-tanners, is now available in the UK, and is perfect for anyone after a bit of eco-chic. Their unique debut line offers an all-natural (and organic) alternative to the harsh ingredients in most fake tan products currently on the market.  Lacking synthetic colourings, parabens, and the unpleasant scent of artificial fragrances, Karora self-tan products produce and beautiful and long-lasting colour.  This season try Karora's wash off tan for an instant sunkissed glow without the chemicals!

And Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without adding a new fragrance to your collection. So brighten up any room with one of the lovely scents from Ineke’s sophisticated and unique selection.  Owner and creator Ineke Ruhland is one of a small number of classically trained perfumists in the world and she works intimately in her studio to create her careful selected scents that feature notes of lilac, magnolia, poeny, and other inspirations from her botanical garden.  Each scent comes in a beautiful bottle and lovely packaging  that tells its story through pictures, artwork and small snippets of verse. Scents: £80. Ineke fragrances are available to purchase from Living In Store online here.