Why balms are the unsung beauty hero you need this winter

Just the word ‘balm’ evokes feelings of relaxation for me. And if there’s one unsung hero in skincare that I’ve recently rediscovered, it’s this humble product. They can be used to supercharge your skincare routine or rubbed into tired and sore muscles – which is particularly useful today, given it’s the London Marathon. 

Balms are dense blends – usually made up of fatty oils – which help to keep the skin supple but also give enough slip for a really good face or body massage.

Let’s start with face balms for skincare. If you’re not keen on using face oils at night, try a balm instead. Take a pinky fingernail-sized blob of face balm, warm through your fingers and massage on to the skin after cleansing. Usually the high oil content means you’ll get the ‘ahh’ factor, thanks to delicious-smelling aromatherapy. 

The nutrient-dense ingredients really help protect and soothe the skin’s barrier. You don’t have to fork out a lot of money for a good-quality face balm, either. The Overnight Soothing Face Balm by Aroma Actives (the sister brand of Aromatherapy Associates) costs just £15 and is worth every penny.

Another favourite is the Neroli Night Balm by Decléor, which was recently recommended to me by the excellent facialist Katharine Mackenzie Paterson. It smells like a spa in a jar, and is a product I have been using a couple of evenings a week when I want to really pack some hydrating ingredients on to my skin.

Moving on to body balms… My current favourite bedside treat – which I rub into my shoulders before sleep – is simply called Balm, by the Malaysian spa-inspired brand Ushvani. Containing pure essential oils of rosemary, thyme, eucalyptus and menthol, this is a cooling, soothing remedy for sore muscles. 

The Muscle Tonic Relief Balm by Tea & Tonic is another favourite and has excellent sustainability credentials. With over 55 per cent of its ingredients grown on UK farms, it is a British brand to watch.

Five of the best balms to try