December 6th is celebrated as Saint Nicholas or Sinterklaas Day in Belgium and the Netherlands, and this holiday kicks off the winter festivities. In the olden days, children used to receive gifts on this day, rather than Christmas Eve, and according to legend, if children had been naughty, one of the Sinterklaas’s helpers would stuff them in a sack and take them to Spain. Apparently, Sinterklaas spends most of his time in Spain, with only a brief visit to the northern lands. As I look at the grey skies outside, the idea of a Spanish sojourn doesn’t sound all that bad. On the other hand, the glittering decorations in the streets of Brussels are so beautiful that I’m willing to put up with some rain and snow.
In the spirit of the holidays, I will play Santa Claus today and bring you some gift ideas. (I’m sorry to say that even if you have been very naughty this year, I can’t whisk you away to Spain.) I already shared with you the perfume sets that caught my eye. Today, inspired by the impressive array of holiday gifts at the stores in Brussels, I want to talk about other treats that feel special and luxurious, either because of their scents or colors. I’ve enjoyed using these products myself, so I recommend them without reservation.
Belgian Eggwhite Soap
Belgian Eggwhite Soap is produced with pure eggwhite, chamomile, and lecithin. While it’s intended for use on your face, I prefer to use it on my body, since it leaves my skin silky and moisturized. Eggwhite soap has a delicate chamomile scent, and it lathers into a whipped cream like softness. 6 x 53 g soaps ($19), a single 53 g soap ($5). Available at Beautyhabit.
Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine Soap
A morning shower with Orange Sanguine soap is a perfect start to any day, especially a cold, grey one. The scent of sweet orange accented with geranium is exhilarating, while the shea butter enriched soap is perfect for dry skin. All Atelier Cologne soaps are excellent, and the scents are strong and true to the perfumes. Elegantly packaged. 7.05oz, $18. Available at Bergdorf Goodman, Aedes, Luckyscent, and directly from Atelier Cologne.
Cinq Mondes is a French spa that offers interesting bath products inspired by traditional beauty rituals. Their Kyoto shower and bath oil smells like spicy rose petals, cedarwood and ginger, and it cleanses and perfumes the skin. 200 ml, $42. Available at Beautyhabit.
Another favorite Cinq Mondes product. Inspired by a Moroccan soap recipe, Savon Noir Beldi is made with 100% virgin olive oil. It has a warm fragrance of cinnamon dusted cedarwood, and it’s perfect for dry skin. Apply it on moist skin and leave for 5 minutes before scrubbing it off with a washcloth. A great idea for pampering. 200 ml, $65.00. Available at Beautyhabit.
Santa Maria Novella Pasta Di Mandorle Almond Paste Hand Cream
Guerlain Liu Perfumed Shimmer Powder Spray
I reviewed Vol de Nuit Shimmer Powder last year, and Liu is another great option. It’s a golden loose powder that gives a beautiful iridescent sheen to the face, body and hair. It’s perfumed with Liu’s scent of champagne soaked roses. Beautiful packaging and striking presentation. $88. Available at Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and other retailers with Guerlain counters.
Dior Diorific Le Grand Bal Collection Diorling Lipstick
By Terry Rose de Rose Sheer Liquid Blush
Rose de Rose smells like freshly picked rose petals and makes your skin look luminous without any sparkle or glitter. I usually avoid any scent in my skincare, but the delicate rosewater fragrance of this liquid blush evaporates almost instantly. I use No 1 Fresh Rose for a rose flush on my cheeks, but there are also two other shades, No 2 Corail Rose and No 3 Amber Rose. It’s certainly pricey for a blush, but By Terry’s makeup quality is so impressive that the price is worth it. Plus, a little goes a long way. $58. Available at Barney’s, SpaceNK.
These soft, candy colored powder puffs are irresistible. They also work really well for loose powder, leaving a thin, even layer on skin. The puff accessory is made out of goose down, which Caron, with some poetic license, calls cygnet (baby swan.) If you want more information on this beautiful accessory, please see my review. The cygnet down puff intended for the face is $65 (the sharkskin box as in the photo above is not included). Available from Caron boutiques (the NYC location is 715 Lexington Avenue at 58th Street).
Photography (top image) by Bois de Jasmin