The new black

Few things are as dependent on word of mouth as the beauty industry. As a result, every so often unlikely products rise out of the perfumed mist. The only thing I like more than being party to such gems is passing them on myself. Hei Poa body oil is one such product, and remember, you read it here first. Currently only available at Beyond Beauty in Harvey Nichols, Hei Poa, which contains monoi oil (from the Tahitian flower), is already a favourite with make-up artists and models and is set to become a classic.

I've always thought body oils are shamefully overlooked. Used badly, they can leave you slippery as an eel; but used wisely (ie, lightly), and they are deeply moisturising, give the skin a beautiful sheen and are one of the most versatile of beauty products. I've had coconut oil in my bathroom cabinet for years. It was probably one of the first beauty products I used. A great all-rounder, it works wonders on dry skin and is a fantastic intensive treatment for natural Afro hair. Both Hei Poa and coconut oil solidify at room temperature, which is handy because you don't have to worry about them leaking. Just stand the bottle in warm water for a few seconds, and it'll turn back to liquid.

Some of the nicest body oils come from spa ranges, such as Elemis (try Exotic Island Flower Body Oil or Japanese Camellia Oil Blend), E'spa (Energising Body Oil) and Aveda (Beautifying or Indigenous compositions). Most of these oils are part of aromatherapy ranges, so you should be able to find one to suit your mood.

Should you find body oils too heavy to put directly on your skin, simply put a couple of drops in the bath instead. Body oils are also fabulous for combating stretch marks, great on the hair as an overnight intensive treatment (much better value than those tiny hot oil sachets) and for strengthening cuticles. If these scents are too strong, then try that old favourite, Johnson's Baby Oil: again, it's wonderful on the skin or in the bath (not for hair, though), and something of a cult product itself in my book.

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