The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed the absence of my usual monthly round up – I blame the frenzy of Christmas for this. As a result, I now have a positively humungous bag of things I’ve tried that I would like to share with you. This is, believe it or not, an edit of those things (and, yes, working on the magazine has swelled my beauty collection considerably, which speaks volumes about my ardour for the below).
Before I go into the particulars, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the support you’ve given me in 2014 and wish you all the best for the coming year. If you’d like some inspiration on moving toward your goals in 2015, check out this vision board post – I feel making one made an enormous difference to my year. Finally – enjoy the evening! Now, onto the good stuff…
I love this handbag I was given at Christmas so dearly that I’ve almost been too afraid to take it out the house for fear of a blemish besmirching its buttery tomato red skin. As something of a handbag collector (they always fit and unlike shoes retain their good looks on the most part over the years), I know a good egg when I see one – Lulu’s bags, they are cracking.
This is a smooth and thick cleansing balm that cossets the skin while gently melting make-up and grease. If I’m having a particularly spotty day, I might switch over to a slightly less viscous one, but otherwise my sensitive, spot-prone skin hasn’t had any issues with this one and never feels stripped after using. Also, it offers very good slip if you like to administer a little face massage.
I’ve learned the hard way that however good your skincare routine is, spots will happen. The best way to deal with the blighters is to have a very good spot lotion to hand (and stop doing whatever it was that lead to their formation – boozing, lack of sleep and stress are usually the culprits for me). I’ve recently been relying on this pale pink paste that contains salicylic acid to unclog the blocked pore and camomile to help reduce inflammation.
This may just be the perfect eye cream (though, fans of the face Advanced Repair Serum, you can just use that around your eyes if you’d like – this eye cream is merely a slightly silkier version). Fragrance-free, water-based, and brightening, I love the feel of this and am convinced the skin around my eyes is slightly smoother and less purple since first using.
There aren’t enough hyperboles to sufficiently describe how strongly I feel that every single one of you reading needs a bottle of this. Putting the ‘detoxifying’ bit aside (the juniper and grapefruit oils aid circulation and stimulate lymphatic drainage), this makes skin ridiculously soft and instantly sends me into a state of deep relaxation. Completely and utterly dreamy.
I simply don’t bother with cheap candles anymore – they rarely smell good in the first place and even if they do they never throw scent anywhere near as far as candles by proper perfumers. I’ve recently been burning this uplifting Byredo one and have marvelled at its ability to spread the mix of lemon petitgrain, violet leaves, tulip extract and rhubarb into all the corners of my house.
One sniff, and this perfume had to be mine. I usually don’t like floral scents, but this Aerin one with top notes of Sicilian bergamot and waterlily is refreshing and yet remains a touch exotic (this is thanks to the delicate jasmine sambac, according to those in the know). Also, the bottle: look at that lid. Beautiful.
Have you noticed how few concealers I recommend here? That is because I’ve never, ever tried anything that even comes close to trumping Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage. This one, while without the blending palette of two colours that makes LM’s concealer so very easy to match to skin, is brilliant – oil-free, creamy and in a stick form (so, actually, easier to use when on the go than LM’s). It’s been a fixture in my handbag since trying.
Creamy pale pink that doesn’t look sickly sweet is ever so tricky but Chanel have, of course, managed to make the ideal winter pink that those of us over 25 can wear (and wrapped it in the slinkiest, sexist tube I ever did see). All very perfect, all very Chanel. Whenever I’m not doing a lip, this is my go-to.
Alexa apparently uses this one all the time. As a woman who’s obsessed with making up her eyes, I expected good things and was not disappointed – this nourishes lashes when on (the keratin and shea butter see to that) and the wand separates well. While making lashes look longer and darker, this isn’t overly fattening so steer clear if you’d like your mascara to really add bulk to your eyelashes.
I know – AGAIN. No new things to say about this; my feelings remain intact since this post.
An odd one, this is. A sparkly lilac that shouldn’t look as good as it does, it is muted enough to wear to work, glittery enough to make me feel a little dressy (but not silly) and goes with everything. I keep wearing it, it keeps garnering compliments; I don’t see that its dominion of my nails will end anytime soon.
Charlotte Tilbury has two strengths – first: brilliant formulas and second: putting colours together that just light up the face. This peachy cheek/lip cream coupled with the bronze eye looks brilliant. Best of all is that both can be patted on with fingertips, requiring very little nous and no brushes whatsoever to achieve this polished, pretty look.
A lack of magnesium can be responsible for many an ailment from headaches to constant tiredness. One of the most effective ways to absorb magnesium is transdermally. Lying bath in a bath of magnesium salts is the most relaxing way to do it – just make sure you sit in the bath for 20 minutes to give the salts time to absorb.
My glove problem: I am perpetually cold but always need to use my phone when out and about. These gloves are the answer. They keep all but the two fingers I use to work my iPhone wrapped up in virgin wool and the four exposed tips can simply duck into the shelter of the glove as and when needed.
Finding the right shampoo can all but eliminate the need for a softening conditioner. When I use this oil-enriched Kerastase one, I can – and do – just skip conditioner. My hair after washing is silky, smooth and just a touch fluffy. Until I apply…
You know how Kate Moss often has that sort of sexy, dishevelled hair thing going on? Many little birdies have told me that’s down to this spray and a little ruffle from Sam McKnight’s hands. I totally understand the hype having used this – it is possibly the best product I’ve become acquainted with this year. An invisible spray that has a little in common with dry shampoo (but isn’t mattifying), a spray of this adds oomph and movement to hair without making it look too styled or dry.
I first heard about Shiffa two years ago when I met the founder to discuss her body scrub (the minty one, which is totally brilliant and very refreshing). I tried this when the cold weather set in and was mighty impressed – it’s very thick and balmy thanks to mango and shea butter, soothes skin (that’s the camomile) and contains St. John’s Wart, arnica and neem to heal, restore and rebalance. I use this on: spots, scars, bruises, cracked skin and dry lips. It seems to be brilliant on one and all skin issues.