As I’ve spent most of the past fortnight freelancing, new launches that have landed on my desk haven’t really undergone any vetting before being applied to my body. Instead, I just slotted them into my routine. Doing it this way actually worked out pretty well – without any press releases or information filling my brain, no prejudices could sway me. These remained in my cupboard //
Skincare / Exuviance Deep Hydration Treatment (out here next month) was probably my favourite newbie of all. It’s a really lightweight gel that is nifty because it restores moisture and makes dry skin feel supple once more, without leaving any grease whatsoever on the surface of the skin.
Also impressive are the two new serums by Omorovicza. The Oxygen Booster serum offers a flood of hyaluronic acid and oxygen to boost luminosity and moisture levels. It works well in the evening under an oil/moisturiser, or in the morning under another serum and/or SPF. Their Instant Perfection Serum is a little more plumping, and makes for a great make-up base, so I layer that on top in the mornings.
Aesop have expanded their bestselling Parsley Seed range with the new Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Hydrating Cream. It’s enormously creamy but hasn’t clogged my pores, and I’d feel perfectly happy to recommend it to those of you with sensitive skins looking for a comforting layer of moisture at night. N.B. It comes in a glass jar, so use a scoop to avoid getting bacteria in the product.
To treat hormonal break outs, I’ve come to rely on Kiehl’s Breakout Control Targeted Blemish Spot Treatment. Dabbed on spots, it takes the wind out of their sails, though doesn’t dry the skin. I did a bit of research into this one so that I could explain how it works and found that the sulfur content encourages the shedding of cells that could potentially block pores, while the B3 (in the form of water-soluble niacinamide) soothes and strengthens.
I’ve also formed an unfortunate and expensive lip mask habit thanks to BeautyMART’s lip masks. It started with Bioaqua Hydrating Lip Mask, and now I have moved onto the three step peeling, volumnising, moisturising action of Holika Holika Golden Monkey Glamour Lip 3-Step Kit. These are obviously a complete indulgence, but if your lips are your thing, buy in.
Both the Nars and Chanel new collections piqued – and held – my interest, initially because they’re both so remarkably anti-festive, then latterly because they’re comprised of very good staples. Synthetic de Chanel is Lucia Pica’s second collection for the brand, and my recommendations are: Calligraphie de Chanel (a spendy but good quality eyeliner cream that finishes as a matte), Rouge Allure Gloss in Super Coral (a subtle shot of colour that awakens the face), and Le Vernis Pink Rubber (I usually hate mattes, but this is just the right shade of ballerina pink to make the matte finish look delicate, powdery, feminine). Also pictured is their limited edition Le Vernis in Gris Obscur – a perfect deep grey.
Nars’s collaboration with fashion photographer Sarah Moon is intriguing, characterised by subtle washes that bring of retro softness to features. With that in mind, I’d recommend getting your hands on the above three that I’m currently using to create soft puffs of colour or, when applied with precision in layers, a stronger effect. They are: Nars Sarah Moon Kohliner in Sichuan (deep brown, very film noir when smudged), Nars Sarah Moon Quai des Brumes (the grey on the right = everyday smoke, the left shimmer tapped on the centre of lids = WHOA there shine), and Nars Sarah Moon Matte Lipstick in Rouge Improbable (a great deep, brick red).
In other make-up news, Smith & Cult have released eye make-up that’s housed in dreamy packaging. Their Book of Eyes in Noonsuite is a warm, satin-finish palette that I’ve been bunging on when in a hurry, while their mascara offers a proper whack of mascara (that isn’t clumpy) that make lashes stand out when paired with a smoky eye.
Highlighters are also still going strong, with Topshop launching a limited edition Sun Warrior powder, and MAC expanding their famous Strobe Cream family by adding a Redlite option containing a touch of pink pearl for warmth. See here for a guide on when to use liquid and powder – I’ve been alternating between these two depending on the overall finish of my make-up.
Finally, three miscellaneous products have become indispensable. First, Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic Defence Essential Oil Blend. My obsession with aromatherapy and cleanliness is the reasoning behind this one, and I keep it in my handbags and waft liberally (and, perhaps, offensively) when on public transport.
I have also discovered Welleco’s Nourishing Protein, which has been a bit of a godsend. Though I prefer to get my nutrition from ‘real’ food as often as possible, I concede that as a veggie I’m always struggling with protein intake and this brown rice and pea protein-derived powder offers a welcome boost. As I don’t drink smoothies or snack (for the reasons outlined here), I mix this into my porridge daily.
While as a rule I’m opposed to anti-cellulite/body firming products because I don’t think they’re a bit of a con, Exuviance have come out with an intriguing product called Body Tone Firming Concentrate. The jury (me!) is still out on how effective the concentrate is, but I can unequivocally tell you that my thighs LOVE the nodules on the end that offer a firm massage akin to a good kneading by a masseuse. If I firm up as well as feel good/appear a bit tighter after I’ve administered the massage, that’s just an added bonus.