It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these posts, so you’ll have to forgive me. I haven’t turned my back on the world of beauty and simply not had any favourites (can you imagine), but it’s more so that I’ve been painting my so-to-be beauty room and so every single product I own has been packed away (sob!) and out of reach.
However, it’s a brand new year – which spells brand new rules – and I’ll be continuing ‘beauty favourites’ as a feature for the foreseeable future. Alongside it though, I’ll also be doing a monthly video on my new YouTube channel outlining my beauty faves, must haves and maybe even the ones I just didn’t get along with. I personally love hearing about new products from recommendations, because it helps to have personal feedback rather than just an advertisement or description. Oh if the claims of some products were true, I might be Gigi Hadid right now.
Anyway, without further ado – here’s the products I’ve been absolutely loving this month!
First up, is a few little bits from last month’s GlossyBox. I don’t usually feature the entire box on my blog (although I do love seeing the shared photos on Twitter – and make a habit of sharing mine too) but this month’s had such great picks that I wanted to highlight it here. Collaborating with Deliciously Stella (the tongue-in-cheek health food blogger), January’s box features an assortment of natural products – encompassing the motto that you should embrace ‘chocetti’ and ‘leave the superfoods for your face’. As much as I love avocado, I kind of like her thinking.
So my first favourite was the Nip + Fab Kale Fix Moisturiser – an easy way to get 1 of your 5 a day, but also an incredible combination of kale, watercress, almond oil and aloe vera. The latter of which is a must in my skincare because I have such easily irritated, dry and red skin. The cooling cream soothes almost as quickly as you apply it and immediately smoothes out any drier areas. It’s a really great day option for under make-up because it dries quickly but still retains moisture all day long.
My other must-have is the True Organic of Sweden All You Need Is Me! (phew what a mouthful). And to match it’s very long name, this product has a long list of possible uses, since it’s the most fabulous multi-purpose balm you’ll probably ever find. It reminds me a little of the Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream (which don’t get me wrong, I adore) but it’s not as greasy and it melts in much quicker – ideal if you want to fix a quick dry spot on your face but don’t want to walk around with a shiny patch. Or if you want to use it as a lip balm but hate having your hair stuck in whatever you put on your lips. Girl problems, eh?
Also featured in the box, but I haven’t yet given a proper trial run is the Unani Illuminate Milk Cleanser, the Manuka Honey Face Mask (pamper night on the horizon!) and the Meet Matt(e) Trimony Single Eyeshadow. The latter of which is sample size and possibly the teeniest cutest one I’ve ever seen – and it’s in a rather wintery aubergine tone, so I’ll see if I’m brave enough to give it a go!
Aveda sent me the loveliest package just before Christmas, containing two products that had been handpicked for me and a personalised hairbrush! It was such a cute surprise in aid of their new handpicked gift range, where you can choose products to box up for your friends and family. I do appreciate gifting season is well and truly over, but I think it’s a great option for a birthday if you know your stuff about hair and want to give someone a real treat!
Anyway, within the box itself – they gave me a Daily Colour Protect cream, which I initially thought was some sort of conditioner or mask but later discovered was a styling product that you don’t wash out. I’ll admit, usually this kind of thing scares me because I have the worlds quickest-wash-to-grease ratio of hair possible. If that even makes sense. In other words, my hair will look limp and greasy by the end of the day – especially if I overdo it on the product. But keen as I am to protect the highlights I so lovingly spend three hours every three months having, I was intrigued to give it a go.
Essentially, you massage it into your hair when it’s wet and then style as normal – and weirdly, once you’ve put it in you don’t notice it’s there! It works to prevent fade and locks in the radiance of your colour for up to 6 weeks, sealing in that ‘walking out the salon with my new bright highlights and swooshy hair’ feeling. It sounds cliche, but I have noticed a huge difference after getting my roots done last week – and having absolutely zero fade or brassy undertones. Usually by the week point, I’ll be happy about the no roots but get a little sad about the colour dulling. This time, it hasn’t happened. I haven’t tested out the 6 week claim as of yet, but we shall see. It’s looking good so far!
So this is the product I’ve wanted to try for as long as I can remember being a blogger. I love Laura Mercier make-up and there’s something about the brand (especially their body range) that is so luxuriously calming, that it’s simply unrivalled in terms of treating yourself to a pamper session.
I’m a complete sucker for anything vanilla or honey or creamy – so this is my perfect scent rolled into one. It’s sweet without being too sickly and it’s versatile enough that you can wear it during the day as a fragrance or layer it with something more musky and sensual for the evening. Ooh, look at me, perfume connoisseur!
Anyway, imagine my luck when the entire Ambre Vanilla gift set popped through my door. It felt like all my Christmasses had come at once – and despite it being a little too late to feature within my festive gifting guide, I knew I wanted to rave about it somewhere! So here’s the place – you lucky things!
When you hold such high expectations of a product, sometimes it can unfortunately disappoint. However I’m pleased to say that in this instance, it wasn’t the case. The Ambre Vanille (especially the Honey Bath) was everything I wanted it to be and so, so much more.
The Honey Bath is quite literally honey in a pot, however rather than eating it – you’re able to twirl and whirl it into the water, creating the most delicious and luxuriously scented bath you’ve probably ever had.
Then once you step out, you can lather on the Souffle Body Creme in the same scent and top it up with the fragrance – stepping back out into the world feeling like the sassiest sexiest bumble bee on the planet.
In my quest to find something that will banish my dry skin but not irritate my rosacea, I came across the wondrous product that is the Pixi Glow Tonic. It’s the one thing that has been absolutely raved about within the beauty world and yet I’d never thought to try it out for myself. I’ll be honest, I think the hype surrounding it and me not actually doing my research properly meant that I thought it would be a bit of a no-go for me. I usually have to find really un-fun specialist products to sort my skin out – there’s no way I could buy something that everyone was using and expect miracle results. Because my skin takes pride out of being difficult.
However saying that, it was always on my list of ‘ones to watch’. You know, like the fashion show. I’d keep my beady eye on it and maybe experiment with it further down the line. Well, I’m pleased to say – the time is now. And this month, I finally gave it a go.
What surprised me (oddly) is that the glow tonic isn’t some strange potion that you weave into your skincare regime but an exfoliating toner which combines two laborious steps into one rather easy one. With 5% Glycolic Acid, Aloe Vera and Ginseng, it evens out your skin-tone, gently exfoliates and removes dead skin cells – with an aim to reveal a clearer, healthier base underneath.
Despite my very dry skin, I’d recently given up on exfoliators because they seemed to make my skin A LOT worse. Even the more natural versions made it look so angry and red that it almost appeared as though I’d been scrubbing it raw for hours. So to find something that would remove dead skin without any scratchy particles, was like the answer to my prayers. You simply saturate a cotton pad with the tonic and swipe over your face. No rinsing or blotting required!
Upon first use I noticed a huge difference (for one, my skin-tone didn’t turn beetroot) and it just kept getting better and better from there on it. While I can’t say I’ve quite got the Pixi ‘glow’ just yet (because that would be well and truly blowing my own trumpet), my skin feels so much softer, smoother and it looks so much better when I apply my make-up, because I have a much clearer base to work with. Sometimes it seems, products do live up to the hype – and if you haven’t tried this yet, I highly recommend it. It’s suitable for all skin-types and cuts your skincare regime by 5 minutes!
The iconic DKNY apple shaped fragrance is one of my all time favourites (and the world’s best sellers) so it’s no surprise that they continue to bring out new versions and additions to the range. And while I don’t think the original will ever be beaten, I’ve found another one that I definitely love almost the same amount! The Eau So Blush is a little more floral and woody than the juicy, citrusy original – and so it’s perfect for everyday wear where you want the finishing touches to your sophisticated, feminine look.
I don’t know about you but I always round off an outfit with a fragrance, because it’s that final touch to ‘feeling like I can conquer the world’ and even if I’m super dressy, a look simply doesn’t feel the same without a spritz of my favourite scent. And saying that, some of the scents in your collection might have certain memories associated – one might be a pick-me-up for when you’re feeling a little low, another a bit more tropical for when you’re heading out or feeling fun – and maybe another for when you’re #GIRLBOSSING it. Scents are so closely intertwined with how we’re feeling or the memories it induces.
So before I go off on a tangent even further, what I want to say – is the Eau So Blush is for the days where I want to feel feminine, fresh and classy. It’s a classic scent with a floral twist and if you sniff closely, you might catch a whiff of peony, jasmine and apricot. I love this one – and I think you might do too!
I’ve been on the lookout for a new heat defence hair pick-me-up for awhile now, because I often feel I need to ‘shock’ my hair by changing up the products I’m using regularly – otherwise it all just looks a little limp and flat and bogged down.
However with the amount of damage I’ve done to my locks over the years, I need a pretty industrial strength product to assist – and yet it needs to be light so that it doesn’t grease things up (see above for further written evidence).
In steps the CO by Andrew Collinge Hair Moisturiser, which protects against heat damage, creates that healthy shine (minus the grease) and is infused with argan oils to hydrate, smooth and detangle. Sounds like the perfect combination!
But does it actually work?
Well, yes! I’ve found it to be on par, if not better than some of my favourites for using on wet hair before a blow dry – taming frizz, detangling before you attempt to run a brush through it and rehydrating even the most frazzled of ends.
I love that it’s a spray rather than an oil or cream, because it’s much harder to apply too much (even if you get a little spritz happy) and you get a much more even coverage throughout. Oh and plus, you don’t then have to go and wash your hands afterwards. It makes life much easier and the hair styling process far quicker.
So you’ll probably have seen me raving about Glam Glow last month, but this month – they’ve launched an exciting new addition to their collection of what I term as miracle masques, so I couldn’t not feature them again. The GRAVITYMUD masque is an ongoing favourite but they’ve re-launched it recently to coincide with Sonic’s 25th anniversary.
90’s kids like me will have fond memories of Sonic (primarily fighting with my little brother over who could play the next half an hour on the Nintendo – but you know, as I said, fond memories all the same). With Sonic turning 25 (OMG, that makes me feel so old) and over half of the 155 million gamers in the US being women, GLAMGLOW decided to create the ultimate multi-masking duo – gaming while your mud treatment dries.
The limited edition metallic blue shade is an instant tightening and firming treatment that contours your skin to help it feel firmer and more defined. The cynic in me will always bypass the hype to test it out for myself, but honestly – this masque is another GLAMGLOW wonder and it really works.
Just 20 minutes later and your skin looks so much fresher, cleaner and brighter. Plus it maintains that tight and lifted feeling for perfect make-up application.
Another HUGE bonus, is that this mask peels off once it’s dry – which is possibly the single most satisfying thing in the world – rivalling the days of painting your hand with PVA glue (hoping the teacher wouldn’t notice the wastage) and spending the next five minutes gleefully peeling it away.
It’s the little things, right?
Let’s face it, we all love a good highlight and if there’s any way we can make our cheekbones glitter and shimmer without all the stress of contouring and using 101 brushes, then hey, I’ll take it.
Ciate’s new launch is a rather exciting addition to the world of highlighting, as the ‘Dewy Stix’ is a balm-like stick which creates a shimmery flow in just one single swipe.
Perfect for popping into your handbag and whipping out when you feel the need to ooze your inner goddess (for me, it’s usually on the train, surrounded by suitcases and fiddling around with my earphones), it’s also infused with hyaluronic acid, meaning that it infuses the skin with long lasting moisture for even more radiance.
This is IDEAL for banishing those pesky dry patches that start appearing at 3pm. And again, perfect for taking your day look – to evening cocktail glam.
You don’t even really need to rub it in, as it looks very subtle and is build-able without being cakey. It’s the staple you’re going to need this summer – and I’m getting in my practice early…
Last month saw a bunch of bloggers gather round a large and rather Instagrammable table at The Ivy and swoon over Glossybox’s latest launch – a collaboration between them and La Mer. I did a little video of me unboxing the full set of incredibly luxurious goodies, but I couldn’t not include two of my favourites in here because they’ve been absolute life savers over the past few weeks.
The Creme De La Mer Moisturizing Cream is probably the most coveted product of the collection – and I was VERY impressed at how much a little goes a long way. Simply pop a tiny dot of the cream on the tips of your fingers, rub together and pat onto your skin. I like to use this before going to bed, to ensure that I don’t wake up with dry skin. And it works miracles, honestly. I now know why people spend an absolute fortune with the brand, because my skin has improved in texture practically overnight (well, within a few weeks) and those pesky dry patches are a thing of the past. This is the ultimate winter skincare saviour and I’m already thinking about investing in a larger pot.
I also am a huge new fan of the La Mer cleansing micellar water, which removes make-up, impurities and dirt within a few simple swipes. It’s so refreshing and cooling on your skin, meaning that any redness is instantly calmed down and soothed. We were actually given quite generous samples of this, so I’m still only halfway through – but it’s amazing to have such a luxurious product in travel sized form, as usually I have to take my lesser used items on my travels.
I absolutely love supporting bloggers and digital creators of all sizes. I think it’s so inspiring to be a part of an industry that is quite literally, taking over the world. Not a day goes by where an influencer is launching an exciting new product, or as part of a campaign that aims to inspire young people, or becoming an ambassador for a charity and raising awareness. It’s incredibly heart-warming and very exciting.
So when PIXI announced that they were pairing up with four beauty gurus to create their very own ‘dream’ products. Rather than being purely merchandise for the bloggers, these were to be go-to products in their own right, created with the wisdom of the PIXI brand and the beauty knowledge of the influencers. Aspyn Ovard, Caroline Hirons, It’s Judy Time and Maryam Maquillage each created a product of their choosing, based on their unique expertise. Caroline Hirons in particular, who I’m a huge fan of, launched a 2-in-1 double cleanse jar that pretty much sold out overnight. Unfortunately I couldn’t get my hands on it but I did manage to try a few of the other launches.
The ‘Get The Look’ It’s EyeTime Palette by It’s Judy Time is a plethora of smokey shades, perfecting for defining and enhancing your daytime look, or creating a dramatic evening make-up. The shadows are so silky that they glide onto your lids softly – even if like me, you’ve forgotten the primer, yet again. I love the mix of shimmery shades, pigmented nudes and soft blushed shades, perfect for transitioning from autumnal looks to more spring centric attire. Sometimes you just need that one go-to palette for all occasions and seasons, and this is definitely it.
Also on my hit list to try was Maryam Maquillage’s Strobe & Sculpt range, which is the ideal kit to creating that much desired glowing, sun-kissed, luxurious skin finish. The accompanying brush is a dual masterpiece with a tapered end for strobing and a flat edge buffing brush for sculpting and bronzing. Even a strobing, contouring novice like me can’t go wrong, especially as her Strobe & Sculpt palette features 3 highlights and 3 contour shades to create realistic shadows and add natural luminosity. There’s tips on the back of the palette if you’re really stuck, but of course – the beauty of these being blogger creations is that you can simply head over to her Youtube channel for an in-depth tutorial (knowing that you have the kit itself covered).
I LOVE this launch, and I’m pretty sure you will too!
And finally, after all this time – I’ve had a chance to try out the incredible Zoeva brushes, which I must admit, have mainly tempted me because they are rose gold. I can’t resist anything rose gold. But anyway, I wanted to know whether appearances were deceiving and whether these brushes were anything more than just a pretty face.
Well, they are. Point blank and simple. The bristles are super soft and they don’t leave any tell-tale brush strokes when you’re applying your base or (like me) attempting to contour.
The eye shadow brushes in particular are amazing at creating those must-have smokey eye creases – especially as the precision aspect means they don’t flick pigment particles all over your cheekbones. Because as much as aubergine is fab on the eyes, it doesn’t make for a great highlight.
The Luxe Contour Definer (130) is amazing for blending and creating a very natural look, without buffing away your hard work too much. It has a huge angled tip so that you can get the bronzer and darker contour exactly where you want it – without risking having a huge dark stripe on your cheek.
We’ve all been there.
Nope? Okay, just me.
I’m not sure what else to say other than they’re fab – because they are. They’ll certainly be taking pride of place on my new dressing table. My other brushes have got competition!
So there you have it, this month’s beauty favourites! I’d love to hear what yours were this month?
Contains PR samples