The position of beauty writer comes with many perks but – at the risk of complaining that my diamond shoes are pinching – I do have one gripe. In each issue my job is to share the newness; launches, innovations, trends. I am in the privileged position of hearing about what’s coming up three months ahead of product hitting the stores. This leaves little room to talk about the well-used workhorses of my makeup bag, dressing table or bathroom shelf. The products I love, which love me right back.
Take Augustinus Bader’s Rich Cream (or if your skin is less dry than mine, take The Cream, a lighter variant). It’s phenomenal and it's the one I reach for – especially during colder months – when my skin is looking dull, drawn and in need of serious nourishment. Plus, I’m pretty much guaranteed compliments when I’m using it, so in addition to making my skin firmer and more glowy, it makes me feel good because who doesn’t love being told they look great. In fact, with that and a daily swipe of Willowberry’s excellent Liquid Exfoliator to keep my skin clear of build-up, I’d consider myself well stocked for any skincare situation.
Dive into my makeup bag, and you’ll find a lot of Sculpted by Aimee which has become one of my go-to brands. While I love Aimee’s full-face palettes and keep her cream blush compacts at hand, it is her HydraTint that I turn to for my base. The coverage feels weightless and yet manages to smooth out tone, mask any blemishes or patchiness, and keep skin supple and hydrated, thanks to the ceramides and acids in this skincare/makeup hybrid. Much as I love the world of beauty and all its magic and wonder, I am fundamentally lazy so yes please to make up that treats my skin at the same time as making my face look good. This brings me nicely to Perricone MD’s No Makeup range and specifically the blush. This cute-looking bottle of pigment is perfect for dabbing onto cheeks (or lips, or wherever else you choose). The Vitamin C ester it contains is a bonus, but it is the inbetweeny, suits-everyone coral pink colour that I keep coming back for. While I’m prepping the canvas, I’ll also invariably reach for Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Flawless Filter, much copied since it came out in 2018 but never bettered. It can be applied on or in place of base and replicates the flattering gleam of candlelight on skin.
More easy peasy payoff comes in the form of Victoria Beckham’s EyeWear in Pecan, another universally useful shade. As with most of her covetable range, this is both simple and clever. With a careful hand you can use it as a liner but if you go a bit wonky or are aiming for a three-second smoky eye, it smushes out beautifully to add dimension and colour to your lids. Fabulous.
That’s base, colour and depth, so all I need on top of this trinity is lashes. I like Clinique’s High Impact Full Volume mascara which brushes on easily with its tapered wand, making lashes look fat and full – just how I like them. I’m a big fan, too, of its blingy metallic green casing which eliminates any desperate scrabbling in the depths of my bag.
Despite my indolent ways, I use SPF with great dedication, secure in the knowledge that I can drop colour into my moisturiser, or slather on any number of brilliant sunless tanning products (shout out to skinnytan.co.uk) when my limbs are ready for their summer season. But, it can be a drag, no? If my moisturiser doesn’t contain SPF, it is yet another step to add to the morning routine, so I keep La Roche Posay’s Anthelios Anti-Shine Sun Protection Invisible SPF50+ Face Mist 75ml by the front door as it spritzes on (over makeup!) to give invisible anti-shine protection wherever it is needed. Bloody brilliant.
I need to mention my hair and I’ll try and keep it brief. Long story short; hormones, bleaching and a little alopecia moment last year have played havoc with my normally reliable locks. If hair is a bellwether of general health it’s been obvious I’m in need of a little tender loving care. I have been very impressed by the Strengthening Silk Protein shampoo and Strengthening Essence conditioner Monpure London. They’ve worked wonders in bouffing up my hair, restoring strength, bounce and body. I also commend the brand for their work with Little Princess Trust and wholeheartedly agree with their brand statement; “It’s not just your hair, it’s your identity”.
I could write another list like this but concentrating solely on scent. Instead, I’ll finish this one with a fragrant recommendation. Floral Street are a brand to champion: female founded and environmentally sound. Their cheerful yellow Sunshine Bloom candle with its aroma blend of salted musks, verdant fig and soft, creamy coconut is a joyous reminder of the warmth of summer sun on both skin and spirit. Ideal for the dog days of February, the longest shortest month of the year.
My Top 10
Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream.
WIllowberry PHA Liquid Exfoliator.
Sculpted by Aimee HydraTint Serum.
Perricone MD No Makeup Blush
Hollywood Flawless Filter.
From £15 charlottetilbury.com
Victoria Beckham Beauty EyeWear in Pecan.
Clinique High Impact High-FiTM Full Volume Mascara
La Roche Posay Anthelios Anti Shine Invisible Mist SPF50.
Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo and Strengthening Essense Conditioner.
£36 each monpure.com
Sunshine Bloom candle.