Recently I was asked, “If you could only choose one product, which one would you say is a MUST have?” And immediately about 25 products danced around in my head. I mean, it’s like asking someone, “what movie would you say I HAVE to watch before I die?” If you can answer that, then you’re easily pleased.
It’s impossible for me to name my favourite products. I would love to own fifty different faces, so I could splash them all with skincare and makeup, but I don’t. And that means, I definitely do have my ‘go-to’ products. I’m not saying that these are the only products I like – or use for that matter – but could I live without these particular ones? Probably not. So here’s a peek into my makeup bag and what I use on a daily basis (or close to a daily basis).
Clinique’s Moisture Surge Moisturiser
I suffer from insatiably dry skin, but at the same time, I’m prone to breakouts, so this rich, oil-free cream gel is perfect for me. I only need to use a tiny amount to quench the thirst of my skin and help fortify and repair it’s moisture barrier. It looks plump all day and I can rest assured that it’s keeping irritants out.
Like most people, I suffer from puffy eyes in the morning and there’s no way I’m walking out that door looking like I’ve aged 10 years! So that’s where Origins GinZing comes in to play. It’s super refreshing and cooling which depuffs under my eyes and the pink, luminescent tinge brightens them instantly. I gently dab this under my eyes as well as smooth it over my lids.
Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat
As well as puffy eyes, I also suffer from dark circles (lucky me!), so this best selling makeup pen does me wonders. It provides the perfect balance of coverage and radiance. I use it as a highlighter for my face – under my eyes, on my brow bone and cupid’s bow.
Benefit’s The Pore-fessional
Everyone I know carries one of these in their makeup bag. It’s by far the best primer I have come across to date. It’s oil-free, lightweight and silky smooth and really does minimize the appearance of pores (as it claims). It doesn’t cling to any dry patches as well, so my foundation and powder glides over easily.
Guerlain’s Ombre Eclat Eyeshadow Primer
There’s nothing I hate more than applying my favourite eye shadow and then noticing it’s caked in the crease of my eyelids half way through the day. That’s where this little beauty comes in. I’m on my second compact, which is no mean feat because you actually don’t have to apply a lot of this for it to do it’s job, but I would say I use this every day. It’s definitely a must for a perfect smokey eye.
Bare Minerals Original SPF15 Foundation
I’ve only recently started my love affair with Bare Minerals. I’m a massive fan of Benefit and so for a while was using their Oxygen Wow Foundation (which I love), but then I was introduced to Bare Minerals and I’m not sure I can ever turn back. I get pretty excited about products that are good for your skin as well as doing their job of making you look smashing, so Bare Minerals really has me hooked. The coverage is absolutely flawless and buildable, so I can apply as much as I want, depending on how bad a day I’m having and the creamy minerals leave my skin feeling soft and fluid, not dry. I love buffing this on with their brush as well, it feels like magic!
Guerlain’s Terracotta Bronzing Powder
It’s impossible to go past Guerlain’s Terracotta Bronzing powder. There’s a whole range to choose your desired effect and colour from. It comes in Flawless Tan, which is a mineral based bronzing powder; Tailor-Made Tan, which is a harmony of four colours; Natural Tan, which is a typical bronzer; and Shimmering tan, which is the one photographed above. I have used all of them and can safely say that they are all absolutely amazing. There’s not a single orange tone in any one of them, so I never fail to step out looking sun-kissed.
I love cheek creams. They always seem to last longer than powder blushes. This one is my favourite because it’s easy to build up the colour and has a lovely velvety texture.
Benefit’s Big Beautiful Eyes
This little kit is all I need to create Hollywood worthy eyes. The palette is universally flattering and it contains two brushes for easy application. BUT – the best part is that it contains a step-by-step guide on how to create big beautiful eyes – which I now follow when applying all of my eyeshadows.
How beautiful is this pot of liquid eyeliner?! I purely buy this to have it sitting on my dressing table (no, not really, I use it too). It’s designed like a calligraphy tool which makes it simple and precise to use.
Diorshow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum
This primer combs, curls and coats lashes with a nourishing serum that promotes long term lash growth, strength and vitality. It really makes a difference to the separation of my lashes when I apply my mascara.
By Terry Terrybly Growth Booster Mascara
I’m always a bit sceptical about these ‘lash booster’, ‘lash growing’ mascaras and serums, but I swear I have seen a difference after using this mascara. In addition to that, it’s simply a great mascara. I love the way it separates and elongates my lashes… but my favourite thing it does is add a tone of volume.
Shavata Brow Perfector
What can I say? Shavata is THE brow guru. Recently I went and got my brows threaded at one of their studios, as a thank you for writing a review for Harper’s Bazaar for them, and have copped compliments ever since. They say the eyes are the door to the soul, so I want to have pretty exquisite looking frames. I ‘perfect’ my brows every day, no exceptions and the three colours mean I can choose different shades to elongate, highlight or darken.
Tom Ford Lip Colour
If you don’t own a Tom Ford Lip Colour, treat yourself. Go on. Do It.
Sunglasses: Marc Jacobs
Top, Skirt, Belt, Shoes: Reiss
Skirt: River Island
Skirt: Alice McCall
Jewelery: Market in Santorini
Necklace: Louis Vuitton
Tights: American Apparel
Shoes: Tony Bianco
Bag: Markets in Rome
Jeans: J Brand
Dress: Herve Leger
Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Well, the sun is out and that means, my legs have been out. So I’ve spent a good two weeks trying out all of the self tanners in the cupboard to the point that I’m not sure that my body has ever been exfoliated so much in my life! That said, I’m so happy I did it, because there are some amazing self-tanners out there… and some others that should probably just be left on the shelf. I’ve done all the ‘hard work’ for you, so you can choose between gels, sprays, creams, lotions, mousse, dark, light, buildable, instant, wash off. The only things you need to remember are the rule.
- Exfoliate. Exfoliate. Exfoliate. If you don’t want patchy build up – get rid of those dead skin cells!
- Moisturise the driest parts of your body: under arms, elbows, palms of hands, in between fingers, knuckles, knees, ankles, toes.
- For an even result, let the self-tan sink in for a few hours before you shower
- Moisturise after the shower for a longer lasting tan.
Here are the ‘must invest’ and the ‘save your pennies’.
Best self-tan for…
Insitut Esthederm Self Tanning Body Lotion, £32.50 SpaceNK
If you’re spending a weekend in Brighton, it’s not likely that you’re going to come back with an Amazon tan, so if you want to fake something natural, this self-tanner will leave you with a superb holiday glow. It’s part of a new generation of advanced self-tanning products able to imitate the distribution of melanin pigments onto the skin’s surface to create a perfect replica of a natural tan. It’s also enriched with fruit extract and shea butter which not only smells delicious, but leaves the skin soft and supple.
A Sunkissed Look
St Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Lotion, £30.64, st-tropez.com
This has been a staple favourite of mine for ages. All it takes is two applications to look like I have literally been lying in the sun in St Tropez for a week. What’s even better is that it doesn’t streak, so you end up with a glorious dark, even tan. This works quickly though, so make sure you wear gloves or use a mitt to apply the lotion. The initial application will look a lot darker than after you wash, so if you want a deeper colour, gradually build with a few more applications.
Devoted Spray Tanners
Sisley Self Tanning Spray for the Body, £77, 020 7591 6380
Ok, so the price tag is pretty hefty, but you get quite a few professional looking tans out of this can and my golly – it’s worth it. I would never recommend a spray to a first timer. I think sprays take a lot of expertise to get it right and quite often people will use a spray for the first time, come out streaky and never look at a mist again. Like any spray, this requires a steady hand, more so because it’s clear but that said, the finish is second to none and the colour is an amazing healthy, natural glow.
First Time Users
Xen Tan Mousse Intense, £23.99, 0207 725 9290
You can’t go wrong with this self-tanner. It comes with a mitt to ensure a smooth, even application that won’t end up making your hands go orange and the colour is quite subtle, so you have the choice to build it up or simply add a hint of colour to your skin.
Dior Bronze Self-Tanner Natural Glow, £23, dior.com
I never apply a body self-tanner on my face. When you tan naturally, your face is always a much lighter colour and I think this is where a few people get it wrong and end up looking noticeably fake. Dior Bronze does a great self tanner for the face in a satin, golden gel. Initially you will only notice a hint of colour but eventually the pH complex allows this emulsion to gradually deepen the complexion. I use it two to three times a week to maintain colour and double layer my cheekbones to naturally accentuate them.
A Seriously Dark Tan
Fake Bake Original Self Tanning Lotion, £26.95, fakebake.co.uk
So you’ve recently given up tanning beds but you’re in need of a fix. Well, look no further because this self tanner will knock your socks off. It’s the darkest self-tanner I have ever used, but somehow manages to look completely natural (and I used it after 6 months of rain, so was slapping it on some pretty pale skin). The word ‘orange’ just doesn’t come into the equation.
Clarins Delectable Self Tanning Mousse, £21.50, clarins.co.uk
Perfect for a 3-in-1. This incredible product contains qualities for self-tan, moisturiser and sun care. The whipped texture allows easy application without streaks and is enriched with hydrating Mirabelle oil so skin stays satiny smooth. There’s also the added bonus of SPF15 to protect your skin against harmful UVA and UVB rays.
He-Shi Express Liquid Tan, £37, he-shi.eu
This is a quick drying, non streaking, easy to apply self tanner that tans instantly on contact with the skin. The pigment is very noticeable, so it’s easy to see where you have applied the product and initially results in a mid-deep, warm tan which develops over time to be 2 -3 shades darker. This specifies that you don’t moisturise before hand, so make sure you follow instructions carefully.
Sometimes I just want to give my hair a really good, deep clean. There’s a bunch of shampoos that have great varying qualities from extra moisture to added volume, but if I’m in the mood for super squeaky clean hair, I very rarely look past these five miracle workers.
Christophe Robin Shampooing Clarifiant a la Camomille & au Bleuet, £25.35
This clarifying shampoo gently removes excess residue and coloring pigments from your hair if dye has left it looking too intense or off-tone, without the use of ammonia. Chamomile and cornflower revives your hair and restores the light color without false reflections. It also smells ridiculously sweet, like baby powder.
Oribe Shampoo for Brilliance and Shine, £28
This uber lush shampoo has a lather that is formulated from vegetable-derived humectants which means it’s lightweight and offers extended shine. It’s also Paraben and Sodium Chloride Free, with the added benefit of UV Protection. Lychee Extract defends hair from oxidative stress, photo-aging and the deterioration of natural keratin. And need I mention that it’s the from veteran hair stylist, Oribe, who has styled the tresses of Jennifer Lopez and Debra Messing, Diana Ross and Naomi Campbell just to name a few.
Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo, £31
Brilliant! That’s the adjective that comes to mind whenever I use this shampoo. It doesn’t strip your scalp of it’s natural oils but cleanses it enough to give it an amazing deep wash. Just one pump gives you a generous lather that effectively draws out the impurities and build up from the day.
Rahua Volumising Shampoo, £26
My hair is quite fine, so trying to give it volume is about as easy as pumping a punctured tyre. That said, this shampoo gives my hair an extra bit of oomph (normally only dry shampoo can do what this shampoo does naturally). Lavender and eucalyptus calm and relax the senses, while lemongrass and green tea create body and Ungurahua oil (rich in Omega-9) helps to restore, heal, moisturize and strengthen hair follicles, resulting in stronger, healthier hair.
Aveda Shampure Shampoo, £11
For a daily shampoo, it’s hard to go past this natural gentle formula. It contains a calming mix of 25 pure flower and plant essences, giving it a superb aroma as well, while the Morikueprotein ensures that no film is left on the shaft of your hair, so you’re guaranteed lightweight, shiny tresses.