When it comes to beauty products, we want the kind of results that show up on Zoom and nothing less. Give us the bewitching head of hair that leaves our work pals in a trance and the kind of cult fragrance that permeates the screen and interferes with your wifi.
Alas, the quest to find such products isn’t always easy. Show of hands for those who’ve been personally victimised by a pink shelfie aesthetic. Pretty packaging is our Achilles heel.
In the event that you might be dabbling with new make-up or skincare this January or hitting pan on your desert island must-haves and wondering what beauty detour to take next, these are the products to snap up in a heartbeat and swerve like an ex you’ve clocked down the confectionery aisle in Sainsbury’s.
From high street heroes that overpromised and underdelivered to the cult formulas worth the splurge, here’s a rundown of the team’s best & worst beauty buys.
Snog – I felt compelled to choose my favourite lip products for obvious reasons here! I have many but if I had to choose a product I would always repurchase and feel is genuinely worth the money it’s the Charlotte Tilbury lip cheat pencils. I’m a big fan of the lipsticks too but the lip cheat pencils, in particular, come in the most gorgeous shades and have incredible staying power. When I can’t really be bothered with my face I’ll often just whack a lip on and it looks like you’ve made loads of effort when really it took 60 seconds max. My favourite colours are Supersize me, Pillow Talk and love trap.
Marry – This is such a tough one as I have so many products I absolutely love and would say are holy grail worthy products. If I had to choose ONE thing I can’t be without it’s the By Terry CC serum illuminating primer in the shade sunny flash. If you want one product that’s going to bring your skin back to life with minimal effort this is it. Especially in current times where a whole face of makeup has felt a bit unnecessary, this has been my lifesaver to making me look refreshed and glowy (even when I’ve felt anything but!)
Avoid – Yves Saint Laurent – Touche Eclat. I just don’t get this product, yet somehow because it was seen to be the latest innovation with the click to release function, a lot of my early 20s I used to think of it as THE product you had to have. Is it an under-eye concealer? A highlighter? a brightener? Who knows but it didn’t really hit the mark on any of those things in my opinion. Granted it’s been a fair few years since I’ve given up on it so formulas and colours have no doubt changed but it just didn’t live up to the hype and at nearly £30 a pop, pass me the glossier stretch concealer any day.
Snog – Pucker up, Glossier Cloud Paint, I’m coming in for a peck. I’m definitely late to the party when it comes to Glossier goods but now I’m here, I’m never going home. I LOVE this cream-gel formula, it’s natural, buildable and gives that beautiful flushed-from-within rouge, like you’ve just got in from a good countryside promenade. Even if I’ve got nothing else on my face, I pat this onto my cheeks and my pale skin immediately looks healthier, brighter and more alive. I use the colour Dusk but obviously, the love story doesn’t end there (adds Puff & Beam to the list of beauty products I’d like to take home to meet the parents)
Marry – I’d marry Le Labo Santal 33 in a heartbeat. It’s a fragrance I come back to time and time again and even though it is on the spenny side, wearing it is such an experience, I think it just about justifies the price tag. It’s a woody, smoky, addictive unisex scent that lingers on the skin all day. Wearing a fragrance is as much part of my routine as getting dressed or brushing my teeth, so a unique scent like this one is worth the splurge IMHO. I’d go as far to say I feel the most ME when I’ve got it on. It’s also really rare to find a scent that’s both fresh and woody – it’s a beautiful anomaly and I’d let it have my hand in marriage quicker than you can say, give us a squirt.
Avoid – Maybelline Instant Anti-Age Concealer. Urgh, I got sucked into the Instagram hype on this one. Granted, it’s under a tenner so it’s not the end of the world but still, I had high hopes for this product after all the rave reviews but I found it to be really chalky and drying, not ideal for someone desperately clutching onto her youth. Maybe I just have under eyes drier than Gandhi’s flip flop, who knows. In a game of Naked Attraction, it would be lights up, I’ve seen enough, put it that way.
Snog – It is only right to choose my love affair with Glossier Boy Brow here, absolutely they best brow mascara on the market. It has a perfect finish, not to gel-like or waxy like some brow mascaras. It’s super pigmented too but not so pigmented that it leaves streaks of product on your skin and not your eyebrow hairs! The wand size is perfecto too, so you can grab all the little hairs. The only reason I haven’t married this product is that it needs to come in a bigger size asap!
Marry – Choosing one product is quite tricky as I have so many beauty products that I adore and have used for years. But, I do think the product I have been using the longest and no sign of wanting to swap him out yet is the Clinique City Block in SPF 40. I use acids on my face and so using an SPF every day is even more important, but I didn’t want one which was sticky or left my pores feeling blocked. This is the best facial sunscreen I’ve ever used, it is also great as a primer as it leaves your skin feeling super soft. It gives your skin a really nice glow and doesn’t create any kind of cast or sheen like some SPF’s do.
Avoid – Kylie Jenner Lip Kits, I honestly have never understood the hype. I mean I did at first, you know everyone wanted plump lips like Kylie Jenner, who remembers the Kylie lip challenge when people literally swelled their lips using like bottle caps? Ouch. Of course, buying into the hype I ordered a lip kit, paid about $1,000,000 in custom tax, to have a lipstick that quite literally crumbled off my lips after 10 minutes. I can’t vouch for the formula now, but it certainly did not impress me when they were released like 5 years ago.
Snog – One that I can go without but that is always nice to have is the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray. It’s v pricey for what is is- hence why it’s only been picked for the occasional snog- but I do feel like it makes a difference to my base and is a lifesaver in the summer months. I do enjoy a full coverage base and I find this spray helps blend foundation, concealer, blush, bronzer and highlighter together and gives a really effortless finish.
Marry – Nars Sheer Glow Foundation always and forever! I used to rotate and try a new high-end foundation when my current one ran out on the quest to find the creme de la creme of bases, but I always ended up coming back to this. The shade Mont Blanc is the perfect colour match for me, it’s full coverage which is a must in my eyes and gives the loveliest glow to the skin without looking shiny. I have oily skin but if I powder my face in the morning this foundation stays put all day whilst maintaining a healthy glow and foolproof finish that never separates, creases or budges. I don’t think I’ll ever try another foundation!
Avoid – I haven’t tried much make-up from Glossier but I picked up the lilac shade of Lidstar in their London pop-up last year and honestly, it was not a vibe. It’s so drying and almost instantly creases, doesn’t last well and it’s almost impossible to get an even colour payoff across the lid. The wand is too absorbent so every time you use it to try and blend or apply more product it just ends up back on the wand. I’ve tried to give it a fair chance but I do NOT think it’s worth £15 and I wouldn’t repurchase.
Snog – So for my snog, it’s something that I’m currently loving or ‘lusting’ over. It’s new to my life and we’re just having a great time together, who knows how long it will last? It’s the Farmacy – Honey Grail Ultra-Hydrating Face Oil and it’s the perfect thing for combating dry winter skin. It has a gorgeous honey vibe and scent (obviously) and is a joy to put on. I’ve started using it as a bit of a primer for foundation so I can achieve a summer dewy look on my porous crocodile face. Highly rec!
Marry – I guess the thing I love most about makeup is my base, if I’ve got that down and my skin looks great then everything else is kind of secondary. So for that reason, my marriage has to go to my numero uno Nars Radiant Long-wear Foundation. It has never let me down and is always a joy to put on. Mascaras come and go but I’ve been using this for years which is a testament to our relationship.
Avoid – Unfortunately being the ‘grass is greener’ girl that I am, I gave the latest Nars Soft Matte Complete Foundation a go. I know, I know, I’m a cheater and I deserve what I got. I’m sure it’s a great foundation if you have perfectly young plump skin or you lean slightly more oily. For me, it was just too dry and I also think I didn’t purchase the right shade which never helps. I’ve still got it and I’m going to give it another go in the summer when I’m more tanned and sweating my life away but for now, it’s gathering dust on my vanity.
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