My skincare routine for what shall forevermore be known as The Winter of Discontent. Obviously, in true Crilly style, I am posting this just as we pip over into springtime, but as I’ve said before, this is more of a journal post recording my skincare routine rather than anything that’s responding to seasonal changes or trends. I like to look back on them. And, in the future, when everyone is Googling stuff from their Google glasses as they lounge about on floating hoverboards in their Martian villas, they will be able to access these posts and use them as historical documents.
“Look what shit they were chatting back in 2021, Brian! Arguing about scotch eggs and the EU when all that time the planet was about to implode! Ha ha ha!”
This skincare routine could really be subtitled The Retinol/Moisturiser See-Saw. I’ve been working my way up to some stronger retinoids (I really want to try the Crystal Retinal 10 and 20 from Medik8!) but every time I get too overly confident my skin revolts and starts going all itchy and tight on me. And yes I know there’s often a period of discomfort before you get to all the good stuff, like a smooth and shiny-glowy face that can be seen from the moon, I just can’t be doing with it. I’m the sort of person who feels cross all day if a gusset is too seamy, so having an itchy face is just not tenable.
What I do, therefore, is absolutely lard my face in between retinoid applications. (Hence the retinol moisturiser see-saw.) I find the strongest, most emollient balms and creams I can and slather them on and massage them in as though I’m one of those outrageously expensive turkeys you can get from the farm shop. I massage and pummel and when it has all soaked in I massage over another layer.
And “layer” is another key word this season; I’m usually one for keeping things very simple, with a cleanse, a serum and a moisturiser (the retinoid or whatever active I’m using would slot into one of those categories, whether it was an antioxidant serum in the morning or an all-in-one retinol+whatever moisturiser at night); this winter I’ve been adding in the odd extra coating of something just to try and banish the tight feeling.
One very good discovery (and I’m not usually one for mists or spritzes, unless it’s Emma Hardie’s one* or the LRP Toleriane 8 here*) is the Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator (here*) which is brilliant for boosting the effects of whatever is piled on over the top.
Then it’s a serum (antioxidant in the morning, something hydrating at night, unless it’s a retinol night in which case straight on with that after cleansing) and a moisturiser to seal it all in. I’ve even been known to add a drop or two of oil into my moisturiser, though I forgot to mention that in the video!
The easiest way for me to show you the current skincare routine is to put it below in a list form. So here it is – beneath that you have a video with full explanation and whole joyous minutes of waffle.
I use a quick micellar water sweep-over! Naughty but all I can be arsed with – currently using this*: https://bit.ly/2MkViiy
Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense Serum*: https://bit.ly/2MgaIos
SkinGredients Skin Protein: https://skingredients.co.uk/products/skin-protein-vitamin-a-serum
Arden Great 8 (discontinued?!): https://www.amodelrecommends.com/the-fresh-summer-sunscreen-that-feels-barely-there/
Some other favourite sunscreens: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4pzGoALxlU&t=161s
Dermalogica Active Clay Cleanser*: https://bit.ly/3r0uQcS
Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cleanser*: https://bit.ly/2ZM9UKV
BeautyPie Cleansing Balm*: https://bit.ly/2NXoRY5
Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator*: https://bit.ly/2ZOqZnI
Emma Hardie Pump and Glow Spritz*: https://bit.ly/3qV225G
LRP Toleriane 8 Spray*: https://bit.ly/3aPTNT6
Murad Retinol Eye Cream*: https://bit.ly/2ZLWlLt
Inkey List Caffeine Eye Cream*: https://bit.ly/2ZYeCak
Kiehl’s Powerful Line Reducing Eye Serum*: https://bit.ly/3gwo9dg
Retinol (once every two or three days)
Murad Night Cream*: https://bit.ly/3khXnZj
Kate Somerville Retinol VitaC Serum*: https://bit.ly/3klOluf
Medik8 Crystal Retinal 3 and 6*: https://bit.ly/2ZK5btl
Rich Night Moisturiser
Weleda Skin Food Light*: https://bit.ly/3aQ0lRG
Lumene Night Balm here
REN Evercalm Overnight Balm*: https://bit.ly/2ZKgOQL
Darphin 8 Flower Necar Oil-Cream*: https://bit.ly/3klfYU9
I have been raving about Beauty Pie products since they launched onto the beauty scene. Hi-tech, luxury formulas developed at some of the world’s best labs, but sold direct to the consumer so that the middleman (the retailer) is completely removed from the equation.
I have to say that it took me a while to get my head around the membership concept (more on that in a second, stay with me!) but the more skincare and makeup products I tried and loved the more this particular way of shopping for beauty began to make sense.
I’m going to tell you about my top five favourite Beauty Pie products, the ones I would buy time and time again without a moment’s hesitation, and demonstrate how the membership works along the way. I’d insert a joke here about listening carefully for the science bit and the need for a flip chart, etc etc, but it really isn’t that complicated!
I’m going to use my first (and absolute all-time favourite) Beauty Pie product as a sort of glamorous assistant.
Step forward the Plantastic Apricot Butter Cleansing Balm (online here). If there was ever a contest or tournament for luxury cleansers (I would genuinely watch that on the telly) then this balm would very easily hold its own. With its silky texture and glorious scent, it’s perfect for massaging over the face to break up makeup and sunscreen and removes everything from mascara to long-wear lip-stain. For a balm so rich and sumptuous, it rinses off beautifully clean and doesn’t leave even a trace of residue.
The Apricot Butter Cleansing Balm won me over from very first use and I always expected it to have a suitably high price tag. The reality? With Beauty Pie membership it’s £13.93. There are different types of memberships – for more information in the UK click here and US click here – and you choose the one that gives you the spending allowance you think you’ll need. (You can always upgrade if you need more, or roll the allowance over to the next month if it’s more than you need.)
Now: here’s the maths bit. Beauty Pie show you two prices – the equivalent retail price for the product and the members’ price. For the cleansing balm, the retail price would be around £50 for an equivalent product. (I’d say this is about right – it’s absolutely on a level playing field with another of my favourite balms and that one is £50 for the same amount of product. I like to cross-check all of my favourites like this and the “typical” values they cite are always very considered and fair.)
So the idea is that as a member you’re getting loads more for your money – you’re getting the luxury product minus the retail markup, which can be up to 80% when it comes to luxury makeup, for example. The only consideration on top is the cost of the membership and also the postage, which tends to be a few pounds for standard royal mail delivery.
How much is the membership? You can opt for £5, £10 or £20 per month. £5 membership gives you a spending allowance of £50, £10 lets you spend up to £100 and £20 per month gives you the biggest allowance at £200. (You can use the code RUTHSENTME to get an extra £50 spending allowance!)
It’s worth noting that the spend is for the typical value, not the members’ price, so if you had the £5 monthly membership then this month that would allow you to buy the cleansing balm. I suppose you could say, in simplistic terms, that the balm is costing you £13.93 + £5 membership fee + postage. A huge saving – well over 50% – if you adore your luxury skincare but tend to balk at the prices.
Let’s do another example with another favourite, and we’ll stick to the £5 per month membership to keep things easy. (I do have a tendency to overcomplicate things, so I hope I’m deconstructing this in a helpful way and not making you want to slowly eat your own fists.) The Futurelipstick Luxe Shine in Master Suite and Nude Blush. Two lipsticks. Why not?
I actually contest Beauty Pie’s valuation of this lipstick, which they say is £25. I’d say it was upwards of this, because it is incredibly similar to the ones that a certain star brought out recently and they are a hell of a lot more expensive. The Futurelipstick is sort of like a gloss in a stick. It has the most voluptuous, heavy sheen that feels as though it is plumping your lips from their very core. It feels decadent and glamorous yet it’s easy to apply and wear and is comfortable and hydrating.
The members’ price? £6.52 for one and £7.54 for the other. (Find them here. I have no idea why they are different prices – intriguing! Something to do with the cost of different pigments? I shall endeavour to find out!) Both lipsticks, bought together, would take you up to your spending limit for the month, but you would have had well over fifty quids’ worth of luxury lipstick for a grand total of £19.06 plus postage.
Things obviously get more exciting (and amounts saved more momentous) as you move up the tiers. For example, if you were in the £20 a month tier because there were loads of things you bought from Beauty Pie regularly (which is not hard to do!) then you could buy something from the Super Retinol range (here – it’s brilliantly formulated) as well as your cleanser and a moisturiser, maybe a little lipstick treat…
Talking of moisturisers: let’s discuss the Japanfusion Power Elixir Moisturiser – typical price £70, members’ price £12.65. This buoyant, bouncy face gel-cream wowed me a couple of years ago and I’ve still not found something to rival it in terms of texture (fresh yet somehow supremely rich) and effect (it makes your face feel as squidgy as a waterbed). It used to be called the Supreme Cream and now it’s the Power Elixir, but it’s the same antioxidant-rich deeply-moisturising formula. It’s just outstanding.
And actually this is one of my favourite pricing examples, for showing how great the Beauty Pie pricing structure can be. If you had a £10 membership, you could pick up this moisturiser, a glossy spring-hued lipstick and still have a bit of allowance to rollover. Your basket would be worth £95 yet you would have spent just £19.17 plus your membership fee. (There are also “piedays” that let you buy certain products without using any of your allowance, so set notifications for those!)
I’m really shooting off all over the place here, rather than listing my top five favourite products, which was the aim of the post. I expect that reading this post is a bit like being in a pinball machine. I suppose if my enthusiasm shines through then that can only be a good thing!
Let’s recap. So far we’ve had:
Beauty Pie Plantastic Apricot Cleansing Balm – typical price £50, members’ price £13.93 here
Beauty Pie Japanfusion Power Elixir Moisturiser – typical price £70, members’ price £12.65 here
Beauty Pie Futurelipstick Luxe Shine in Master Sweet – typical price £25, members’ price £6.52 here
Anything from the Super Retinol range, which is just…super, various prices but all huge savings, here
Oh! My Beauty Pie favourites wouldn’t be complete without the Fruitizyme Five Minute Facial mask, which has a value of £60 but to members is £10.80 here. This AHA mask works quickly and non-aggressively to slough of dead skin cells and give an instant glow. It’s a great fast-acting pick-me-up if you ever want a powerful pre-makeup mask, just five minutes leaves your skin feeling softer and looking fresher. You can leave it on for up to ten but I find that five does the trick and I like that it’s very easy to rinse off – a light gel texture, not a heavy clay or cream, so good for those in a hurry.
Pinballing session over. (Just read in Urban Dictionary that pinballing is when you hit lots of walls on the way to your destination, usually because you’re inebriated and just about to “call dinosaurs”, which is apparently the act of vomiting when you’ve drunk too much. You learn a new thing every day kids!) You’ll see many more brilliant things from Beauty Pie in posts and videos coming up but leave me a comment if you’d like me to review anything in particular that’s caught your eye!
I still have a few posts to catch up on from the end of last year – drafted but not quite finished – but this one on blemish busters is, I feel, very relevant. Mask-induced spots, or “maskne” as the marketing world coined it, seems to be an ongoing issue for some people, especially those who have to wear proper protective face gear for long periods of time.
I can’t imagine it’s the sort of widespread problem that some brands would like us to think it is – “OH MY GOD MASKNE IS TAKING OVER THE WORLD, BEWARE MASKNE!” – but I suppose that facial skin that is kept covered, possibly slightly hot and sweaty, for any lengthy part of the day is likely to rise up and revolt in the end. Even for those who just occasionally need to don a cloth mask, there’s a feeling of clammy clogginess to the mouth, nose and chin area once the fabric comes off. This might not result in breakouts – there might equally be some dryness or flakiness or, indeed, no apparent change at all – but if you do feel clammy and cloggy then the below may help.
So, three best beauty buys for helping with breakouts, all at different price-points. I actually have a few more bits and pieces to add to this post since I first drafted it (and filmed the accompanying video) last Autumn; you can see those at the bottom of the post. In general, salicylic acid is a good ingredient to look out for if you feel as though you need a good cleaning-out of the pores, just go steady if you find that your skin is on the dry side and follow up with a decent moisturiser. If you’re scared of adding oil to the problem then I really rate the oil-free Toleriane Fluid (here*), it has been a staple in my beauty line-up for many years.
Right, here are the first three of my best buys:
Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, from £10 online here*: I’ve done a more in-depth review of this here but in a nutshell, this is a wipe-on-and-leave exfoliant that is brilliant at keeping pores clear without feeling harsh or aggressive. I use it once a day (in the morning, usually) during my PMT week to help curb any breakouts and I never feel that it dries my skin, but there are different versions and formats here* if you’re worried and want to check out alternatives from the same range.
The Ordinary Salicylic 2% Masque, £9 here* (stock coming shortly, it’s always selling out!): this is a brilliant deep-treatment mask that works quickly and effectively to cleanse and purify but isn’t eye-wateringly tingly. You know the masks that make you feel as though your face is on fire? It’s not one of those. You may feel a bit of a warm tickle but it’s nothing like some of those power-player “active” clay masks I’ve tested over the last few years. You need a fan pointed at your face to get through the whole ten minutes!
Not with this one, no fan/cold compress required. I use it as an occasional PMT-week treat when things seem to be getting a bit angsty (salicylic can be quite soothing, despite its spot-busting status) but you could use it once or twice a week if you are oily or spot-prone.
Here’s one for more a more targeted, on-the-spot solution: Kate Somerville EradiKate, £52 online here*. I’ve tried a lot of spot treatments but this works for me quickly and without any major side effects – no flaking or peeling where I’ve been applying and reapplying. Probably because this has actually been formulated as an all-over lotion and not a targeted treatment, so it’s far more forgiving, but it’s so pokey that I can’t bring myself to use it all over!
At any rate, I tend to get very localised breakouts and not very often so it would be utter madness to cover my whole face in this. Anyway, it’s salicylic plus retinol in a lightweight cream – if you’ve previously tried the proper Kate Somerville EradiKate, with the pink lotion you dip into, this is nothing like that.
If you do want something for all over the face but not so spendy then I still think that the Effaclar Duo+ from La Roche-Posay is excellent (it’s here* online, £17) and they’ve recently introduced a new serum (here*) that promises a more concentrated formula combining salicylic with LHA and glycolic acid. I haven’t had the opportunity to test this out properly yet so please let me know in the comments if you have tried it and what you thought!
I’m going to also add the Active Clay Cleanser from Dermalogica (£35 here*) onto my blemish-busting list because it’s a low-key version of the Salicylic Masque mentioned above. I used this every day for about a month and my skin didn’t ever feel tight or dried out, just really very clean. I’d leave it on for a minute or two, because it just felt as though I should, and it’s now most definitely a cleanser I like to have lined up along the side of my bath for my nightly ablutions.
There’s a video to go alongside this post, it’s in the IGTV section of my Instagram page and you can reach it via this link. Enjoy!
I think that this may be my most pared-back What’s In My Makeup Bag video ever: really just the very bare minimum, with the few products I did use tested to the absolute nth degree. I filmed it quite a few weeks ago now and I still hadn’t really unpacked (catch up on house news here) and so I had been using the same makeup bits over and over again. I can’t actually believe that any of them are still going, but there’s loads left in my Chanel foundation and I barely made a dent in the Trinny cream shadows!
Anyway, this is one to watch rather than read about so that you can see the products in action. I’ve done a full review on both the Chanel Les Beiges foundation (here) and Trinny London’s cream shadows (here) if you fancy a more in-depth read on those. The Victoria Beckham lipstick is a new discovery in just the right shade of bright peachy-neutral for me and I’ll be back with a post on that when I’ve done a bit more playing around. The texture is superb!
Chanel Les Beiges Foundation in B30*: https://bit.ly/3i9DjqN
L’Oreal Back to Bronze, shade 2*: https://amzn.to/3p9Q9bk
Beauty Pie One Powder Wonder*: https://bit.ly/397PuBC
Jillian Dempsey Cream Blush in Bloom: http://www.jilliandempsey.com/shop/cheek-tints
Trinny Cream Shadows in Virtue and Fortune*: https://bit.ly/2XO41we
Chanel Mascara in Ecorces*: https://bit.ly/2KDfGdU
Victoria Beckham Lipstick in Pout: https://www.victoriabeckhambeauty.com/products/posh-lipstick
Vieve Lipliner in Brat*: https://bit.ly/3pObxn2
Gimme Brow Shade 2*: https://bit.ly/355fXxQ
This isn’t my first time at the rodeo when it comes to writing about Murad’s brilliant Retinol Youth Renewal range. I covered the relaunch at around this time last year (you can read that post here if you fancy) and it’s one of the ranges I refer to by default when people ask me for retinol recommendations. The main reason being that it’s powerful stuff, offering up proper, visible results, yet it seems to be tolerated by all but the most sensitive skin.
I mean you still have to go slow and steady with the range – it tingles, it goes straight to work, it’s not messing around – but if you’re sensible and don’t try to go from Total Retinol Virgin to Nightly Retinol Fiend in the space of a fortnight you’ll be A-OK. My preference, if I haven’t used retinol products for a while, is to start off with every four nights for a couple of weeks, move to every three nights for another couple and then stick to every other night for the duration of however long I manage to keep it up for. (I tend to back off a little during the warmer months.) This tends to keep any dryness or itchiness at bay – if I go straight in with all beauty guns a-blazing then you can guarantee that my face will be falling off by week two!
I digress. I’m supposed to be talking about Murad’s Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum here and the fact that it’s a total game-changer when it comes to using retinol around the eyes. If the rest of the range (a face serum, a sumptuous, buttery night cream) has been sensitively formulated then this eye serum takes things one step further. Not only can it be taken all around the eyes, including the lids, it includes non-greasy moisturisers to provide lightweight hydration for up to twenty-four hours. I love the fact that it’s safe to be used on the lids – every year my eyelids are more and more wrinkly and it would be nice to nip that in the bud for a while, before they start to resemble little testicles.
My eyes are notorious when it comes to overreacting to strong ingredients yet they have no problem with the Murad eye serum even when used nightly. Now you might not be an eye cream sort of person, preferring to use your usual face cream or treatment all over instead. What I will say about strong retinol products is that I find they are sometimes a bit…enthusiastic…to take up to the eye area. Many a time have I woken up to see my little red “burn” patch has reappeared beneath my right eye – a relic from my modelling years when someone changed my eye makeup fourteen times in eight hours and basically took the top eight thousand layers of skin off – and so I try to be careful and relatively discerning when it comes to treating the eye area.
And so, in conclusion, if you are looking to invest in a results-driven eye treatment that has been specifically formulated for the eye area then Youth Renewal Eye Serum is a fine place to start. It is an investment – the eye serum is £72, night cream is £70 – but the firming and plumping benefits are noticeable.
Murad use a three-pronged approach to delivering the retinol, with an “instant”, fast-acting retinoid, a slower release retinol and an ingredient to sort of “prep” the skin for the retinol so it’s a pretty sophisticated formula with a gentle, non-aggressive touch. Powerful enough for tackling the established lines and wrinkles and loss of firmness but also great for preventative measures too.
You can find the whole Youth Renewal range online here – if you use the code RUTH25 then you get 25% off*!
*excludes winter sale items, kits and new product launches.
The post Murad Retinol Youth Renewal: The Game-Changing Eye Serum appeared first on A Model Recommends.
I’m sorry, but the part of me that likes things to be in order has to post this video despite it being a whole season old. (Admittedly it’s only a very tiny – tiny – part of me that likes things in order, because mostly I live in chaos, like one of those long-bearded inventors from the movies, with piles of books everywhere and mugs on the windowsills and holes in the ceiling where my experiments have gone wrong.
Or the beauty equivalent of all of this.)
Anyway, I’m about to post up the contents of my winter makeup bag and it just wouldn’t do to have a season missing, so here’s What’s In My Makeup Bag: Autumn 2020. God that feels like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it? When we were planning for the family Christmas – the festive “light at the end of the tunnel” – and laughing off suggestions that things “might not be back to normal” by spring…
Highlights of this video – because it’s all still relevant, it was only eight weeks ago! – include the Soft Matte foundation from NARS, which everyone seemed to rave about but didn’t float my boat that much, and the Vieve makeup range. Enjoy – product list is below the video pane.
You can find the whole back catalogue of What’s In My Makeup Bag posts by clicking here.
NARS Soft Matte Complete Foundation £28.00*: https://tidd.ly/2J4e2kA at Boots
Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow Palette £49*: https://bit.ly/2UOI8uL at Feelunique (I chose shade Fair/Medium)
Vieve Makeup*: https://bit.ly/3pObxn2
My Kit Co at Beauty Bay*: https://bit.ly/2UQAsZe (I’m using the 1.15)
Tilbury Eye Colour Magic Liner Duo in ‘Copper Charge’ £21*: https://bit.ly/3pUFORw at Feelunique
Real Techniques Eye Shade & Blend Brush Set £8.99*: https://bit.ly/3l0w0BO at LookFantastic
Guerlain Maxi Lash Mascara £28*: https://bit.ly/3fqWnPV at Feelunique
Hourglasscosmetics Ambient Lighting Powder Palette £61*: https://bit.ly/3pRCfvm at Cult Beauty
Glossier Boy Brow Grooming Pomade £14.00*: https://bit.ly/2UP1Q9L at Glossier
Tilbury Lip Cheat Lipliner in ‘Iconic Nude’ £17*: https://bit.ly/2ULX4tP at Cult Beauty
Becca cosmetics Pearl Glow Lip Tint in Rose, £19*: https://bit.ly/2URNzJm
Chanel Les Chaines de Chanel Illuminating Blush Powder in ‘Rosebud’ £52.00*: https://bit.ly/2UMRRld at Feelunique
The jumper is quite old now, sorry, it was a limited edition Boden one!
I feel that Sainsbury’s have always been slightly ahead of the game when it comes to supermarket beauty shopping, stocking great and affordable brands such Super Facialist, Burt’s Bees and Nip + Fab, but now they have completely raised the bar again with their brand new beauty aisles.
Nearly two hundred superstores have the new beauty offering, with fourteen hundred new products launched and the brands list reads more like something you’d find at a dedicated beauty retailer than a supermarket; soothing face creams from Weleda, high-powered body-smoothers from Ameliorate, sumptuous balm cleansers and serums from Balance Me…
To celebrate the amazing new beauty aisles I’ve created three useful skincare routines using some of my favourites from the brands and products that you can pick up right now in-(super)store. Many stores also have trained beauty advisors to help guide and advise you and you can also find brands (such as Sanctuary Spa, My Skin Matters and Boutique) that are exclusive to Sainsbury’s.
Dull Skin Routine
My first little routine is for dull skin which is a common complaint going into winter. Once we lose the fresh, sunkissed bounce of a summer spent outdoors and the central heating kicks in, skin can tend to look a little lacklustre. So here are three products to get back some glow and all of them can be seamlessly slipped into your existing routines. I suppose they could be seen as separate tweaks more than a solid three-step routine, because I probably wouldn’t use them all together…
The Super Facialist Vit C+ Brighten Skin Renew Cleansing Oil (£11 here) is the perfect cleanser to introduce as the weather gets colder. Don’t be put off if your skin is on the oilier side; this rinses completely clean and does a really thorough job of breaking down makeup, sunscreen and the day’s dirt. It also smells so optimistically orangey (like the “Satsuma” scent of our youth, children of the eighties!) that it’s hard to find fault with it.
We then split into day and night routines; personally I would use the Super Facialist Vitamin C Booster (£18 here) in the morning, before or blended into moisturiser and sunscreen, but there’s nothing to stop you using it day and night. Vitamin C is great for brightening and helping with a more even skintone and also gives antioxidant protection; I’ve simply become used to it as a morning step, whereas…
…my acid peels, the AHAs, tend to go on at bedtime. Again, nothing to stop you using them in the morning (you MUST remember to use a sunscreen) but I like to use them overnight and wake up to the glow! The Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Liquid Glow contains 2% glycolic for a quick but not-too-shocking dose of exfoliation. It eats away at the dead skin cells, to put it in unglamorous terms, revealing brighter, newer skin. Personally I wouldn’t use daily, more two or three times a week, but it depends on your own skin and how it reacts to exfoliation. You can find the Glycolic Fix online here, it’s £17.
Dry Skin Routine
You might be thinking that dull skin and dry skin would go hand in hand, but I think that they can be quite different beasts. This routine is for really dry skin, the sort that just feels tight and uncomfortable and never quite feels sated.
The Super Facialist Rose Hydrate Calming Creamy Cleanser (£8 here) has been a favourite of mine for years. It feels luxurious, you can get a good old massage going with it and it’s only eight quid for a large tube. It smells beautiful and is gentle but effective and won’t leave your skin feeling tighter than when you started!
A new discovery now: Sanctuary Spa’s Hyaluronic Wonder Oil Serum (£20 here), a bi-phase product that has all the quenching properties of a hyaluronic serum but with the comfort and nourishment of an oil. If you’re so dry that a “lightweight” serum feels tight and uncomfortable then you’ll love this – ditto if you’ve wanted to dip a proverbial toe into the world of face oils but have been worried you’ll find them too greasy. It’s the perfect hybrid.
And all sealed in with what could be the world’s richest moisturiser, Weleda’s Skin Food (£10 here). This dry skin miracle is a tenner for a huge 75ml tube and is one of the richest, slide-iest face creams you’ll find. Especially at this price and with such lovely ingredients. I hate to bring the word “grease” into proceedings because it has such negative connotations, but Skin Food does leave a somewhat greasy residue. But it’s a beautiful grease – a sheen, a slick shine – that smells wonderful and will be music to the ears of those who simply can’t find a cream that’s moisturising enough for them. (For anyone who doesn’t have very dry skin, you’ll no doubt find this moisturiser too much. Word of warning!)
My last little skincare routine is one for the people who need some time-out, a few minutes’ peace, and who like products that smell sublime and transport them to other places. It’s a true mini-spa at-home and it’s perfect for the stressed and the weary. (All of us, then.)
I’ve started this one with Balance Me’s Cleanse and Smooth Face Balm (£20 here). Good cleansers were always the things I found lacking when supermarket beauty shopping and I’m so pleased that Sainsbury’s have such a good array but particularly that they have a balm cleanser. Balms, especially when they smell like this one, just add something extra-special to a skincare routine; you have to massage the product in properly to get it to melt down and I think that the extra effort, that massaging-in time, is invaluable when you’re trying to take some time for yourself.
The middle step here is a facial oil and there were loads to choose from but I plumped for Weleda’s Almond Soothing Facial Oil (£13.50 here) because it’s simple, calming and will suit all skin types. If you were into your aromatherapy then this makes a brilliant carrier oil and you could tweak it to suit particular concerns or needs, but as it is, unadulterated, it’s a nourishing, unfragranced treat and a great skincare staple if you’re dry or sensitive.
All of this is sealed in with a lovely dose of Urban Veda’s Sandalwood + Botanics Soothing Clarifying Night Cream (£20 here). Urban Veda formulate to Ayurvedic principles, so if it’s holistic beauty you’re after then you’ll be delighted that you can now find it at Sainsbury’s superstores! It was the sandalwood that drew me to this particular night cream, I just find the scent so grounding, but I can assure you that the cream has been really sensitively put-together; the scent is gentle and not at all overpowering. Just enough to make you stop and take a moment to regather and relax.
So I hope that you’ve enjoyed my little tour of the new beauty aisles, via three skincare routines; I’m so impressed with Sainsbury’s new skincare offerings and can’t wait to see how it keeps on evolving. They have an in-house team called Future Brands who identify rising talent in the beauty industry and help to bring them to shoppers at an affordable price-point and so I’m really interested to see what comes up!
It’s so lovely to see that beauty is being properly considered and presented – that you can now make informed choices from a great selection, rather than it being a bit of an afterthought – just some basics that you chuck in the trolley. I do think that it will change how people shop for their beauty – can you see yourself buying more of your beauty along with the rest of your shopping, if the choice is there?
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I’ve started a little series on Instagram that I hope to keep regularly adding posts to; it’s called 3 Best Beauty Buys, which isn’t the most inventive of feature names, but it’ll do what it says on the tin and that’s what counts! I’ve already done a quick IGTV feature on Maskne products (Maskne is the new, vaguely annoying term for blemishes and outbreaks that have been brought about by the wearing of a facemask) and you can watch that here, but now I’m prepping a video on the best firming eye creams and so I thought I’d take you along for the ride.
I always have to write myself an abundance of notes before I start filming something, otherwise I go off on crazy tangents, talking about parking woes and singing foxes and the complexities of British queueing etiquette. And it makes some sort of sense for me to write those research notes here on the website, so that you all get a handy post out of it, rather than scribbling them on the back of a council tax bill and chucking it all in the recycling afterwards…
And so here are three great firming eye creams that I’ve had noticeable results with. My usual eye cream, for reference, is the Kiehl’s Powerful Strength Line-Reducing Serum (find more details in posts here) but after a summer-long love affair with everything antioxidant and Vitamin-C-heavy, I’m turning my attention to the super-firmers.
Let’s go in with a sharp intake of breath and the priciest option – the DCL Peptide Plus Eye Treatment – which is £86 at Cult Beauty here*. DCL burst onto the UK scene a few years ago and the products are so good – really well-formulated and effective – but I haven’t heard that much noise about them since. This powerful eye cream is deeply hydrating but also focuses on helping to increase elasticity around the delicate eye area so that fine lines are smoothed. It mentions dark circles on the marketing material, but I don’t find that anything helps that much with dark circles if you have them severely – this is definitely one for firming and making everything just feel a bit more…robust. I gave it a very lengthy and intense trial last year but my review got pushed to the side when the world fell apart. So here: it’s a good ‘un – I’m on my second bottle.
My next “pick of the bunch” would be Paula’s Choice Clinical Ceramide-Enriched Firming Eye Cream, which is £43 here*. I didn’t realise until quite far down the road that this contained retinol as well as a wheelbarrow-load of ceramides for strengthening delicate, crepey skin. This is the most advanced eye cream available from Paula’s Choice, which excites me; I feel as though their formulas are always really well-considered and offer solid, marketing-bollocks-free options for the crowd who want no-nonsense answers to their skincare complaints. Love the pump-action bottle (DCL’s is the same sort of packaging) and the rich texture of the cream. It feels instantly relieving if your skin is chronically dry around the eyes.
When it comes to Vichy’s Neovadiol Rose Platinum Eye Cream (online here*) I have to admit that I was entirely seduced by the packaging! I’ve really gone off pots of stuff because the cream gets under my nails and annoys me and it just feels less…clean…than tubes and bottles, but this teeny pink pot just felt so unbelievably retro.
As though I had been transported to the 60s and sauntered down to a Parisian pharmacie to pick up a cold cream and some velcro rollers for my hair but thrown un petit creme pour les yeux for good measure. It’s a total trinket of beauty treasure and the eye cream inside is equally as delicious. Rose pink – so nostalgic! – and really very rich and buttery so that it feels nourishing and comforting straight away. I’ve just seen that it targets the signs of ageing caused by the menopause but it seems just as appropriate for signs of ageing caused by the half term holiday. It’s also £18 rather than £27 at Escentual here* until the end of October.
Right, keep a lookout for the video on IGTV – I’m here if you use Instagram but you’re not already following!
I think that Chanel’s new Les Beiges Healthy Glow Makeup is an absolute triumph of a foundation relaunch. It’s so tweaked that it’s barely the same product. I didn’t ever properly review the original Healthy Glow foundation because – to get straight to the point – I wasn’t that keen on it. I had my favourite Chanel foundation already (Perfection Lumiere Velvet, now discontinued) and the Healthy Glow, for me, didn’t bring much extra to the party. Perfection Lumiere Velvet gave the most refined, flawless finish with the lightest of touches and subtlest of glows (God only knows why you’d stop making such an absolute gem of a base) and Les Beiges gave sort of the same coverage and semi-matte finish but didn’t seem to so seamlessly disappear.
But here it is, relaunched and with twice as many shades available; it’s fresh-feeling where the original sometimes felt slightly claggy, the coverage is more sheer, more buildable and more elegant – no opaque masks here! – and the makeup feels as though it’s part of the skin rather than sitting on top in a layer.
The new version is way more hydrating too – it’s not quite on a par with Pat McGrath’s or Lauder’s Futurist, but it’s on its way. Layered over a good juicy moisturiser it looks and feels dewier and more alive than the original, but with good longevity and very little in the way of slippage in oilier zones it offers the best of both worlds: the real-skin benefits of a tinted moisturiser, the finish and coverage of a semi-velvety foundation.
Let’s take a look at the before and after photos…
This is just one very light coat of the Healthy Glow Makeup, applied with a flat-top kabuki-style foundation brush, but you can see how effortlessly it perfects the skin whilst leaving a believable, healthy sheen. This version of Les Beiges Healthy Glow really lives up to its name – there’s glow but it is very much on the natural end of the spectrum. No strobing effects here! Coverage is on the lighter side of medium but you can easily build up where you need more base and it never looks heavy or caked.
Here are the close-ups – you can see how fine and chic the finish is and that it doesn’t obliterate every imperfection but leaves a gorgeous, flexible sort of veil that evens out the skintone and adds a hint of glow:
I usually find it really hard to get into my foundation reviews – I dither about this and that and spend weeks trying it out in every sort of condition, with heavy face creams beneath or with powders on top – but I have to say that this review has been easy. Les Beiges was such a spectacularly pleasant surprise even on the first application – it’s nothing like Perfection Lumiere Velvet, my old favourite, but it definitely offers up a solid replacement.
On a practical note, the new version of Les Beiges Healthy Glow doesn’t contain an SPF. I actually prefer this because I tend to wear a dedicated SPF anyway and apply foundation on top. Many like to use the sunscreen in their makeup product as a sort of light protection against incidental sun exposure, but I’m usually either all in or all out and I quite like to tick off my SPF requirement as I do my skincare routine.
Either way, it’s easy enough to add the sunscreen step before foundation if you need to, but I think that the formula feels lighter and more elegant without it built in.
So to recap: the changes in this new formula are many and varied. No SPF, much more hydrating, a lighter feel and a sheerer finish, more of a dewy glow. Over twice as many shades and slightly different packaging.
Who will love this? I honestly think that it will suit most skin types, including those on the oily side so long as they use a primer in the places they tend to have trouble with. It’s not a greasy finish by any stretch of the imagination but the formula is really hydrating so drier skin will love it – those who want a discrete, grown-up foundation that looks barely there but is actually working quite hard behind the scenes will also rate this.
I’m wearing shade B30 but will need to step back to B20 in the winter months as my lockdown tan dissipates and I apply using a brush. I usually wear a hydrating serum and moisturiser combo beneath this base – I find that too rich a cream makes most foundations just a little bit slidey – and I never need to set it with powder.
You can find the new Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow foundation at Chanel here* – it’s £41. Don’t confuse it with the old version, one that most stockists still seem to be selling! If it says SPF25 on the bottle or in the title then that’s not the guy you want…
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I don’t have an amazing track record with mascara-testing. Firstly, I am massively picky when it comes to what I put on my lashes, which means that I hate most mascaras and quickly become disgruntled when I have to test a whole run of them. (I like my mascaras to be just tacky enough to give volume but not require a blowtorch and chisel to remove, I like the brush to be precise enough not to spread product all over my eyelids but big enough to create lift and length. The list continues but I wouldn’t want you to fall asleep.)
So as I said, I’m picky, which means that I relegate most test samples to the sin bin after a couple of uses, but I’m also sensitive around the eye area which means that I can only test one or two a day before my eyes start streaming and the skin gets red and raw. It’s a slow and arduous process, then, and one that I’ll only drum up the enthusiasm for once in a blue moon.
Fortunately for you (if you’re interested in mascaras!) it’s that blue moon kind of time and I’ve been putting up with eyes that look as though they’ve been weeping battery fluid just so that I can bring you the best of the new luxury mascara launches.
The idea was to rate all of these with scores out of ten for various things like longevity, ease of application, depth of colour, but let’s be frank: they’re all black, none of them come off easily and the wand size and flexibility (hoho) is all about personal preference, so vaguely irrelevant.
But if you have flattish, fine and fair lashes like mine and tend to coat your eyelid in product when applying then you’re in a similar beauty boat to me and you’ll hopefully love these new launches as much as I do.
Charlotte Tilbury Push Up Lashes Mascara, £12/£23 at SpaceNK here*. Best for flat, drab lashes that refuse to go upwards, this really does push up by depositing a load of mascara at the base of the lash before sweeping the volume through to the ends. I find this one the messiest, so be warned on that front if you tend to need an hour to clean up after you’ve put on your mascara! Out of the four this is the one that gives me a tiny but of dropping and flaking towards the end of a long wear, but it’s nothing massively noticeable.
Dior Iconic Overcurl Mascara, £28 at Selfridges here*. I think that this is my favourite of the lot. I’m not sure it beats Dior’s Pump ‘n’ Volume, which is one of the greatest mascaras of all time, but it’s up there. Pump ‘n’ Volume (find it at FeelUnique here*) is like the Batman of mascaras, with its rubbery suit packaging and its ability to coat each and every lash with about a kilo of product without any clumping; the Iconic Overcurl is just ever so slightly more refined. I need to do a side-by-side comparison on these don’t I?
Marc Jacobs At Lash’d Mascara, £25 at Harvey Nichols here*. I’d say that this mascara is perfect for the smaller-lash’d amongst us as the brush is ever-so-slightly more petite. I get the least amount of lid-painting carnage with this one but I still get great volume and brilliant lash separation. For those who can’t abide the formation of those lash-fans that you get when all of your lashes start off nicely separated but then five or six of them join together at the ends to form a super-clump, this is important. Because when you get a lash-fan it follows that you then have to find something sharp and pointy to separate them out again, which inevitably is the pin from one of those freebie hotel sewing kits, and then it’s so fine you can’t actually see it, because you’re long-sighted and anything within a foot of your face is invisible, and then you pierce your own eyeball and it’s all game over and who needs mascara anyway when you have to permanently wear an eye patch.
NARS Climax Extreme Mascara, £22 at SpaceNK here*. Annoying name, because honestly, I’m not a prude, but I don’t want everything to be about sex. What has mascara got to do with sex? Unless you like to groom your private areas with your mascara (brings a new meaning to the term “bottom lashes”), but that would be weird. Anyway, this is a very good mascara with huge volume and a sort of matte, rubbery finish on the lashes rather than a shiny one. You could get away with one coat of this (and the Dior Iconic, come to think of it) but as with most mascaras this really comes into its own on the second.
Watch the video to see all of these mascaras in action – I’m going to do the same thing for some high street launches too, when I get a second and my eyes have recovered. Honestly it’s as though someone’s brillo-padded the skin off my undereyes.