7 BEST BUYS FROM NO7
Inspiring a practical approach to modern beauty, No7 offers affordable alternatives to the wares of its luxury competitors - without scrimping upon efficiency. Thanks to its iconic bestsellers [and hidden gems], the brand has gained a following who are doggedly loyal to its innovative skincare formulas and iconic lipstick shades. In the past few months I've had opportunity to explore the brand from top to bottom; Meet my seven favourite products.
The Airbrush Away Primers only launched last month but are already my base makeup mainstays. Owing to my existing love for the brand's original Airbrush Away Primer, it's safe to say I was pretty excited to try the new offerings. Three variations upon the original, each catering towards a different skin concern whilst seamlessly offering a boost of durability to consequently applied foundation and a smooth base that allows makeup to glide on smoothly. The silicone-rich formulas are at first rather unctuous, cosseting the skin in a plush, mousse-like layer. However, once you've spread them on, all three are silky and supple, drying down to second-skin, velvet texture that feels supremely light on the skin - something that you can't say about a lot of primers.
Perfect for creating the base to a fashionably dewy makeup look, the Radiance Boosting Primer injects skin with a lit-from-within luminosity without appearing shiny - working wonders on aggressive dullness. It bounces the light to leave skin looking fresh and awake, while also lending itself to blurring pores and scars.
For those with oilier skin, the Pore Minimising Primer has the best durability of the three, keeping makeup on lockdown from dusk 'till dawn. Its texture and results are almost identical to that of the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer - a product that I adore, but which will make a considerably larger dent in your bank balance. Ideal for applying to an oil-prone T-zone, it has a mattifying effect that blurs pores and knocks out unwanted shine without caking over the drier zones.
When my skin is particularly red or I'm suffering through a bout of blemishes, the Colour Balancing Primer comes into play. Designed to employ the basic principles of colour correction, the green hue, whilst at first alarming, soon fades to a more discreet tint that doesnt run the risk of making me look like the Incredible Hulk. Paired with a well-blended, highly-pigmented concealer, it quickly veils red patches, meaning I don't need to go so heavy on the foundation.
Despite having been loyal to the same mascara since my early teens, my allegiance has recently been tested by the launch of No7's Velvet Lash Mascara, which breaks all manner of records in my books. The formula promotes excessive volume, extreme length, and a lasting curl, and has a surprising and commendable ability to remain clump-free, no matter how many layers are applied. I've never given much thought to the ease of application of mascara, but this applies wonderfully smoothly and feels weightless upon my lashes, whilst still resulting in as much definition as my favourite volume-inducing formulas - just without the typically stiff, weighty finish. Most mascaras cause my lashes to clump if I try to apply more than two layers, but owing to the smooth, serum-like formula of this I can literally apply layer after layer to build up to a 'falsie' effect.
A stalwart in many a beauty stash - particularly those of thin-lipped girls like myself who rely upon finding the perfect nude-pink hue to create the illusion of naturally plumped lips; I have a Precision Lips Pencil in Nude in every handbag I own. The colour is that perfect 'my lips but better' shade that can be used to trace just outside the natural lipline [without it looking super obvious], and can therefore be worn as a base to lipsticks of any and every shade. I vastly appreciate the creamy crayon formula - unlike tradition lip pencils, this has a much more natural and less 'drawn on' effect.
Over the years I've learnt that in order to keep my skin clear, healthy, and 'on track', I need to exfoliate and mask on a thrice weekly basis. These days however, time is a luxury that rarely accommodates such efficient skincare activity. In lieu of my favourite clarifying and brightening masks, the Beautiful Skin Overnight Radiance Boost Serum has maximum effects with minimal effort. A blend of fruit acids, caffeine, and Vitamin C help to buff away pore-clogging dead skin cells and hydrate and energise skin. I tend to apply a pretty thick layer of this overnight; it sinks in quickly without leaving any residue, so you can layer an oil and/or moisturiser on top. Essentially this serum is all about brightening dullness and fixing signs of fatigue, so even after a late one I wake up looking glowy and well-rested [think of it as an antidote to your weekend sins]. If you're dealing with a particularly sensitive complexion, this is a great alternative to typically harsh chemical exfoliants. For me it's been quite a breakthrough as I can finally use a chemical exfoliant on a daily basis without irritating or drying out my skin. It's fantastic for tackling blemish marks, and even the stubborn acne scars on my cheeks and jaw are fading faster.
Makeup artist Lisa Eldridge left a legacy to the brand [she served as Creative Director from 2003-2013] in the form of the Skin Illuminator in Nude; recently repackaged in a much more application friendly tube that allows you to dispense just the right amount of product. This far-from-subtle, brightly shimmering peach shade is ideal for those who scorn a natural look and instead prefer to express their love of glow with gleeful abandon. I either mix it with my foundation or primer to oh-so-subtly catch the light, or dab it across my cheekbones for a full on sheen that gives skin a fresh, polished, and lightly contoured finish.
My first foray into the world of eyeshadow began with No7's Shade & Define Eyeshadow Pencils. Even now, I'm still drawn to eyeshadow in pencil form for their ease of use and portability - I'm no stranger to touching up my makeup in public. What's great about these pencils is that they're creamy in their texture, and therefore easy to blend and dewy in finish. The shimmer is finely-milled so you're not left with big chunks of glitter cascading down your cheeks. Shade-wise I love Glistening Ray, which brightens the tear ducts for an eye-opening effect and Coffee Bean, which is fantastic for building intensity and definition. Cool Mink, Pink Pearl, and Copper are all perfect for when you're in a rush but need a sheer wash of colour - the universally wearable shades won't overwhelm eyes, but can be built up and blended together for a more intense, smokey effect.
Satisfyingly rich hand lotions are ideal at this time of year, when weather-beaten palms lack moisture and softness. For those who don't have time for on-the-go hand cream application, the Overnight Hand Treatment is a fuss-free alternative that can be applied right before bed. The clean, soapy scent manages to be both simple and luxe, whilst a generous serving of ultra-moisturising ingredients [including Vitamin B to strengthen nails and cuticles] cocoon the skin in a hit of hydration, without forming a greasy layer. Delightfully soothing when skin feels sore and tight, the formula is laced with the brand's retinol-rich Protect & Perfect serum, which helps to improve elasticity and reduce the appearance of fine lines and age spots My mum's incredibly dry hands are the gauge against which I test all hand creams sent my way, and yet despite the plethora of luxe balms and lotions I pass her way on an almost weekly basis, she continues to buy this [in bulk].
To book in for a free makeover or skincare consultation at Manchester Market Street, call 01618326533.
What's your No7 hero product?