It screams gimmicky (and granted, it’s pure Instagram/Boomerang fodder), but Dr Brandt is a brand that places science and research at the heart of its product innovation - enough to silence the cynic in me when this arrived in the post. The mask applies old-school-style - it’s a dense black cream and a little goes a long way, but the removal process is where things get fun/cool/#2017; wrap the included magnet in tissue, skim it over the surface of the skin, and the mask lifts instantly and effortlessly. The fun part is also the clever part - the magnetic particles draw out toxins and residue while the magnetic reaction stimulates blood flow, meaning the skin can better absorb the benefits of the mask. The fact that this doesn’t have to be washed off means that a layer of essential oils (rich in antioxidants and peptides) is left behind to be massaged into skin.
It’s everyone’s favourite blusher, in liquid form - which, FYI, makes it 54328912 times better than the original. Liquid and cream blushers have taken a few years to match up to their powder counterparts, and this is the first I’ve used that I think has actually surpassed them. I’ve previously found that liquids are hard to blend, easy to overdo, and prone to fading quickly throughout the day. It was telling that it was a few years before Nars joined the trend - they’re a brand you can trust to be innovative for the right reasons, and not for the gimmick factor. The formula is super pigmented - you only need the tiniest dot of product, dabbed between two fingers and blended fast across the cheeks, no brush required. The result is a perfectly diffused just-pinched glow, which stays that way, no top-ups required.
The best innovations come from the minds of those who have years of industry (and more importantly, practical) experience. One such is Hairstory, the brainchild of Bumble & Bumble founder Michael Gordon - who pioneered the ‘co-washing’ movement and turned it into the cornerstone of his new brand with New Wash. Unlike 99.9% of shampoos on the market, New Wash is without a trace of SLS, the detergent used to cause product to foam - completely unnecessary and actually terrible for your hair. New Wash is essentially a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner; a cleansing product so gentle that it provides the necessary smoothing, softening, detangling properties without the need for separate products. I have very long, very thick highlighted hair, which is impossible to manage without a conditioning agent so 2-in-1s don’t historically work for me. And yet this completely negates the need for the complex lineup of conditioner, mask, leave-in conditioner, oil, and cream that I normally require to keep my mane tamed.
It goes against beauty editor gospel to preach anything but adoration for dry shampoo, but in truth, I hate it. I hate the cloudy caste it leaves on my hair, the chalky texture, the weight, the itchiness, and above all the fact that blasting a fine powder into roots does nothing more than absorb excess oils. It’s a short-term solution that simply doesn’t work for me. Enter The Ouai’s Dry Shampoo Foam, which was inspired by a no-rinse foam used by nurses to wash bed-bound patients. Unlike traditional dry shampoos, this actually cleanses hair, removing impurities rather than just covering them up. It applies like a mousse, which feels a bit weird and unnatural, but the results are well worth a few moments spent massaging the foam in - hair that looks, feels, and smells clean. Even my boyfriend is converted.
Read a little bit into the background of a beauty product and you’ll always discover something interesting… A case in point, Urban Decay’s All Nighter Setting Spray, which is made in collaboration with Skindinavia, a brand renowned (in backstage realms of the beauty industry) for its science-savvy setting sprays. Unlike your average setting spray, Skindinavia’s formulas contain a unique temperature control technology which creates a weightless layer over makeup, preventing skin heat from causing product to evaporate. It’s that which makes them so exceptionally good at their purpose - preventing makeup from fading or cracking and oil from shining through.
These masks work on the basic premise that warmth opens pores and cold closes them. The first, a Steam Pore Pack, opens and cleanses pores of impurities, removing blackheads by exfoliating away dead skin cells, residual makeup, and excess sebum. The second then packs in hydration(thanks to hyaluronic acid, each molecule of which can attract and retain up to 1000 times its weight in water) before tightening pores to lock in the moisture and prevent further buildup from occuring. It’s smart, it’s fun, and it works.