Working as a beauty writer practically requires me to turn up at work wearing as little product as possible – a blank canvas if you will – to be smothered and swatched in potions and pigments from 8 ‘till 5. As it's my job to swatch and sniff my way through the latest and greatest beauty launches, each month I debrief on the ones worth writing home about. Say hi.
When it comes to dairy alternatives, t-shirt fit, and foundation finish, I’m extremely fussy. In foundation, because as regards finish, there’s a barren middle ground between dewy and matte - neither of which quite satisfy a girl who likes a glow but also has a tendency to develop midday T-zone shine (and consistently forgets to powder up). At one end of the spectrum there’s a fine line between glowy/radiant/dewy etc and downright greasy, and at the other, there are matte foundations that completely take all of the hard earned glow from skin, and turn chalkier and cakier by the hour. The latest from Laura Mercier (a brand which is renowned for making exceptionally good foundation) is both matte and glowy, and at the same time neither. It covers imperfections, stays put, prevents shine, and diffuses light, simultaneously. Finish-wise it’s the closest to actual skin (in its clearest, healthiest form) that I’ve ever used. Really into it.
It’s a universally acknowledged truth that for cheeks that look ‘just pinched’, choose Orgasm. I’ve long since been a fan of the iconic powder blush, but the liquid version is a real delight (and doubles up beautifully as a lip stain/eyeshadow). I’ve previously never been a huge fan of liquid and cream blushers, finding them either too dense and pigmented to blend to a natural effect or so aqueous that they fade and disappear within a few hours wear. Nars have completely nailed the formula here - a super-pigmented silky serum texture that blends effortlessly and sticks around all day. In fact, it’s so pigmented that you need to be super careful and only use the tiniest amount because a little goes a long, long way, and you will end up wasting product if you use what you’d consider to be a ‘normal’ amount.
This product is made for those who can’t stand hair feeling fluffy and frizzy but are downright terrified of putting oil in their hair - there are very few oils that work without eventually turning hair greasy, and almost none that you can use repeatedly without causing build-up. This does everything an oil does - nourishes, repairs, smooths, and conditions - minus the greasiness (and with the added bonus of boosting volume). Go for it, put oil in your hair twice a day, every day. This won’t grease you up in the process.
A liquid exfoliant - based upon fruit acids and salicylic acids but that’s suitable for daily use on even the most sensitive skin. It’s not quite a toner, and yet not quite a serum, so I treat it like an essence - a pipette-full squeezed into the palm of my hands and patted all over (post-cleanse and pre-serum), morning and night. There’s no immediate/noticeable effect as with the likes of Pixi Glow Tonic and Alpha-H Liquid Gold, but since I started using it my breakouts have been few and far between. £6.97 for 50ml of pore-clearing, skin-cooling, complexion-brightening liquid. The most gentle exfoliant I’ve used, suitable for even the most sensitive skin. Promise.
I adore this because you can shower 10 minutes after application with zero consequences - yup, really. Plus, of all the self tans, Vita Liberata's are the most consistently reliable, realistic, and rewarding (maximum results with minimal effort required). This is a real one-wash wonder - no need for multiple layers or applications, and it doesn’t thin as you spread it so there’s no chance of patches or streaks.