GRACE NOTES: SEPTEMBER 2016
Oh, hey. Long, long, long time no see. Forgive my radio silence over the past few months; juggling a full-time job with thesis writing, three weeks exploring Canada, a fortnight sleeping on a friend's couch, and a hectic house move [try hauling all of your belongings across a city without a car] left little [read: no] time for any extra-curricular beauty writing. I'm easing myself back into the swing of things [yes, content should resume a regular schedule within the next few weeks] with a roundup of some of my favourite products from the past month. I've spent the majority of it living out of a carry-on, relying on a selection of chosen favourites and new launches as the mainstay of my beauty routine. Needless to say, now that I'm settled in a new flat - complete with spacious bathroom of my own[!] - I'm looking forward to 'shopping my stash'.
Liquid eyeliner is one of those beauty products that I've always wanted [and tried] to love, but historically lacked the ease of use [and success rate] required to become a staple in my daily routine - after all, lining one's eyes hardly seems like a priority at 6am. Previously the exclusive reserve of nights out and special occassions, thanks to the launch of Lancome's latest, this month I've been sporting a discreet cat-eye flick on an almost daily basis. The USP of the product is its ergonomics - the packaging is designed to fit perfectly into the user's hand, with a handle that pivots for effortless creation of a perfectly angled flick. What's more, the thin, firm tip sketches a smooth, uninterrupted line in one go, and the high-pigment, matte black formula negates the need for a second coat. Thanks for reinventing the wheel Lancome, I'm a complete convert.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that as a beauty writer I sport a full-face of makeup on a daily basis, but the reality is far from it. In fact, I can count on one hand the occasions I've worn foundation in recent months. For the most part, this BB cream has been my base of choice. I picked it up ahead of my holiday - travelling in my books calls for a minimal beauty routine, and a base product that provides light coverage, protects my skin, and most importantly feels completely weightless. This ticks all of the boxes - it's by far the most comfortable product I've worn on my skin in a long-time and its do-good-look-good formula has had a knock-on effect on my complexion, which has been notably clearer since I stopped caking on a heavy base on a daily occasion. For so sheer and weightless a texture, the coverage is remarkably good - so much so that I've been disregarding concealer - and all it takes is a little powder foundation to elevate the coverage to a fuller finish.
This serum is something I've owned for a while, but until recently had been languishing in a drawer. I'm ashamed of this for two reasons - one I never really gave it a chance, and two, when I first tried it, I didn't use it for long enough to give it any chance to work. The best thing about confining myself to a limited selection of products is that I've been prevented from switching my routine up too frequently; and using the same serum day and night for over two months has meant that my skin has seen the benefits in true test conditions. The antidote to skincare sins, this serum glides on silky and supple, imparting a delicate rose scent and [with prolonged use] utilising active ingredients to fade scarring, brighten pigmentation, and give a dull complexion an overall boost. A lesson in skincare patience.
Following in the footsteps of Philip Kingsley's Elasticiser, pre-shampoo masks seem to be all the rage these days, so it was no surprise when everyone's favourite haircare brand Bumble & Bumble launched their contribution to the trend. I'm so conditioned to getting straight in the shower and positing shampoo as Step No.1 that it took me a little while to even get this product out of its box, but when I take the time to slather this in 20 minutes before my hair wash I've noticed that it remedies many of my hair woes in ways that my plethora of follow-up creams, oils, and sprays can't. This gets to work before you've even stepped foot in the shower [utilising six of nature's most potent oils to soften and condition strands] but it's once my hair is dry that I really see results - it smooths and softens my ends, keeping my hair light and buoyant and preventing it from falling victim to knots and humidity.
Chances are you're no stranger to a multitasking hair product, but Hair Is Fabric is no Heads 'n Shoulders - the premise behind the range is that cleansing and conditioning can be rolled into one, whilst still catering to a variety of hair types and concerns. Using just one product in the shower feels like going against everything I've ever known, but given the time and effort saved, is something I'm completely converted to. I comb this through just like conditioner [texture-wise it feels more like conditioner than shampoo - dense and creamy], leave it for 3 minutes [which is also coincidentally the time it takes for my favourite in-shower tan to kick in!] and then rinse it out. My hair is thick and weighty which flattens my roots so I'm always up for trying anything that promises to give them a bit of bounce and lift, and Volume Support does just that. It also keeps my hair cleaner for so much longer than even my favourite shampoo/conditioner duos manage to.