GRACE NOTES | FEBRUARY 2017
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.
For the past month I’ve been the proud owner of a newly balayaged head of hair, and oh my word, I can’t believe it’s taken me 24 years to take the plunge and experiment with colour (even if in its tamest form, I can see it being a slippery slope…). Blonde ambition aside, the fact I’ve finally been granted a pass into the world of coloured hair treatments has seen a number of new additions to my haircare routine. The standout favourite being this colour reviving treatment mask, which, as well as boosting hydration and leaving my hair super soft and silky, utilities blue pigment to lighten and brighten blonde bits. A testament to its efficacy is the fact that every time I've used it, people have commented on my hair colour and asked if I've had more colour added. Winner, winner.
Granted, MAC pigments rank up there with blue lipstick and neon eyeliner as some of the most intimidating beauty products (after all these are little pots of loose, highly concentrated powder that have no specific purpose or means of application), but inspired by this Instagram, I picked up Blue-Brown and Platinum last month and decided to get experimental. A few mishaps down the line and I've finally mastered the art of layering the two together for a wet-look lid effect that pairs beautifully with smudged out black liner and lashings of mascara for a modern and interesting take on the smokey eye.
YSL THE SHOCK MASCARA FOR FALSE LASH EFFECT
I've always been a mascara girl - it was the first makeup item I started to constantly buy and wear as a teenager, despite the fact that I'm blessed with naturally long and thick lashes - the thing is, we all need a little somethin'-somethin'. I've lost count of the amount of mascaras I've tried over the years, but I've only ever truly loved two. As of now, make that three, because this, dear friends, is a game changer. It's the type of mascara you wear when you don't have time to apply falsies, but you really want people to compliment your lashes. It's the high definition, long wearing, drop-resistant formula you've always wanted. The type that forms an almost lasting attachment to each individual lash, for a dramatic result that doesn't clump or smudge.
Lipstick every day can be taxing to say the least, but tinted lip balm offers that middle-ground between low and high maintenance. Dressed down and off-duty, it's enough to subtly enhance shape and colour without the need for constant touchups and reapplications, and what's more, the formulas are kind to lips, offering hydration with every sheer layer of colour. I made an initial impulse purchase of one of these during a visit to the States years ago, and wore it all summer long, so it was a complete nostalgia kick when the latest collection landed on my desk last month. Slightly glossy, with a surprisingly pigmented colour that layers easily, and a buttery texture that provides a welcome hit of hydration, from now on there's a high chance you'll find one in the inner pocket of every handbag I own.
I am rarely surprised by beauty products these days - each and every new launch seems merely to be a reiteration of an existing product, with very little (other than the occasional new ingredient or stronger formula) to differentiate one from the other. So when a product sits so far outside of the box that it's almost impossible to categorise, I get excited. Most face masks can be labelled as either cleansing, hydrating, or exfoliating, but this one is all about skin health - working to soften, smooth, firm, and brighten skin, utilising black tea, lychee seed, and hyaluronic acid. With a whipped texture that sits somewhere in-between mashed potato and sorbet, and cools and tingled upon contact, absorbing rather than drying, it's quite unlike anything I've ever used.