GRACE NOTES : MAY 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.
Back in the day (when my acne was at its worst) I used to apply the original Double-Wear foundation like a mask. I've never been a fan of a heavy foundation look but god knows if you need coverage then Double-Wear is the best base on the market - it was the only thing that would cover up my horrendous hormonal acne breakouts and the awful scars they left behind. Fortunately my skin is clear enough now that some clever concealing and a quick buff of BB cream are enough coverage for my daily look so this 'light' version of Double-Wear totally appealed. Long-story short, if you're looking to wean yourself off Double-Wear et al then this is a great place to start - it still has incredibly good coverage (I'd say 70% of the original's pigment) but it has a very light, creamy texture and a finish that sits on the right side of glowy - i.e. skin looks well hydrated but not so far as 'dewy’.
In my experience, brow gels are the most hit and miss of beauty products. I literally either love or hate them, and unfortunately find that the overwhelming majority of those I try fall into the camp of the latter. So when I do find a brow gel that performs (see previously, Glossier Boy Brow, Soap & Glory Archery) I breathe a sigh of relief and let myself get excited about it. This ticks all of the boxes - it adds volume and tint, both of which last exceptionally well, and it doesn't make brows look shiny or feel crispy. I also love that it comes in sizeable packaging, because boy do I go through this stuff fast
Surprise surprise, another month in which The Ordinary crops up in my favourites once again - what can I say, this brand just does it for me. Like most people with acne scarring, anything with the word 'peel' has ultimate appeal (pun intended) - AHAs and BHAs exfoliate away the surface level of skin (scarring is darker nearer the surface, so with each layer removed, the scar fades a little further). Being a bit of a peel addict (I'm guilty of using some form of exfoliant on an almost daily basis) I've kind of desensitised my skin to their efficacy, so the fact that this stung upon application says a lot (if you're new to chemical exfoliation I'd recommend something like The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toning Solution of Lactic Acid 5% instead). Because of its strength, this is one of the few products that I actually do remove after (and no later!) than the time the brand recommends. It leaves my skin looking immediately brighter, and on a twice a week basis is definitely clearing up my scars a lot faster than my previous exfoliants were.
There's a lot of innovation in the haircare world at the moment, so much so that it can be a little overwhelming and hard to sift the science from the gimmick prior to testing. However if there's one thing that's going to convince me of a brand's credibility and efficacy before I've even tried it, it's the fact that Michael Gordon (founder of Bumble & Bumble) is the brains behind it. A case in point, Hairstory - a (as yet) three-product range which aims to totally switch up the conventional way we treat our hair (shampoo, conditioner, styling etc). I'm gonna dedicate a whole post to this brand soon because it really is great, but New Wash is undoubtedly the standout. We've all heard of co-washing, but this goes a step further and combines shampoo, conditioner, detangler, and reparative treatment into one single product. Granted, a lot of products claim to do this, but this one actually has science to stand on - there is literally nothing redundant in the ingredient list, everything has its purpose (and let me tell you, that's rare). I never thought I'd be able to condense my entire haircare routine into one product (and admittedly I won't be doing so everyday because I love my job too much) but if you're a one-stop-shop kinda gal/guy, this one's for you.
You'd literally have to pry Eve Lom's Cleanser from my cold, dead fingers to have me name another as my favourite, but if you did, this one has equal potential for cult status. Much like my beloved Eve Lom (in performance only - the texture is entirely different), it's creamy and nourishing, refreshing, and ever-so-slightly exfoliating. It contains zinc, which helps to keep my breakout-prone skin in check, and it removes makeup in a pinch (thanks to the purifying Moor Mud), all without causing the slightest irritation. Oh and it smells exactly like a spa. Perched on the edge of my bathtub massaging this into my face, I'm transported from my tiny Manchester bathroom to the the most luxurious of Hungarian baths - if I close my eyes…