Grace Notes: February 2018

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.

FRESH Sugar Lip Treatment

It's hard to know what makes this lipstick formula so exceptional, all I know is that the four shades I own (nude, pink, bright pink, and red) have been the only products on my lips for the past month. The formula is a perfect balance of hydrating without being too shiny, subtle without fading instantly, and pigmented without feeling drying. It's low maintenance enough to apply without a mirror (ridiculously easy in fact), but it's enough to make me feel 'done', especially when heavy lip products aren't really my thing. Okay, I already own more lipsticks than the average woman does in her lifetime, but I'm quite convinced that I need this one in every shade it comes in.

NIOD Re:Pigment

I don't want to jinx things, but since I started using this serum, I haven't had a single breakout, not one... That's a full six weeks without a single spot - something I haven't experience since my pre-teens, and what's more, my acne scars have faded at a faster rate than ever - I even left the house without makeup on the other day (for more than just a dash to the corner shop) *pause for applause*. I'm convinced that this serum is responsible for the magic behind my clearer, calmer, brighter complexion. As you can probably guess from the name, it's designed specifically to treat hyper-pigmentation - the marks left behind on skin by trauma such as breakouts or sun damage, and while I've used plenty of serums with such aims before (many with great results), none have been on par with this. Fingers crossed I'm on track to witnessing my clearest skin since I started high school. Will most definitely repurchase - I'm too scared not too...

BRIOGEO Rosarco Range

Can you really put a price on perfectly shiny, swishy, silky hair that makes you feel like you should be starring in a TV ad? I think not. Since using this mask/shampoo/conditioner trio, I've been able to cut down on my rather obsessive hair oil-application routine thanks to the argan, rosehip, and coconut oils within, which keep my hair soft and free from frizz. It's on the richer side - which is ideal for my thick, colour-treated strands but might be a bit too intense for fine hair.

SATURDAY SKIN Daily Dew Hydrating Essence Mist

This seemingly no frills face mist is actually full of super-power ingredients like hyaluronic acid and fruit extracts to make the banal task of moisturising dry winter skin a little more luxe. I always used to consider a face mist as bit of a nondescript, 'filler' step in a skincare routine, but since using this on a twice-daily basis, I've managed to prevent the usual dry, lacklustre phase that my skin goes through at this time of year.

CLARINS Summer Bronzing Compact

Unlike other bronzers, this manages to give skin a subtle, radiant warmth, without it looking too orange or muddy. In fact, it's the only bronzer that looks realistic and flattering on my super pale skin. I've been using it to maintai (read: fake) a post-holiday glow since returning from Australia, and so far it's fooled everyone. Pro tip: Use a large, fluffy brush to trace a '3'shape down each side of your face and pat off any excess into the hollows of your eyes.

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