Grace Notes: March 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.
Okay, I'm starting off with a shower gel but here me out, this ain't no ordinary body wash. Scent is beauty escapism in its purest form and when it comes to powerful, beautiful, and above all affordable fragrance collections, no one does it better than & Other Stories (after all, they employ Byredo founder Ben Gorham to formulate them). Sicilian Sunrise is the latest launch, inspired by Sicilian lemons and sun-warmed wood. I always think that citrus is a risky route to go down, because done cheaply it can come across smelling like bathroom cleaner, but here it's warm, deep, complex, and smells like it should cost wayyyyy more than £7. I was originally planning on saving this to complement my summer holiday but caved and opened it in the midst of 'The Beast From the East'. It somehow made me feel like I was experiencing Italian summer, despite the fact it was -5 degrees outside.
Cleansers are my favourite products to use and I've stumbled across some really good ones over the years, so anything new is up against some tough competition - meaning if it's featured in my monthly faves post, it must be good. This cleanser isn't mind-glowingly fancy, but overtime I use it I feel like I'm getting a mini facial, it has quite a thin, milky texture with gentle exfoliating particles and it smells like fresh fruit, which is always a bonus - it removes trace makeup really well (I always use a micellar water first) and keeps my acne-prone skin calm and happy.. I'm relatively late to board the Tata Harper train but it's a brand I can totally get on board with - every product is made using plants grown on the founder's farm in Vermont, and is completely free of artificial chemicals (even the packaging is 100% biodegradable, down to the ink used to print text on the bottles). Now I'll never be a 'clean skincare junkie' (the nature of my job pretty much dictates this), I like to think if I'd chosen another career path that I would be - so I can fully appreciate a brand that commits itself to delivering luxury in the most green way possible.
This arrived early in the month in a box accompanied by perfume vials rolled up as spliffs, and a bag of Munchies - marketing genius. I've lost count of how many articles I've read this year touting cannabis as the next big 'miracle' ingredient but it's not something I would ever have imagined wearing as a perfume, after all, cannabis hardly has a rep for being an olfactory delight... That said, this is one of the most compelling fragrances I've ever smelt - it's spicy, warm, woody, and a little bit citrusy but also slightly floral. It's also quite masculine (I love how it smells on my boyfriend, which is totally different to how it smells on me), and if I were to attribute it to a season it would definitely be summer. Above all, it's definitely unique (which is what I love about Malin + Goetz's fragrances, and I can imagine it's a bit of a love/hate scent so I recommend you hunt a bottle down in your local Space NK before purchasing.
Okay, so I know I'm one of the last people in the world who should be buying lipstick, but sometimes you just have a bad day and nothing will fix it short of wandering through Selfridges' beauty hall and picking up something small and new and shiny. Which is exactly what happened to me a few weeks ago, resulting in yet another sheer pinky-nude lip product entering my collection... I'm a long-term fan of Dior's Lip Glows and strongly believe that Dior have one of the best and most innovative lip product collections on the market, especially as one of their latest moves has been to revamp a load of old formulas. The Addict Lipsticks are one such formula - this is somewhere between a regular lipstick and a Lip Glow in that it adds a sheer wash of pigment but in a balmy, high-shine, super-moisturising way. The formula is really light and comfy and the colour is natural enough that I can easily apply it without needing a mirror - it's the perfect 'my lips but better' shade.
I've owned this palette for going on three years - it's the kind of thing I use and love, then set aside to try something else, forget about for a few months, and then rediscover and fall in love with all over again. I thought I'd actually well and truly lost it last year and consequently developed an expensive habit of purchasing and repurchasing ABH Brow Wiz, so it was a major relief to find this again at the back of one of my drawers. I love everything about it - the shades are perfect - there are two browns (one muted and soft, the other cool with a greenish tint) designed to be blended together to create the perfect neutral colour, and the included brush has short, compact bristles that are perfect for pressing powder into brows. This time, Suqqu, I promise I won't get distracted.
What have your favourites been this month? Throw me recommendations.