Grace Notes: January 2019
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.
I recently finished up a bottle of Glossier’s Solution (a super strength blend of AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs which really helped to decongest my skin and fade the red marks I have left behind from acne scars) but I knew I didn’t need another bottle - it’s strong stuff and I only like to use strong acids when I really need them. Fortunately, that same week Freck’s Cactus Water entered my life. It’s exfoliating capabilities are limited to lactic acid (a gentle AHA/alternative to glycolic acid which is much more suitable for normal/sensitive complexions or for those new to acids) but it’s boosted by the benefits of cactus (antioxidants, vitamins, and fatty acids geared towards strengthening the skin’s barrier and improving hydration levels). It’s done an A+ job of following on in Solution’s footsteps, keeping my skin clear and smooth, and in addition the formula keeps my skin balanced, restoring it to a happy medium if it’s a bit out of sync.
I’m constantly surprised at how bad some stick makeup offerings can be - overly pigmented, or with dry formulas that pull foundation off skin or are impossible to blend - which is a shame considering that the whole point of stick makeup is that it’s quick and easy to use. Milk’s offering totally delivers on just that promise - it’s sheer but buildable and has a silky gel texture that presses colour onto skin with a light touch and no pulling required. What’s more, the applicator is the perfect size and shape that I rarely even need to blend the colour out (if I do, a few dabs of my fingers or swipes of a brush suffices). It’s cooling on the skin too (always pleasant in the morning) and you don’t get stubborn foundation stuck on the stick. Oh, and a word for the shade I’m using (Werk) - it perfectly mimics my natural flush and is slightly dusky/brown-tinted which I love because it doesn’t end up drawing attention to the redness of the scarring on my cheeks as brighter blushers do.
In the morning my approach to makeup is the faster I can do it, the better, which is why I love cream eyeshadows. They’re perfect for giving soft definition, and with minimal brushwork required, they’re way quicker than blending four different powder pigments across your lids. I’ve lusted after the Jillian Dempsey ones for years so was beyond excited to finally get my hands on a sample. They verge a little more into eye gloss territory than most cream shadows, but I love this - the result is a fresh, dewy finish, and although there’s shine, it’s by no means wet or sticky, and doesn’t transfer onto my contact lenses, pick up mascara, or crease whatsoever. I don’t even use a brush with these either, just load up a fingertip, dab all over my lid, trace excess onto my lower lash line and then tidy around the edges when I apply my under-eye concealer. That’s worth a whole five minutes extra in bed, by my count.
My lovely hairdresser Melissa recommended this product to me and it’s been a total gamechanger - it’s actually the only styling product used at her salon because their ethos is all about ease and simplicity, so I knew it would be good. It’s exceptional - the best way I can describe this is by saying that it gives you everything you need and nothing you don’t - so there’s no weight or stickiness (even if you’re accidentally heavy-handed). Unite is a salon brand so it’s not super easy to get hold of, but it’s worth hunting down - you get such bang for your buck with pro hair products, because they’re made to give instant results in salons. From the fresh scent to the way it leaves my hair feeling silky and healthy, I’ve officially fallen in love with this product and haven’t been using anything else in my hair since. I haven’t had to deal with knots or angles for weeks, no longer have to brush my hair twice a day, and it’s made styling my new fringe a total breeze.
I like my day cream to do a bit of everything - hydrate, smooth, treat, and prep skin for makeup - I don’t have a lot of time to layer loads of products in the morning and I find traditional primers can feel heavy and clog my pores. This has a really unusual texture - I described it on my Instagram Story as ‘congealed jelly’ and honesty, as gross as it sounds, I think I’m pretty accurate. Gross texture aside, it literally melts into skin, creating instant smoothness and imparting a subtle brightness that makes my skin glow through my foundation. What’s more, this has massively improved the condition of my skin (which is saying something considering this time of year is typically when my skin gets dehydrated and looks and feels its worst). My whole face is brighter, smoother, and calmer than ever before, appearing fresh, even-toned, and well-rested before I’ve even put my foundation on - which means I need less of it (always a bonus).