HERE’S where to spend your pennies…
I’ll keep this intro short and sweet because this post does exactly what it says on the tin. Over the years I have made many the beauty purchase and I don’t even want to start adding up what that figure looks like *eyes bulge at the thought*. However out of those buys there have been some items that I feel were true investments in my routine; sometimes pricey, sometimes not, but products that are worth the splurge for the fact that the add to my routine and fill a spot that nothing else could fill quite so well. So today I’m collating the items that fit that bill, the best beauty investments I’ve EVER made over the years from haircare to skincare and tools to makeup. It’s all in here and it’s BEEFY…
HAIR, BODY & NAILS
*GHD Hair Straighteners (gifted). I mean – OF COURSE THESE ARE ON THIS LIST! The pair I have now were kindly gifted, but I’ve been using GHD Straighteners since my early teens when we had one pair in the house that my Mum, Sister and I would all share. The original and the best in my eyes, they are the only hair tool (aside from my hairdryer) that I own. I straighten my hair with them. I curl my hair with them. I put Mary-Kate and Ashley-esque waves in my hair with them. Unlike my multi-tool crimping kit, this hair tool has stood the test of time.
*Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts. We had these bath salts back in our London flat, so these have been a staple in our bathroom for about five years. They are Mark’s favourite beauty product full stop. He’s not a guy who is particularly fussed about cosmetic products, but he moans and moans if I don’t replenish these bath salts. They seem to have adjusted the prices recently, so they are a tad more reasonable than they were before, but it’s basically a good night’s sleep in a jar. If ever I’m feeling restless or stressed, a soak with these in the bath is the perfect tonic – I have to say I’m with Mark on this one.
*Tax-Luxe The Gradual & *Tan-Luxe Wonder Oil. Although much has changed since my early twenties, some things haven’t and one of those items that has remained on the list is the fact that I just feel ‘better‘ when I have a bit of glow to my face and body. The thing that has put me off over the years is the rigmarole of buffing, scrubbing and prepping every single inch of surface area on my body, but these products really don’t require too much fuss. I use the gradual tanner every two days, alternating with moisturiser in between if I just want a light glow. If I want to go full whack I’ll throw on a layer or two of the oil, which usually lasts just over a week. Barely a whiff of biscuit about ’em too. The best in the biz.
*Braun Silk Expert Pro 5 IPL (gifted). I’ve worked with Braun a fair few times over the years in regards to this product, but it truly is incredible. The newest model is the best one yet because the IPL flashes so fast and you can get the job done much quicker than before. I’ve used it on my underarms and bikini line and both barely grow back these days, just requiring a top up treatment every month or so. I’ve been doing my legs once a week over the summer and they are proving a little hardier, but it’s getting there and the hairs are becoming much finer and more sparse. As an extremely hairy bear, this has been a real game changer.
*Red Carpet Manicure Professional LED Kit (gifted). I first used this about four years ago now, and it’s still going strong. I go through phases with nail polish, sometimes wearing none at all, other times just wearing nail-strengthening clear formulas, or I return back to good ol’ gel polish. I occasionally dabble with a professional nail paint job, but I can easily use this lamp at home with any gel polish and get a similar result, without having to spend £30+ for the privilege. My current favourite is the CND Shellac in Bouquet. Such a stunning sheer, milky pink that looks groomed but understated. Yes it takes a little longer to apply than normal polish and the removal is a faff, but it leaves me with guaranteed chip-free shine for at least two weeks on my hands, and let’s not even go in to how long it lasts on your toes…
*Tweezerman Rockhard Cuticle Nipper. I’ve always been a fan of doing my nails. The one fellow beauty fanatic in my family is my Aunty, who gifted me a nail buffer and nail bath when I was about 10 and you bet I buffed my nails until they were tissue thin. So I’ve always enjoyed doing my nails at home; the whole ritual of it is something that I find quite relaxing. Over the years I’ve amassed my own little at-home mani/pedi kit, but this was one of my best purchases. Snipping your cuticle is an A+ on the grim scale, but it keeps your beds looking nice and neat, so where you can invest in a high quality super sharp tool to protect the delicate skin in that area.
SHOP THE HAIR, BODY & NAILS EDIT *
*May Lindstrom The Problem Solver. A Caroline Hirons recommendation from way back, I don’t think I’ll ever be without this in my routine. Yes it costs a small fortune, but this face mask is a bit of a weird one in that its a powder that you mix in with water to create a spreadable paste. You need SUCH a small amount that I think this tub will last for years to come. My recommendation would be to go in on a friend (or two!), when you buy it because it really is that big; I’ve been known to decant a few scoops for my mates and mine is still going strong. Whenever my skin is freaking out on the blemish-front, this is one of the few things that helps to calm it down and I notice a visible reduction in their redness and anger when I remove it. It truly is a problem solver.
*Josh Rosebrook Advanced Hydration Mask. I mean, I feel like I could add practically anything from the Josh Rosebrook line into this list, because I truly love it all. I’ve never been disappointed. But this inches past their hydrating spritz *just* because I don’t think I’ve ever used a product that gives such an immediate effect on the skin. A thick oil-mask you apply it, leave it on for 20 minutes and rinse it off with a wash cloth and what’s left behind is straight up DEWY GOODNESS. My skin glows. Like had ‘8 pints of water a day and some‘ glow. Healthy, radiance and absolutely cracking, no matter what base you use over the top.
*Votary Blemish Rescue Oil (gifted). I find most spot-focused treatments to be drying, or quite frankly more aggravating than using nothing at all, but this oil? Well most importantly, for me this oil actually works. When I use I see a visible reduction in spot redness and irritation and I find it helps to speed up the scar recovery time too. I just take a few drops over the affected area every morning and evening (under my SPF in the morning and my usual facial oil in the evening – see below) and it gets the job done. I feel like I’m doing something but not burning off a few layers of skin in the process. It’s the salicylic acid that’s the magic ingredient here and it works.
*Gua Sha Massage Tool. My face is generally rather puffy. I wake up every morning clamping down my jaw, so I hold a fair amount of tension in there and that equates to retention and a nice double pouch under my chin. Cute. However using a Gua Sha at a home is a great way to de-puff not only that area, but my whole face in general between facial appointments (I had a lymphatic drainage facial the other day and it was absolute heaven – I must do that more often!). It’s quick, easy and feels bloody great. If you’re wondering what the hell to do with this piece of stone, check out this video.
*May Lindstrom The Youth Dew. Ah man, this stuff. I’ve spent more money on repurchasing bottles of this oil than I would like to admit, but it’s just a fast-track to a good skin day in a bottle for me. I love a facial oil, but I like it to be smooth and silky without a hint of stickiness and to absorb straight into the skin and this is exactly that. It’s light, but potent and with a serum-like texture it layers over the top of my skincare, sealing everything in for the night. When I feel myself running out, I dig around in the budget and buy another. An expensive habit, but one that I just have to keep in my routine. Non-negotiable.
SHOP THE SKINCARE EDIT *
MAKEUP & TOOLS
*Surratt Eyelash Curler. THE BEST EYELASH CURLER IN THE WORLD. Hands down. I was kindly given this by my mate Rohit and I have since gone on to buy multiple pairs so that I can have one in my bathroom, in my makeup kit, in my travel kit – you get the gist – I don’t ever want to be without it. Whereas other curlers can pinch and seem too short for the lashline, this one is lengthly so leaves plenty of space at each end and just gives the most gorgeous curl. Unfortunately it seems to be out of stock everywhere which is bizarre and if they are discontinuing then I’m going to cry.
*ZOEVA 104 Buffer Brush. If there is one brush that I recommend for base, then it’s this. This brush along with the other one that I mention down below, would literally be all I needed for an entire beautifully blended face of makeup. It’s a synthetic flat-top kabuki (seriously is it 2012?!) and it’s the only foundation brush I’ve used for about three years now. Beyond that it does a great job of patting in concealer, adding cream blush, bronzer and highlight – it does it ALL. It washes up like a dream too and doesn’t shed. Seriously one of my favourite brushes that I own.
*Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation. When I first purchased this foundation EIGHT YEARS AGO I didn’t think that it would be one that I wore on my wedding day, or that I’d have the chance to work with Armani Beauty years down the line on a campaign with them on this foundation. MAD. It’s my best base investment because it’s a classic that I can always rely on. Giving a soft focus effect on the skin, it never looks heavy or unnatural on me; whenever I wear it and I see a photo on my skin I make a mental note that I should crack it out more often. Still the best foundation I own all these years later for a long-lasting, ‘my skin always looks like this – promise!‘ look.
*Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit (gifted). I feel like these aren’t a product that I find myself using every single day, but they are a great investment; especially if like me you are a fan of glow and hate classic powder formulas. Hourglass are known for creating some of the finest-milled, most skin-like looking powders in the business and each year they bring out a collection that features a bit of everything from skin finishers and bronzers, and bushes and highlighters. I bought the previous years one and they are just a good thing to have in your stash and something that I dig out whenever I’m doing a mate’s makeup.
*ZOEVA 228 Luxe Crease Brush. Now this might seem like a bit of a cop out to include another ZOEVA brush on this list, but this the only eyeshadow brush that I use really, and it’s been that way for years. The perfect shape, the perfect density; it does that amazing thing where it’s dense enough to apply pigment so that it creates depth, but it’s fluffy enough that you can blend it out too. I don’t own another brush like it (and that’s probably why I have about six of these in my brush pot!). Cream, powder, liquid – whatever, this is what I use.
Lisa Eldridge Plush Velvet Lipsticks. Lisa’s lipsticks are truly something exceptional – the first round of red lipsticks in particular. I’ve just never known a formula like it. Firstly they look like they are made out of fabric – HOW DID YOU DO IT LISA? – so soft and velvety looking, I just want to prod my finger in the side of it. Then once on the lips they are completely shine-free, but soft looking and comfortable too. When they relaunch soon I will definitely be picking up the other two shades to complete my collection. Such a classic and because they are so luxe looking they feel like a collectors piece in my stash.
SHOP THE MAKEUP & TOOLS EDIT *
Photos by Mark Newton