12 Cult Beauty Buys You Might Not Have Heard Of

While the beauty industry tends to be dominated by the major players, there are several niche brands which deserve airtime, too. From quirky facial tools to magic creams, here are the under-the-radar beauty buys everyone should know about…

All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however we may make commission on some products.


COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, £24

Why It’s Popular: From the brand Alexa Chung swears by comes this top-rated skin essence. Formulated with 96% nail secretion – bear with us – this deeply hydrates the skin, while simultaneously repairing it and protecting against daily aggressors like UV rays and pollution. It’s also brilliant for prepping the skin for any formulas that follow – you’ll find serums, creams and oils absorb seamlessly post-use. It’s renowned for its brightening abilities, too, as well as the smoother, plumper-looking surface it leaves behindAvailable At BeautyAndSeoul.co.uk


Daiso Japan Sticky Head Cotton Buds, £12

Why They Are Popular: We can’t count the number of make-up artists who stockpile these sticky cotton buds – they’re brilliant for quick make-up fixes when time is at a premium. One side is like a normal Q-tip, while the other is tacky to pick up any loose make-up that may have fallen down. Plus, they’re individually wrapped, so they’re great for chucking in your bag when you’re on-the-go.Available At Amazon.co.uk



Egyptian Magic Cream, £20

Why It’s Popular: Loved for its multi-purpose benefits, this is often used backstage, with make-up artists like Ruby Hammer calling it an essential: “It works on dry lips, ragged cuticles, heels, elbows and literally anything else that needs a skin-softening boost – it would be my desert-island product.” The balm-like texture dries fast with a subtle sheen, so it makes for a great primer pre-foundation, too.Available at LookFantastic.com


Grace & Stella Spray All Day Rose Spray,  £19.20 (was £24)

Why It’s Popular: Make-up artist Zoe Taylor swears by this rose water and never travels without it: “It’s amazing for setting make-up – not only is it natural, it lets skin breathe and always sets a cream to powder base for hours. While we’re on the subject of niche finds, cigarette papers are also a great blotting tool – they take up zero space in your bag and don’t leave behind any residue unlike other oil combatting tools.”Available at FeelUnique.com


Pil’aten Suction Black Mask, £5

Why It’s Popular: Long coveted by make-up pros, this satisfying mask is effective as well as affordable. Apply it to your T-zone once a week – or to any areas prone to oiliness – and leave it for roughly 30 minutes. Once it’s set, peel it off in a quick motion. Not only is it satisfying, your skin will be visibly smoother and pores almost imperceptible afterwards. A great way to decongest skin of any product build-up, dirt or grime. Available at Notino.co.uk


Lemonhead LA Spacepaste Pots, £20

Why They Are Popular: We first spotted these cult pots in make-up artist, Katie Jane Hughes’ bag and have been obsessed ever since. Mess free, these condensed glitter pigments can be used on both the face and body, with a gel-based formula which means won’t drop throughout the day. They’re sheer enough to build them up and mix at will, too, depending on the look you’re after.Available At GuruMakeupEmporium.com


Naio Nails Wearable Finger Nail Soakers, £4.99

Why They Are Popular: We’ve been recommended these quirky soaking tubes by numerous nail experts and manicurists. They melt off gels, acrylics and temporary tips – just fill each pod with acetone and pop it on your finger. Expert’s claim they cut removal time in half and work faster than the usual cotton-and-foil method. Genius.Avaiilable At Naio-Nails.com


Peripera Ink Tint Serum, £6.75

Why They Are Popular: These lip serums are some of the best on the market, especially when it comes to long-lasting colour. Regularly spied backstage, they are more of a stain, but with a smooth finish that never leaves lips feeling tight or dry. The best bit? You’ll find the colours never oxidise either, which means it’ll look the same all day, without any fade or tonal changes. Apply it with your finger for a feathery, full effect.Available at YesStyle.com


Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint, £40 

Why It’s Popular: Combining sun protection, skincare and great coverage in one velvety formula, this is so much more than your average base. It harnesses the benefits of hyaluronic acid, squalane and niacinamide to keep the skin calm, smooth and free of redness. As for the actual pigment, it’s light and sheer, but rich enough to cover everything from dark circles to uneven tone and texture. Plus, it’s formulated without any silicone, oils or fragrance, so you never have to worry about clogging up your pores or causing irritation.Available at Revolve.com


Raincry Restore Paddle Brush, £85

Why It’s Popular: For gentle brushes that are of the highest quality, choose Raincry. Created by a top stylist, all their tools are the epitome of sophistication, while the snag-free boar bristles make light work of snags and are easy to use when styling the hair – especially during a blow-dry. They are an investment, but a worthy one, given they are designed to last you years. Plus, they look seriously chic on your shelf, too.Available at Revolve.com


Refa Carat Face Massager, $220

Why It’s Popular: Loved by celebrity make-up artist Pati Dubroff, this roller is loved for its de-puffing and face sculpting capabilities. “You see a complete restructure of the face when you are rolling the skin and getting in deep,” adds Pati. “It adds bone structure and brings out a shape you never knew you had. Try doing it on just one side of the face to start and you’ll see the difference.”Available at RefaUsa.com


The Crème Shop Go Bananas Powder, $14

Why It’s Popular: This isn’t available in the UK yet, but thankfully, international shipping allows us to reap the benefits when ordered online. Something of an insider secret, this has had a lot of hype and for good reason. You only need a small amount on top of foundation or concealer, but you’ll find it sets everything in place for hours, while simultaneously brightening the skin, too. It’s budge-proof benefits mean you won’t have to reapply make-up at all throughout the day, while the non-comedogenic formula never clogs skin up or causes blockages. Extra points go to the soft-focus glow it lends.Available at TheCremeShop.com

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