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So, what do I look for in a great product? Well, for me, it’s the same qualities that I cherish in a great friend. There are those that have been around forever and with whom I have a shared history, there are those who have pepped me up when I’ve been low and then there are others that started off as friendship flings but have more than proved themselves in sticky situations. Just like a best friend, my favourite beauty products refresh and reinvigorate me, bring me endless joy and make me feel like a more confident version of myself.
Over the last year in particular, my beauty BFFs have really come into their own. Whatever your take on lockdown life, for many of us, daily beauty rituals were the silver lining in an otherwise totally turbulent time. Emptying a handful of salts into the tub at the end of another long day of home-schooling or perking up my 20th Zoom of the day with a slick of red lippie were some of the precious few thrills that kept me sane. Although lockdown life may be over, I’m a firm believer in beauty routines as a form of self-care, and hope, that whether you’re looking for a new old-faithful or just a quick fling to fire you up, my list of ride-or-die finds inspires you. Until next time!
Aromatherapy Associates Forest Therapy Bath & Shower Oil, £49
I’ve always been a bath person –but no soak is complete without this heavenly oil by the purveyor of the best oils in the biz. I was tempted to include the inimitable Deep Relax here but their newest, Forest Therapy, might just pip it to the post. A beautiful blend of invigorating oils evoking the scent of a forest (think pink pepper, Mediterranean cypress and ho wood) it’s utterly transportive and so deeply soothing, no matter how many plastic ducks you must dodge first – I’m sure mums with small children can relate. Available at JohnLewis.com
Cire Trudon Spiritus Sancti Classic Candle, £80
I love so many scented candles but this one is ‘the one’ for me. Evoking a heady veil of incense, it’s decadent, rich and a resolutely grown-up scent, which I find helps set the tone for the evening once the kids are (finally) in bed. Available at Selfridges.com
Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Peel Pads, £19
The original and still the best, these pads are soaked in a gentle but effective cocktail of skin sloughing acids and antioxidants – and they are my holy grail of exfoliators. Quick, convenient to use and totally reliable, using one of these is a bit like taking a rug outside and giving it a good old shake to get the dust off; the result is skin that is smoother, more luminous and more even in tone. Available at CultBeauty.co.uk
Fable & Mane HoliRoots Hair Oil, £29
I was never convinced by the virtues of hair oil until I tried this, but since using this I’m well and truly converted. Loaded with ashwagandha to balance and soothe the scalp, and fatty acid enriched castor oil and plant extracts to condition hair, this jasmine sambac scented oil is like a mini spa treatment. Rake through and leave for a few hours, or better still overnight, for cashmere-soft strands the next morning. Available at FableAndMane.com
Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream, £43
You’ll have no doubt heard the hype around this glow-giving bronzer so consider this another note of endorsement. It really is as good as everyone says and has been my can’t-live-without bronzer for years. Not only is it huge and lasts forever, it’s fast, easy bronzing at its best thanks to a lightweight buildable formula that diffuses into the skin without overloading it with pigment. The Tan Bronze shade instantly perks up my olive-toned skin but it’s now available in a deeper bronze which means darker skin tones can benefit, too. Available at JohnLewis.com
Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo, £10
Dry shampoo has become as ubiquitous as mascara, so finding a good one is essential. This featherlight formula is totally traceless and entirely without tackiness, so it disappears into hair almost instantly. Even better, it’s powered by the brand’s triple-action cleaning technology which means your hair feels properly clean after using it, instead of just dirty in disguise. Available at CultBeauty.co.uk
George Northwood Moisturising Crème, £15
A relative newcomer into my hall of fame but entirely deserving of a place on my beauty shelf, I should caveat that George has been a close friend and my own hairdresser for around 15 years. But even if that weren’t the case, this formula would still blow my socks off. Not only is the scent insane (it wouldn’t be out of place in a Le Labo line-up) the product itself is a game-changer when it comes to dampening down frizz and flyaways. It’s also an idiot-proof formula, so no matter how heavy-handed you are, it’s virtually impossible to go wrong. Hair is left hair polished and in true George style, just the right side of effortlessly undone. Genius. Available at Boots.com
Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial, £23
There aren’t enough words to describe how much I love this, frankly, transformative face oil. It feels a bit like wrapping your face in the most decadently scented cashmere blanket. Aside from the jasmine, frangipani, rose and tuberose scent, it’s packed with vitamin A and C, peptides and co-enzyme Q10, which means that one overnight application is enough to guarantee plump, juicy and refreshed skin when you wake up. Next time you climb into bed late or are feeling washed out and wan, reach for this and thank me later. Available at CultBeauty.co.uk
Tan Luxe Sleep Oil, £34
I’ve always loved overnight products because they’re full of magical promise; one minute you’re crawling into bed looking like a lizard and the next thing you know you’re waking up to supermodel skin. This little gem is no exception, delivering a sun-kissed, even glow come morning, no matter the state you went to bed in. I love that it’s fool proof and doesn’t stain pillows – plus, the fact that, thanks to a host of plant oils, algae and vitamins, it feels more like a great skincare product than a self-tanner. Available at Boots.com
Glossier You Eau de Parfum, £45
Sexy and skin-like but without being cloying, the only fragrance in the covetable Glossier line-up is a staple on my dressing table. The fragrance is creamy and slightly woody, thanks to iris and ambrette seeds but the dry down is warm, soft and deliciously musky. AVailable at Glossier.com
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