My Beauty Favourites: Sali Hughes

In our Beauty Favourites series, we ask in-the-know women to share the products they go back to time and again. Here, Sali Hughes – one of the UK’s most successful beauty journalists, a brand founder and author of new book ‘Everything Is Washable & Other Life Lessons’ – gives us hers.
By Rebecca Hull /

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

Skincare

“My routine is very simple – women do far too much to their skin and it’s the beauty industry’s fault for telling them they need six serums. It’s nonsense, needlessly complicated and wasteful. That’s why I spent two years creating my own skincare line – my friends were telling me they were confused by modern skincare. All you need is a light and gentle milk, cream or washable cleanser in the morning, a chemical exfoliant a couple of times a week, then a single hydrating antioxidant serum, some moisture and sun protection. At night, use an oil-based cleansing balm to shift make-up and sunscreen, then either a retinol or your morning serum again, and follow up with a night cream if needed. I also like to carry around a hydrating mist to perk me up mid-afternoon. At the moment I’m using Shiseido’s Ultimune Defence Refresh Mist and I’m also a paid-up subscriber to Skin+Me, which sends me a tretinoin, niacinamide and azelaic acid cream each month. I apply a bland moisturiser to my sensitive areas first, then smooth the Skin+Me treatment all over my face.”

Clean Sheet Morning Cleanser, £8 | Revolution Skincare X Sali Hughes
Drench Rich Anytime Moisturiser, £14 | Revolution Skincare X Sali Hughes
Ultimune Defense Refresh Mist, £56​​​​​​​ | Shiseido
​​​​​​​Treatment Set, From £24.99 | Skin + Me

Body Moisturiser

“Body cream is my desert island product, because I’d be extremely uncomfortable without it. I have three next to my bed – Garnier Body Superfood Cream, Body Shop Avocado Body Butter (an old favourite that doubles up brilliantly as a bath cream) and Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Retexture & Renew Body Lotion, which is great if you have little bumps on your arms or flaky texture on your shins.”

Body Superfood, £4.50 | Garnier
Avocado Body Butter, £18 | The Body Shop
Cocoa Butter Retexture And Renew Body Lotion, £4.65 | Palmers

Self-Tan

“I use Tan Luxe Superglow Serum twice a week, every week. It’s extremely natural looking and gives you a lovely golden glow no matter your skin tone, plus it’s hydrating and plumping. You can apply it as a serum but personally, I like to mix a few drops into my moisturiser to save time and it works a treat. It’s just one of those products that makes it hard to go back.”


Super Glow Hyaluronic Self Tan Serum, £40 | Tan-Luxe​​​​​​​

Fragrance

“I’m an obsessive collector of fragrances, so I could never choose a favourite. My most worn at the moment are Lyn Harris’s Perfumer H Rain Wood, Glossier You, Heeley’s L’Amandière, Celine’s Nightclubbing, Frederic Malle’s Synthetic Jungle and Sisley’s Eau de Campagne. My most worn fragrance ever is Chanel No. 5. It’s perfection.”

Night Clubbing, £195 | Celine
N°5 Eau De Parfum Spray, £81 | Chanel
Synthetic Jungle Eau De Parfum, £145 | Frederic Malle
You Eau De Parfum, Available In Store | Glossier
L'amandière, £113 | Heeley
Rain Wood, From £100 | Perfumerh
Eau De Campagne, £103​​​​​​​ | Sisley Paris


Primer

“Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Flawless Filter in 2.5 is a ride or die. It’s an extremely sheer skin booster that looks great on its own on those ‘no make-up’ days, or as a priming undercoat for foundation. I would recommend it to anyone except those who are prone to oiliness. I don’t feel myself without it and nothing else comes close.”

Hollywood Flawless Filter, £36 | Charlotte Tilbury

Foundation

“I’m a foundation nut and try every single one that comes through my letterbox. I like a dewy rather than matte coverage, and it has to feel comfortable on the skin. Most days I use the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser in ‘Groenland’, M·A·C Face & Body Foundation in C2 or Dior Forever Natural Nude Foundation in 2.5N. If I’m going out or hosting an event and want to ramp up the coverage, I’ll use the Suqqu Liquid Foundation or Estée Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue. I find powder is so underrated – it’s all about using it only where you need it and allowing the cheeks to glow through. The best powder is M·A·C Skinfinish Natural. I use the shade ‘Light Plus’.”

Futurist Hydra Rescue Moisturising Foundation, £34.20 | Estée Lauder
Face & Body Foundation, £36 | MAC Cosmetics
Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser SPF, £36​​​​​​​ | Nars
The Liquid Foundation, £71 | Suqqu

Concealer

“My most used concealer is the Dior Forever Skin Correct Creamy Concealer in 1.5N. It’s perfection on my dry skin. But I’m currently testing Vieve’s new Radiance Concealer and I’m very impressed. It works well on all skin types. Whichever I’m using, I always start with a dab of Beauty Pie’s Superluminous Undereye Brightener underneath. It makes a big difference.”

Superluminous Under-Eye-Genius, £24 | Beauty Pie
Forever Skin Correct - Moisturising Creamy Concealer, £24.30 | Dior
Modern Radiance Concealer, £22​​​​​​​ | Vieve​​​​​​​ 

Brows

“I get my brows micro-shaded by Nez Hasan in Kensington. She’s so talented – all I have to do afterwards is brush them through with a brow gel to set them. My favourite is by Authored – the shades are appropriately cool-toned, and it thickens and holds without any flaking.”

Brow Gel, £18 | Authored

Eyeliner

I am never without a dark brown eyeliner pencil. My favourites are Charlotte Tilbury’s The Classic Dark Brown Powder Eye Pencil, which has a foolproof and very flattering softness to it, the Victoria Beckham Satin Kajal in ‘Cocoa’ (you need to leave it a minute to set before blending) and Hindash's Eye Tone in ‘Intra’. If I want a feline flick, I always use Eyeko Black Magic Liquid Liner.”

The Classic Brown, £19 | Charlotte Tilbury
Cocoa Edit Liquid Eyeliner - Brown, £16 | Eyeko
Satin Kajal Liner, £22 | Victoria Beckam Beauty​​​​​​​

Mascara

“For me, the number one priority with any mascara is anti-smudging. My all-time favourites are tubing mascaras (which use polymers instead of the traditional and more smudgy waxes and dyes) – either Estée Lauder Double Wear or Clinique Lash Power, because they just don’t budge. For a waterproof mascara, I will always choose the Bobbi Brown No Smudge Mascara.”

No Smudge Mascara, £26.13 | Bobbi Brown
Lash Power Mascara Long-Wearing Formula, £20.70 | Clinique
Double Wear Zero-Smudge Lengthening Mascara, £23.85 | Estee Lauder

Eyeshadow Palettes

“NARS, Vieve and Viseart palettes are hard to beat in terms of texture, colour and blend-ability, so if I need proper make-up for something dressy, I’ll just grab one of those in whatever colour scheme I fancy. Day to day, I tend to wear a single cream eyeshadow and smoke it out with a clean brush. My favourites are Bobbi Brown’s Long Wear Cream Shadow Stick in ‘Taupe’ or ‘Sand Dune’, or the Vieve Eye Wand in ‘Old Gold’ or ‘Coffee’. I can’t live without eye crayons – they’re the easiest eyeshadows ever, especially if you wear glasses like I do.”

Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick, £27 | Bobbi Brown
The Essential Eyeshadow Palette, £45 | Vieve
Shimmer Eye Wand In Gold, £21​​​​​​​ | Vieve​​​​​​​

Blush, Bronze & Highlight

“I prefer cream blushers and bronzers because I hate a matte finish. For cream bronzer, I use either Fenty’s Cheeks Out Freestyle in ‘Butta Biscuit’ or Charlotte Tilbury’s Beautiful Skin Bronzer in ‘Fair’ – both are fantastic. I like very subtle highlighters rather than that very shimmery Instagram look. Rose Inc’s new Solar Radiance in ‘Glancing’ or ‘Prismatic’ is subtle and creamy, and Victoria Beckham’s Reflect Highlighter Stick gives a very pretty glazed finish to the skin that looks great with a red lip. My most used blush is from Clé de Peau, but it’s constantly out of stock, which drives me nuts.”

Beautiful Skin Sun Kissed Glow Bronzer, £42 | Charlotte Tilbury
Beauté Cream Blush, £40 | Clé de Peau
Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer, £24.65 | Fenty Beauty
Solar Radiance Hydrating Cream Highlighter, £24 | Rose Inc.

Lipstick

“I dread to think how many lipsticks I own – I carry at least three at any one time. I always have a red on me, because you never know when you might need to look instantly more dressed up. My favourites are M·A·C in ‘Lady Danger’, Laura Mercier in ‘Fire’ and Pat McGrath’s ‘Elson 2’. For nudes, I like something satin or matte in a brownie-pink, like Chanel Rouge Allure in 196, Vieve’s ‘Deity’ or a beautiful nude I created myself using Code8’s fantastic bespoke service, which I often give to friends for their birthdays.

Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour, £31 | Chanel
Velour Extreme Matte Lipstick, £26.25 | Laura Mercier
Danger Lady Matte Lipstick, £20 | MAC Cosmetics
Matte Trance Lipstick, £36​​​​​​​ | Pat Mcgrath Labs​​​​​​​

Lipliner

“There are two that cover me for every eventuality, and they’re both proper wooden pencils rather than those plastic push-up things that are never sharp enough. I must have bought at least 20 M·A·C Lipliners in ‘Subculture’ in my time – there’s one in every bag and drawer. It’s the perfect dirty pinky nude and goes with 90% of all lipsticks. I also carry a red liner for evening – usually NARS ‘Juan-Les-Pins’, which is the perfect orangey red.”

Lipliner In ‘Subculture’, £18 | M·A·C
Precision Lipliner In ‘Juan-Les-Pins’, £40 | NARS


Tools

“I own about seven Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brushes, so I always have a clean one to hand. I use it to apply primer, foundation, bronzer, blush – anything liquid or cream looks better when it goes on with this, and it washes like a dream too.”

Full Coverage Face Brush, £32.40 | Bobbi Brown

Hair

“My bleach is done by Billy at Josh Wood, then I colour it grey myself with Shrine Drops in ‘White’ or ‘Silver’, which I buy from Superdrug or Boots. I get it cut by Jordan Garrett or Adrian Parkitny at Hershesons in London, both of whom are honestly like my family now. For products, I absolutely swear by the JVN Instant Recovery Serum, which is amazing on dry, textured or bleached hair. For shampoos, conditioners and treatments, I’m mostly an Aveda girl – they really are the gold standard in sustainability and the quality is unrivalled. For styling, I like Sam McKnight, Living Proof and I’m also partial to a bit of V05. Cheap as chips and does the job.”

Shampure Nurturing Shampoo, £14.85 | Aveda
Complete Instant Recovery Serum, £25 | JVN Hair
Modern Hairspray Multi-Task Styling Mist, £22 | Hair By Sam Mcknight
Drop It Hair Colourant Silver, £8.66 | Shrine​​​​​​​

Sali’s new book ‘Everything is Washable and Other Life Lessons’ is published by 4th Estate on 15th September.

Shop her skincare line at Boots, Superdrug & RevolutionBeauty.com.

Follow her @SaliHughes on Instagram.

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