I’m back! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted any beauty reviews. I’ve been busy building up my portfolio and looking forward to relaunching my site in January. I thought that I’d put together a gift guide of products that I recommend for everyday use based on what I’ve learned shooting fashion and beauty photography. As an industry pro, I want to look my best but still be natural, fresh and not too caught up in trends. So if you need to send a Christmas gift idea list to someone who doesn’t know what to get you this is a great one to forward on!
All products listed below are hyperlinked to the online shops.*
Let’s start with the basics… skin.
No matter what your age a great skincare routine is the biggest factor in looking your best. I have combination skin that gets easily irritated so I cleanse daily with a gentle oil cleanser, my favourite is Balmonds Omega Rich Cleansing Oil which doesn’t strip my skin of any moisture but effectively removes makeup and soothes my irritable complexion.
Next up, I use skinChemists Pure Caffeine 5% Biphase Serum. Caffeine works as a diuretic to help flush out toxins and reduce redness and irritation that I am prone to. It also has a tightening effect which I’ve definitely noticed, the texture of my skin is much smoother and it has a healthy glow. The high concentration of caffeine delivers a potent blend of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories which is important to protect ageing skin against the elements. I’ll be 41 next year and while I’m very lucky that I have always looked after my skin I’m definitely noticing changes and decided to take my routine up a level with this serum. I’ve also tried and can recommend the SkinChemists Pure Retinol 0.3% Serum for reducing the signs of ageing such as wrinkles, age spots and for exfoliation leading to a brighter complexion and the skinChemists Pure Salicylic 2% Biphase Serum for clearing up clogged pores and impurities and a deep but gentle exfoliation for glowing skin.
Finally, I moisturise using Fushi BioVedic Radiance Facial Oil, which smells like Heaven, is cold pressed in their London studio, and is organic. I’ve been using this for at least a year and I swear by it.
For foundation I have tried so many formulas but for winter coverage when my skin is at it’s most sensitive you just cannot beat Bare Minerals original SPF15 mineral foundation applied with the Beautiful Finish Brush. It provides sheer, buildable coverage, doesn’t settle into creases or exaggerate fine lines and it’s softly luminous. I spent a few days in Sicily this Summer and got a much deeper tan than usual (I’m religious about sunscreen) and the olive undertones really came out in my pale complexion. I since discovered that I actually much prefer foundations that have a golden undertone, as opposed to to the pale porcelain look I adopted in the 90’s and never gave up on. or concealer I use elf Cosmetics Flawless Concealer in Medium Beige. Again, I’ve finally released myself from the overuse of too light concealer that everyone who ever owned a Touche Eclat in the 2000’s fell into doing. A concealer that is too light only draws the eye to the problem area, which is not what you want! I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the quality of this and it was actually the first product I bought from elf and I’ve since picked up quite a few pieces.
If there is any signature to my beauty look it’s blusher. I love them all! I love a candy pink, a dramatic mauve, a sensual bronze… But my tried and tested go-to, everyday blush is MAC Cream Colour Base in Vintage Rose. It looks super orange in the pot but blends out to a natural, dewy, soft glowing flush. I always feel put together and confident when I finish my skin prep off with this blendable cream formula. It can be applied over foundation or on bare skin and even works for eyes and lips. If I had to bring only one product on a desert island, this would be it!
I spoke earlier about trends and what I meant specifically is that younger women are really into big fluffy false lashes or extensions and filled or overdrawn lips. These looks great when you’re 23 but at 40 can rapidly age you, taking you from beautiful to Real Housewives territory lightning fast. Now, I see nothing wrong with a bit of enhancement but it has to look natural which is why I’m such a huge fan of Eye Candy Lash XLR8 Maximiser Serum. This is a liposome based serum applied twice a day to the base of clean lashes to stimulate lash growth. Pro tip: unlike me you should definitely read the instructions first because it’s really not meant to be applied like liquid liner! I’ve been using mine for about 2 weeks and I’m definitely noticing that they are fuller and fluffier and the bottom lashes look longer. I did a search online and this holds up against similar formulas 2 or 3 times more expensive (oh how I love a good deal!). I topped off my lashes today with Max Factor 2000 Calorie Mascara which is big on drama but not clumpy.
I have a naturally pouty cupid’s bow lip shape so I tend to stay away from exaggerating the shape for fear of the dreaded “I’ve had work done” look. That said I do enjoy anything that creates a bit of a gentle plumping effect, especially if it’s minty and tingly. My new favourite is skinChemists Rose Quartz lip plump. It’s a nice light formula that I apply as a primer under lipsticks, especially matte ones which I find very drying. It’s also great worn alone as a gloss and although it goes on clear the Hyaluronic Acid and peppermint action brings a natural flush to the lips while giving them a naturally fuller look. I’ve also used elf Cosmetics Sheer Matte Lipstick in Pink Peony, which I impulse bought yesterday. It’s colour is a dupe for a discontinued lipstick by Stila called Molly, that I have been searching for for years. It’s a peachy pink/red that brightens up the face and goes with everything. I do hope they consider doing this shade as a gloss too!
Finally, my windblown hair is full of volume thanks to my Inanch Gold Class Thermal Super Brush, which allows me to blowdry and style my hair super fast and thanks to it’s honeycomb design, without overheating or damaging my delicate, fine hair. I definitely do not have time for salon blowdries but at least now I look like I do…
So there you have it, these are my essential products for a flawless yet natural look. Let me know in the comments if you have any favourites that I should know about.
*some products have been gifted for review. However, all products are ones I use regularly and would purchase again.