Why keep a good thing to yourself? Sali Hughes’ column in The Guardian is still my guaranteed weekly read and heavily influences my beauty product choices. But, when someone raves about a product on social media I make a note in my phone and investigate. I’m endlessly interested in what other people use. Every so often, I like to share the products I rate and wouldn’t be without. This is my (current) top 10.
Josh Wood Colour
Man alive, I’ve been through some hair dye in my time. Josh Wood is by far the best brand I’ve used. Firstly, It doesn’t have the overpowering smell of many dyes. I have some grey patches and the coverage is great. At £10 it’s slightly more than the cost of an average packet of dye. The price includes barrier cream, stain remover wipe and really decent gloves. The first shade I used was darker than I expected. I emailed the Josh Wood Team and received a personal reply. They asked for some photos of my hair and details about the texture. Using this information they suggested the perfect shade, which I’ve stuck to. Excellent customer care.
Products that saved me through the summer
Flexitol Heel Balm
As my Twitter bio says; “always has painted toenails”. I like my feet to look nice. Dry heels are my nemesis and I’ve rarely found anything that worked well. Flexitol heel balm costs around £5, I picked up a tube in the supermarket after seeing. Flexitol produces a noticeable difference and has been a saviour across a sandal-summer.
Dove Derma Spa Summer Revived
My skin is pale and doesn’t tan. Over the years I’ve tried various fake tan brands. Earlier in the year, I did a collaboration with Dove Derma Spa Summer Revived range and was given the product to try. I continued to use Dove across the summer. The coverage is very even and I love the colour. Next summer, I’m planning to purchase it with my own cash.
Not everyone likes a lavender scent but I’m in the fan camp. Amphora Aromatics is Bristol based and supplies essential oils. It is rare that a sample inspires me to really want the product. I was given a sachet of Lavender Multi-purpose Gel which knocked around in a drawer for ages. Tried it. Loved it. I’ve whizzed through two containers worth and need to go back for more. Soft lavender scent, cooling all-purpose gel. Was perfect for the very hot summer. It feels relaxing and I like to use it at the end of a stressful day. I don’t have a product to photograph because I cut up the container to get the very last traces of gel.
Marks and Spencer have up-ed their beauty game and in the last few years. They stock an impressive range of cool beauty brands and some high-quality products under their own FORMULA label. These are my two favourites.
FORMULA Absolute Ultimate Sleep Cream
A cult product, which has over 400 positive reviews on the M&S website. It absorbs easily and leaves my skin feel soft. Thumbs up.
FORMULA Hyaluronic Acid Brightening Hot Cloth Cleanser
Hot cloth cleansing works for my skin and for a long time, I was committed to Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish; lovely product but expensive. I saw someone mention FORMULA Hyaluronic Acid Brightening Hot Cloth Cleanser on Instagram (I can’t remember who). At £11 for 200 ml (Liz is £15.00 for 100 ml), it is a cheaper alternative. Fresh smell and it has kept my skin bright and clear.
Low Cost and Wonderful
Serum for Under Six Quid
The Ordinary sell base products at a fraction of the price. Think plain boxed paracetamol vs one of the branded types; same ingredients different name and packaging, much lower cost. The Ordinary website can seem a little overwhelming, but it has got a lot better in providing information on how to use the products. I use Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 as my daily serum. (Because she does technical better than me, here is Caroline Hirons’ explanation on why use Hyaluronic Acid.)
Cheap Lipstick Win
Earlier in the year, Twitter was over excited about a Primark Lipstick which is supposed to be a dupe for a MAC lipstick. The Primark version cost £2 (MAC is £18). I can’t comment on it’s likeness to MAC. I love a bargain and Golden Rose is an everyday colour, matt velvet finish, amazing staying power. Winner.
Worth the Splashing the Cash
The make-up I wear is minimal, however, I don’t leave the house without swish of mascara and something to stop my brows disappearing into my face. I want a minimal brow product, I’m certainly not into bold brows beloved of teenage girls. I’ve tried various brow enhancers and my favourite for a natural ‘pep-up’ is only available online from Glossier. Boy Brow costs £14, which is relatively steep for a tiny tube, but IMHO absolutely worth it.
Jo Malone Cologne
It’s nice to have one item in your make-up bag that is a little bit more expensive and using it feels like an indulgent treat. The product that lifts my spirits with a spritz is Jo Malone cologne; Lime, Basil and Mandarin. My bottle was a present and I am eking it out for as long as possible.
What are your star products?