This winter has been particularly harsh on my skin, and as a result I’ve really had to think hard about what products I’m using. It’s also helped me to realise that in my 33rd year my skin has started to be less than youthful. My squishy cheeks have begun to feel less than squishy and my t-zone, which I thought I’d figured out, started to dry and flake. Ick!
So I’ve been on a beauty kick recently, much to my bank balance’s concern, however I really feel like I’ve found some amazing products. I haven’t been able to use all of them yet, but since I’ll probably be sharing the ones I do love, I thought first of all I’d start at the very beginning – I hear it’s a very good place to start.
When I first left school I decided to become a beauty therapist. The local college did a course, but you had to stump up £60 for the starter kit and also the thought of potentially touching people’s feet freaked me out…. So I got a retail job, and thank jeebus I did because I wouldn’t have met Gary had I not…. However, it’s always frustrated me that I had gotten to my early 30’s without actually knowing how to successfully apply make-up. Firstly I’m too lazy to wake up early enough to slap it on, secondly I’m too cheap, but thirdly (and maybe most importantly) there are 16 year olds walking around with perfectly formed smoky eyes and winged eye liner….. I remember hating myself early last year in Las Vegas watching a how-to video for my Naked 2 palette, recorded by a girl who was probably not old enough to vote. Things had to change.
So I sit here, almost a year later, safe in the knowledge that I now know most of the basics and having pretty much nailed some of the harder techniques. Yay me!
So today I’m going to share with you guys some of my Holy Grail beauty and skincare products. Some of these were newly acquired in the last year or so, but some of them I’ve been using for 15 years or so. There’s quite a few, so this will be part one. Here goes!
We’ll start with beauty products!
Maybelline Baby Skin was recommended to me by a friend. As a drugstore item, this isn’t too expensive at about £7.99 for this decent sized tube. I’d been needing a primer, and this one blurs the pores, goes on really smoothly with hardly any product needed. I like to put it on underneath my Stila Color Corrector. I can’t feel that it’s there and it creates a lovely base to build onto.
Urban Decay Brow Tamer (£15). I picked this up in New York from Sephora, so not sure how much I spent on it, but I needed something for my brows. Brow care and perfecting is a huge deal at the moment. My eyebrows are fairly thick, and darker than my hair colour. The shape is fine and all I usually do is brush them into shape each morning, but they do become unruly during the day so I picked this lightweight clear gel up to help them stay put. My hair likes to push my eyebrow hairs down throughout the day which bugs me, but this gel prevents that from happening, and doesn’t make my brows shiny or any darker which is perfect. Holy Grail status achieved!
This Leighton Denny Quatro nail buffer (£5.50) is insane. I haven’t had a decent nail buffer in a while, and as much as I’m nail polish obsessed, I have a bad habit of picking my polish off….. yes, yes, I know! So I saw this buffer had gone down in price on Amazon and snapped it up. The result was so amazing I instagrammed a shot of my nail afterwards. A glass-like finish that lasted for days – in fact it was still glass-like after removing my manicure a week later. My only bug-bear is the nail file part. I use a glass file, so have no use for the file side of this buffer, but it’s kinda sharp along the edge so there’s plenty of opportunity to slice your finger along the side whilst buffing.
My Mum has always sworn by cherry Chapstick as long as I can remember. And since Katy Perry kissed a girl, it’s been feast or famine with regards to stock levels. I wanted to see what the fuss was about so I tried it, and it’s amazing how much better the cherry flavour is than any of the others. The formula seems thicker and stays on the lips for longer. Plus, it gives a very very small amount of colour too! So now whenever I see them I buy three or four so I always have a stock!
I have fairly thin, not amazingly long, very straight eyelashes which won’t curl. I’m still to find my perfect mascara, so you won’t find any on this post today, however I did pick up a pair of Surratt Relevee lash curlers (£22 Liberty) from Sephora at Christmas. Carefully designed to work for all eye shapes, these promise to grip and curl comfortably without pinching. And they are comfortable, lightweight and as you can see by how dirty my set are in the photo (sorry!) I have been using them a lot! Some people say you can train your lashes to curl naturally, but using curlers every night, but I don’t have the patience for that. A quick staggered pump and a slick of mascara and I’m ready to go! They haven’t worked magic yet, but they’re certainly doing better than any others I’ve used.
Glisten & Glow HK Girl Top Coat and OPI Nail Envy are my two holy grail nail products. Nail Envy saved my nails and I recommend it to any one I can. I use it as a base coat every time I do my nails, and a treatment in between if my nails need it. HK Girl top coat replaced Seche Vite for me, since I’d started getting annoyed at the amount of shrinkage I was getting with it. It’s thick enough to smooth out course glitter, dries really fast (touch dry in about 5 minutes) and doesn’t drag nail art. Plus it’s not very expensive (£6.85 from Rainbow Connection)
I like to wear a little bit of something on my lips, but I stopped wearing lipstick as long time ago. I didn’t like having to think about whether it had smeared, bled, worn off, left a night coloured ring around my lips etc. And not wanting to use liplock, I just stopped using it. When I found out that Dior had a released their Color Reviver Balm (around £24) in their Addict Lip Glow collection I knew I had to pick it up. And at the time I had a Debenhams voucher so decided to treat myself. It promises to give you your own personalised pink shade in a nice sheer balm. It’s conditioning and not at all sticky. It’s my go to lippy at the moment. Then I heard that Givenchy had released a black variant in their Rouge Interdit, for Liv Tyler to recreate her lovely bee-stung lip and I wanted it! But you couldn’t find it anywhere in the UK so I managed to hunt down what appeared to be the only stick of it in the whole of New York – it’s amazing and does exactly what it says on the tin. Not too much colour, and again hydrating and not sticky. They’ve now started selling it here under the name Rouge Interdit Vinyl (£24) with slightly slimmer packaging. Go buy it!
I am a huge fan of Urban Decay and have been for about 15 years since I bought my first mini palette – I think it was called Wallpaper…. I received the Naked 2 palette (£38) for Christmas a couple of years ago and it’s my perfect basics eye palette. Not only are the colours and formulas wonderful, but it comes with a fantastic double ended blender brush. Naked 2 is perfect for my skintone and eye colour, so I have no need for the other two palettes, and that’s what’s great about the Naked palettes because there’s one for every one!
I also make sure I use the UD primer potion (just the original one) because I know my eye colour won’t budge the whole day, and also because if I’m using any bright colours (especially the UD Electric Palette) it will allow the colour to pop and prevent it from staining my lids. Magic!
Stila One Step Correct (£24) is amazing – I’m worried they’ll stop making it and I won’t be able to get it any more….. I’ve blogged about this stuff before, but it’s a wonder serum in really pretty packaging. It’s pink, green and white swirls correct any red and blue tones to your skin in one pump. It’s lightweight and goes on beautifully to help give you a lovely even base to start applying your makeup to. It also goes on really well on top of my Baby Skin primer.
And last for beauty is Touche Eclat by YSL (£25) I’ve used this product for about 15 years. It’s gone up in price by a few £ since then, but the formula has stayed the same. It’s very light, illuminates and isn’t cakey. It doesn’t sit in my lines too much but it can rub off easily. I’m looking to invest in some setting powder, but until then it works fine. I’ve tried replacing it with a couple of things over the years to save money, but always end up coming back to this! My only annoyance is you have no idea when it’s going to run out, so one day you might wake up and do one eye and then realise there’s none left for the other eye (this has happened…) but I still love it!
So those are my beauty holy grail items! I’ll be posting my skincare holy grail items soon, but in the meantime I’d love to hear about your experiences with these products, or if you have used any and moved onto something else!