Hero beauty products

Writing about beauty means an awful lot of products come through my door. Some get tested and then handed on to grateful friends, some aren’t right from the off, and others make it into my bathroom and are used to the very last drop. Over the course of the past year I kept the empties of the products that I really, really loved for an end of year round up. (Apart from one foundation, these are all face, body or hair products, as many colour cosmetics need to be binned for hygiene reasons before they are finished.)

My rosacea-prone skin means I need a light cleanser. Washcloths, balms, creams are no good to me, and of the micellar waters I tried this year, Ren: Rosa Centifolia 3-in-1 Cleansing Water (200ml) was excellent, taking off every scrap of foundation, and having a pretty good go at my eye make up too.

Although my love of gel eyeliners means I do need a dedicated eye makeup remover too. Both Suqqu: Eye Makeup Remover  (120ml), and Dolce & Gabbana: Essential Eye Makeup Remover (100ml) (Exclusive to Harrods) left the skin around my eyes feeling soft and plumped.

I do like a facial  serum and, after using Clarins: Double Serum Complete Age Control Concentrate (30ml), I can understand why it is one of the UK’s most popular. I discovered the first iteration of this product when I was at The Wall Street Journal in 2008, and it kept my skin clear and happy when I was not. My tricky skin really likes this new formulation: the surface felt soft and supple, and I had no breakouts when I was using it.

I think my hands down favourite product of the year was BioEffect: EGF Day Serum (30ml), which made such an enormous difference to my skin. I’m not a huge fan of recommending expensive products as if they are the holy grail: if you can afford them well and good, but there are wonderful products at all price points these days. However I think I might make an exception for this EGF serum. It’s phenomenal: usually my skin doesn’t much like very active ingredients, but this made it glow, kept it hydrated and my skin texture has never been so good. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

I do like an SPF in my daily moisturiser, and Perricone MD: Photo Plasma: Broad Spectrum SPF30 (59ml) doesn’t feel at all heavy, and my skin felt protected all day, and remained soft and hydrated.

For days when I wasn’t outside, I cannot recommend Time Bomb: Glory Days Day Cream (45ml) enough. It lasted for ages, and has a lovely light texture. However my all-time favourite moisturiser is still Ole Henriksen: Nurture Me Soothing Creme Moisturiser. I think this is maybe the fifth pot that I have finished. If you have rosacea I believe that this is hands down the best facial moisturiser on the market. I wrote about it properly here back in 2012.

I do love all things La Roche-Posay (their sun products are particularly excellent – my post here), and the new Toleriane Ultra Fluide Intense soothing Fluid for Face & Eyes is fantastic for when your face is feeling a bit out of sorts. On rosacea flushing days this is excellent, and really does soothe my skin.

ooh this BB cream was excellent for days when I didn’t want a lot of foundation. It has really good coverage and a nice hydrating feel. Laboratoires Filorga: BB-PERFECT Anti-ageing Beauty Balm (30ml)  (I wrote about this here in 2013.)

This face cream is Not Cheap, but it is very very good. I took it to Thailand last Christmas and my skin sucked it up in the evenings after all the days in the sun, and it made a fabulous barrier against the moisture-sucking effects of the plane. La Prairie: Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Cream (50ml) Currently hugely reduced on Amazon so maybe a good one for the Christmas present list?

At night I started using Aurelia Probiotic Skincare: Cell Revitalise Night Moisturiser (60ml), and I could really feel a difference in the texture of my skin in the mornings. Estee Lauder Night Repair has been reformulated and now has the jazz hands name of New Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II. A much-loved classic, and justly so. Use this magic bottle after a night on the sauce and you will wake up looking as though you were drinking Pellegrino all evening. Another one for under the Christmas tree. (I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t like this.)

I grabbed this £7 bottle of foundation in a Boots in Heathrow next to my departure gate when I realised I had forgotten to pick up my make up bag from the hall table. Maybelline: Dream Satin Liquid Foundation (30ml) It’s better than most beauty hall foundations, and I found myself reaching for it over the big names again and again.

When I was in a rush Hand Chemistry: Hyaluronic Body Mist (150ml) was brilliant – you can just spray your body moisturiser on, no need to rub it in, and no greasy residue to rub off on your clothes. My only comment is that it doesn’t last long, and the delivery system seems to take up half the bottle.

A bottle of shampoo lasts me a Very Long Time – it takes such a little amount to produce a lather, but one I did manage to finish was John Frieda: Sheer Blonde Highlight Activating Enhancing Shampoo (250ml). This classic is great value, smells nice, and hopefully stops my colour fading quite so fast.

I get through an astonishing amount of conditioner: I have pretty long, highlighted hair and it gets incredibly dry, especially in the winter when the heating is turned to high. For everyday I really liked Dove: Advanced Hair Series Oxygen Moisture Conditioner (250ml), which left my hair super silky without feeling like it was glued to my scalp.

I’m a big fan of conditioning treatments which I leave on for five minutes in the shower, whilst I shave my legs and apply facial scrubs. I used every last scrap of these three:
Paul Mitchell: Awapuhi Wild Ginger Keratin Intensive Treatment (500 ml)
Aveda: Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair (100ml)
In particular Ojon: Rare Blend Deep Conditioner (150ml) had a miraculously de straw-ing effect on my hair, leaving it in soft, silky strands. I properly loved this.

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I’ll definitely try your haircare recommendations as I need something to inject a bit of moisture. I’m also a fan like you of Estee Lauder Night Repair, perfect after a party!

Suze | LuxuryColumnist


Always love posts like this and getting a sneek peek into the favourite products. There are some great ones featured here.
Gemma x


Always been a fan of La Roche-Posay so may try that one out! Glad to have an honest review of your essential pieces.


Loved these recommendations – I’m going to embrace the world of serums next year I think.

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