This peel is a fantastic example of my favourite types of skincare products: those which are carefully formulated and give beautiful results without overdoing it and upsetting your skin’s barrier. Housed in an elegant frosted glass bottle with an airtight pump mechanism, the pale blue-green gel has the soft, fresh scent familiar to any fans of the rest of the famous Pro-Collagen range. The gel is immediately and pleasantly cooling when applied (presumably thanks to the menthol), after which you leave it on for fifteen minutes – do not be tempted to overdo this – before removing with a warm washcloth and following up with moisturiser.
Its namesake tri-acid ingredients are three very gentle yet super effective acids: mandelic; new-to-me Asiatic, which is anti-inflammatory and boosts collagen production; and lactobionic, the oxidised and therefore even gentler cousin of my all-time favourite acid, lactic. The peel leaves skin slightly smoother and gently glowing, and I have found this particularly ideal to use before makeup for a special occasion, when I want my skin to look its best. Also, even while I am using a prescription retinoid daily, which makes my skin extremely sensitive, this hasn’t irritated it even slightly. A true winner.
I’ve never known a fragrance to exactly capture a flower the way this new cologne from Jo Malone London does frangipani blossoms. It is just as fresh, crisp, and uplifting as the real thing. It will be beautiful worn in warm weather but isn’t one of those coconut-and-sunscreen scents that screams summer; this speaks much more of spring time, and gently enough to be worn when temperatures drop and one needs a little help dreaming of budding florals still to come. The packaging is slightly removed from the traditional Jo Malone London range, but still as lovely as you’d expect: a round bottle of clear glass is capped off with an eye catching yet simple, milkily transparent, spherical lid.
If you’re after something altogether heavier, well then, in true Tom Ford style, everything about this fragrance is decadent: from the porcelain-like smooth white bottle with gold label, to that which cannot be ignored, its eye-watering price tag. Said decadence extends to the scent itself which is an indulgently heavy floral, folding notes of heady tuberose in with incense and spices. This is a treat in every sense of the word.
Calling all of my fellow The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel fans: here is your ticket to a 1950s manicure moment. Re-released periodically as a limited edition, the brilliantly named ‘Sunday Funday’ was originally part of 2013’s Summer Fun collection. An entirely opaque true coral, its ideal balance of pink and orange tones means it works whether your skin leans warm or cool in tone.
While I normally abhor shimmer in polish on my own nails, there is a very subtle gleam to this (think high-end luminising lotion as opposed to glittery highlighter powder) that really works to lift the shade and makes it a contemporary nod to a vintage mani, rather than simply looking dated. A quick note: I find these more classic shades look their most fresh on short nails cut straight across with corners gently rounded with a nail file, but if you have the confidence and want to embrace the period-appropriate long, almond shaped nails, I can’t say it won’t look fab.
Hourglass is a brand most famous for its finely-milled powders that give a finish truly comparable to seeing your skin in oh-so-flattering candlelight. The Ambient Lighting Palettes are released each year in different shade combinations, usually timed around the holiday season, though pleasingly with the latest release this year we don’t have to wait until December. Volume II is housed in sleek pewter-toned packaging and contains three products: Soft Light Finishing Powder, Radiant Light Finishing Powder, and Golden Bronze Light Bronzer.
For reference, I have pale skin with olive undertones and can only use two of the shades all over. Golden Bronze Light is too deep for me, though pretty if used on the eyes and imagine it could work as a bronzer whenever I can next find the motivation (sorely lacking in winter) to apply some fake tan. Usually I use Soft Light as a setting powder and Radiant Light as a bronzer, so if you’re at the deeper end of the colour spectrum, Golden Bronze would be your setting powder and Soft Light and Radiant Light would work as pearly or peachier highlighting powders, respectively.
The key to a successful celebrity beauty line? Authenticity. The evidence? Let’s compare: on one hand, you have the phenomenal success of Rihanna’s Fenty, which prompted a long overdue industry-wide overhaul of complexion products being available in deeper shades than ‘Tan’ (cue all the eyerolls). In the perhaps-not-so-authentic corner, we have the beauty media’s radio silence following a recent launch from a certain popstar, who refutes any suggestion of injectables or scalpels as playing a part in her age-defying looks, and instead insists they are due to her use of a commonly found kitchen ingredient. Okay, then.
Where on this spectrum might fashionista Olivia Palermo’s range fall? Perhaps unsurprisingly, given she is a woman who has turned her own own excellent taste into a certifiably successful career (with 6.5 million Instagram followers and counting), and is known for her signature smoky eye and glamorous event-heavy lifestyle, she has translated this beautifully into an as-yet small range of skincare and makeup.
My pick is her Eyeshadow Palette in Soirée. To start, I simply cannot get over the packaging, inspired by an Art Deco gold link bracelet Olivia received for her 21st birthday. It’s the heaviest makeup item I have ever held, and I don’t mind a product that may not scream practicality when it makes up for it in pure luxury. The six powder shades inside suit all skin tones and are a truly effortless way to replicate her own favoured heavy eye, with zero drop down. My most reached-for shades are Golden Glimmer, for an instant injection of bronzed metallic glamour, and Skyline Dusk, a deep aubergine that adds elegant depth. Don’t be put off by the inclusion of two pink shades, the soft rose Plush Tulle and the bruised plum Magnum Mauve: I am far from a pink eyeshadow fan, but these translate as more subtle than you might think, and used in conjunction with the clever edit of other shades do elevate any eye look.
It’s an unfortunate truth that multitasking beauty products often end up being a bit ‘jack of all trades, master of none’. A balm that can be used under or over makeup? Colour me sceptical. However, I’m pleased to report this balm proves the saying wrong, and I happily used it both as a moisturising primer and as a highlighter. Because of its thicker, creamier texture, in comparison to some similar products, I more naturally plumped for it as a glow-giving base for foundation, but if you choose to apply it gently over the top, it won’t move the colour makeup around and sits well.
If, like me, you’re more likely to use a primer only for special occasions, when you really want to amp up the glow or make sure your makeup has strong staying power, you may find full size products hard to get through. Unless you’re an avid primer user or lazy with skincare, then, this currently-limited edition smaller size is ideal, and one I very much hope is added to the permanent range. Whichever size you choose, the twist-top, airless packaging is the same: mess-free, hygienic, and easy to use.
This is a basic lip balm, in the very best ways. It’s housed in traditional lip balm tube packaging (not in a revolting sticky pot, thank goodness), with a click-on cap and wind up mechanism. The texture is solid, not waxy or greasy, but emollient enough to provide instant relief to dry lips. There’s no shine, so works for those who may want to keep their balm application on the lowdown (how thrillingly covert). And the scent is botanical and refreshing: think fancy G&T versus Full Koala. All in all, a buy-in-bulk essential.