Beauty products: so inept at changing our appearances that most of the time, no-one will even notice if you change brands.
Yes, applying a thin layer of goop to the surface of your face/body/hair in the hopes of greatly improving it is a bit of a mug’s game.
But most of us still like to play it, myself included. Life is too short to resist good advertising.
What I’m not so forgiving of, however, is testing these products on animals.
I have written a whole article on this, but in summary; despite the fact that animal-tested cosmetics are banned in the EU, most of the beauty giants (L’Oreal, Revlon, Estee Lauder and Lancome included) still test on animals abroad in places like China. They don’t have to, but they do.
So as to not be the beauty equivalent of Cruella de Vil, I only buy lotions and potions that are 100% cruelty-free. PETA has an excellent database which lets you do a quick search on the brands that do and don’t test on animals.
Below are my six absolute hero beauty products. They work so well that, sometimes, other people have NOTICED.
BareMinerals Foundation, £20
I’ve used bareMinerals’ powder foundation since the age of 15. Very occasionally, I’ll experiment with something else purely out of boredom, but I’ve never been converted. This stuff is the dog’s bollocks. Great coverage, not orange, long-lasting, mattifying – and so pure and non pore clogging that you can sleep in it without getting spots.
I’ve also recently tested out bareMineral’s new liquid foundation, which is great when you are going out, or generally trying harder than usual to look more beautiful. I say that because the coverage is even better – sort of makes you look airbrushed – but I wouldn’t want to sleep in it, so it’s not one for everyday wear.
Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel, £13
If you’ve been blessed with bushy eyebrows, congratulations. They’re very much in fashion at the moment. This gel makes them look more polished. It’s basically mascara for your brows; with a hint of colour to make them more defined, and gel to make all the hairs face in the same direction. Which in my case they don’t naturally.
ModelCo Tan Airbrush in a Can, £35, and St Tropez Bronzing Mousse, £30
I can’t pick between these two because they’re great in different ways. ModelCo’s self-tanner is the dream when it comes to laziness – and I do find fake-tanning a massive bore. It’s a really fine, even spray which never hisses out random blobs of colour. It’s tinted, so you look brown straight away and can tell if you’ve missed a spot. And the colour is really natural. It also smells like high heaven. Whenever I’m feeling particularly pale in the winter, I spray my arms, face and chest with it (the unhidden-by-clothes areas). Takes five seconds and makes you look healthy, which you probably aren’t.
St Tropez’s bronzing mousse is more of a faff in that you have to use a tanning mitt to apply it, which takes longer because you have to rub it in properly. But the results are more dramatic, it lasts a bit longer and the is colour equally as natural-looking.
Sunday Riley’s Luna Night Oil, £85
This face oil really is the most transformative potion I have ever slathered onto my skin by a country mile. You’d think an oil would give you spots. For some reason this one doesn’t.
What it does, by some unknown miracle, is shrinks pores, banishes blackheads and leaves my skin *wait for it*… glowing – an adjective I have never used to describe my face until now.
It goes on bright blue, the colour of cartridge ink, smells like perfume, and several people – from my mother to my best friend and even a handful of male specimens – have told me my skin looks impossibly radiant, even on days I’ve been exhausted or nursing a hangover (often).
It costs £85, which is extortionate, but I will never stop buying it for as long as I live.
I use this every day and have had the same palette for nearly five years, so first of all, it lasts forever. The shades are great, from its subtle shimmery everyday hues to its charcoal smoky-eye black. Granted I only ever use four of them, so the rest are a bit of a waste. But crucially, the texture is perfect. Just solid enough that it doesn’t sprinkle powder all over your cheeks when you apply it, but not so creamy that it smooshes or melts.