Really, seriously I am definitely NOT a Beauty expert. I leave that side of things to the professionals. By those I mean, Caroline Hirons, Nadine Baggott and, sometimes, but not all the time, Trinny. But as a beauty blog post came up top in my poll of ‘What you’d like to read about this week’, here we are. By the way, this is LONG! so apologies, you may need to set aside a few more minutes than usual.
Basically this is a list of the things I’m using right now. A lot of products I discover from those Beauty advent calendars at Christmas, they may seem like a lot of money for a frivolous bit of fun, but actually an excellent way of trialling a lot of products you may never have heard of before. I do tend to chop and change though when I hear of something new, or get a recommendation from a friend, but some things are constant favourites.
What I CAN’T really tell you is what the official benefits are of using some of these products, I’m solely basing this list on stuff I like for my face, hair and body, so they may not be suitable for everyone as everyone is different. For context, if this helps here are some facts about me:
- I am 47, so I’m looking for things that are going to help me not look older than that. I am resided to the fact I’m unlikely to look younger.
- My hair is slightly wavy and thin, but there’s lots of it. I have blonde highlights with greasy roots. The roots are obviously getting out of control right now, but I can’t do anything about that. My husband has offered to do my highlights using the rubber cap with the holes method (not a euphemism) but currently, I’m not that desperate.
- My eyes are very sensitive and am allergic to quite a few ingredients in products, so everything I list here you can be sure is potentially less irritable than others.
- I have classic combination skin, oily around the T section and dry around the edges.
- I get eczema fairly regularly, so again, body stuff here should be OK for others that suffer as none of these give me flare ups.
I’m already sure I will forget something that I love, but I’ve tried to narrow it down for now. If you like this blog, maybe I will update every few months once I discover new things. I do get sent products to try every so often, but as I’m not a beauty blogger it’s fairly few and far between, so if anyone has things they swear by, let me know. I’m always up for suggestions of things you rate highly. So, here we go, or should I say ‘hair we go’…
Hair is important. In this lockdown situation, going to the hairdressers is one of the things I am SO looking forward to doing once we are able to. I haven’t had my highlights done since January. I know it’s not important, but it also kind of is. There’s only so many times I can dye it peach (or orange as it turned out) in an attempt to disguise the roots. But in terms of everyday haircare, here’s what I rate:
SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER: For regular shampoo and conditioner I really don’t have a specific brand I go to, I’ll use anything. But my sister in law bought me a voucher for a company called Function of Beauty for my birthday so I’m currently using that. The way that works is you do an online hair quiz (love a quiz) and they mix the products to your exact specifications, including size, colour and smell. It does get shipped from the US so I’m not sure how it’s working now, but I’d definitely re-order once I’ve finished my current batch. for a deeper conditioner, I love Pureology Superfood Mask. I use that about once a week.
TREATMENTS: I have a few favourites here, Olaplex 3 and Philip Kingsley Elasticizer, both seem to do kind of the same job, which is to give a nice deep condition and sort of put some stretchy strength back into you hair. I often leave them in overnight and wash off in the morning. I probably do these once every 2 weeks.
STYLING: I’m a sucker for a good hair gadget, I’ve tried them all. The best hair dryer EVER is the Parlux. Don’t even hesitate, just get one. Thank me later. Then there are the trusty GHDs, I use for for waving hair mainly. Check out this YouTube tutorial for basically how I do it (skip to 1 minute in). I find using straighteners way easier than curlers.
For Straightening hair, I prefer the Dafni Heated Hairbrush. You just rough dry and then brush your hair with this. so easy and you get a more natural look rather than the poker straight look of GHDs. I ALWAYS use the Color Wow dream coat before styling, I don’t know what’s in it, but it the one of the only things I’ve found that totally tames the frizz. The other one that’s good for frizz, heat protection and styling is the Kerastase Blow Dry Lotion.
1. Color Wow Dream Coat Spray
2. Olaplex 3. Hair Perfector
3. Dafni Heated Hair Straightening Brush
4. Function Of Beauty Shampoo & Conditioner
5. Tangle Teaser Hair Brush
6. Parlux 3200 Compact Hairdryer
SKIN – EVENING
At the moment I’m sort of alternating between the Murad Retinol range and the Polaar Night Cream. I haven’t yet gone down the full retinol route as I worry it will react with my annoyingly sensitive skin. I’ve heard it’s the way to go though, so I’m easing my my in with the Murad range as it’s not that strong and it’s got a lovely feel on the skin.
This is also a good point to mention Beauty Pie, as I think it’s such a great brand. I’ve been a fully paid up member for almost a year now and tried a lot of the products. My current favourite cleanser is their Double Phase Cleanser as it’s mild and gets rid of all make-up (other than mascara, more on that later, for that I use the Elemis make-up remover). I’m using the Beauty Pie Micropeeling pads every other night now too.
The way Beauty Pie works is that you pay a monthly membership fee, I pay £10, and that gives you a spending limit, mine is £100 per month. This spending limit is based on the non-member price (are you keeping up?) but you pay much less than that. So for example the Cleansers ‘Typical Price’ is £25, but members pay £8.04. So if I wanted, I could buy 4 of them for my £100 limit, but I would pay £32.16. I’m not sure how this is all worked out, but what I do know is the products are all very good and they feel expensive.
If you fancied trying it you can get your first month fee free if you use this link or add KATE_HISCOX when you check out. For everyone that signs up I get £50 added to my spending limit each month. So we all win. You also get this deal if YOU then refer a friend. It’s not something special I have and I’m not being paid by them, more’s the pity as I’ve had so many of my friends sign up to it!
1. Polaar Night Cream
2. Murad Retinol Youth Renew Night Cream
3. Elemis White Flower Eye + Lip Make Up Remover
4. Beauty Pie Dr Glycolic Micropeeling Pads
5. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid
6. Beauty Pie Double Phase Cleanser
SKIN – MORNING
My morning routine is fairly slap dash to be honest, but at least I’m still showering every day, I think that’s something to be proud of in these times. I also still get up at the same time as when I was going to work, AND I’m doing the bloody Joe Wicks every morning too. More often than not on my own as I can’t drag a child downstairs in time. It’s just a middle aged woman in Lycra doing Bunny Hops in her kitchen.
In the shower I use the Dermalogica Microfoliant a couple of times a week. It’s a bit fiddly as you have to mix in into a paste, but it’s good stuff and not harsh. Currently my shower gel of choice is Connock London Kukui oil. It smells SO good!
Talking of smells, I finally broke out of my 10 year Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir rut last year (although I do still love it) and added Scherzo by Miller Harris perfume to the shelf. It’s hard to say what it smells like, sort of floral without being sweet? but the good thing about Miller Harris is that you can order £3 samples to try before you take the plunge on a big one. Perfume is very personal and also not cheap, so always good to try first.
Pre-make up I just use Trish McEvoy’s beauty booster anti fatigue cream, which is an all in one SPF, moisturiser and primer. I know Beauty experts will probably tell me I should use them all individually but I can’t be arsed most days so this does the trick and I really like it. I’ve also started using her Sooth and Illuminate cream as it’s just sort of gives you a glow. I need a glow, especially in these Corona days when we don’t go out of the house much.
1. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant
2. Connock London Body Wash and Cream
3. Trish McEvoy Soothe & Illuminate Cream
4. Trish McEvoy Beauty Booster Cream SPF 30
5. Pixi Glow Tonic
6. Miller Harris Scherzo Perfume
Yes, I’m still wearing make-up most days. It just makes me feel better about myself when I pass by a mirror. Also I don’t want to scare the delivery people or get caught out on FaceTime. I’ve never worn huge amounts, but I always go with mascara and eyelash curlers. My regular everyday mascara is Trish McEvoy (again, I know, but I went to a ‘Masterclass’ with actual her a while back and she totally sold me into her range). Her mascara literally DOES NOT come off until you chip it off at the end of the day. If I want something with a bit more impact them I reach for the Pat McGrath Mascara. This one is really good and thick but it’s not smudge proof.
Base-wise, I am using Erborian CC Creme, which is just brilliant. Goes on white like a moisturiser, but just seems to match your skin and creates a sort of face filter without the need for foundation. I love Bare Minerals Bronzer and the cult classic Nars Orgasm blusher. Lipstick is also something I wear most days as without it I can look a bit dead. My everyday lipstick is ‘All Day Long’ from Beauty Pie. My ‘going out’ lipstick is Plum by Trish McEvoy. Needless to say that’s not had much action lately.
1. Erborian CC Creme
2. Pat McGrath Labs Fetish Eyes Mascara
3. Beauty Pie Futurel Lipstick Matte in ‘All Day Long’
4. Eyeko Eyelash Curlers
5. Bare Minerals Endless Summer Bronzer
6. Nars Blush in “Orgasm’
Finally, you’ll be glad to know, Body. Sorry this has gone on a bit. Maybe I should have chopped it up, it’s lot to get through in one post. Best body Lotion ever Kiehls Creme de Corps. It just rubs in so quick and is so soft. Best Tanning products are by Vita Liberata. I’ve tried them all and none have disappointed. My current favourite is their Gradual Tan. It’s not really gradual in that you only need to apply once and it lasts about a week.
I know it’s not really ‘Body’ as such, but a quick mention for nail polish. My top favourite brand is Essie, as they do the best colours and they tend to last longer. It’s a tie for me on best top coat. The classic best in show is Seche Vite obviously, but honourable mention to Essie Gel Setter Top Coat which (whisper it) I actually think is better.
Thanks for getting to the end of this! I hope you found it a bit useful and not too disappointing, in the same way I get when The Sunday Times Style Mag does a ‘Mens Fashion Special’ and I roll my eyes. Don’t panic, I’ll be back to fashion next week for sure.