After the longest winter ever, we’re finally seeing glimmers of brighter days ahead. The one thing that’s kept me going beauty-wise has been products that engage the senses. Much as I appreciate purely functional products, I’m far more likely to use things if they look, smell and feel nice.
SKINCARE. Apart from the odd central heating-induced breakout, my skin’s been surprisingly well behaved this year. My morning routine is fairly simple – oil or balm cleanser, followed by hydrating serum, moisturiser and facial oil. Shiseido’s Vital Protection Radiance Serum* (£106 below) has been a joy to use. Even though it’s a creamy texture, it’s quite ‘wet’, so it gives a good amount of slip for morning facial massage (I use my knuckles but you can also use a gua sha stone). While it’s pitched as anti-ageing (for fading dark spots and firming the jawline), I just use it as an extra boost of hydration.
For moisturisers, I’ve been sticking to my old favourite lightweight gel creams, Clinique Moisture Surge*, Boy de Chanel Fortifying Gel Moisturizer* (Mr DRG likes this too) and Beauty Pie Japanfusion Light Urban Air Purifying Moisturiser*, an ultra light moisturiser with Vitamin C-rich antioxidants and squalane to support the skin barrier. I definitely lean more towards understated J-Beauty (Japan-inspired) and G-Beauty (German-inspired) than the performative quirkiness of K-Beauty, even though Korean skincare has been a huge influence on beauty habits generally.
A good example of my kind of G-Beauty is Olverum, a heritage German brand whose therapeutic oils have been used in body and bath products for 90 years. The new Olverum Pure Radiance Facial Oil* (£60 for 15ml, below) is quite a densely packed cocktail of essential oils and botanical extracts, including Bakuchiol, known as the natural, non-irritating alternative to retinol – aka the active hero ingredient that helps speed up skill cell turnover and stimulate new collagen. I’m usually quite cautious about using so-called ‘actives’ (targeted problem-solving ingredients), as they can be harsh if you don’t choose the right concentration for your skin. This oil is a gentle one though, containing Rosehip oil and corn-based Vitamin C to help even skin tone and improve skin texture.
Olverum’s head of product development, Eco Arakaki assured me there’s no danger of the irritation sometimes associated with retinol products, so this oil is fine to use day or night – although of course we should be using SPF in the daytime regardless. The lovely thing about this oil is the emphasis on holistic wellbeing. It suggests a few facial massage techniques to apply the oil and is infused with the feel-good scents of cardamom and Russian Clary Sage oil.
MAKE-UP. For most of lockdown, I used a lot less foundation because I found Cle de Peau’s stick concealer* (£54) did such a brilliant job on undereye shadows and blemishes. I always use a Zoeva 142 Concealer Buffer brush* to apply, or a fine lip brush if I need to do any detailed spot concealing. Whatever’s left on the Zoeva brush after doing my under eye shadows is enough to cover the little red areas around the nose or the odd maskne breakout. Although it’s expensive, the coverage is pretty budge-proof and it has impressive staying power. I’m also very much enjoying the new Cle de Peau Radiant Fluid Natural Foundation* (£110), which is the perfect all-day, medium coverage formula now we’re out and about a bit more. The Japanese just do it better when it comes to that minimal, no make-up vibe!
And now that masks are coming off a bit too (well, inside restaurants), I’ve been revisiting stronger lip colours. Givenchy’s Le Rouge Luminous Matte lipstick (£29.50) is really good for leaving a non-drying stain thanks to its formula containing hyaluronic acid, which helps skin to hold onto moisture. The texture of this is beautifully smooth. I always use a balm first and blur the edges with a cotton bud. When I’m out I apply my balm with a lip brush to minimise unnecessary mouth touching. Chanel’s Long Wear lip pencil* has a great brush at the other end.
BODY CREAMS. My constant body cream companion during the last few months has been the fantastically indulgent Editions De Parfums Frédéric Malle Musc Ravageur Body Butter* (£115). This smells and feels obscenely decadent, with its brandy cream-like texture and equally boozy notes of warm cinnamon, tonka bean, musk and sandalwood. As a firm believer in the power of scent as a mood transformer, this one possesses almost ecclesiastical degrees of exaltation. Going into summer though, I expect to be reaching more for Costa Brazil’s super-smooth and instantly absorbing Body Cream* (£95) or Glossier’s Body Hero Dry-Touch Oil Mist* (£24), a neroli-scented spray oil that combines the skin-nourishing benefits of sunflower seed, grape seed and oat oils.
HAIR. Finally, what’s the deal with all the scalp products around these days? I can’t move for scrubs and serums promising skincare benefits for hair. This has all come from the post-lockdown realisation that our hair does indeed benefit from scalp care in the same way as the skin on our face. Naturelab Tokyo is a line of affordable Japanese hair products of which the Perfect Shine Clarifying Scalp Scrub* (£17) is so satisfying to use. This super-gentle exfoliating scrub uses sugar crystals, hyaluronic acid and probiotic sake water to strengthen the scalp’s skin barrier, clear dull cells and stimulate follicles. Used once a week, it’s gentle enough for bleached, coloured or chemically treated hair and can be found at Cult Beauty* and Ulta Beauty*
NOW CLICK BELOW TO SHOP THE POST (I MAY EARN A COMMISSION ON THE BASKET VALUE OF ITEMS BOUGHT*)…
WORDS AND IMAGES: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links* and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here