The Christmas holidays have come and gone *sob* and since we didn’t get around to doing November or December favourites posts, I thought I would tell you which products I have enjoyed using most in the past couple of months. My beauty routine was generally made up of two extremes: loads of hair and makeup or none whatsoever, so this list is a mixture of good skincare and seriously beautiful makeup:
My skin tends to be oily on the T-zone, especially in summer, so SPF is my mortal enemy because it invariably makes my face feel horribly greasy and sticky. As a result, I will only use a facial sunscreen that is lightweight and matte to the touch and this one definitely fits the bill. It’s a very thin “aquafluid” (tick) with a finish that is described as “dry touch” (tick) and doesn’t make your face look like a white mask (tick). With a water resistant SPF of 50+, it’s perfect for the holidays and it worked a treat when we were in Mozambique – I wore it some fairly extreme conditions and didn’t get burned at all, even though I only applied it once each morning. It’s also suitable for sensitive skin and contains no fragrance or parabens.
I’m an absolute sucker for anything gold and sparkly, so I fell for this shade immediately when I had it painted on my nails at a recent FoxBox manicure. I picked up a bottle at Dischem (R) and have worn it at least three or four times since, especially over the festive season. The glitter is fine and dense so it looks really sparkly on the nails and it lasts very well with minimal chipping after 5 days. As with all glitter polishes, it’s an absolute bitch to get off but that’s unavoidable unfortunately; you just need to have patience when removing it.
There are a few makeup categories that I tend to hoard (primers, eyeshadow palettes, hair styling products) and lip balms are one of them. I discovered this one in the Clarins Advent Calendar and am head over heels for the smooth, nourishing formula that manages to be really moisturising without being heavy or sticky. In fact, the Clarins website describes it as having a “pleasant melting texture” which is spot on – it’s an absolute winner.
I don’t usually ask for specific things for Christmas but when I saw that this product was launching I made it clear to my husband that I expected to see this under the tree. Luckily for me, he complied and I was delighted to rip the wrapping paper off this on Christmas morning. I’ve used it loads since then and have completely fallen for the ethereal, luminous glow each powder gives your skin. My standout favourites so far are Dim Light (“a neutral peach beige powder that blurs imperfections and highlights the complexion”) and Luminous Flush (“a champagne rose blush fused with Luminous Light to evoke a candlelit glimmer”). This stuff really is as good as they say.
There’s been a lot of talk about the value of the palette (it’s wildly expensive and the pans are pretty small) but as I don’t own any full size Hourglass powders it’s actually a great way for me to try the different Ambient Lighting products (face powder, blush and bronzer). My NARS Yachiyo Kabuki brush fits perfectly into each pan so that’s not an issue for me, and I think the variety and quality of the powders make the palette a pretty special, if pricey, investment.
Here’s a classic example of my gold glitter obsession in action! I featured this gorgeous, affordable sparkly liner in my Ultimate Holiday Party Look Tutorial where I painted it all over the lid to spectacular effect (if I do say so myself!). I also used it as an inner corner highlight this past weekend when I wore a gold smokey eye to a wedding and it looked awesome. As I mentioned in the tutorial, glitter liner (essentially glitter suspended in clear adhesive) is a much more convenient alternative to the loose stuff that you have to use with glitter glue and tends to get everywhere.
H&M Beachy Keen Salt Water Cream & The Thick of It Volume Spray
The enormous new H&M Beauty line (sadly not available in SA) is getting lots of positive feedback so I was pretty excited to get my hands on it when we went to London in November. The range is HUGE so it’s a bit hard to decide what to buy, but the hair styling products spoke to me pretty loudly. As you’ll probably know, I’m addicted to texturising products that plump up my super fine, thin hair so these two seemed like a good choice. I’ve used them pretty much every day since then, layering the texturising spray over the styling cream to give my hair lots of volume and texture. They also happen to smell great and the packaging looks so cool and sophisticated – it actually reminds me a lot of the R+Co. products.
After sun is a holiday essential as far as I’m concerned – even if you haven’t burned, I think following a day in the sun with a super-hydrating body lotion is the best way to nourish and protect sun-stressed skin. This gel contains 90% pure, organic Aloe Ferox which has the benefit of being both hydrating and replenishing, reducing photo-ageing by restoring the activity of epidermal cells reduced by UV exposure. I used it all over my body (you can also use it on your face) at the end of every day in Mozambique it did the trick of keeping my skin soft and smooth after lots of swimming, suntanning and snorkeling. It absorbs easily and leaves no residue on the skin plus it has the added bonus of being a cruelty free, proudly South African product.
Longtime readers will know that Clinique’s High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara is an ADU Hall of Famer, because it builds massive volume and intensely black lashes. The new Chubby Lash Fattening Mascara from the brand is very similar so it was sure to be a hit, although I do find it a bit odd that they are almost identical. If you’re looking for lots of fluttery lashes then this isn’t for you – the effect is far more dense and chunky, giving you the effect of fewer but thicker lashes. I personally prefer that look with heavier makeup but I’ve also been wearing it every day for more minimal lashes which you can achieve with a single, light coat. For some reason, Chubby Lash appears to be R80 cheaper than HIEV so if you’re keen to try it then maybe give the cheaper one a whirl. You can see how it looks on me in this Instagram.
Whenever anyone asks me to recommend a perfume, I always tell them to try Estée Lauder Modern Muse. It’s just one of those fragrances that works on all sorts of different people, unlike some that appeal to a more specific age range or scent preference. The new variant, Modern Muse Le Rouge, has the heart of the original but is more floral, containing a shot of Bulgarian rose and red berries. The rose is light and sophisticated rather than rich and sickly, and the effect is fresh and modern and very feminine. Ultimately I think I prefer the original because it’s more versatile but as that bottle is finished (saddies) I’ll happily be powering through this one instead.