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Finding The One: health and beauty products the GTG team love
February 13th 2014
Forget Cupid - our GTG writers have already found The One in the shape of their ultimate health or beauty treat that they can't live without...
With Valentine's day looming, amore is certainly the order of the day but the Glossy Posse aren't waxing lyrical about mere mortals, oh no. Our columnists are professing their love for The One; a product or treatment, in the world of health of beauty, that has entirely swept them off their feet and enchanted them endlessly. Read on to find out precisely what tugs on our heartstrings...
Tragically, I am well past the first flush of youth. Luckily, there's this little wonder. It's a sheer cherry/berry that suits pretty much all skin tones, and works both on lips and cheeks. It's low-key, but it puts back just enough of a bloom to boost confidence and make me feel not a complete sack of old bones.
Diptyque Candles, £40.00
For me it would have to be lots of Diptyque gorgeousness… those candles are still so heart-palpitatingly wantable. In my dreams I would love my husband to commission a perfume especially for me by Lyn Harris. That would be beyond romantic (and beyond unlikely!).
Balm. I literally can't leave the house without it. Specifically, we're talking about Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream and its deliciously softening effects. I'm a girl who can't wear a lipstick without an obsessive compulsive urge to check it's still there every five minutes and the priority for my pout has always been moisture over colour. It's also the thing I take to bed with me. Every. Single. Night. I slather on an obscene amount, rendering myself entirely unkissable, but wake up with ridiculously soft, plumped up lips. And every morning I'm incredibly glad I did. Plus, on days when I just can't really be bothered to apply a full face of make-up - these are the days that involve errands in sportswear - I use it as a glistening eye shadow and cheek highlighter too. Cellophane skin with one easy balm.
The one beauty treat I would get on a plane for, sell all my high heels for, go naked in the street for (believe me I would if I was pushed), is not a product as such, but a treatment – it’s the Keratin Blow-Dry at the Josh Wood Atelier.
Now you may think ‘How can a woman lose her marbles over a hair treatment?’ but then you haven’t seen my hair in its natural state. It’s a bit like Pre-Raphaelite hair on acid. Don’t get me wrong, I love curly hair, texture and waves but my hair is something else. Oh, and did I mention unmanageable? It’s totally unmanageable.
I have struggled with my unruly hair all my life – I got called ‘Frazzle’ by the boys at school, and would cry and cry when my mum’s attempts at smoothing it out failed. I tried every deep conditioner known to man and when I was a teenager I would take a jumper with me everywhere so I could throw it over my head if it rained (an umbrella was far too uncool) in fear of it springing into a pubic-style frizz.
For two years of my life I spent about an hour washing and straightening it, up until a few years ago when I discovered the Brazilian blow-dry. This treatment transformed my life in that it knocked out all frizz, and left my wire-wool hair silky and soft. However I was always worried about the fact that it contained formaldehyde – a strong chemical known for embalming dead bodies which was also discovered to smooth hair follicles too (don’t think I don’t find this weird). I was also worried that bits of my hair were mysteriously breaking off at the front.
However, about a month ago I discovered something even better - the Keratin Blow-Dry at the Josh Wood Atelier. This involves the application of an intense keratin treatment which is blow-dried and ironed into the hair, before leaving it on for three days, much like the Brazilian blow-dry but without the dead body chemicals. When I washed it out my hair was silkier, more manageable and smoother than ever before and still is four weeks on. I can even just blast it with a hairdryer and go. Its effects have to be seen to be believed.
I am an ambassador for this brand so I am biased, but all I can say about this product - a new, stage two, super-strength version of the famous Connect spray - is that it makes your hair grow. Period. I am 100% completely in love with it. And a convert for life.
Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan EDP, £69.00
I hate this question. I realise that part of my job description is to point readers in the direction of products, therapies and ideas that work and deserve attention. Ask me to divulge the stuff that speaks to me on a personal level, however, and there’s part of me that’s tempted to point people in completely the other direction. I tend to get a little possessive around the things I love. I don’t want people to hear the unsigned band that clearly deserve international success or the book that’s changed my life. The moment something becomes mainstream, it tends to lose its appeal, its magic.
The same thing happens with fragrance. I dodge the fragrance question a lot for fear that someone else will source a bottle and then I’m robbed of some part of my identity. Clearly, this needs to stop. It’s really quite pathetic and it’s kind of undermining my career as a journalist.
The truth is I’ve stuck with the same three fragrances for about 10 years. I can share one of them. When I think of love (well, sex, if I’m being completely honest) there’s only one scent that I turn to: Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan, a smokey, benzoin-laden aphrodisiac that works just as well on men as it does on women.
This is no ordinary amber, mind you. As with all Lutens’ fragrances, the ingredients are top secret. There’s some honey in there, copious quantities of labdanum and just the slightest hint of something powdery… sometimes I catch a whiff of vanilla. The composition, however, is unimportant. What matters is the primal reaction this fragrance gets: people step in closer. Even I have to surreptitiously sniff my own wrists from time to time.
It is passionate and animal, smokey and intoxicating, with none of the softness that people usually associate with amber. It’s filthy… really filthy. In a romantic sort of way. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Guerlain's pressed meteorites powder is the sole reason I have pushed every foundation I own to the back of the drawer. I know, it came as a shock to me too! This finely milled, soft and silky powder covers like no other, while giving the effect that your skin is completely bare. I'd choose this over flowers and chocolates any day!
Byredo Rose Noir Parfum, £88.00
Byredo Parfum Rose Noir. This is the most romantic product I've ever owned, my favourite perfume by far. The Swedish brand's simple, almost medicinal packaging belies the earthy scent within. A lot of rose scents can be sickly, but this is all natural on the nose, right down to the damp, mossy undertones. Rose Noir is the perfect name: it's somehow very sexy.
My instinct is to go for my eyeshadow, liquid eyeliner, all-time favourite mascara or signature scent when it comes to picking the one product I would give anything for; I couldn't leave the house without them (let alone live without them), but I've come to learn that skincare really is the be all and end all of beauty. It may not be pretty or colourful or exciting, but all the make-up in the world can't beat the beauty of good skin.
As someone with very sensitive, often reactive skin, this little gem from Clarins has come to be my emergency pit-stop whenever I run into trouble. It soothes when skin is sore and tight from the cold, calms when redness flares up and stops reactions in their tracks. My daily battle with sensitivity has become less of a struggle since I discovered it and as my safety net, it gives me the freedom to experiment more with beauty products, which makes me very happy. It’s my skin’s soulmate, in sickness and in health.
I never thought I'd be that girl but of all the many bewitching things in the land of beauty and health, I am most infatuated with my Vitamix. Yes, I'm besotted with a blender. Gone are the days when eating my five-a-day seemed nigh impossible, I can now be found making all manner of downright delicious smoothie concoctions, on a daily basis, with more fruit and veg than you could shake a stick at. This ingenious machine makes everything from soup to ice-cream with such little effort that using it, oddly, allows me time to be a tad meditative. Bizarre, I know. Some have Buddha, I have a blender.
Village Bakery rye bread. Woe betide anyone else in the house touches it. I keep it pretty much under lock and key in the fridge. I have it every morning, in soldiers with homemade raw cashew butter made with raw cashews, coconut oil and Maldon salt. Without it, I die.
Forget red silk panties and a matching bra set, chuck out the chocs and bin the useless bottles of perfume; what a girl wants for Valentine's Day (apart from a large bottle of fizz and a cheeky fag) is a trip to Selfridges make-up department and a half hour consultation for a Bespoke Face Cream at the Organic Pharmacy. Now, I have slathered my leathery chops with many things but there is something about the delicious clean smell, the thick, easily-absorbed cream and the smooth glossy skin it creates that makes me actually look forward to my Organic Pharmacy moment EVERY morning. Nothing else comes close.
I’d say it would have to be L’Oreal’s BB Cream. It blows every other BB cream out of the water, in my opinion, and gives a flawless, matte, even glow. I wear it all the time, even on the beach and skiing. It never fails me.
Without a doubt the only rose I want to receive this V Day. It turns bog-standard blusher into the first flush of love - sheeny, healthy cherubic cheeks guaranteed, no matter how bad your hangover or state of sleep deprivation. Buffed high onto cheekbones it mimics supermodel contours in a flash, yet it’s not too fiddly or try-hard. Worn alone it’s like your slinkiest lingerie (barely there), and layered with blusher or bronzer it’s fabulous face upholstery. It keeps you looking perky through day and night and lasts an age. Just don’t drop it. I managed to smash a prized brick in the past and it’s the only time I’ve applied the ‘five second rule’ to make-up (just scoop it back into the compact, no one need know). This glow-giver is far too precious to part with.
I’ve only been using this product for about four or five months but I have to say I have no idea how I ever survived without it. I am now inseparable from it and verging on slightly obsessive - so much so that when my best friend’s sister asked if she could just ‘borrow a little as her face was feeling a little dry’ I quickly threw it under the bed and claimed that I’d completely lost it. To this day I continue to have to apply the cream in secret so that my psychotic behaviour won’t be revealed.
Credited as ‘eight hours sleep in a jar’ this pot of night-cream is an absolute hydrating saviour for my often pale and pallid complexion, leaving my skin more soft and supple than any other product. No matter what escapades have occurred during the weekend, a dousing of this cream (with an extra helping on Sunday night) leaves my skin plumper, perkier and very slightly pinker. While nothing can quite replace the glowing beauty of actual rest and relaxation, this cream has helped me save face countless times and so for that I am eternally and unconditionally hers.
If you want my love on Valentine’s Day please keep all those boxes of chocolates (they only make me fat) and the bunches of red roses (such a cliché) - they only last a couple of days anyway!
What I would dearly love is some of the new Creme de la Mer Lifting Contour Serum that launched this February. That would make me feel beautiful; it works its magic to make my skin feel plump, smooth and deï¬nitely less lined. I can’t live without it. I hope a certain someone is reading this…
Although I won't say no to a bunch of fresh flowers any day (not just Valentine's), Jo Loves A Shot of Fresh Sweet Peas Bath Cologne, £59 is a gorgeous concoction which captures the natural wispy etherealness of the delicate flowers - as if you're soaking in the scent, with a sheer lasting trail on your skin afterwards.
With my Beauty Crushes changing by the week, it would be understandable if you thought that I got around a fair bit. Despite my wandering eye though, there are some products that I always go home to and Shu Uemura’s Art of Hair Essence Absolue has definitely been worth staying faithful for.
With one of my New Year’s resolutions being to use my hair straighteners less, this golden elixir has been great for restoring suppleness, shine and softness to my brittle, weather-worn hair. Despite there being many oils out at the moment that promise the same results, I’ve been hard-pushed to find another as hard-working as this one for smoothing out my ends after blasting them dry at home. Ideal used either as a pre-shampoo treatment or a leave-in conditioner (I usually opt for the latter), it’s has been my secret weapon in resisting the allure of my under-used straightening irons this winter and feigning frizz-free locks without the need for extra heat.
Fresh Soy Cleanser, from £9.68
After years of dating other face washes that left me dry and made me break out, I finally found my life partner: Soy Cleanser by Fresh. It's soft and gentle on my skin and is so delicate I can wash my eye make-up off practically with my eyes open.