In the empties mix this month you'll find a bargain body lotion from Cerave that may be the most useful buy ever, a genius dry eye spray that's a mid-life must-have and a mega volumising mascara from Stila
From the bargain lip balm that is a must for chronically chapped lips to the ashwaghandha supplement to help ease stress, not to mention the cult blusher that truly does work for everyone, these are the 22 beauty, health and wellbeing products that we love so much we have used up every last drop. And we think you might love them too.
Victoria Woodhall, GTG Editorial Director
"A body cream with diamond particles isn’t your everyday lotion and for this reason, it’s taken me a good few months to ‘empty’ this ‘surgically inspired’ pot of brilliance. Like much of the brand’s facial skincare, it has It has its creator, the cosmetic surgeon Yannis Alexandrides’ NASA-inspired NAC Y2 blend of collagen-supporting super-antioxidants. (My colleague Jane Druker’s own sister thought she’d had ‘work’ done after a one-week course of 111Skin’s NAC Y2 treatment ampoules!). I use it once a week as a treatment overnight and it leaves my whole body soft like nothing else."
MTHK Eye Spray for Dry Eyes, £15.99
"So many of my mid-life friends say they suffer from dry eyes and I always alert them to this eye doctor-founded spray which your spritz directly onto the eyelids from about 10cm away. It instantly soothes the lids and eyeballs and gets rid of any gritty or papery feelings. It has liposomes that help boost tears, doesn’t make your mascara run as eye drops can, and unlike many eye drops which have a woefully short shelf life, stays fresh for six months. And because it’s such a fine mist you use hardly any. It’s as vital for me now as my moisturiser."
"If you are someone who could do with a little extra stress support, then ashwagandha might be something to consider as part of your toolbox. It’s now a firm fixture in mine. I always look for KSM-66, which has been shown to lower stress hormone cortisol, support hormone health as well as help physical performance and recovery. (Find out more about the benefits of ashwagandha here.) This blend, which you can take on an empty stomach without feeling queasy as it’s ‘food grown’ (ie non-synthetic), also has another of my go-to stress busters along with magnesium. If you’re unsure as to whether it’s right for you, you can have a free online consultation with a Wild Nutrition nutritional therapist via their website, before you buy."
"I was a little surprised when trichologist Anabel Kingsley prescribed me an anti-dandruff shampoo for my sensitive and slightly inflamed scalp, but this light gel is nothing like the thick and heavy consistency of other well-known anti-dandruff shampoos. It packs a gentle punch for anyone whose scalp needs a little TLC, whether you have dandruff or not. It has cleansing and anti-microbial ingredients that take down redness and I’ve noticed that my scalp isn’t its usual angry beetroot whenever I have my colour done, it has definitely calmed down, which means healthier hair all round."
SJ Corfield-Smith, GTG Beauty Director
“This is a great does-it-all-in-one-bottle type of product. It combines all the big skincare hitters; glycolic for resurfacing, granactive retinoid for wrinkles, coenzyme Q10 for pigmentation and resurfacing, ferulic acid for calming redness ,not to mention lots of antioxidant-rich ingredients. You may feel a slight tingle on application, that’s it getting to work, and on waking your skin feels like velvet and looks so much brighter.”
Nars Blush in Orgasm, £27.50
“Of all the makeup products I’ve ever owned, this iconic blusher has been the one with which I’ve had the longest relationship. It’s the blusher I wore on my wedding day and it’s the blusher that I have recommended the most. That’s because it strikes the perfect balance between adding a flush as well as just the right amount of shimmer. It works on all skin tones, although there are more pigmented versions of it now available for darker skin tones, and it lasts ages - even if you use it pretty much every day like me.”
“If fake tanning is not your thing but you want to add some glow and colour to your skin, then let me introduce you to this. It’s the modern day, more chic version of women in the 1940s staining their legs with tea to make it look like they were wearing tights. You can either spray this liquid instant tan straight onto the skin or onto a tanning mitt and then you simply sweep it all over - it can be used on face and body - et voila, you are tanned. No waiting around, no development time, as you simply wash it off at night. It also has a slight luminosity to it so there’s no worry that the colour will look flat and unrealistic on your skin.”
“Even though I know I should be putting regular treatments on my hair, who has the time to hang around in the shower for ten minutes waiting for one to sink in? That’s why I love this. It’s a hybrid deep conditioner and heat protector that you apply to washed hair before you blow-dry and style. It says it repairs split ends for up to ten washes, I can’t speak for that but what I can say is that I use it after every wash and it’s made my coloured hair feel really soft and far easier to style.”
Amy Rostas, GTG Beauty and Social Media Assistant
"My mum recommended the Trinny London Skin Perfector BFF SPF 30 Cream to me, as she is obsessed with it, and I must say, I loved it too! The light, natural coverage blends seamlessly with your skin tone, leaving a gorgeous, glowy finish. Although it has SPF 30, I still wear an additional layer of suncream underneath for extra protection - my current favourite is the Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF50+ Hydrating Skinscreen, £34 which works really well underneath the BFF. If you want glowy flawless skin then you need to try this combo!"
"I absolutely loved using this hydration kit by JVN and was so sad when I finished it. This kit contains everything you need to keep your hair feeling soft and hydrated, including shampoo, conditioner, mask, and an air-dry cream. The woody scent is heavenly, and the products leave your hair feeling soft without any greasiness. It's an excellent option for those who want to try out the products before committing to full-size purchases, or for travelling. I especially enjoyed using the mask every other wash.
"This dewy cream is a delight for anyone who has slightly drier skin. It's incredibly hydrating without leaving any oily residue, and I adore it, using it sparingly over six months because I didn't want to finish it. The cream sinks in quickly, leaving skin feeling plump and refreshed."
"I've never slept so well in my life thanks to these wonderful drops from Dreem Distillery. I'm already on my second bottle and I'm saving up for more. I've recommended them to all my friends and they've all had the same experience. I know they're a bit pricey, but this bottle has lasted me five months. The brand says each bottle has around 120 uses depending on how many drops you take (I like seven a night). They have a slight peppermint flavour which is very palatable, unlike some other CBD drops that taste quite earthy."
*The CBD product mentioned is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. We recommend that you check with your GP/doctor before starting a new dietary supplement.
Ingeborg van Lotringen, Contributing Beauty Editor
Cerave Moisturising Lotion, £11.50
There are a lot of very expensive, active-ingredient-packed body creams out there and I’m sure they can make a difference to skin quality - but only if you use them consistently. And with prices that high, it’s unlikely a lot of people will commit. So to have a body moisturiser (that btw also works for the face) with a good dose of skin-healing ceramides like this that I can actually afford is great. And the fact that it absorbs instantly and doesn’t leave limbs sticky (the number 1 reason people don’t use body cream) is even better.
This SPF is scented and too expensive – two things I dislike. So why do I keep coming back to this as my day protection staple, despite the onslaught of new face SPFs? Because it has solid broad-spectrum protection of course, but also the best texture. Very hydrating and comfortable, it’s nonetheless not oily and never clashes with my battery of serums, nor any foundations. It has the slightest tint to gently perfect, and a pollution shield to withstand London airborne filth. I love it so much I have to cut all my tubes up to get to the bottom.
Brow mascaras are becoming like cherry red lip balms to me: I’ve got about a dozen on the go. If you have a decent natural brow shape and no great gaps, raking one of these through your brows is the most fail-safe way to make them look more voluminous and visible, as you’re not drawing on anything that wasn’t there but instead tinting and plumping existing hairs just as you would with mascara. Most people don’t have huge brows though, so what you don’t want is a huge brush. And this super-skinny one is the best around: it won’t deposit clumps of product and is fine enough to perfect slim brow tails without making a mess. It allows you to style and shape brows too, and it comes in four shades. Shame I’ve scraped out the very last of the formula.
Christina Callaghan, GTG Commercial Director
"Image Skincare has a reputation for using high-quality, clinically proven ingredients and advanced formulas that deliver real results. I am usually one to frequently change up my cleanser based on how my skin is feeling, but there’s a reason I’ve gone through this tube in less than two months. The new Biome+ range is all about nurturing, comforting, and brightening. Combining the softness of a cream with the slip of a cleansing oil, this skin-nurturing cleansing balm gently dissolves the day, leaving behind super-soft, hydrated skin.I have also been using the two other products from the range (Smoothing Cloud Creme and Dew Bright Serum), which my skin is loving."
Aquaphor Lip Repair, £6.25
"A cult favourite for anyone who is on a course of Roaccutane, this is the ONLY lip balm that has helped with the constant struggle of dry, chapped and cracked lips. I have tried countless lip balms but none of them have provided me with the same level of hydration and long-lasting relief. This product is formulated with a unique blend of natural oils, shea butter, and glycerin, which work together to soothe and hydrate even the driest and most sensitive lips (I also use it on and in my nose, as everything is dry!). It also has a non-greasy texture, which makes it comfortable to wear throughout the day.. It has been a lifesaver for me, and I know that it will continue to be a staple in my skincare routine even after my course of medication is over. I am into month three of my couse and have gone through four tubes, which just shows how obsessed I am!"
"Growing up in Australia, SPF has always been a staple in my skincare routine. I am always on the hunt for sunscreen that offers both protection and nourishment for my skin. This ticks all the boxes for me, especially because it's 50+. One of the things I love about this product is its lightweight texture. It doesn't feel heavy or greasy on my skin, and it sinks in quickly without leaving any sticky residue. In fact, I have found that it also acts as a great primer for makeup, creating a smooth base that helps my foundation to glide on. It has a lovely light smell and a little goes a long way. I’ve tried hundreds of different sunscreens over the years and this is definitely my favourite."
Marie-Louise Pumfrey, GTG contributor
"Last winter I was given my favourite gift ever - a Jo Loves Christmas Tree diffuser which has been filling my sitting room with its glorious piney pong ever since. It’s now coming to an end and I’ve got my eye on their new zingy Mango, Lime and Thai fragrance for summer. The diffuser is a sculptural white ceramic globe which come with three reed diffusing sticks. They last for months and have fragrant refills for all the seasons."
"Ren recently launched an ultra-hydrating serum which I’ve been sharing with my daughter, who suffers from dry skin caused by the Accutane acne treatment she had six years ago. This boasts up to 72 hours of hydration and we can both report that it's effective for both dry and dehydrated skin. It contains an algae-activated complex of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. I’m a long-term fan of Ren, pioneers of clean-skincare, cruelty-free, vegan and clinically proven bioactive ingredients."
"After a long winter, my skin was looking horribly pasty so I've been treating myself to the Bio Effect body serum every night. It contains a high concentration of their signature skin-replenishing protein, EGF which is derived from barley and has a quick-absorbing formulation. My skin has been drinking it up and is looking way more summer ready. It’s oil and fragrance-free and also hypoallergenic."
"A couple of years ago I noticed how short and thin my eyelashes had become so I used a lash serum every night for six months, which worked but was a bit of a faff. When I ran out they became stubby again, I decided to just find a really good mascara instead. The best I’ve come across is by Stila. This one delivers the biggest and boldest lashes ever. You need just one coat to get mega volume, length and curl. It's also clinically tested and great for contact lens wears. I’m obsessed."