We are demanding beauty journos, so if we stick with a product until we’ve got nowt left, you know it’s going to be good
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We’ve had teenagers duelling over deodorant, done layering experiments with perfume, and got to the bottom of no less than four of the same brow mascaras. The sum total is that team GTG’s winter empties, from forever-faves to brand-new discoveries, are well and truly, er, empty. Here’s exactly why we love them so much.
Victoria Woodhall, GTG editorial director
“By the way, that shampoo you gave me has completely cured my dandruff.’ So said to my husband this week, unprompted. Bottles of the original Head and Shoulders shampoo have appeared in our bathroom over the years, but the dandruff has remained; not so now with this new Dermaxpro range, which has an anti-dandruff ingredient but crucially also addresses scalp health with soothing and protecting aloe vera, vitamin E and coconut milk. It took two weeks for his scalp to become clear and his hair is newly shiny. The Dermaxpro Scalp Balm £9.99, which he also tried, was a little sticky for him, but for very dry scalps it may be just the thing.”
“My teens have been duelling over this deodorant, which my 18-year-old daughter says categorically is the ‘only one that works’. I have encouraged them towards more natural deodorants – they have tried many over the years – but none had met with such rapturous praise as this one by US coconut-oil skincare brand Kopari. It’s a clear gel with odour-absorbing charcoal (it’s baking soda-free, which can irritate some people and leave white flakes) and is very mildly scented with natural fragrances and sage. There’s a Beach scented version , £13 that we also like. To replace my empty, I’ve got my eye on the new Performance Plus version , £15."
“Like Inge (see below) I’m a devotee of retinol-focused skincare brand Medik8, which has something to suit everyone, from retinol newcomers to the sensitive-skinned to die-hard retinol devotees. Their special formula called retinyl retinoate blends traditional retinol with clinical strength retinoic acid for turbocharged results (wrinkle-smoothing, firming) without irritation. The formulation ensures you can use it during the day without the retinol degrading in sunlight. Yes, £90 is steep for an eye cream but this 50ml pump bottle lasted me a good six months; it’s simply the best retinol eye cream I have found. I always pair it with SPF.”
“I rarely finish a moisturiser as there are always so many to test, but this light but mighty day and night age-proofing cream kept drawing me back until every scrap was gone – and so you’d hope, for the price. For mature skin such as mine that eats up moisturiser, this is heaven. I’m never left high and dry. The main ingredient is barrier-building purslane, which Sturm uses in many of her glow-getting and fragrance-free products, which have legions of A-list fans (Hailey Bieber, Elle Macpherson). It goes well over my favourite actives such as growth factors, peptides and retinol.”
Jemma Thompson, GTG graphic design and social media manager
Byoma Brightening Serum , £12.99
"New skin barrier boosting brand Byoma has piqued my interest. I raved about their gel moisturiser in February's Glossy Picks . Now I'm completely focused on their brightening and hydrating serum. It contains niacinamide and hyaluronic acid, which work together to lock in moisture and improve skin tone and texture. As someone with blemish-prone skin, I'm constantly dealing with acne scars, and this has significantly reduced them. My only complaint is that I finish the bottle too quickly - I use about five drops per day and it lasts me a month. It has a very watery texture so don't apply too much! But even if you do, at £13, it won't break the bank."
"This luxe body wash was introduced to me last year at our Get The Gloss Beauty and Wellness Awards, when it was voted was one of our top five bath and shower hero finalists. Warm, woody, and musky notes aren't usually scents I gravitate towards, but this is absolutely divine. There is a high percentage of fragrance (as one would expect from a perfume house) that lasts for hours. It also pairs well with one of my favourite fragrances, Jo Malone's Pomegranate Noir. This is a gentle, conditioning and comforting wash that is paraben and sulphate-free and will give you a truly spa-like shower experience. Although it is pricey, it is well worth the investment."
111Skin Rose Gold Brightening Facial Treatment Mask , £20 (single mask)
"Sneak backstage at any fashion show or red-carpet event and you're bound to find a MUA or two using this mask to prep skin. Loved by everyone from Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to Margot Robbie, this cult buy isn't just a best-seller because of the hype. It is effective, packed as it is with radiance-boosting ingredients such as 24k gold (fancy!) and damask rose to illuminate and calm your skin for a party-ready glow. I wouldn't exactly call it a miracle worker, but it always boosts my confidence as well as my skin when I’m off to the ball. I suppose you can consider it your fairy godmother."
"With six shades to choose from, ranging from light blonde to auburn brown and black, this creamy brow pencil is essential for creating fluffy brows. The triangular tip pencil, which is extremely easy and soft to blend thanks to the fluffy mini kabuki brush at one end, really works for defining and adding structure to your brows. Mine (pictured) are in desperate need of a thread, but you wouldn't know it thanks to this pencil. Best of all, the 12-hour-wear waterproof formula never fades or smudges throughout the day."
Amy Rostas, GTG beauty and social media assistant
“This ultra-absorbent dry shampoo is formulated with hydrating oat milk and leaves my hair feeling soft and nourished. I have found it makes my blow dry last so much longer, without it feeling heavy or making my scalp itch. It adds an incredible amount of volume to my hair which is superb for my limp strands! This Klorane dry shampoo has been around since 1971, so it is no surprise it is loved by many and for only £9.50 I will definitely be repurchasing this empty! Bonus point: it is suitable for sensitive scalps."
“I'm usually conservative when it comes to scents, but this intense day-to-night perfume, from Huda Kattan's sister Mona Kattan, is so deliciously sweet and musky with vanilla and coconut tones, that it makes me feel like a Greek goddess. My friends couldn't stop sniffing me and after six months of compliments, my bottle is empty. It has made me want to try some of Kayali’s other scents, which come in 10ml low-risk size such as Musk , £21 Elixir , £22. The packaging is so luxe, with a glass rose-gold opaque bottle it feels more expensive than it is. This is a fragrance to push you out of your comfort zone – in the best possible way.”
The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid , Was £5.99 now £4.49
“I am a big fan of The Inkey List and besides this hyaluronic acid serum, I regularly rebuy the matching Hyaluronic Acid Cleanser , £9.99 and the Omega Water Cream Moisturiser , £9.99. I have extremely sensitive skin so I find choosing a serum quite difficult as I don’t know quite what I react to. This serum is simple and is predominantly hyaluronic acid (after water and glycerin). I use this every day and surprisingly for such a small bottle, it has lasted four months or more. I experienced even better hydration results once I'd realised that it was best applied to a damp face. For those of us with sensitive skin, panic can set in when we try something news, so having a trusted favourite, that's a bargain to repurchase is a godsend."
“SPF is my daily essential and since I started wearing it, the issues I was having with my skin barrier have completely vanished. I have even converted my boyfriend to the benefits of daily sun cream. This is a lightweight, primer-type formula that gives my face a glowy finish and protects my skin at the same time. This sun cream protects from broad-spectrum UV rays and blue light. It absorbs quickly and my makeup applies seamlessly on top of it. Although it feels soft and slippery it does not leave you greasy at all. It also includes hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 for moisture and hydration. My skin is never dry.”
Catherine Fulwood, GTG Commercial Manager
"This super gentle unscented gel cleanser is always in my face wash rotation. It’s ideal for those days when your skin is feeling a little more sensitive and best of all no stinging if you get it in your eyes, which happens more than I care to admit! The papaya enzymes gently exfoliate without drying or stripping the face of all its natural oils, leaving the perfect canvas for your skincare. As always with Facegym products, there’s a handy QR code to scan for top tips on a face sculpting application for those days when you have a little more time to indulge. I massage in the cleanser with nasal sweeps – gentle circles with your fingertips on either side of the nose. This aids lymphatic drainage and clears any congestion that's built up overnight."
"My Glow Recipe products are always a staple on my bedside table and this Watermelon Glow Body Cream is the one I turn to the most, plus it’s pink! The pump applicator makes it a no brainer to use before getting into bed or post-shower. I’m a lazy moisturiser, so anything that makes my life easier is a win in my book. While I think it’s almost impossible to replicate the true watermelon smell, this is not overpoweringly sweet and reminds me of products I used back in my teens (in a good way!)."
"I discovered Sebastian Professional Potion 9 , £22.85 (a styling gel, used on damp hair to add moisture and prolong your blow-dry) a couple of years ago and it became a firm staple in my hairstyling routine. I was keen to put more of the range to the test and this Hydre moisturising conditioner was my top pick. As my hair is bleached to within an inch of its life every few months it needs a lot of love, and this conditioner has helped keep it on track. I apply lashings of it after double shampooing and leave for three-to-five minutes to fully marinate. The barely-there 'clean' scent (there's no added fragrance) isn’t overpowering, and lingers in the hair just the right amount, leaving it hydrated and ready for styling."
"I dashed off on a last-minute skiing trip over the weekend and chucked this Kloris hand and body lotion in my carry on. I knew my body would need a little extra TLC each evening from the harsher elements and extra exertion and this was ideal! One, at 75ml it’s the perfect size for a quick jaunt and two with a mixture of oils, such avocado, hemp and camellia, plus one per cent CBD provided the perfect antidote for my tired limbs. I lathered on each evening with wild abandon, impressed at the speed of absorption, before donning the layers again for a bit of apres-ski indulgence"
Verity Clark, GTG writer
When it comes to my skincare, glow is the name of the game. I’ve been using this hyaluronic acid-rich cream as my pre-SPF skincare step for a few months now and I’ve really fallen in love with its rich, indulgent texture. It's lightweight but still intensely hydrating, and definitely one for the winter months when my skin drinks up moisture. There is a faint stickiness once applied (due to the hyaluronic acid) but not enough to be annoying. It's also very heavily scented (I might as well be slathering marmalade onto my face), so if you’re sensitive to fragrance or not keen on smelling like a jaffa cake then this probably isn’t for you. I, however, am all aboard the citrus train.
I’m not usually a big believer in having separate skincare for morning and night, unless there is SPF (daytime only) or retinol (nighttime) in it. But I’ve been using this serum exclusively at night and it’s become a real staple in my evening ritual. Lumene is a Finnish brand and known for using Nordic ingredients such as lingonberry and cloudberry. These two delicious-sounding superfruits are the stars of the show here; both help to hydrate skin and are rich in antioxidants. The serum is quite watery in texture, and mega lightweight. It has an almost cooling effect when you apply it so although I’ve been using it over the winter I think it'll make for a great holiday serum to quench and repair after a day in the sun.
I’m very lucky that I get to try lots of gorgeous, fancy skincare but sometimes you just can’t beat a basic skin care product. When I feel like I’ve overdone it on the acids or that I’ve exposed my skin to harsh weather or a lot of pollution, I reach for this. Effectively a mixture of thermal spring water, sourced from Avene’s own spring, and hydrating glycerin, there’s nothing fancy about this, but sometimes basic is best. Soothing and non-irritating, I recommend this time and time again to friends with dry, irritated skin.
Ingeborg van Lotringen, GTG contributor
Beauty Pie Wonder Colour Shadow Stick in Fauna, £25/£6.90 with membership
"Makeup brushes are too much like hard work for me; I’m a cream-colour-and-fingers girl. Beauty Pie’s eye colour sticks are the best – extremely highly pigmented yet easy to work and blend, they set after a while and absolutely won’t budge. Deep gold Huntress and this, a tree bark shade devoid of myxomatosis-eye red tones, are my faves and I’m always running out."
"They cost half a mortgage but Medik8’s R-Retinoate products are the only retinoids I will use. Regular retinol is too much for my skin, but magically, this blend of the retinol derivatives r-retinoate and retinaldehyde is MORE potent than retinol but LESS irritating. It never causes my skin trouble but it keeps my 52-year-old face from going decrepit. That’s another bottle gone…."
"The original brow mascara and still the best. I don’t like shoe brush sized wands -how can you achieve precision?!- but this brush is suitably tiny. It won’t deposit massive blobs of colour so lets me shape my brows neatly. I have four kicking about (in different shades – there are ten!) but they’re all empty."
Glossier Futuredew , £23
"It's a bizarre product but I love it. The oil/serum hybrid texture feels weirdly tough to smooth on but once you get used to it, you’ll love the deeply hydrating feel and gorgeous gloss it gives (unless you have quite oily skin, then you’ll probably hate it). A barrier-boosting serum before those became all the rage, it’s healthy for skin and it makes you look healthy, too – instantly. I need another one."
Marie-Louise Pumfrey, GTG Contributor
“Keeping my skin hydrated is a challenge, especially after a long hot bath in London’s hard water. But I’ve found respite in the Soothing Bath and Shower Oil by lingerie brand La Perla, who've launched a rather glorious range of body-care products. This scented oil has a sweet talcum-powder fragrance and is deeply moisturising. There’s sunflower and jojoba oil, plus vita arctic, a natural prebiotic to nourish and balance the skin's microbiome. It’s vegan, sulphate and silicone-free too.”
“Speaking of hydrating body products, I'm almost out of my Neal’s Yard Women’s Balance cream which is designed to 'restore your equilibrium'. It contains a divine-smelling aromatherapeutic mix of patchouli, geranium, rose and frankincense essential oils said to balance body and mind. There’s omega-rich sea buckthorn oil and macadamia oil to soften and nourish the skin as well. It's just heaven after an evening bath, and it's a bonus for me that, like all Neal's Yard products, it's organic.”
“I’m very late to the No7 Protect and Perfect Serum party which caused a stampede when it first launched in 2009 because a BBC documentary declared it to have 'proven anti-ageing effects'. I’m currently trying it morning and night and can confirm it’s great. It glides on, absorbs instantly and works well as a primer under make-up. It's formulated to soften lines and wrinkles and contains Matrixyl 3000, a blend of peptides that kick-starts collagen production. Great value at £29.95 and Boots always have brilliant 2 for 3 offers, so you can stock up for even better value. It’s a yes from me!”
“As we emerge out of winter, my pasty pins are in critical need of some TLC. So I’ll be replenishing my favourite tinted leg cream by Legology. This is a sun-kiss in a bottle. It hydrates, smooths and gives your skin a wonderful, natural glow. It contains wash-off tanning pigments and is formulated with caffeine to reduce puffiness, butcher's broom extract to even skin tone and aloe for hydration. The colour is subtle and the gel-like texture is super easy to apply, with no streaking or marking on clothes.”