With the weather set to carry on being scorching hot, these are the beauty buys that our editors have used up to the very final scraping to help keep the frizz at bay, their skin protected and their complexions looking fresh. If you're looking for some beauty buying inspo then these come highly recommended and with very good reason.
From the £4.50 skin transformer to the face cream described as 'magic', these are the products our editors have loved and used up to the very last drop.
Victoria Woodhall, GTG Editorial Director
Esse Sunscreen SPF30, £33.75
"Science-led organic probiotic brand Esse is not only loved by facialists, but it makes one of my favourite foundations with SPF (simply called Esse Foundation, £57), the glow is insane! For summer, I’ve been amplifying it with the brand’s new dedicated SPF 30 which is one of those rare suncreams that cleverly has such a lovely texture - non-sticky, feels silky like a primer - that you look forward to using it. It’s an organic/natural mineral formula with a definite tint that knocks out any whiteness leaving a pleasant glow for bare-faced days too. It has a slight smell when you first dispense it, but that’s just testament to the punch-packing probiotics that ‘rewild’ your skin back to its natural balanced state."
"I’ve tried a few things from this new ‘everywhere’ prebiotic wash brand Luna Daily and been impressed with them all. The idea is that you shouldn’t need a special intimate wash, your everyday ‘soaps' should be gentle enough to work for skin everywhere. I put this bottle in the shower and my whole family loved it. It’s very mildly scented with an allergen-free fragrance, just enough to be a treat but not to irritate. There’s also a fragrance-free version which I’m recommending to a friend going through chemo. I’ve also finished the (No)Soap bar, £12, which is incredibly creamy, makes a great non-drying face cleanser and comes with a stylish stone Eco Dish , £12 – another definite buy again."
"This is Carey Mulligan’s favourite hydrating face mask and mine too, and if you have a big event or your skin is feeling a bit dry perhaps due to overuse of retinol or being in the elements, this really does pump all the life back into your complexion – and more – in 20 minutes. It contains a calming peptide as well as anti-pigmentation and hydrating goodies. It not only goes the extra mile in ingredients but in engineering. It’s made of biodegradable bamboo fibre which holds a ton of moisture and has straps that loop over your ears so that it stays snugly in contact with your skin while you potter about. You can buy it singly or in packs of five – believe me you will want the five!"
"If you think medicinal mushrooms are yet another superfood fad, then this serious science-backed organic brand should convince you otherwise, as it did me. (Read our explainer on medicinal mushrooms to learn how they are being used to treat specific health conditions as well modern lifestyle ills such as insomnia.) Reishi is known as the mushroom of eternal youth. For best results look for the extract, which is ten times stronger than simple mushroom powder, which you’ll also find in supplements. Reishi has been studied for emotional balance, anxiety, sleep and hormone balance. I’ve been taking it for sleep after clinical trials on Mico-Rei showed that fall-asleep time fell by 40 per cent and overall sleep time soared by two hours! My sleep has been pretty good in the six weeks I’ve been taking these. There’s no way I’m stopping!"
SJ Corfield-Smith, Freelance Beauty Director
"Without a doubt, this is the product I recommend the most. I even keep a screengrab of it on my phone so I can ping it over to friends easily. It does everything I think a great base should. It is theoretically full coverage and it does an amazing job at reducing redness, hiding pigmentation patches and generally unifying my skin, but it doesn’t feel heavy or cakey whatsoever. This version (there are three different finishes) contains light-reflecting pigments that make your skin glow without looking shiny or shimmery. There are 11 shades which may not sound much but each one would work on at least three different tones, which is quite amazing for a full-coverage product. I buff it in with a brush, but it also works a treat when I’ve applied it with my fingers. It is quite simply the best thing I’ve ever put on my face."
Benefit 24-Hr Brow Setter, £23.50
"My brows are very fair and sparse and need all the help they can get to look full and defined. I use this clear setting gel as the last step in my brow regime and it goes on after my brow pencil and brow fibre to set them into place so they stay put all day. Lots of brow gels I’ve tried (and I’ve tried a lot) are really sticky and can make brows feel crispy, whereas this one leaves them feeling soft and conditioned. I also like that it has the comb applicator - with some other gels you need a separate brush to dip in, which is too much faff and bother for me. The formula is completely clear so works on all brow colours and will add extra shape and lift to even those with naturally full brows, of whom I’m insanely jealous."
"Up until January 2022, I had never used an eye cream. I felt that a decent serum would do exactly the same as an eye cream would, so why spend money on both? However after quite a stressful start to the year and having had very little sleep my eyes were starting to look grey, tired and old. I’ve always been a fan of Allies of Skin, so when this landed on my desk I thought ‘what have I got to lose?’. After two weeks of applying it under and around my eyes, day and night the difference was remarkable - I wish I had taken before and after pictures. The greyness was gone, the lines were reduced and I looked refreshed. It contains peptides to make skin less saggy, vitamin C to brighten and bakuchiol which works on tone. It’s an investment for sure, but a really really good one."
"My fine, coloured hair can easily feel quite heavy and greasy when I use shampoos that contain lots of plastic. This is filled with only natural and organic ingredients and left my hair feeling really soft and looking shiny, which is quite hard for blondes to achieve. But I also have to talk about the scent - monoi is the smell of summer so it has been an absolute joy to use the last few months. It’s been formulated for dry and damaged hair but I think it would work for all hair types and this is a brand with amazing eco credentials. The brand is carbon negative, the bottle is made from 100% recycled materials, the formula is certified organic and vegan and made in a factory powered by wind power. If you’re looking to wash some goodness into your hair - in every sense - then this is it."
Amy Rostas, GTG Beauty and Social Media Assistant
"For me, luxurious bath and shower products are part of my self-care routine – It is something my parents have done for years and I have adopted recently. This one is inspired by an old-fashioned milk bottle yet is consciously plant-based. It leaves the skin hydrated and smelling oh so fresh. Hydrating ingredients include hyaluronic acid to retain water and vitamin E which strengthens the skin barrier. This wash has quickly been used up by my sister and me – she can buy the next bottle!"
"The 'off-duty model slick back bun' look is a hairstyle that's gone viral on TikTok and it is also a firm favourite of mine. The only issue is getting all my hairs to stay slicked down, my pesky baby hairs always end up sticking out around my hairline. Luckily I've discovered the Slick Hair Co Slick Stick. This very clever product from this Australian brand is hair gel in a mascara tube. With a few quick swipes of the mascara wand your hair is tamed and you are off-duty model ready. I put this in my handbag whenever I go out and in the recent heat, which turns my hair to frizz central, its been a must-have."
He-Shi Express Liquid Tan, was £21 now £16.80
"As a regular fake tanner I can easily get through a bottle a month but I am extremely fussy about which tanning products I use. If it's not working for me I will give it to a friend – so a tan that has made it to my empties is a keeper! This express tan from He-shi is as close to a professional spray tan that I've tried. The colour is completely flawless and streak-free, has a gorgeous bronzed not orange tone and everyone thinks it's a natural tan and can't believe it's come out of a bottle and not my back garden. It's non-transferable and doesn't leave your skin feeling tight or dry, and after seven to ten days it naturally fades away, without the tiger-bread effect. I almost don't want to tell everyone about this brilliant product, but it's too good to keep to myself!"
“I have tried pretty much every mascara in existence and for me the perfect mascara needs to be really dark black, lengthen, add volume, not flake off and leave zero clumping. If that is your checklist too then I can confirm this one from Benefit ticks every box. I have had so many compliments wearing this mascara, people even thought I had lash extensions. It also comes in a waterproof version, £24.50 perfect for this sweaty time of year, for wearing on holiday or if you're going to an event where you know you're going to shed a tear."
Rosie Fitzmaurice, GTG Freelance Writer
"Like many people over the last few years, I’ve ditched full coverage foundation in favour of a lighter, more breathable skin tint and Rose Inc’s Tinted Serum has to be my current fave. Like all of the products in Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s makeup line, it’s supercharged with skin goodness - the usual suspects: hyaluronic acid to plump, squalane to hydrate and peptides to protect - and glides on like a hydrating serum, while the tiny little bubbles of pigment offer surprisingly buildable coverage. This definitely sits much better on my skin when applied with a foundation brush - leaving it dewy and fresh. Top tip courtesy of MUA and ambassador to the brand Jason Hoffman: apply a light dusting of cream blush both underneath and on top of your tinted serum for a natural-looking luminous glow."
"PSA: this is officially the best gradual tanner on the planet (trust me, I’ve tried them all), and it’s a steal at £3.50 a bottle - I always stock up whenever it’s dropped to half price (from £7) at Boots. It’s part of my job to investigate which are the best fake tans on the market, and I’ve tested virtually all of the luxury brands, but nothing compares to the ease and fuss-free application of this purse-friendly Dove number. One layer (of medium to dark) and I’m a healthier-looking version of me, two layers and I’ve got an all-over sunkissed glow - it starts to develop within hours and can give a surprisingly deep tan if that’s what you’re after. It’s quick-drying, non-transferring formula is perfect for a mid-week top-up or layering a spray tan on holiday, and it fades naturally too, so you don’t need to worry about those dreaded patchy bits inside your elbow creases and on the neck."
Oway Glossy Nectar, £16
"If you don’t already know about this Italian organic haircare brand, please do get acquainted ASAP. Oway grows its own ingredients biodynamically (which means crops are grown in sync with the phases of the moon) on its sustainable farm in Bologna. It makes a range of fantastic products, from cleansing hair baths to sunlight defence serums but this stuff is a lifeline for coloured tresses. I have very fine hair, so oils, as much as I like the idea of them, are often not for me - immediately making my clean hair look greasy and lank. But this nourishing nectar is so lightweight I can apply two whole pumps after towel drying my hair - which can feel like chewing gum after washing - and it just sinks into the lengths and gets to work restructuring the hair shaft with marula and alpine seed oil. Once dried, there’s an instant visible difference to the softness of my locks and I can get my Tangle Teezer through it much easier."
"I wear this every day on my face, neck and chest without fail. No it’s not a fancy facial SPF, and don’t get me wrong they certainly have their place, but I’m talking every day, no makeup, errand-running occasions, going for a run, popping to the shops, and considering this, it has really lasted me well. It’s a broad spectrum SPF 50+ that’s fragrance-free and suitable for sensitive skin (which is important for me as my pet hate is suncream that stings my eyes). It’s also just a really lovely consistency that leaves my skin with a moisture-quenched glow all over."
Marie-Louise Pumfrey, GTG Contributor
"At the top of my beauty empties list is St Tropez’s Bronzing Water Face Mist. This sun-kiss in a bottle has kept me glowing all summer and is the easiest self-tanner. Brilliantly, it can be used under and over make-up, so you can spritz and go. It’s refreshing and reviving with a hydrating formula of hyaluronic acid, hibiscus and green mandarin. There’s no yuck self-tan smell and it gives the best natural radiance I’ve come across. It’s an all-year-round product for me."
Erborian BB Crème in Nude, £18.50
"Next up, the Erborian BB Crème in Nude. I’ve been using it all summer instead of foundation. It gives the best natural, non-oily coverage with all the benefits of skincare. It instantly evens out the skin tone and covers blemishes with SPF 20. It’s a great moisturiser too with a high concentration of herbs traditionally used in Korean skincare such as liquorice root extract and kigelia Africana fruit extract to give the skin radiance. An all-year-round product and works well as a base under foundation if you prefer extra coverage. Frustratingly the shade range isn't extensive so I hope that's something the brand is going to work on."
"I am a long-term contact lens wearer and my eyes are quite sensitive so when it comes to removing eye-make, I need a gentle but effective product. The Liz Earle’s Eye Bright Soothing Eye Cleanser is my new favourite which has almost gone, thanks to my daughter continually nabbing it! This has a light non-oily formula with micellar water and gently removes the final traces of eye makeup. It’s also great for tired and puffy eyes with soothing witch hazel, calming aloe vera and brightening cornflower."
"Finally, my most precious night cream has finally run out and I’m devastated. This is my investment beauty treat, but one I cherish. It casts a magic overnight transformation leaving my face so soft and smooth in the morning, that I hardly need a day cream. It has a hi-tech, science-led formula containing natural derivatives from soybeans and bambusa which delivers this intensive hydration while you sleep. Sadly it's very punchy on the purse, so I’ll be popping this on my Christmas wish list."