GTG's December empties 2022: from the supplements getting us through the festive period to the party season makeup must-haves and self-care essentials you just need in your life, these are the products we rate so much we've already put our next orders in for
Which beauty products are so good that even beauty editors, whose living it is to test them, finish them down to the very last scraping? That's what we all want to know isn't it when we're investing our hard-owned cash in makeup, skincare and haircare products? We think so anyway which is why here at GTG we loyally bring you our monthly edit of the things we've really loved. We mean really loved, in fact, rate so highly that we've cut open tubes to squeeze out the last drops and have already placed our next orders to avoid - at all costs - running out.
From the supplements getting us through the festive period to the party season makeup must-haves and self-care essentials you need in your love, we present Team GTG's December empties.
Victoria Woodhall, GTG Editorial Director
Dr Sabrina Perfect 360 Eye Illuminate, £90
“Who better to come up with an eye serum that targets dark circles and under-eye pigmentation than leading oculoplastic surgeon Dr Sabrina Shah Desai, who was often told how tired she looked because of this very issue? She’s poured decades of expertise into creating her first product, which thickens the skin around the eyes, fades marks and stops new ones from forming as well as tackling lines. The six-week before and after images I saw in her clinic were super impressive. I have brown spots on the inner corners of my eyes and nose, where I wasn’t diligent enough with my SPF and this has made a difference. I’m already onto my second tube.”
Motion Power Up and Unplug, £27.99
“For mental performance and energy, plus a high dose of vegan vitamin D3 (1000IU) these two-morning capsules have everything I need, from B vitamins (including folate, the natural and easier-to-metabolise form of folic acid which is one sign of a high-quality supplement) lion’s mane, the gut supporting, brain-energising ginseng. It was developed using neuroscientific research and it shows. What’s more it’s on 3-for-2 at Holland and Barret right now; I also take Motion’s nighttime sleep supplement Unplug, £27.99, which is equally excellent.“
Brows By Sarah Wow Brow, £39
“There’s almost no better endorsement of Wow Brow than the fact that when I wear it, people tell me my brows look really good, without really being able to pinpoint why. It’s a brow tint and fixing gel with growth-nourishing ingredients that dispenses defining pigments with a decently-sized brush that really lets you fluff them up. It comes in two shades, mine is Mocha which suits blondes to brunettes and there’s Espresso for a stronger darker look. Oh yes, there is a better endorsement, the fact that it won Best Brow Product in the Get The Gloss Beauty Awards 2022.”
Sann Nourish + Tint Solid Lip Serum in Deep Berry, £25
“This is a solid lip serum that thinks it’s lipstick – perfect for dry cold weather and for people like me who want a great colour with a bit of gloss that doesn’t dry the lips, isn’t sticky and doesn’t need a mirror to apply. It comes in three shades – this is the darkest – and a clear. If you like your beauty fuss-free, ‘clean’ and glowy then Sann (meaning ‘genuine’ in Swedish) is a modern take on lip care. If you still have a fussy person to buy for, it's guaranteed they’ll love one of these.”
Trinny London Boost Up 30% Vitamin C Serum, £65 refill, £52
“If you’re an experienced vitamin C user and not prone to sensitivity then Trinny London’s super-strength vitamin C is a must-try for a brightening and protective boost of this powerful antioxidant. Although it’s water-based the texture is balmy making it a total treat to use. It has been cleverly formulated with a highly stable form of vitamin C meaning it’s less like to oxidise. I don’t experience any sensitivity with this, despite its strength. Kudos to Trinny for making it refillable at an incentivising lower price.”
Sarah-Jane Corfield-Smith, GTG Beauty Director
Emma Hardie Amazing Lip Balm, £14
“As someone who suffers from constantly chapped lips, thanks to years of cold sore suffering, a good lip balm that actually hydrates my lips instead of making them worse is an essential product for me. The fact that I’ve ‘hit pan’ on this speaks volumes about how good it is. It’s all thanks to the fact that it’s lacking in ingredients that can make lips drier and filled with shea and cocoa butter, moringa oil and vitamin E that keep the skin supple and flake-free. It comes in a handy pocket-sized compact with a mirror in the lid for easy on-the-go applications, too.”
Nails Inc Glowing Somewhere Plant Power Vegan Nail Illuminator, £9
“Let me introduce you to a nail highlighter, a product you might not think you need but let me tell you that it is the only nail polish I have ever finished. It’s not so much a colour as a wash of glowy pearlescence that makes nails look instantly healthier - it works just like a highlighter for your face on your nails. I use it after having (inevitably) picked my gels off to make my nails look revived and the great news is that it wears really well and even when it does chip, it’s not super noticeable.”
Liz Earle Botanical Essence No.15 Eau de Parfum, £41.30 for 50ml
“I love it when a brand that is thought of for one thing completely surprises you with a knockout product you wouldn’t expect. That’s what happened when I smelt this perfume for the first time back in 2012 (FYI: it hasn’t taken me 10 years to use it all up, this is approximately bottle number six). Liz Earle is of course known for great, affordable skincare but this fragrance is absolutely stellar. It’s spicy, woody, quite earthy and has been beautifully composed. It’s the kind of fragrance you would think would cost double and be from a niche perfume brand. Whenever I wear it I get asked what it is and I love how surprised people are when I tell them it’s Liz Earle."
Glossier Boy Brow, £14
“Not only have I finished up every last scraping of this fibre brow powder, but I’ve also used it so much that all the branding on the packaging has rubbed away. This is perhaps unsurprising because it’s a cult product that beauty editors everywhere swear by. Why is it so good? It has the miraculous ability to add volume and fluffiness to brows while also holding them in place for that gorgeous brushed-up look. It comes in five shades - I wear ‘blond’ and it is a true blonde shade - which isn’t always easy for fair brow products to achieve and the clear version is also excellent.”
Christina Callaghan, GTG Commercial Director
Lixir Skin Universal Emulsion, £29
"I discovered lixirskin a few months ago while perusing the beauty halls of Harrods, and discovered their universal emulsion. It’s a moisturiser, night cream, serum and primer all packed into one. We love a multi-purpose product, and this can be used on your face, lips, decolletage, arms, hands, and basically anywhere where the skin layer is thin. The formula is dewy but not oily and great for all skin types. On the packaging it says 'massage in until the skin feels sealed, you know what I mean' and I can't explain it better, my skin soaks this in like a thirst-quenching drink. The product also seals the skin to keep out free radicals, and for someone who lives in London and commutes on a daily basis, this feels like a perfect protection shield."
Pixi Clarity Cleanser, £18
"I started using this gel cleanser earlier this year when my hormonal acne decided to rear its head, and I can confirm it’s the best cleanser I’ve ever used. The Pixi Clarity range focuses on pore-clarifying salicylic acid, and it definitely keeps my spots at bay without dryness. It’s ideal for those days when your skin is feeling a little more sensitive than usual thanks to the probiotics and aloe extracts that soothe and repair. I use it in the mornings but it is gentle enough to use twice a day and I always follow with Pixi Clarity Concentrate."
Erborian CC Dull Correct, £40
"I have used Erborian’s CC Dull Correct every day for the last five years without fail. This product is the perfect blend of skincare and makeup. Erborian's CC Cream is among the brand's most iconic and best-selling products that help correct, hydrate, enhance, protect and brighten all at once, and I get through two of these tubes a year. I will warn you that it comes out purple but on application it adapts to match your skin tone, and also reduces the appearance of blemishes. It provides enough coverage to wear alone, so if you’re not a fan of heavy foundations but still want coverage then this is perfect."
Rituals Sakura Foaming Shower Gel, £9.50
"My favourite part of the day during the winter months is having a hot shower and steaming the day off myself. I’m loving the sakura range from Rituals and the foaming shower gel gives me luxury vibes but with a low price point. It has a cherry blossom scent and turns from a gel into a thick foam, leaving my entire bathroom smelling like a spa. It’s super hydrating which means if I forget to moisturise my body after my shower my skin isn’t left feeling dry and tight."
Amy Rostas, GTG Beauty and Social Media Assistant
Ouai Scalp Serum, £46
"If you experience an irritated scalp and want thicker, fuller-looking hair, then you need to invest in some scalp care. A fan favourite among many celebrities is this Ouai Scalp Serum created by celebrity hairdresser Jen Atkin. I started using this about six months ago and my scalp feels a lot less dry and itchy than it used to. I apply this post-hair wash and throughout the week before bed - I couldn’t recommend this enough if you suffer from a dry, flaky scalp."
StriVectin Hyaluronic Omega Moisture Lip Mask, £26
"There is nothing I crave more than soft hydrated lips all year round and I think I’ve found my ultimate lip saviour. This lip mask from StriVectin not only instantly hydrates the lips with beauty ed favourite ingredient hyaluronic acid, but the blackberry-flavoured balm also helps repair the skin barrier on your lips, preventing cracks and water loss while tasting delicious!"
Vida Glow Anti-G-Ox Berry Flavoured Sachets x30, £43
"I am absolutely terrible at taking my supplements, but these berry ones from Vida Glow have been a true delight and I have actually stuck with them! Vida Glow's founder Anna Lahey told me that you can either pour the sachets into a glass of water or let the effervescent powder dissolve on your tongue - this is my preferred way as it becomes a fun sensory experience. They taste quite yummy too. The berry supplements are filled with all the goodness to keep you looking beautiful, your skin glowing and support healthy blood sugar balance. Ingredients include vitamin C, biotin, magnesium, zinc and, dare I say it, since taking them I've felt healthier for it."
Eilish by Billie Eilish Eau de Parfum, £29.99
"I know what you’re thinking, 'great, another celebrity perfume', but trust me with this one because if cool girl Billie Eilish is going to do something, then you know it's going to be done well. It strikes the balance of being slightly sweet but not sickly and has really good staying power. The sweet notes come from vanilla and marshmallow but there's a sexy smokiness that cuts through making it a great option for one of the best perfumes autumn 2022 in my opinion. The bottle is pretty striking too. A great gift option for your best-friend or if you're looking to treat yourself."
Rosie Fitzmaurice, Wellness Editor
Fudge Clean Blonde Damage Rewind Shampoo, £15
"I’ve tried so many different purple shampoos in my many years of bleaching my hair and I can confirm this is the best. The rich creamy formula is infused with a bond-repairing technology to heal strands while the purple pigment neutralises unwanted yellowy or brassy tones within a minute or two, making for a speedy application. If you like your blonde with an icy, crisp, yet bright hue, this is for you. A purse-friendly way of maintaining colour in between appointments."
Meder Hydra-Fill Concentrate, £115
"This is pricey, but in my opinion it’s one of the best hyaluronic acid serums out there. Formulated by dermatologist Dr Tiina Meder, founder of her eponymous microbiome-friendly skincare line Meder Beauty, it contains prebiotic and probiotic ingredients to treat a stressed out or parched complexion, flooding the skin with a well-needed shot of moisture, with plant-based glycerin and xylitol to help lock water in the deeper layers of the skin, leaving it looking and feeling dewy and bouncy."
Estrid Watermelon Jelly Shower + Shave, £9.85
"This jelly shower gel activates with friction, lathering into a rich, creamy foam that protects the skin as you shave - and it leaves my pins feeling silky-soft. Despite its name, it doesn’t actually smell of watermelons at all, it has more of a pleasant floral scent. It’s packed with skin-quenching squalane, sunflower seed oil and honeysuckle and mandarin and is a fully vegan formula. I use it alongside the brand’s reusable razors that come in pretty pastel hues and together they give me the closest, smoothest shave yet."
Elemis Nourishing Omega-Rich Cleansing Oil, £34
"For me, Elemis is the winner when it comes to cleansers. Come winter, I’m a sucker for its nourishing balms, but my favourite find so far is this omega-rich cleansing oil, which is slightly thinner in consistency than a heavier balm and makes light work of removing eye makeup. On contact with the skin, it transforms into a milky solution that swipes away traces of dirt and smells duly spa-worthy, with winter rose oil, chia seed oil, and pomegranate extract for added skin rejuvenating. After a long old day, I like to take two pumps into the palm of my hand and make a ritual of massaging it into my face and neck before washing it off with a warm flannel."
Marie Louise Pumfrey, GTG contributor
Chanel Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream, £43
"My face is literally transformed by the wondrous Chanel Healthy Glow Bronzing cream, which is now on its very last scrapings. It gives the best sunkissed natural glow and buffs on beautifully with a big fluffy brush. The lightweight cream has light-reflecting pigments which never fail to give the healthiest of glow to the pastiest of pallors. It’s worth every penny and is naturally top of my Christmas wish list this year."
Ren Evercalm Overnight Recovery Balm, £52
"My latest beauty obsession is the Ren Evercalm Overnight Recovery Balm which is rescuing my face from chronic, cold-induced dryness now winter has finally arrived. This transformative overnight skin elixir nourishes, calms and replenishes, thanks to olive, almond, borage and linseed oils. Plus intensively moisturising jojoba and sunflower oil. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of sharing it with the family, and now there’s a bedtime queue, so with the event colder months ahead, I’ll be replenishing it pronto."
Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation SPF40, £51
"I’ve been using the Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Foundation serum for years. It’s my all-time favourite and one I’m continually rebuying. It gives the best flawless complexion and is packed full of skin-loving ingredients such as reenergizing cordyceps and ginseng. There’s never any caking and it helps with hydration with plumping hyaluronic acid and skin-protecting vitamin E. Plus there’s SPF 40."
Paul Mitchell Clean Beauty Everday Shampoo, £20.95
"I have really fine, straight, static-prone hair, and this Clean Beauty Everyday Shampoo works really well for it. It smells gorgeous and is infused with argan oil and aloe vera, which makes my hair shiny, bouncy and healthy-looking. I love the ethos of Paul Michell products. It’s a family-run business dating back to the 1980s and is organic and each comes with recyclable packaging."