May 19th 2018
We've been trialling and testing all manner of beauty freshness this week; from a super green salon to Chanel's new all-over body spray, a suits-all bronzer to a skin-reviving sheet mask, we've put the latest launches through their paces to find the new products that will help us to get set for summer.
Read on for our honest reviews of the beauty industry's latest offerings for May - we recommend adding them to your shopping list pronto...
Why we love it: “Everything you need for a perfectly bronzed and radiant complexion, all in one place.”
Review: “Too Faced has always been a brand I can rely on - they make some of my favourite eyeshadow palettes and their primers are a staple in my makeup bag. Every time they release a new collection I'm excited to discover a new favourite, and this time it's the face palette from their new Natural collection that I've fallen for. The formula of these powders is velvety soft, infused with coconut butter to have a hydrating effect on the skin. The colour payoff is perfect, too - not too pigmented which means that your face still looks natural (as the name would suggest). The two highlighters particularly stand out for me, giving a natural radiance to the face and an almost lit-from-within finish. There is both a satin and a shimmer bronzer option, which I actually prefer to my usual matte bronzer as they give my face a more multi-dimensional bronzed effect, while the blush colours are also beautiful - Pink Wink, when used with a light hand, really awakens the complexion. The fact all these products come in the one palette too is so handy both for travelling and for everyday makeup application.”
Reviewer: Alexandra Harrison, Admin Assistant
Why we love it: "A beautifully elegant refreshing all over body mist for when you’re on the go this summer."
Review: "I'm very much a Coco Madmoiselle kind of girl, but when Chanel initially launched their fresh and revitalised No5 L'Eau scent, I instantly switched into this for the summer months. A vibrant and abstract floral, it's fresh, modern and simple in its aromas and oozes summer with a natural blend of lemon, mandarin and orange. This weekend introduces a new interpretation of Chanel's iconic fragrance with their all-over body spray; a refreshing perfuming mist for both hair and body. Encased in the ever elegant and classic Chanel packing, it's discreet and travel friendly, allowing a rather more sophisticated freshen up at any time of day - perfect for those who like a light spritz. It's a feminine mix of citrus and floral, reminding me of heat-drenched summer days; and though it isn't cheap, with the weather going from one extreme to the other here, that is something I'm willing to invest in."
Reviwer: Sarah McGinnis, Art Editor
Why we love it: “A spectacular looking pot of sunshine that imparts an authentic glow.”
Review: “I’m always impressed by Kiko’s summer ranges and this year’s Gold Waves collection is no exception - with super shiny yellow-gold packaging and generous compacts, it’s exactly what my makeup bag needed. My favourite product is the beautiful baked bronzer, in the Sun Celebration Honey shade; the powder is soft and lightweight (be very gentle with your brush else you will pick up too much) and it has a delicious hint of vanilla to enhance the summer vibe. This shade has a slightly highlighting effect thanks to the swirls of illuminating powder but it’s not shimmery in any way (plus there’s a matte option if you prefer) and it’s one of the most natural-looking bronzers I’ve had the pleasure to use. Just a light dusting left me looking like I’d caught a few rays of sunshine only without that patchy, dry result that so many compacts can leave behind. A chic, believable glow that lasts and lasts.”
Reviewer: Judy Johnson, Digital Editor
Why we love it: "A long-lasting and delicate scent of orange blossom."
Review: "If you're after a fresh and inviting new scent for summer then look no further than this delicate yet invigorating launch from Diptyque. For me it's like plunging head first into the exotic citrus groves of Capri; fresh, powerful and quite simply, the happiness of summer bottled. With an enticing blend of orange blossom, patchouli and an underlying spicy and earthy base of juniper berries, it appeals as a unisex fragrance, bringing together everything from the roots to the fruit of the bitter orange tree.
"What starts off as an initial rush of the petal from floral blossom then deepens into rich, warm citrus aromas. As with most orange blossom scents, you often pick up the slight whiff of 'soap' as it develops, but that just adds more for me. Grab your gin, spritz yourself head to toe with Eau Des Sens and you're ready for the summer. Plus if you want double the hit, they’ve just coupled their fragrance with a cleansing hand and body gel - can your morning routine get any more luxe?"
Reviewer: Sarah McGinnis, Art Editor
Why we love it: “An easy to use, quick fix for brightening the complexion.”
Review: “I’m a huge fan of sheet masks, and face masks in general. Usually my go-to would be a mud mask for drawing out impurities, but more recently my skin has been feeling dehydrated so I thought I’d try something a little different. These new masks from Neutrogena are packed with ‘skin-perfecting essences’ which claim to be the equivalent of an entire 30ml bottle of serum. Sounds impressive! I tested out the Purifying one in the range which contains seaweed extract to remove impurities and leave the skin looking refreshed and refined. The mask is split into two sections, one for the upper and one for the lower half of the face which makes it really easy to apply. You place the mask on your face for up to 15 minutes before removing and massaging the remaining product in. On removal, my skin was left feeling super soft and hydrated as well as looking a lot brighter. It’s a welcome change to the intense clarifying masks I am used to using, and I will definitely be picking up more of these as I think they’d be great to apply before a night out to give skin a hit of radiance. ”
Reviewer: Alexandra Harrison, Admin Assistant
Why we love it: “Organic hair colour, DIY herbal hair masks and the greenest salon space you’ve ever seen.”
Review: “Whether you’re a hairdresser or a client, spending hours on end in a dark salon basement waiting for colour to develop or a treatment to work its magic can quite frankly suck on a sunny day, or any day. Which is just one of the reasons why Hari’s new London herbal hair salon is such a literal breath of fresh air. Firstly, it’s full of plants, from floor to ceiling, with a huge glass roof to let the light in, and secondly the green ethos expands from decor to services - there’s a DIY herbal mask bar where you can put together your own nourishing hair treatment from an all-natural treatment menu and organic hair colour options based on plant pigments from hibiscus and cassia plant, plus founder Hari is bringing henna back in a big way. In-house iPads make searching for hair inspo a breeze, and a new ‘hair hotline’ service allows you to book a speedy consultation via Skype to discuss a hair dye disaster or let your stylist know what you’re after ahead of time. It’s nature, tech and tradition all rolled into one, and I highly recommend (I tried the lotus leaf based Mighty Mineral Mask, £50)."
Reviewer: Anna Hunter, Senior Features Writer
Why we love it: "A nourishing body lotion that delivers intense hydration with a lightweight, non-greasy or sticky formula.’’
Review: “I’m a big fan of Paula’s Choice skincare due to the brands formulas’ being free from fragrance. Having religiously used some of their face products for some time now I was excited to try this new body cream. Enriched with softening shea butter and replenishing ceramides the first thing you notice is just how very light weight the cream is which makes it super easy to apply and spread. It literally glides on and absorbs into the skin almost instantly. There is no shine, grease or stickiness – all complaints I normally have with most body creams, you’re just left with beautifully moisturised, super soft skin. What’s not to like? The fact that it’s also fragrance free and only £23 makes this quite the bargain and a new must have product for me.’’
Reviewer: Kully Buhal, Head of Business Development
Why we love it: “A dual-ended dream of a cream cheek stick”
Review: “Providing a healthy flush of coral on one end, rose gold radiance on the other, this versatile summer launch from Tom Ford gives skin the most ludicrous glow. Beautifully creamy, it blends seamlessly, allowing you to lift areas of sallowness and enhance bone structure with impressive ease and speed whether applied along cheeks or décolleté. A little also goes a long way - the colour payoff is a standout feature - meaning that you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.
"Adding definition and illumination wherever you apply it, it’s the little ray of sunshine in a stick my skin can’t get enough of right now.”
Reviewer: Ayesha Muttucumaru, Senior Features Writer
Why we love it: "A fresh, green fragrance with bite.’’
Review: “Green fragrances are my absolute favourite; they’re the essence of energy and freshness and put a spring in your step. But it’s hard to find one that doesn’t end up being cloying, too masculine or smelling like the laundry. My benchmark is the timeless Chanel Cristalle Eau Verte. This is my daytime staple, but it does rather lack oomph for evening.
"Viper Green is its nocturnal equivalent with added sensuality, substance and intrigue. It describes itself as ‘sensual venom’ and it does indeed have bite. The top notes - galbanum, a Persian resin with a slightly bitter ‘green’ smell, peppery angelica root and tangy green mandarin - are like a handful of freshly plucked herbs. They are tempered with the sweetness of jasmine and iris and grounded with a base of grassy vetiver and earthy patchouli.
"The architectural Ex Nihilo bottle is a beautiful thing in itself - this luxury Parisian perfumery draws inspiration from iconoclasts and free thinkers. Yes, the perfume is expensive (the 50ml comes in at £150) but for me, a fragrance you truly love and that is ‘you’ is a much more powerful and lasting statement than any designer bag. Viper Green is a perfume to make memories with."
Reviewer: Victoria Woodhall, Editor