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As you know, we’re big beauty fans here and we try and test anything that comes our way - but there are always a few standout products that make you wonder how you ever did without it.
In this week’s round-up of the latest launches to impress the team, we’ve got everything from a £4 concealer that lives up to the hype to a pearly highlighter that gives you a tailor-made glow. Read on to see what we think is worth adding to your health and beauty cabinet…
Why we love it: “A pretty, long-lasting cream shadow for under £5.”
Review: “I have a real love for cream eyeshadows, and this launch from high street favourite Barry M is my new official crush. Available in eight beautiful, and more importantly wearable, metallic shades, it has everything you want in a cream shadow formula. It’s incredibly light (almost watery, only without compromising on pigment), it’s ridiculously easy to blend with a fingertip, and it does not crease. Not at all. Even without a primer underneath, I had a full 12 hours wear with no creasing or crumbling; best of all it dries to a really smooth finish, unlike some cream formulas which can end up looking cakey (which ages your eyelids by about 10 years). Take it from a cream shadow pro: this is one of the best on the market. And at only £4.99 a pop, I recommend you try more than one shade too…”
Reviewer: Judy Johnson, Digital Editor
Why we love it: "A power blender that ups your kitchen cred and your healthy food intake."
Review: "It’s a bit like buying the designer perfume when you can’t afford the couture gown, you covet the Smeg fridge but the blender is a pretty good alternative. I was in need of a power blender upgrade. My Nutribullet had always seen me through everything from grinding almonds for paleo bread to The Hemsley+Hemsley banana bread (simply bung everything in blender) I made on repeat. However, it was too small and falling apart. Rather than spend £400-odd quid on a Vitamix, I chose the Smeg, with its 800W motor (for comparison the Vitamix is around 1500W, Nutribullets are 600-1000W depending on the model), 1.5l BPA-free jug and cool 50s’ styling in seven colours. It has four power settings (I rarely need to stray beyond level 1) and grinds ice and more heavy duty ingredients such as frozen fruit with a pulse setting, which means they don’t get stuck as can happen in the Nutribullet. It has significantly increased my veg intake this month. I now batch-roast vegetables and throw in stock, ground almonds and coconut milk for a swift, filling week-long soup supply. The styling makes you want to keep it out on your worktop and I’m convinced this is why I use it so much as it’s front of mind."
Reviewer: Victoria Woodhall, Editor
Why we love it: “Dewy highlighters that are glowy, not glittery.”
Review: “A gleamy highlighter is one of the most effective instant ‘pick me ups’ for the face, but it has to be acknowledged that Instagram has taken this one quite far. Call it strobing, call it highlighting- whatever the term, going full iridescent glitter ball plus filter can end up looking fake, and it’s quite easy to get carried away in a quest for cut-glass cheekbones. These new pearlized radiance drops are currently my favourite thing for bringing luminosity to January skin without looking stark- there are four shades to liven up a wide spectrum of skintones (I alternated between Champagne and Golden, Ayesha opted for Bronze). A tiny amount dabbed at the high points of the face subtly catches the light but not in a high-vis manner, and if you crave a bit more glow from a liquid blusher or foundation, they can be blended into your usual formulas, although I prefer to use them for on-the-spot highlighting. As above, a little goes a long, long way, which justifies the price and encourages sparing usage- they’re so effective that you really don’t have to try hard. Which is just the thing for this time of year really. Save your energy yet look alive.”
Reviewer: Anna Hunter, Senior Features Writer
Why we love it: “A radiance-boosting base that boasts great staying power.”
Review: “This foundation had me at ‘radiant’ and ‘longwear.’ I’m always on the market for a glow-boosting base - but in the past, I’ve found that some can be so slippery that they fall off my face by midday. I want my luminosity to have some longevity and I’m happy to report that this foundation offers the best of both. Available in an impressive 33 shades, ranging from the fairest called ‘Oslo’ to the deepest called ‘Mali’ (I was Moorea), it’s the brand’s most extensive selection to date. Providing medium-buildable coverage, I found its silky fluid formula easy to blend, smoothing over the patches of uneven skin tone that I have on my cheeks seamlessly and providing an overall finish that was natural-looking and yes, definitely more radiant. My skin appeared healthier and fresher, and unlike some other longwear foundations I've tried, it didn’t feel uncomfortable or too heavy to wear either.”
Reviewer: Ayesha Muttucumaru, Senior Features Writer
Why we love it: "An easy to blend, super high coverage, budget friendly concealer"
Review: "There has been quite a lot of buzz surrounding this concealer online, with many people comparing it to the best selling Tarte Shape Tape Concealer, which is quite hard to get a hold of in the UK. I am a Shape Tape superfan so I was really intrigued to see how this one compared, and it’s safe to say I am a convert. The coverage is really impressive - I happened to be testing this out the same week my skin decided to go crazy on me, and I’m pleased to report that this gem covered all of my blemishes with no problem at all! The applicator is really easy to use and dispenses just the right amount of product. I have been using a lighter shade under my eyes too to brighten and I find that it blends out with a sponge with such ease, giving a really soft, flawless finish. It’s an absolute steal at only £4, which to me is a no brainer. Overall a really great, everyday essential that is worth the modest price tag and more."
Reviewer: Alexandra Harrison, Administration Assistant
Why we love it: "A deeply nourishing and restorative mask to detoxify the skin from stress and fatigue."
Review: "I've said it time and time again: I LOVE an oil. So much so it's currently in every part of my skin routine, from my cleanser to my face oil right through to what I slather all over my body. So when Darphin introduced their latest Detox Oil Mask, I had high hopes. Designed to work at detoxing the skin and helping to strengthen the skin barrier that has been weakened by stress and fatigue, it soothes, comforts and deeply hydrates the skin, leaving it looking as though I've had a good 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night for years. The texture is gel-like and quite thick to apply - incredibly indulgent and perfect for super dry skin in the winter. The mask is infused with golden flower petals, and it's these that then transform into a lightweight milk on contact with water, helping to detoxify the skin. So don't be alarmed by the thickness on application, it's completely easy to remove and I instantly felt the difference in my skin. With an essential oil blend of Vetiver, French Lavender, Geranium and Majoram, the scent is deeply relaxing and calming - just like it leaves skin; calm, detoxed, and extremely radiant."
Reviewer: Sarah McGinnis, Art Editor
Why we love it: “Deep cleanses and brightens skin effortlessly.’’
Review: “The winter months have played havoc on my skin, leaving it dry and dull looking, so I was very keen to try out this new spray-on exfoliant which is a pollution-defying skin brightening tonic that you can use daily and works overnight. Perfect for a low maintenance person like me. First impressions were good. I really like the simple, clean packaging (which by the way is recyclable – big plus from me). There is an easy to use pump spray, so no waste. A couple of squirts onto a cotton pad as part of my evening routine is all I needed to get the full effect. I love how lightweight and refreshing it felt on my skin, allowing my moisturiser to easily blend in over the top. Unlike other products I’ve used that contain salicylic acid, this felt completely natural (just like water) with no uncomfortable tingles.
"After using for just over a period of a week I’ve noticed my skin looks visibly brighter and more even-toned, plus my pores are noticeably smaller and clearer. It feels great to have a healthy glow again and having suffered from congested skin in the past the salicylic acid should also help to keep those blemishes at bay. If you’re looking to rejuvenate and brighten skin with removing pollution in mind, this, indeed, works!”
Reviewer: Kully Buhal, Head of Business Development