From targeted skincare technology to active ingredients, acids and enzymes, multitasking make-up to rich pigment, hybrid formulations, superfoods to supplements, tackling complexion concerns from the inside-out or outside-in, beauty has never been so technical or so hard-working.
Spoilt for choice in today’s busy beauty halls, with so many options for just about every concern under the sun, finding the perfect product that meets all your needs, can, at times be that little bit elusive. Which is why there is a breed of beauty product that somewhat transcends the crowd. These are the foundations, the bestsellers, the cult products, they’re the Instagram Influencers of the beauty world; chic, covetable and come with a huge following. And, for good reason; put through their paces by beauty insiders, editors and customers, these award-winning, hard-working heroes have proven themselves more than worthy of a place in your beauty kit.
Starting with skincare, while a one-size-fits-all approach seems counter-intuitive to tackling a variety of complexion concerns in one pot, there is some super-smart multi-targeting skincare technology at play.
Step up La Mer with its legendary Moisturizing Cream, infused with key ingredient Miracle Broth and other skin nourishers, it targets and treats most needs, and if the texture doesn’t suit, you can choose from gel, soft cream or the original rich cream. A more lightweight option comes in the form of Sisley’s bestseller, the Ecological Compound, a plant-based formula which hydrates, soothes and de-stresses, like a burst of multi-vitamins for the skin. Meanwhile, for an indulgent yet super technology-packed skincare system, Skin Caviar by La Prairie is a must-try, as its moisture-laden formulation refines, firms and plumps skin elasticity as well as calming and soothing with anti-oxidants. And, for the Swiss brand’s gold standard in brightening moisturisation, it looks to the precious material to create Cellular Radiance Perfecting Fluide, which tackles skin quality below the surface, regenerating and restoring, to support a more radiant and glowing complexion.
For skin which needs deep hydration, it has to be SK-II with its Facial Treatment Essence. This wonder fluid features skin-nourishing ingredient Pitera to rebalance and restore, delivering a big burst of moisture deep into the epidermis and stimulating cell renewal for longer-term radiance. To top up throughout the day, try the Mid-Day Facial Essence Spray too in its handy 50ml make-up bag size, it helps protect skin against daily stresses such as pollution. Another heavy-hitter in the hydration stakes is Sensai’s Cellular Performance Cream, with its rich texture, it works at a cellular level to optimise and boost regeneration, helping promote vitality and skin’s natural glow.
Nature provides the ultimate bestseller when it comes to an ingredient that’s at the core of many luxury brands’ skincare systems. Known for its healing and restorative properties, rose has been harnessed in many forms for a variety of uses from toning to tackling redness, soothing to anti-ageing. French beauty brand By Terry takes a rose-centred approach to both its skincare and skincare-infused make-up, focusing in on the nourishing properties in its cult Baume De Rose lipid-boosting lip balm, while the Cellularose ingredient in the Liftessence skincare collection is infused with the anti-ageing and brightening essence of rose plant cells. Another brand which extolls the virtues of this potent plant is Chantecaille with its Aromacologie Pure Rosewater and Rose De Mai Face Oil - both which help smooth, refresh and purify all skin types, while Fresh combines both rosewater and rose flower oil in its Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream, infused with hyaluronic acids to attract and lock in moisture while brightening and polishing the upper levels of the skin.
A base is only as good as the clear and comfortable complexion supporting it, so to help boost our skincare systems further, many luxury beauty brands have gone for the hybrid approach, infusing their make-up with skincare goodies to help protect and perfect.
Look to pollution filters, SPF or extra hydration and radiance-boosting multitaskers for the ultimate protection...
Whether foundations, BB or CC creams, lightweight formulations offer way more coverage and staying-power than ever before thanks to high-definition pigment technology, giving a more natural and second-skin appearance. For foundations, Estee Lauder’s Double Wear with SPF 10 is one of the most long-wearing and comes in vast range of shades. One of the key radiance-boosting foundations has to be CHANEL VITALUMIÈRE with excellent coverage in a satin finish, while for a more hydrating and dewy finish, VITALUMIÈRE AQUA refreshes, tones and energises. Working hard to reduce shine, tighten pores and conceal imperfections, Charlotte Tilbury offers an ‘intelligent’ full-coverage, demi-matte, anti-ageing formula in a full spectrum of shades with the Magic Foundation. And, for a more sensitive or delicate complexion, Chantecaille’s Future Skin infused with aloe, chamomile and arnica, is a soothing, light, yet adjustable coverage thanks to light-reflective pigments. Team with the brand’s Liquid Lumiere illuminator for a powerful pick-me-up with brightening and blurring particles.
One of the most innovative foundations right now has to be Giorgio Armani’s Maestro Glow SPF30 with its ‘bi-phase’ no-water, all-oil formulation. Best for drier complexions, it is airily lightweight but buildable, gliding onto skin and hydrating instantly without feeling oily or slick.
A super skincare-packed CC cream comes courtesy of By Terry Cellularose Moisturising CC Cream, blurring imperfections, plumping, smoothing and adding a pop of radiance, and for an even lighter texture, you can’t go wrong with Laura Mercier’s cult classic Tinted Moisturiser SPF20, delightfully sheer with just a hint of colour, perfect for low-maintenance skin-hydration on-the-go. Excellent BB options are Clarins' BB Skin Perfecting Cream with SPF20, with its mineral-base medium coverage for a subtle glow, or Omorovicza’s Complexion Perfector BB SPF20 - a moisturiser, sunscreen, concealer and foundation all-in-one.
Pop on a primer before you add your base colour for added staying power, glow and smoothing action. TOM FORD Illuminating or Complexion Enhancing Primers are the ultimate skin-optimists, pepping up fatigued or dull skin with radiance and hydration due to their hybrid formulation.
Double-down on complexion perfection with a good concealer in your kit. For a lightweight formula that also acts as a highlighter, you can’t go wrong with YSL’s cult icon Touche Éclat to trace over imperfections and illuminate, while the product’s creator Terry de Gunzburg with her eponymous brand By Terry offers a more heavy-duty coverage with Terrybly Densiliss Concealer - infused with mineral pigments and targeted wrinkle serum, so good you could use it with just a primer to dot onto those problem areas. For dark circles, puffiness and blemishes, zap away with Chantecaille’s Bio-Lift Concealer rich in Vitamin E.
And, the ultimate pop of stardust for those cheekbones, Guerlain’s iconic Meteorite Pearls are almost good enough to eat, with the prettiest of pinks, blues, greens and violets combining to highlight, illuminate and radiate an iridescent glow. Other hit compact highlighters include TOM FORD Shade and Illuminate and Victoria Beckham + Estee Lauder Highlighter.
Whether masks, treatments or overnight creams, opting for targeted skincare which works with the body’s natural repair process as you sleep, is key to giving skin that time to relax, heal and renew. Look to products that are loaded with peptides, vitamins and enzymes to exfoliate, polish, soothe and hydrate deep into the dermis, helping skin feel supported and revitalised for the day ahead.
Rapidly rising to skincare icon status, Sisley’s Black Rose Cream Mask is a firm favourite thanks to its skin-plumping, energising and brightening properties, plus it smells rosy too. Alternate between this and the La Prairie Skin Caviar Sleep Mask for a luxurious night-time skincare ritual to restore and rebalance the complexion. Doubling-up as a night cream too, this luxe formulation melts into the skin, while nourishing and boosting cellular elasticity. Or if it’s a more sensory experience from a mask you’re after, Sensai’s Extra Intensive Mask puts a botanical blend into hydration - ideal for soothing and calming stressed skin and nerves before bed.
For a more targeted pre-bed treatment to really take the day off, clay extract masks are just the thing when skin needs a more intensive cleanse. Bobbi Brown’s Instant Detox or Omorovicza’s Ultramoor Mud Mask are the ultimates as their mineral-rich clay formulas draw out impurities and toxins, unclogging pores and removing excess oil from the skin without stripping. If you’re in the drier skin camp, try a multi-mask approach, adding the detox masks topically avoiding the dry or problem patches and use a hydrating mask in those spots to really tailor your treatment.
If the day has left your skin tired and irritated, try turbo-charging your night ritual. An excellent option for this is La Mer The Concentrate, which contains a highly concentrated dose of the Miracle Broth, along with Sea Kelp and plant extracts to soothe redness, calm tightness and heal skin. For a more general skin regeneration overnight boost, the skincare technologists at Shiseido offer the Future Solution LX Night, infused with Uji Green Tea and Star Fruit extracts, targeting wrinkles and loss of elasticity, suitable for all skin types.
Taking an anti-ageing focus, look to Estée Lauder’s bestseller; Advanced Night Repair as a super-potent overnight smoothing treatment. And, if it’s a multitasking formula you’re after, dose up on radiance and throw in some anti-ageing benefits too with Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. Just a few drops per night and its rich omega oils and lavender give skin that much-needed hydration boost for smoother and softer skin when you wake. Try the eye cream too in combination as it contains Butcher’s Broom which increases circulation to reduce shadows and under-eye puffiness.
Channelling all her skincare know-how into her cult product range, skincare guru Sarah Chapman’s potent cocktail of nourishing anti-oxidants, vitamins and anti-inflammatory omega oils in the Overnight Facial helps calm skin, while firming and brightening. Add Sarah Chapman supplements into the mix too to treat the inside out for a more holistic approach.
Not all red lipsticks were created equal. Think about the tone and the texture...
Zoning in on that ultimate red lip shade is one of beauty's biggest conundrums. Most make-up artists advise looking to the base shade in the red to complement your skin tone as a good starting point. Blue or pink-based reds such as raspberry work well for porcelain complexions, for a lighter to medium skin tone it’s an orange-base, while for olive skin try a rust or brown-red base, golden skin do a true red or a plum-base red, and for darker skin tones try orange, blue or plum-based reds.
Texture is vital to the look you’re trying to achieve - mattes tend to give a more retro effect and feel quite heavy on the lips; Huda’s Matte Liquid Lipstick is a lightweight formulation that’s a dream to apply and lasts all day, while Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revolution is super-rich and buildable. Creams can be impactful with a little more fluidity and for this, it has to be a Chanel - Rouge Allure for something a touch more intense, or Rouge Coco for a little hydrating rich pigment pop. While glosses can be high-maintenance - particularly in red - the new generation of lacquers and patents boast a lip-stain formulation with a glossy finish, delivering big on staying-power without that sticky residue. For this it has to be TOM FORD Patent Lip Color, YSL Baby Doll Kiss & Blush - which handily doubles-up as a cheek stain too, or Shiseido with its Lacquer Rouge collection. For a lightweight formula with rich pigment, try a lip pop such as Marc Jacobs Kiss Pop or a Clinique Chubby.
Before dressing your lips, make sure they’re conditioned and primed to avoid any dry skin affecting the application. Fresh’s Sugar Honey Lip Treatment is a must, then pop on Clarins Instant Light Perfector, By Terry’s Baume de Rose or La Mer’s The Lip Balm for blissfully smooth lips.
For lash-lengthening mascaras, start with a lash building serum like M2 Beaute’s Eyelash Activating Serum or Estee Lauder’s Lash Primer, then go XXL with Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir - with its curvy brush and velvet-enriching formula, while YSL’s iconic Volume Effect Faux Cils separates and strengthens. If it’s volume your lashes need, DIOR’s Diorshow is enriched with microfibres to thicken and boost, Suqqu’s Mascara Volume Curl is a super-strength waterproof, while the wonder-wand comes courtesy of Lancôme Grandiose with its swan neck, making application the easiest yet.