Last week on Twitter I asked for your beauty queries, and it seems like the same questions keep coming up – we’re still struggling to find the basic products that do the job really well. So here are my thoughts on your questions, but feel free to add your suggestions at the end.
Q. What are the best foundation brands?
If you’re on a tight budget, your best high-street option is Sleek, which is brilliant. That said, I truly believe good foundation is the one makeup product you should spend on. For light, natural coverage Yves Saint Laurent Le Teint Touch Éclat Foundation (£29, boots.com) is excellent and has a decent shade range (the very darkest skin tones aren’t served though, sadly). Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish Foundation SPF 15 (£30, bobbibrown.co.uk) is incredible – the formula is very natural and it really lasts all day. The shade range is excellent, too, as you’d expect. My full-coverage staple is Make-Up Forever HD Foundation (£32, preciousaboutmakeup.com). But be warned, it’s so good at concealing flaws that it can leave your skin looking a little flat, so use the Sleek Face Contour Kit (£6.49, superdrug.com) to counteract it.
Q. What luxury products are actually worth the money?
I’ve spent years and hundreds of pounds being disappointed by beauty products that promised so much and failed to deliver. But along the way I discovered one true luxury staple that is worth the money, and that’s Crème de la Mer Ultra Rich Cream (£105, cremedelamer.co.uk). Whenever my skin plays up I revert back to it; I use it as a night cream too and then in the summer I use a tiny bit every other day to keep my skin in balance. It’s the one product I always rely on – and it lasts forever. I bought my pot at duty free a year ago and it’s still going strong.
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Fragrance is the other area I personally think it pays to spend extra on – especially if you’re in pursuit of something truly unique and sophisticated. Try Frederic Malle, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Comme des Garçons or Le Labo if you’re in pursuit of a signature scent, and here’s a cheeky money-saving tip: head to & Other Stories (stories.com) and pick up one of their body mists, such as Punk Bouquet Body Mist (£12). Their perfumer is Ben Gorham, who is also the creator of the beautiful Byredo scents – so they’re really unique but inexpensive too. Aside from fragrance and some skincare, the other luxury item I’d recommend is Givenchy Noir Couture Mascara (£22.50, debenhams.com), which gives the most dramatic, thick and long lashes I’ve ever seen. Ideal when you’ve had four hours’ sleep and need not to look like crap at work.
Q. What are the best skincare brands on the high street?
There are so many. Here are the standout brands and products for me: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+] Anti-Blemish Cream (£15.50, boots.com) is a perfect moisturiser for oily and blemish-prone skins that targets large pores and reduces acne scars. It’s key ingredient is niacinamide, which helps improve your skin’s barrier function and structure over time. I don’t use words like favourite lightly when it comes to beauty, but Vichy Idealia Life Serum (£29.50, boots.com) earns the plaudit. It contains ingredients that fight environmental damage and free-radical production – but it also contains very subtle golden pearlised pigments that make darker skins look radiant (the silvery ones most brands use make our skins look ashy). The only makeup wipes I’d ever use are Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic Facial Wipes (£5.50, nealsyardremedies.com) – your face actually feels clean and refreshed after using them. Finally, I also rate Avène for basics and body care, L’Oreal for high-performing anti-aging and Dr Nick Lowe for specific skin issues. Done.