Saturday, 8 November 2014

Beauty Saviours: Five Products That Have Changed My Life This Year

I was thinking this week about five beauty items that have had the biggest impact on my appearance this year and wanted to share them with you.

All are equally as useful and brilliant as each other.

1. Brow Mascara

Unless you've been living on Mars you'll have noticed that brows are a big thing in beauty. I've never wanted perfectly shaped brows and quite like the idea of a slightly unkempt but reasonably tidy brow. I'm also very fair so anything I put in my brows needs to be subtle.

It wasn't so long ago that I blogged about a particular life-changing brow mascara (click here to read my review). I never thought I'd be able to use a brow mascara (for fear of it being too dark) let alone enjoy wearing one so much.

More Brows by Model Co (£9) is the perfect shade for blonde/red heads like me. Not too grey, not too dark and the fibres really do give my brows substance.

If I'm going out and sporting a bold lip I'll apply several coats of the taupe-coloured mascara, teasing my brows as I go into a stronger shape. On days when I want to frame my face a little (particularly when I've got my spex on) then a quick brush through with the mascara is all they need. What can I say, I'm totally hooked and can definitely see brow mascara featuring in my beauty routine for a long while to come.

2. Original Nivea Creme

Lots of people have nervous ticks. Some people bite their nails or pick their cuticles. When I'm stressed I pick at my lips (unladylike I know).

A little pot of Nivea Creme has sat on my bedside table (incidentally, next to a little pot of Sudocrem), for...well, forever. But I don't use it on my face. I only ever use it on my lips.

Nivea Creme (from £1.49 at Boots) is about the only thing which heals my lips fast. If I've been unconsciously attacking them throughout the day I'll apply a thick layer of Nivea creme to clean lips just before bed and the next morning my lips are so much better. Works a treat in winter too if your lips are severely chapped. Remember to massage any remaining cream into cuticles or onto the back of your hand (waste not want not).

3. Tinted Moisturiser

My love of tinted moisturiser has definitely peaked in 2014. Partly owing to the huge number of BB, CC and EE launches over the past couple of years and my fascination with the differences between them, but also because tinted moisturiser is simply a makeup lifesaver. Great for everyday, quick to apply with fingers (especially when half asleep), lightweight enough to allow freckles to show through and with built in sun protection.

I have about 5 tinted moisturisers on the go at home depending on how sunny it is, where I'm going, whether I want a slight 'tint' to my skin etc. My faves are pictured above and explained below:

1. Chantecaille Just Skin (SPF 15, £58)
Quite simply the most luxurious and effective tinted moisturiser there is. Subtle enough to conceal yet you will look like you're not wearing anything. Trust me on this one.

2. Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation (SPF 30, £48)
I won this in a  Liberty raffle a couple of years ago and love the texture it gives my skin. Glowing but not shiny. Slightly tinted but not too dark. And with a high SPF too. Another one to look out for if you don't like the idea of wearing 'a base' everyday.

3. NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser (SPF 30, £29)
The closest thing to the Chantecaille that I've found and half the price. Brilliant.

4. Tom Ford Traceless Foundation (SPF 15, £62) 
Not strictly a tinted moisturiser but boasts a similar texture and is just heavenly. Pricey yes but a little goes a long way. With a perfect colour match this would make a real investment piece. Be prepared to receive compliments.

4. Nail Oil

A couple of years ago I had a Gelish French manicure for my sister's wedding and three weeks later decided to remove the gel polish myself (big mistake). Most of my nails were fine afterwards but my wedding ring finger (left hand) really suffered and quickly developed a recurring nail split.

It's been three years since my sister got married and it's only since I've started using a rich nail oil that the recurring split has disappeared.

The bottle you see in the photo above - Essential Nail Oil by cult British nail brand Rococo Nail Apparel (£12.50) - has been on my bedside table for well over a year. I generally remember to use it most nights, massaging it in quickly into my cuticles and nails before falling asleep. Not only has it stopped my damaged nail from splitting but my nails are noticeably stronger, healthier and whiter.

5. H20

This might seem like an odd one to include but in terms of seeing actual visible results, it's one of the most powerful beauty tools at our disposal. And it's FREE! (well, for lots of us and my goodness, how lucky we are).

Simply not drinking enough water will visibly effect our skin for the worse, no matter how many expensive creams and serums we use.

After a big night out on the sauce (generally wine-flavoured) I'll look at my skin the next day and will really notice the lines on my forehead, my laughter lines and the general lacklustre texture of my skin. Now, I'm all for ageing gracefully but it never ceases to amaze me just how much older I look when I simply haven't drunk enough water that day, compared to days when I have.

Too much sugar (and wine's a b*tch for this) can also cause skin to break out. Drinking lots of water will certainly help to reduce toxins, as will a quick facial massage (click here to see this stunning facial massage tutorial by Lisa Eldridge. Definitely worth 20 minutes of your day some time).

What's your beauty saviour? Please let me know in the comment box below!

Image credits:
Nivea -
Water shot -
All other images Natalie James Makeup

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