I am back after a sojourn in the world of pre-baby, which has included working from home to finish up some other work projects, feeling anxious about the state of the pantry/fridge/cupboards/house in general and watching The Australian Open accompanied by cheese and chocolate. Of course with around two weeks until my tiny one is due, I apologise in advance as my posts will still be a tad irregular but bear with me and we will get there. Anyway, As promised here is my list of beauty favourites discovered in 2011. For a recap on what I fell in love with in 2010, see here.
Jurlique Replenishing Foaming Cleanser. Jurlique continues to quietly impress me. I purchased this based on a sample sachet: I immediately fell in love with the gentle honeysuckle scent and even though I do not have strictly dry skin, since falling pregnant my skin has moved from oily dehydrated to more combination dehydrated, making this an ideal product. It foams (no sulphates – yay) but really is so gentle on the skin.
Nivea Daily Essentials in 1 Waterproof Makeup Remover. I surprised myself by becoming impressed by quite a few budget products in 2011: usually I love my prestige and cosmeceutical brands. This is a gentle, easy to use milky emulsion. It is not quite good at removing truly waterproof eye makeup but is a great end-of-day addition to my cleansing routine.
Fresh Soy Face Cleanser. I actually purchased this in New York in 2010 but it took until 2011 for me to actually open this American cleanser, such is my stash of cleansers. This is another subtly foaming cleanser that drier or dehydrated skins will love. Like the Jurlique, this cleanser does not contain sulphates (which can irritate my skin) and it smells of dried rose petals. Really lovely to use.
Isomers Fast Lift Eye Serum. 2011 was the year yours truly turned 31 and while my skin is looking pretty good, I have noticed an increase in lines around my eyes – I suspect some are fatigue and stress lines, but others, gasp, may actually be age-related. This eye serum by Canadian line Isomers truly impressed me because over several month’s use I noticed a definite fading of lines and smoothing of skin around the eyes. It is so reasonably priced and you can order direct from Canada (shipping is also very reasonable) or through Australian website TVSN, which offers a limited range.
Isomers Copper P Concentrate. Another beauty from Isomers. This serum calms and hydrates beautifully and is a great hydrating serum to layer underneath a moisturiser at night or sunscreen in the morning.
Clarisonic. I purchased the classic version of this lauded skin cleaning machine and at first wondered what all the fuss was about as I did not notice any improvement in the quality of my skin. But I persisted, using nightly after first removing makeup with an oil based cleanser or makeup remover, and after several months it occurred to me that I’d not witnessed a blackhead or bump of any kind for some time. In fact I have not needed to exfoliate my skin as often since using Clarisonic. Persistence and patience is the key with this little toy. Also I found that while it claims to remove makeup better than manually cleansing, I prefer to lightly remove makeup then follow with a deeper cleanse using this.
MV Organic Skincare Rose Soothing & Protective moisturiser. Gosh I love this moisturiser! I purchased the 15m sample pot to take with me to Bali last year and while it feels quite thick, my skin drank it up and even in humid coastal Bali it never made my skin look greasy. It is a beautiful soothing moisturiser that is perfect for dehydrated skin, whether oily, combination or dry. It is great after a day in the sun or the pool, does not clog pores, and smells like fresh roses immersed in crystal clean water.
MV Organic Skincare Rose Plus Booster. My new love for this Australian natural skincare line extended to this oil-based serum. I admit I have not yet purchased a full bottle but a dear friend sent me a generous sample and I loved it instantly. I have only used sparingly at night as a special treatment – after a facial or if my skin looks tired or stressed – but like its moisturiser cousin it is immediately calming and in the morning my skin definitely looks plumper and happier. And if you love the scent of roses – rich, ripe, fresh, old-school roses – then you will adore the scent of this.
SK-II Facial Treatment Mask. While I am all for clinically ‘proven’ cosmeceutical type products and religiously read and research the ingredient listings, I will happily indulge in the mystery of certain skincare lines, which rely on myth and magic to attract customers. After all, beauty is supposed to be enjoyable, romantic and indulgent. SK-II is one such line. Last year I purchased the Pitera Essence value set and while I have not tried everything in the pack yet, one product that impressed me was the Facial Treatment Mask which rendered my skin cool, calm and collected.
Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation Creme. I have been using this throughout pregnancy in the hope that it would dissuade pregnancy-provoked pigmentation on my face and so far it has. It is a medium-weight, bright white cream that is absorbed instantly. Drier skins may need to layer with a hydrating serum.
Thalgo Plasmalg Gel. I have put this in the face list but I use it everywhere: as a facial treatment overnight or for a week; as a post-waxing skin soother and de-itcher; as a mineral treatment over my pregnant belly. On my face this mysterious marine algae gel has a remarkable effect: the words taught, even-toned and bright all come to mind. Plus I do love my French skincare products. Only the French can release all manner of anti-cellulite, anti-anything, miracle elixir, strange ingredient, tiny body part-specific products and make them sound credible.
Dermaveen Shower and Bath Oil. I purchased this one random lunch break in Priceline as I have long loved the matching face and body cleanser, which made it onto my list of all-time favourite cleansers. I use this oatmeal enriched oil to shave my legs and since using it the incidence of post-shaving rashes, itchiness and general irritation that used to be common for me has all but disappeared. If I had a bath I would pour it straight into the water for a moisturising soak.
Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil. One of the many (very) trivial things that excited me about pregnancy was the strange new world of pregnancy-related beauty products. Of course over the nine months I have embraced all sorts of stretch mark lotions and potions but I have repurchased this particular product three times. It smells rich but refreshing and I use it immediately after showering (before drying) by massaging it over my entire body, concentrating on my belly of course but also my upper legs and bottom. At 38 weeks I have not seen a hint of a stretch mark but perhaps more impressively, I have noticed the skin around my upper thighs and buttocks looks subtly tighter and smoother. Perhaps this is why this oil is considered a cult product among pregnant and non-pregnant women throughout the world. I will definitely continue using this post-baby belly.
Mustela 9 Months Stretch Marks Double Action. I have used this emollient French cream religiously throughout my pregnancy, applying over the top of the Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil. It smells subtly sweet and floral, is easy to rub in and is richly moisturising.
Innoxa Free & Easy Aluminium Roll-On Deodorant. Pre-pregnancy my armpits were loyal to Dove and Nivea deodorants. I am dubious of beauty scare tactics and have never been wary of aluminium in deodorants. However carrying a brand new human life – literally helping it to grow from nothing – has made me think about what my body absorbs. So while I do believe aluminium and many other ingredients are perfectly safe on grown-up skin, one just never knows what a developing embryo and foetus will absorb let alone tolerate. The search for aluminium-free deodorants that A) worked and B) did not leave me smelling like a hippy, proved very difficult until I came across this Innoxa one which not only works for me (even on hot days) but has no discernible smell and is aluminium AND alcohol free.
L’Oreal Paris Base Magique Transforming Smoothing Primer. This is marketed at drier skin types but I found it far better at keeping shine and oil at bay than its sister product (which is aimed at oily skin types). Since falling pregnant I have not even needed an oil control primer, but pre-pregnancy I used this a lot – only a tiny bit is needed to make the skin look matte and soft.
Chanel Perfection Lumiere. While I still pout at not being able to purchase the Teint Innocence Compact – my most beloved Chanel foundation (my most beloved foundation full-stop) – in Australia in the lightest shade I need, this foundation has somewhat filled the void. It is a thick cream formulation which applies like a dream and leaves a truly natural finish – not particularly matte, not particularly dewy. The colour range on offer is also impressive; number 10 Beige is perfect for my skin tone.
Chanel Vitalumiere Eclat. Another beautiful complexion product from Chanel. This pressed powder smells surprisingly sweet – like water flowers – and feels so very silky. I apply with a face powder brush over my sunscreen when I am just at home and do not want to wear a ‘proper’ foundation. The coverage is impressive yet the finish is light and natural.
Chanel Sublime de Chanel mascara. Yes, another Chanel goodie. My most favourite mascara ever is Chanel’s Inimitable – even though it tends to smudge under my eyes I still love it because it makes my lashes look 200 metres long and it never ever clumps. Sublime de Chanel has a similar finish but without any smudging. I’d say the Inimitable is still better for luscious lengthening but the Sublime still does a stellar job and does not smudge on me at all.
Maybelline The Falsies mascara. I did discover a budget-friendly alternative to the Chanel mascara in Maybelline’s The Falsies. For this mascara to make my annual beauty favourites list is a big thing as I am extremely fussy with mascaras and had not loved a single budget or mid-range mascara I had tried until now. I do not wear a lot of makeup but mascara is one constant for me so I’ve always preferred to spend a little more with mascara as all of the lower-priced versions I had tried either did not last as long (in the tube or on the eyes) or clumped, or left a thick finish, a thin finish et cetera. This one still comes in second to my Chanel favourites but it impressed me enough for a repurchase.
MAC Paint Pots (in Groundwork and Quite Natural). I had not tried this popular eye colour cream until 2011 but now it is pretty much all I wear. Groundwork and Quite Natural are neutral, clay-brown colours which subtly brighten my blue eyes. Combined with a little black tight-lining under the upper lids they make my eyes looked groomed but natural (or so I hope!)
1000 Hour Eyelash & Brow Dye Kit. 2011 was the year I began tinting my own eyebrows and I have never looked back. I use the Dark Brown kit and leave on freshly cleansed brows for about six or seven minutes for darker but still natural brows. I have found having darker brows brightens and accentuates my blue eyes while making my face look more groomed overall.
Kevin Murphy Hydrate-Me Wash & Rinse. I’ve long loved Kevin Murphy’s Angel range but 2011 called for something that was more hydrating yet did not weigh down or yellow my light blonde hair. The Hydrate-Me range answers all of my very reasonable demands. Plus it smells gorgeous.
O&M Original & Mineral Frizzy Logic Shine Serum. This smells endearingly of bubblegum and sweet flowers and is a beautiful, light, subtly oily serum that ‘finishes’ freshly blowdried hair wonderfully. I only need a couple of drops of this hydrating and smoothing product.
I’d love to know – what beauty discoveries did you make in 2011?
*Top image via The Vault of Beauty.