The cosmetics counters may be currently overloaded with new make-up collections, shiny and bright with seductive colour and fresh textures, but what’s really wowing me is the wealth of ingenious formulas. As what we buy and when we buy it becomes increasingly blurred (who wants to wait until autumn to channel the sapphire blue nail trend?), forward-thinking cosmetics companies are investing in products that offer more bang for your buck. From serum-infused foundation to mascara that allows you to ditch the lash curlers, here is our tried-and-tested round-up of what to splash out on right now…
Being the purveyors of the bestselling mascara in the land, you would think that BeneFit might have found it hard to top their They’re Real mascara for lash perfection. But they have. Roller Lash, as the name implies, acts like curlers for your lashes as well as giving them excellent coverage. The secret is in the brush, which has a tiny hook on each prong that catches and rolls lashes upwards into a curve, while the inky black formula ensures they stay that way until bedtime.
Given the online hysteria when Kendall Jenner signed up as a face of Lauder and then launched this clever little mascara-lite, it’s no wonder that Little Black Primer has been selling faster than a Kardashian sex tape. It works three ways. Apply it as a dark tint so it’s perfect for the gym or weekends when you want a bit of definition without looking ‘done’. To boost thickness, it acts like a foundation primer, giving a smooth, even base for colour, helping your mascara to last longer while intensifying the shade. And applied over mascara, the formula will stop it flaking, refresh the vibrancy and help make it water resistant. A triple whammy!
From catwalk designs to cosmetics collections, nobody does that glamorous jet set glow quite like Mr Kors. And what has enamoured me of his new bronzing pot in particular is that it adds just the right hit of sheer colour and only a hint of shimmer, so you’re radiant rather than ready to disco. It’s also perfect for post-beach skin as the formula feels cool on the skin and is boosted by excellent hydrating ingredients. Blend it over the cheekbones and temples, along the décolleté or mix it up with your foundation for a luminous evening look. Choose from peachy Permanent Vacation or bronzed Sun Chaser.
If you remember the little books of blotting paper, created to tear out a single powder-dusted page for blotting out shine during the school lunch break, then this ingenious Korean version will look distinctly familiar. The twist however, is that they dispense a single shot of colour to the cheeks by wiping them from the apples to the temples and should you so wish, gently blending in with your fingertips. And in true retro style, each paper will even pick up any unwanted oil as it goes. Portable, plane-friendly and idiot-proof. No wonder Korean beauty is having a moment.
Skincare-cosmetics hybrids maybe increasing de rigueur, but rarely do they come in a formula as refined as this. The unique mix of serum and foundation glides on, creating a light veil over the skin that looks fresh and dewy but has superb staying power. Meanwhile highly active skincare ingredients including a mushroom extract that recharges the skin cells, hydrating fruit extracts and a firming peptide protein work their effective anti-ageing power. It comes in an impressive 20 shades and offers SPF40 protection too.
An extension of Clarins’ much-loved, glow-getting face tints, these luxury lip balms are formulated to make lips look more luminous. There’s mango and shea butter to keep them soft, plus hyaluronic acid to plump and nourish so lips are soothed, smoothed and fuller. Plus each lip balm perfector is packed with colour: the six flattering shades range from soft peach to rich red, as well as My Pink, which reacts to your own pH to produce a unique pink-red tone customised to your lips. The result is a flake-free tint that’s infinitely more elegant than your old Chap Stick.
An update on the original 2010 range created in homage to Mlle Chanel’s favourite beauty accessory, Rouge Coco is a wardrobe of 20 lipstick shades, each named after important people in her life, including lovers and muses. There’s even ‘Gabrielle’, based on the cool pink tone she wore in real life and which can currently be seen adorning Keira Knightley in ads for the range. The pigment-rich formula glides on thanks to a nourishing, hydrating complex that makes the texture feel as though it’s melting into your lips and providing a treatment boost while coating lips in a satiny film of colour.
I’m a huge fan of Prabal Gurung’s fashion collections that draw inspiration from exotic locations including the Himalayas and this regular collaboration with nail care supremos Sally Hansen translates them perfectly into polish. From cool grey granite to a sunset coral, each of the five shades channels colours from trekking the Kingdom at dusk. And being part of the Complete Salon Manicure range, there’s a built-in base and top coat, plus it’s nourishing, chip resistant and has a gel-like hi-shine finish.
These colour co-ordinated duos look as good on the cheeks as they do in the palette. In six variants, including rose plus crimson, and peach plus chocolate, they are cleverly adaptable and allow a soft build-up of colour. The wet/dry formula is the kind usually reserved for eyeshadow but here allows for a watercolour stain when used wet, or a more intense delivery when applied dry. Dual Intensity Blush also has ‘translucent’ technology so the pigments and pearl are held in a sheer base allowing the skin to show through so the final result looks more natural. Start off with a light touch then add until your colour pops!
As mentioned, none of us want to wait for next season’s colours if there’s a chance we can get hold of them now – longing that MAC have been tapping into recently by releasing a limited edition eye and a lip palette just as last runway of the bi-annual shows is being packed up. For their A/W ’15 duo, the six-strong lip palette brings together soft peach and pink to fuller raspberry and a disco purple with fine glitter particles, while there’s a muddier, more muted collection of colours for eyes, from bold blue to putty gray. Get them while you can…