Trying new products is always a game of swings and roundabouts: potentially you could stumble upon your new love or, potentially, you could be wasting your money on something you’ll hate. The beauty industry has always been both my work and my love; so nothing beats the ‘need’ to purchase new products (come on, it is a need), be it to restock my empties or to experiment with the new but I’m equally mindful of the pennies (happy to splurge when I know it’s worth it but not normally frivolous otherwise).
So my cupboards at home are a frequent turnover: a balance between products I know I love (and keep coming back to – why fix what isn’t broke?) and others I’m happy to experiment with. There’s no real logic to it, it’s not like a capsule kit with just certain ‘basics’ consistently coming from trustworthy or affordable brands… Over the years I’ve just come across products that do what they say on the tin and so, earn my trust. I have high (but reasonable) expectations but I’m pretty straight forward in that, if my expectations are met, I’m loyal. I also don’t expect to solely shop drugstore nor high end; I enjoy trying both, providing I find what I’m looking for.
So today’s post is a roundup of my top 5 beauty products that have consistently performed and kept my loyalty over the years. I may stray occasionally to dabble in something new but these are those that I have always come back to, proving unbeatable in their reliability. I include a mix of drugstore and high end because this reflects my shopping habits but this also demonstrates where spending more or spending less is actually worth while.
First up is my hero primer: AGE Smart SkinPerfect Primer SPF30 by Dermalogica. I have used this baby for about 3 years now and it has increased in price slightly since I first bought it; it now retails for £42 for 22ml (gulp!). But it is a consistent performer and no matter how many times I stray away (in the hope of a cheaper alternative), I always come back with the conclusion that in this case, it’s totally worth the money. If you watched my recent video on primers, you will have seen me feature this as my all time favourite. In my video, I discussed primers that specifically suit skins requiring pore minimising, shine mattifying and hydrating; all of which tend to go hand in hand with combination, oily, dry, dehydrated and prematurely ageing skins, so there’s something in there for everyone.
This primer is (hand on heart) the best I have ever tried. The texture is thicker than most, almost like a paste (due to silicones), which means it has the ability to blur fine lines and large pores. It has great slip and glide (but not in a greasy way), which means it’s quick to apply and easy to blend but it also has the added benefit of leaving you semi-matt. It’s neutrally tinted (not so much that you’d need to worry about colour matching but enough to balance skin tone and aid luminosity), which means that on a lazy day, I just wear this and I still feel like I’ve made an effort. It’s part of Dermalogica’s AGE Smart range, so the ingredient profile is fantastic if signs of ageing are a concern for you: peptides fight against free radical damage and broad spectrum sun screens help to shield against sun damage. On days that I use this, my make-up looks fresher for so much longer and I love knowing that I’m protecting my skin from the sun’s rays at the same time. This is an absolute winner and one that I now happily part with the cash for because it’s totally worth it.
Next is my favourite eye liner: NYX Retractable Eye Liner in Bronze-dark glittering bronze. These are a total steal at £5.50 and the colour is just perfect. I like a dark brown eyeliner as opposed to black, as it feels a little more relaxed for day/regular wear but this one is like a fancy take on that: it’s not particularly glittery, as the name suggests but rather has a subtle sheen, adding a richness and depth to the colour, rather than being spangly. I’ve had many compliments on this when I wear it, to which I always reply with what a total bargain it is…
I go to and fro with eyeliners, bouncing between liquids, gels and pencils, because I like the convenience of a pencil for application purposes but I equally love the smooth glide you get with a liquid/gel. This product however marries the both together and I find the consistency of this pencil just perfect; so easy to apply and quickly too, which is a bonus, as I’m always in a rush in the mornings! This product also gets a thumbs up because it’s retractable, which saves me the time of having to sharpen it (and the consequent mess at the bottom of my make-up bag when my sharpener pops open!). For professional purposes I wouldn’t use something retractable, as it’s hard to prevent cross contamination and keep them clean but for personal use, it’s just fab. And the price too… Just goes to prove it isn’t always necessary to buy high end to meet your needs.
The next product that’s earnt my trust over the years is the one I’ve been using the longest: L’Oreal Gentle Eye Makeup Remover. I’ve used this since I started wearing make-up (probably about 17 years ago!); the packaging’s changed a little and the price has increased but it still smells like it did when I was 15 (a delicate rose water) and it shifts absolutely everything!
This is like water in consistency and is incredibly gentle but very effective. I apply this to two cotton discs and place it over my eyes to soak for a few seconds before I wipe it away (this allows the product to start breaking down the make-up, avoiding the need to rub and drag the delicate skin around the eye area). Even if I wear waterproof make-up, nothing seems to be a match for this and it’s always been my go to, trusted product… I just hope it never gets discontinued! The formulation is really cooling and you get that perfect ‘aaaahh’ moment when, at the end of a long day and you’re taking it all off, it just feels really refreshing. One of the key ingredients is Allantoin, which is moisturising for the skin but equally renowned for being gentle and soothing. At just £3.50 a bottle, this is a fantastic buy and also one that’s frequently on offer too, bonus.
Next up is a body lotion: I’m quite particular about these because I’m lucky if I have the time to apply one, so if I do, it’s got to be an easy going texture and one that absorbs quickly (because I’ll be rushing about, putting my clothes on straight after!). I’ve tried many over the years but the one brand that consistently produces products I love is The White Company. Just walking into that shop feels like a treat and their style is my absolute ideal (perhaps once the girls have grown up I might actually achieve this!).
This is White Geranium Relaxing and Calming Hand and Body Balm by The White Company. During my last pregnancy I was so drawn to geranium and lavender (which is not surprising, as geranium is hormone balancing and lavender is relaxing) and this product beautifully combines the both, with a hint of rose too. To describe the fragrance to you: it’s the most luxurious, comforting and elegant blend of essential oils, reminiscent of Turkish delight but being delicately herbal at the same time. My husband bought me this with the matching body wash and when using the both together, there’s no need for perfume; you’ll smell beautiful with this alone. The texture is like a light balm/lotion, so it’s really easy to apply and it absorbs like a dream: quickly (so that you can get dressed without feeling sticky) but leaving you thoroughly hydrated at the same time.
Sadly, The White Company only produce this fragrance in a candle, reed diffuser and a hand wash now (I still have loads left in this huge bottle to last me a while) but I’ve tried others in their body lotion range (White Lavender and Seychelles) and they are all equally luxurious and consistent in terms of their texture, lasting fragrance and absorption. This is my ultimate body lotion, one that I’ve used for years now and one that’ll have me for more to come too.
Lastly in my top 5 roundup is actually a hair product. I don’t claim to be an expert in hair at all but I’m hard to please, so when I find a winning product, I’ll keep buying it. This is Coconut Water Weightless Hydration Oil by OGX.
I’ve always liked to add a spray leave-in conditioner to my towel dried hair before blow drying (in addition to already conditioning my hair in the shower). I don’t have particularly dry hair, in fact if anything it’s on the greasier side but I do blow dry it every other day, so I’m conscious of protecting against heat damage and targeting dehydration that may occur. I love how this product is so quick and weightless to apply but it provides instant hydration: when you touch your hair you can feel that this is an oil but it’s so light at the same time. I spritz this generously, all over (even at the roots) and it doesn’t weigh my hair down or leave a greasy finish, whatsoever. An added benefit is the beautiful scent: I’m a coconut lover anyway, so I’m more than happy to waft this around with every swish and sway but I don’t think this is a particularly sweet smell, it’s more soft and clean. Just gorgeous.
So there you have it, my top 5 trusted, tried and tested products that have my vote and keep me returning time after time. I’ve said many times before, I’m a discerning customer, I like something to keep to its promises and deliver consistently but the products in today’s post have successfully passed the Rachel test and maybe they’ll pass yours too… What are your go to products for reliability?
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