The next time you pick up a magazine, do a little exercise: Just compare the editorial coverage given to that “hottest innovation in the history of the world” or the awards given to the year’s beauty winners and the number of advertising pages those brands have picked up in that or subsequent issues.
I am not saying anything. Just do the maths. And tell me what you think.
Blogs (most of us, anyway) are fortunately not so bound up with corporate balance sheets and marketing budgets. Which allows us to actually sift through the gazillion products that launch on a monthly basis (soon we’re going to be literally buried under a product avalanche) and pick out only the best, no-bullshit ones for your dressing table.
Here’s my list. It’s a larger one than usual because… you know… we have a brand new season on hand.
Hopefully, these new beauty launches will catch your fancy for all the right reasons – as they did mine!
Why, you may ask, would one go cuckoo over a product that harks back to its very own infancy? Hasn’t the might of the makeup industry been dedicated to finding newer, cooler, easier, longer, curlier mascara formulations these past 101 years? So, why are we salivating over a mascara that’s no different from the very basic “cake” that a 19-year-old named Tom Lyle Williams mixed for his sister Maybel in 1915? I don’t know about you but for me it’s all about experiencing a formulation that changed the world. It’s about the lure of vintage, the power of a softer, slower, less tech-heavy world, where you pause to wet the cake and take your time spreading it through your lashes. And eyebrows. And the lash line. Because Bésame’s new/old cake mascara is not just super-cool, it’s also super-multipurpose.
For someone who’s always been head over heels for Penhaligon’s (hello Juniper Sling!), the all-new bottle designs are icing on the cake. And what scrumptious icing, with each perfume having been inspired by animal characters in a Downton Abbey-esque take on the English spirit, “between establishment, humor and provocation”. My favorite is the Tragedy of Lord George, whose regal antlers top a blend of brandy and tonka beans. Not sure which one to pick? Take the Penhaligon’s Portrait quiz to find your perfume alter ego.
Who doesn’t dream of a gorgeous bedside table, which holds everything that’s pretty and perfect for a good night’s sleep? Aerin’s Beauty Rose Night Table Cream & Overnight Mask might sound like a mouthful but that’s because it’s so many things wrapped into one gorgeous package: Moisturiser + sleeping mask + hand cream + aromatherapeutic stress relief. And it’s perfect for transforming even the blandest tables into a sexy, seductive, boudoir-esqe fantasy!
I love all kinds of ampoules and pods that take the guesswork out of how much product I need to squeeze out for perfect efficacy. Which is why I’m kind of obsessed with Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Intensive Recovery Ampoules (wow… is that a mouthful!), which are filled with “a treatment oil [that] includes ChronoluxAI technology to help reduce visible irritation and synchronize the look of skin”. What this means in English is that these mega-doses of skin strengthening serum help negate the effects of internal and external stress on your complexion and boost the skin barrier, making it healthy and more supple. And they slip in effortlessly into your travel case, sans fear of breakage or spillage. What is there not to love?
My absolute favorite facial oil in a new avatar! The perfect blend of 11 essential oils, what distinguishes Rodin Olio Lusso Lavender one from the original is the addition of a lavender fragrance that is all about relaxation and beauty sleep vs the perfect pick-me-up of sultry jasmine. Otherwise, it’s just as smooth and luxurious, reiterating its reputation as the cult product that started the whole facial oils revolution 10 years back. My top tip? Mix a couple of drops in your foundation to make it go on seamlessly, with a beautiful sheen.
Remember a little brand called Prescriptives, which had these lovely, lab-like counters where you could get your makeup custom mixed? While Prescriptives has since then moved to only-online, taking away the whole personal connect that was a key part of its appeal, Lancôme is stepping in to fill the gap. Go up to one of the Lancôme counters (currently only at Nordstrom) and a machine will scan your face, then spit out the perfect recipe for your skin tone and needs. Lighter, darker, a tad more yellow, neutralize the redness, opacity, extra moisturizer for hydration… everything is covered with medical precision. The custom blend is then squirted into a bottle directly from the machine and labelled with an ID for easy refills. Though I would suggest doing a fresh custom match every time you go, since our skin tone and hydration levels change with the seasons. And when we finally have the technology, why not make full use of it?
We’ve been talking much about matte lipsticks being the trend du jour and Smashbox’s Insta-Matte Lipstick Transformer means you don’t need to dig deep into your wallet to be on fleek. This clear gel creates a filter of silicone polymers over your lipstick, mutating it from glossy to matte in a second. Added bonus: It makes lipstick wear longer.
Another product that takes the guesswork out of your beauty routine, these sets of four graduated eye shadows come clearly embossed with their own function to make application a breeze. Now, all you need to do is work on your blending skills!
File this one under pure, utter gorgeousness. I would tell you how the colors are perfect for the coming season but then who can bring themselves to touch and smear this treasure trove of flowers inspired by Christian Dior’s own gardens at Granville, France? Not me, for sure… the 5 Couleurs Glowing Garden Eyeshadow Palette is going into the collection to be preserved for posterity in its blooming beauteousness. Because, remember, it’s a limited edition… so once it’s gone, it’s gone!
A makeup cushion innovation that’s not Korean? That’s sit-up-and-take-notice in itself. Then there is the fact that Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Nude Cushion Radiant Stick Makeup (what’s with Estée and crazy long names?) allows you to apply, blend and touch up your makeup without using your hands or needing to stock up on makeup brushes. It does this with a cushion compact style sponge tip that blends and buffs to perfection, and can be popped off to be washed when it starts looking too saturated or a bit grimy (all you need is a mild soap and water). The foundation itself is a buildable sheer-to-medium coverage and lasted me from morning till evening, without the need for touchups. That’s pretty impressive on oily skin in its own right.
We will talk more about what’s billed as MAC’s most innovative launch in years. But till then, know that Liptensity is the brand’s most pigmented lipstick to date and it’s created with the help of tetrachromat Maureen Seaberg, whose unique genes allow her to see up to 100 million colors (most of us can see just over 1 million). What this brings to the table is colour fidelity, which means that the color you see in the tube is what you get on the lips. To enable this, MAC has also crafted a new lipstick formula that saturates the pigment in a clear (rather than opaque) base, which means the colors stay true without reacting to your body chemistry and reflexively tweaking themselves while on the lips. This has resulted in almost a 100-colour collection which runs the gamut from everyday wear colors like Toast and Butter (a warm cinnamon) to Stallion (night-sky black).
And this one’s to be filed under make-me-happy cheeriness. While salt and olive oil work just fine for smoothing our lips, my inner decadent diva simply can’t pass up on this deliciously chocolate and red-velvet-red-velvet-flavored scrub that Sarah Happ has crafted in collaboration with Sprinkles Cupcakes. Plus, 10% of all proceeds go to Baby2Baby, which provides essentials for needy children. Someone out there wants to buy me an early Christmas gift?
It’s been a while since I’ve been this excited about a nail polish, despite there being a zillion launches a month. But jeweler Kendra Scott (yes, jeweler!) has really upped the bar with formulations inspired by her iconic use of natural stones and rough-hewn baubles. The 5-free collection comes with a base coat, rock-crystal top coat, and two transformative shades that give nails an iridescent, holographic sheen. My favorite? Iridescent Drusy, which makes your nails looks like they’ve dipped into a mine of rough dressy crystals.
WHY HASN’T ANYONE THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE? Clip these genius nail protectors on freshly painted nails and say goodbye to the accidental smudging that always happens the second you put down the bottle. (Doesn’t happen with you? Only me? Oh well, I hate you!)
Just when I pledge not to buy a single other “magic” serum that promises the world but does precisely nothing for my skin, here come Super Bounce, Super Glow and Super Pure. These “supplements for the face” counter the effects of dehydration, dullness and exhaustion, and toxic buildup respectively. Glossier recognizes that our skin’s needs change by the day (and by what we subject it to at any given time) and have helpfully created a box pack that gives us everything together. It currently sits on my bedside, right next to Aerin Lauder’s Rose Night Table Cream.
It’s pretty. It’s practical. And it’s perfect for when you need a hefty dose of cheeriness to beat away the blues. Sonia Rykiel has put together a capsule collection for Lancôme that embodies Parisian chic in its most fun and fashionable iteration. How can you resist the playful stripes of the Parisian Lip Crayons?
These revolutionary (and I never use that word casually) markers allow you to apply nail polish precisely, within the lines and sans smudges in minutes. Shaped like those magic markers we all loved as kids (I still do!), these ingenious pens are filled with real, high coverage nail polish that goes on in a single stroke and dries super-quickly. Also perfect for changing up your nails while travelling!
What’s your favourite beauty find?