Although I am, as I said in my previous post, considering the long-term future of this blog, the idea for this series of posts has been in the works for a little while, so here it is!
In approaching the end of 2018, I’m also reaching the end of my first full year of wearing makeup and actually giving a damn about skincare: so it seemed a good time for a “Stars of 2018” series!
Separated by category (because there’s far too much to go in one post, I did try!), these are the products which have come out on top for me this year. I have either finished and replaced them multiple times, moved away from but ultimately ended up going back to them, or they are quite simply the ones that I have reached for the most often. If I were to get up from my desk and begin my skincare and makeup routine right now, these are the products I would be most likely to reach for in each category (with a runner-up in each case: the one I would use if my favourite had run out!)
You’ll find just about every brand in my beauty arsenal, and every price point from £0.95 upwards here – it’s an eclectic but happy mix! If you saw my recent “daily routine” post, you will already be familiar with many if not most of these – but I hope you’ll still enjoy this series, as I shall go into a little more detail on why I love these products as I do.
So, without further ado, I present my Stars of 2018!
PART 1: SKINCARE
Winner: Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser – £15
This one will come as no surprise, I’m sure. From the still relatively new Glossier stable, I have very rarely had a product become a firm favourite quite as quickly as this one!
As I’ve said many times before, I suffer the dual blessings of very oily and very sensitive skin, and this is still the only cleanser I’ve found that, no matter how tetchy or grumpy my skin is feeling, never causes me a problem. I’m on my fourth bottle of this lovely stuff, and would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone.
My full review can be found here.
Runner-up: Clinique ‘Take The Day Off’ Cleansing Balm – £24
A different kind of cleanser here, and the other permanent resident in my bathroom which gets replaced again and again. This is the one I can’t do without to get my makeup off at night! There’s even a tub of it in my swimming bag.
I just don’t know of any quicker or more painless way of getting my makeup off. About a teaspoonful, rubbed in all over my face, then removed with a flannel wrung out in very warm water (and rinsed out a couple of times as I go along) gets the job done. All of it, including mascara! A final quick wash with Milky Jelly and I’m done.
Serums are a funny thing really. In the case of both my winner and my runner up, I got to the end of the first bottle and felt that I wasn’t really sure that I could see what they were doing. So I stopped using them. In both cases it took a very short period of time for me to notice the difference when I stopped, and promptly start again!
Winner: Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II – from £55
Advanced Night Repair (known universally to its friends as “ANR”) is used at night, after my cleanser and before my moisturiser.
When I use it it seems that I need less of the moisturiser, and the following morning my skin feels firmer and smoother on the surface.
My early morning lack-of-sleep dark circles also don’t look as bad when I’ve been using it regularly, although whether that’s as a result of the product itself or the massage of rubbing it in, I can’t tell you. A little from column A and a little from column B?
It’s very pricey, but I only need a total of 4 drops for my whole face, so even the smallest bottle goes a long, long way.
Runner-up: Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner – £10.35
Bioderma Pore Refiner does exactly what it says on the tin! It doesn’t get rid of visible pores altogether, of course, because nothing ever could (more’s the pity!) But it does very definitely tighten them and reduces their appearance.
I’ve found that I reach for it even if I’m not going to bother wearing makeup on any given day, because it does make a visible difference even without the makeup. A pea-sized amount is enough to take care of all my problem areas.
Winner: Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Gel – from £18.50
With a few ill-advised side trips to other things, I’ve been using the same moisturiser for what is now a very long time. Although I’ve only been doing skincare “properly” for the last year or so, whenever I have used a moisturiser in the past, I have gone for this one.
It absorbs really easily, without leaving a sticky or greasy film behind, and three pumps are more than enough for my whole face. It smells of very little, and it just gets the job done. Because it doesn’t leave a film behind, it also provides the perfect base for makeup. I will also use it overnight if I don’t have the Runner-up to hand! For me, this is the perfect moisturiser.
Runner-up: Clinique Moisture Surge 72 Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator – from £24
At night I tend to go for this, which has slightly more moisturising power than the Dramatically Different Gel.
It plumps the surface of the skin up beautifully, but does leave a slightly tacky finish, so for me it’s no use for day wear. I find it ideal for overnight, as I don’t much care what finish it leaves behind if all I’m doing is sleeping!
When used with the ANR serum this gives an intensive burst of hydration overnight, then I can wash off the remains in the morning and use the daytime one underneath my makeup.
As with the ANR, a little goes a long way – a dab the size of a 5p piece (or a US dime) on one fingertip is usually enough for my whole face.
Winner: Younique Moodstruck Lip Exfoliator – £16.50
When (like me) you have a penchant for matte lipstick, especially liquid matte lipstick, dry and scaly lips simply will not do! This, for something so simple, is an absolute marvel.
Composed of sugar crystals and shea butter, it scuffs away dry skin on the surface, and moisturises the skin beneath. You simple apply it to your lips from the tube, rub your lips together for a little while, then leave it to sit for a little while – perhaps while doing your eye makeup. Then use a tissue or a makeup wipe to remove it, and you’re done. It’s just that simple.
The standard one in the black tube simply tastes of sugar – my best friend thinks it tastes like doughnuts! – but once a year there is a peppermint flavoured special edition in a candy cane tube, which I much prefer. I wouldn’t want to be without it.
Runner-up: Vaseline Lip Therapy – from about £0.95
Like many people I know, I have simply dozens of lip balms of all brands and flavours scattered around in desk drawers, handbags, kitchen drawers, on bathroom shelves and all manner of other places. One of these days I’m actually going to gather together all the ones I can lay hands on and take a picture. I have a feeling it might be quite amusing!
But when it comes to it, when my lips are throwing the mother of all tantrums, dried up, flaking like crazy, tight, and on the point of splitting, there is only one thing I reach for. Relatively recently, I had a bad cold. Following on from that my lips were in terrible shape; I could feel that the bottom one was about to split and I was desperate to stop it.
Having plastered on all the posher and more expensive balms in my arsenal and had nothing work, in the end, in desperation, I reached for this. And it worked. Not only did it work, it did so almost immediately. All other lip balms were fired from daily use with immediate effect. Just sometimes, the most expensive option isn’t the best!
I hope you’ve enjoyed the first instalment of my Beauty Stars of 2018. As always, I’d be delighted to hear from you below with any comments. Part two to follow!
DISCLAIMER: This review is not sponsored, and I have no affiliation with any of the companies mentioned. I have not been paid or otherwise compensated for this review, and I (or my very generous husband) pay for every product I review. All opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.