This part is for things that are a category all of their own and things that don’t really fit in anywhere else – but are still things that I wouldn’t want to do without.
The end is in sight!
PART 4 – EVERYTHING ELSE!
Winner: Real Techniques Powderbleu B04 Soft Shadow Brush – £11
Runner-up: Charlotte Tilbury Lip Liner Brush – £18
I’m sure you’ll remember from previous posts that I have a fair old selection of makeup brushes and accessories, so this was an incredibly difficult category in which to single out two favourites!
In the end, I chose these purely on the basis of the items I reach for most. I asked myself which two I’d be most likely to replace in an instant if I lost them? And these two came out on top.
The Powderbleu B04 is a truly lovely eye brush. The bristles are the softest of any eye brush I own, they pick up and distribute shadow very easily, and blend and diffuse the colour absolutely beautifully. Given a spray cleaner for changing colours, I could do the whole of my eye makeup on any given morning with just this brush and my fingers. If somebody new to makeup asked me to recommend just one eye brush, this would be my choice, without hesitation.
My other superstar brush is Charlotte Tilbury’s lip brush. Although I don’t use a brush when applying ordinary lipstick, I absolutely wouldn’t be without it when it comes to liquid lipstick. It makes a far cleaner and more precise job of applying it, and it’s far more hygienic to use a clean brush each time than to use the same applicator over and over, leaving it in the tube between applications. I tend to find that it makes liquid lipsticks last longer too, they don’t go clumpy and dry out so quickly.
Of course, there are lip brushes and then there are lip brushes: this one is an absolute cracker. The bristles are firm enough to provide just the perfect amount of resistance in use, making it very easy to get a clean, confident outline. It also comes clean really easily with just warm water and brush soap.
Both of these brushes also have faceted handles – it’s something so simple, but so effective! It makes them easier to get a grip on, but more importantly it stops them clearing off across your vanity desk and onto the floor as soon as you put them down, if you live in a house where nothing is entirely square…
I wasn’t sure whether or not to include fragrance as a category because it’s just such a subjective thing! No matter how much I rave about the glories of a perfume, many of the people reading it will likely hate it! That said, there are two which have stood out for me more than any other this year.
So rather than an opinion based review, I thought instead I’d provide a descriptive one, and the facts – one of them may have the same notes as one you know and love already, and you may find a new love!
Winner: Mon Guerlain – from £48.00
Mon Guerlain was released by the Guerlain fragrance house in March 2017. In creating it, Thierry Wasser was inspired by “the choices, emotions and dreams that embody modern femininity”. Angelina Jolie was chosen as the face of Mon Guerlain.
This is an Oriental Woody fragrance. The key notes of the fragrance are lavender and vanilla, and the main accords are vanilla, powdery, aromatic, floral and fresh spicy.
I first encountered this perfume on a trip to London, when a customer service assistant handed me a card with it sprayed on. To begin with I wasn’t too sure, but as I held on to the card I began to like it more and more. Eventually, we dropped it into the bottom of my husband’s rucksack and decided to review it again later that day. It was, of course, promptly forgotten about until we arrived home very late that evening and unpacked the bag. And that was when I truly fell in love with it. Once the top notes have died away, it settles down to the most wonderful warm, comforting, slightly sweet fragrance that lingers in the best possible way.
The following day I took a trip to the city centre in order to test it on myself, just on the offchance that it didn’t like me as much as I liked it. I’m very happy to say that it did – and Santa received a late addition to my Christmas list! This has become my new favourite – my new “signature scent”, and I just can’t wait to put it on each day. 🙂
Runner-up: Chanel Chance – from £55.00
Chance was released by Chanel in 2005 and created by Jacques Polge. Romy Schonberger is the most recent face of Chanel Chance.
This is a Chypre Floral fragrance. The key notes of the fragrance are pink pepper, jasmine and iris, with base notes of patchouli, vanilla and musk. The main accords are musky, white floral, patchouli, vanilla, powdery and soft spicy.
Before Mon Guerlain entered my world, I’d been wearing Chance every day for over 3 years, having stumbled across it when I changed from one office to another at work, noticed it on one of the other secretaries and promptly fell in love with it. I found it to be complex, classy and long-lasting, and it remains a very, very firm favourite.
Winner: MoroccanOil – price varies on this, I usually pay around £32.50
I’ve been through several different hair oil treatments trying to find the right one before I landed here. I used to use a lovely thing called Macadamia Natural Oil, until they changed the formula, and what was once magic in a bottle became rather useless overnight.
I tried MoroccanOil on a recommendation and on the fact that celebs and beauty bloggers the world over swear by it. It’s quite heavy stuff, no use at all if you have fine hair, but if you have thick, dry coloured hair (which I do), it’s magical. If I run out, I simply don’t bother trying to do anything at all with my hair beyond washing it and putting it in a bun, because nothing will work!
As with so many of the pricier things on my list, a little goes a long way: 3 pumps spread through damp hair before blow drying and straightening, and then a little more once I’ve finished tames the beast quite beautifully.
Runner-up: Matrix Total Results Mega Sleek Iron Smoother – again, price varies but I usually pay around £12
As with the hair oil, over the years I have been through more straightening and styling sprays than I could begin to count. The others I have tried either leave my hair sticky, have too much hold and leave it stiff to the touch, smell awful or smell far too strong, or you end up having to use loads to get a good result.
And then, there was this. I first encountered it when my fabulous hairdresser used it on me, and was absolutely amazed by the difference it made. And it even smells nice! I promptly bought my own bottle, and haven’t looked back.
The only drawback I’ve found with this is that because the mist from the spray is so, so fine, it does tend to drift quite a bit, especially if there’s any breeze in the room. The worktop behind where I do my hair tends to accumulate a coating of it over time, so now and again I have to remember to take a wet wipe to it and get rid of it.
As with other straightening sprays, it also tends to accumulate on the plates of my straighteners over time, but a quick wipe with a makeup wipe when the plates are still warm takes care of it very easily.
If Matrix ever discontinue this lovely stuff, there will be actual tears!
Winner: OPI Nail Envy – £19.50
Most of the year I have gel polish on my nails, but every now and then, about once a year or so, they do need a break. And this stuff is like a month in a health farm for your nails.
It’s incredibly easy to use. You apply two coats on the first day, and then a single coat on top every other day until the seventh day, when you take it all off, give your hands and nails a thorough wash, massage in loads of good quality nail oil and start all over again. Once I’ve done this for a month my nails are as happy as a pig in clover, and all ready to start again with the gel polish.
I absolutely swear by Nail Envy, and am forever to be found recommending it to friends and acquaintances who are having nail trouble. It is, as they say, the business.
Runner-up: Waitrose Cosmetic Tipped Cotton Buds – £1.15
I absolutely cannot achieve a manicure of any kind, whether gel or ordinary, without a few of these. They are an absolutely genius invention. Flat at one end and sharpened to a point at the other, there is absolutely nothing better for cleaning up little mistakes and tidying up around cuticles. And they’re cheap as chips too! What’s not to love?
Although my main use of them is in my manicure box, these fit very nicely into the makeup category too, because they’re every bit as good at cleaning up lipstick and mascara mistakes. There’s always a little pot of them on my dressing table.
Special Award for Gallantry in the face of Excess Oil
DHC Oil Blotting Paper – £4.50
Sometimes the very simplest solution to a problem is by far the best. These little blotting papers do exactly what it says on the pack – they absorb oil. That’s all. Nothing more or less.
A lot of blotting papers are impregnated with powder for a mattifying effect, but I much prefer to use these to blot up as much oil as necessary, and then use my own preferred pressed powder afterwards.
They’re a little piece of simple genius, and I’m never without a packet tucked into my handbag.
Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes – from about £1.50
And so, we arrive at the very end of my Beauty Stars of 2018, and I decided to finish with something that almost everyone who has ever used makeup has encountered at one time or another – the humble makeup wipe.
It would of course be remiss of me to not point out that these are far from the best option for the environment, and should absolutely never, under any circumstances be flushed down the loo.
Increasingly I’ve noticed that big manufacturers (Simple included among them) are starting to make biodegradable options, which is a good, good thing, and I welcome it with open arms.
That said, and with disposal properly attended to, there are moments, particularly when out and about, when wipes are the quickest and simplest option for the job. I would absolutely never advocate them for removal of a full face of makeup – although when it’s a straight choice between that and going to bed with makeup still on: have makeup wipe, will travel!
There have however been many occasions on which hygiene and/or sanity has been at stake in one way or another, either for me or for someone else (most recently a lady and her young daughter on a hot, crowded bus, when the daughter had a rather sticky incident involving a carton of fruit juice) and a packet of these, produced genie-like from the depths of my handbag, has ridden to the rescue.
As with almost everything else in life, it never hurts to have a backup!
If you’ve made it all the way to the end, I feel as though some kind of long-service award is warranted! Thank you for joining me on my happy journey through my Beauty Stars of 2018 – here’s to new year of new and exciting discoveries for us all.
If you’ve enjoyed this series of posts please do let me know down below – I’d love to hear from you! 🙂
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.